Tag Archives: middle-school

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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The New Enchantress: Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions Book Three by Sunayna Prasad (Book Review)

The New Enchantress (Alyssa McCarthy Magical Missions #3) by Sunayna Prasad

(Ages 9-14)

 
The point of no return has come!


It’s the summer before high school and life is about to change for fourteen-year-old Alyssa McCarthy. A sorcerer hexes her with everlasting powers, requiring her to become an enchantress. If she cannot learn to control her magic pronto, she will forget her loved ones and serve as the warlock’s eternal slave.

In order to control her powers, Alyssa must gain control of her emotions. With the struggles of adolescence and disasters everywhere, catastrophes are bound to happen! It’s only a matter of time before Alyssa’s world changes, for better or worse…

 
BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble 
 Kobo ~ Apple
Add to Goodreads
 
 

Alex, Alyssa’s godfather

I received a complimentary copy of this book from 
iRead Book Tours.
I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
I knew before starting The New Enchantress (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions, Book 3) by Sunayna Prasad there were going to be some intense scenes and mild language. There was a lot of yelling, fighting, and physical altercations. I know Alyssa did hurt or cause problems with her powers, but no one taught her how to use them properly. I don’t think staying calm is the only answer for this young teen’s magical problems. I felt so bad for her. She was under a great deal of stress, and everyone was either mad or disappointed in her for most of the story. 

People didn’t apologize or 100% support her until the last 1/3 of the book. I’m happy they finally did because I was not thrilled when Sydney (teen) said, “No one forgives anyone for hurting others.” I don’t believe this is true. The kids’ parents (in the story) agreed, “…you shouldn’t blame others for things they can’t control.”

Like with the first two books in the series, there were highs and lows. I’ve mentioned the lows above, so I’d like to point out a few highs. 
 

Highs:
 

Hologram calls were nifty, and I’m sure it’ll become a reality soon enough.

Who wouldn’t love a hovercraft?! My daughter would love one in green. 

Friends will argue, so it was lovely to see friends putting aside their anger, banding together, and becoming friends again. 

The New Enchantress also emphasized the importance of listening to others and teamwork. Plus, yelling at others rarely solves a problem. More often than not, it makes a problem/situation worse. 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Sunayna Prasad
 
Sunayna Prasad enjoys writing fantasy books for children, as well as cooking, creating artwork, watching online videos, and blogging. She has also written The Frights of Fiji, and A Curse of Mayhem. She constantly in creating and brainstorming new ideas.
 
Connect with the Author:   website ~ twitter goodreads
 
 

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A Curse of Mayhem: Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions Book 2 by Sunayna Prasad (Book Review)

A CURSE OF MAYHEM by Sunayna Prasad

Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12),  173 pages

History, like magic, has a habit of repeating itself.
It’s been six months since thirteen-year-old Alyssa McCarthy left magic behind for good. Or so she thought…
Then the enchanted objects that protected her disappear. Now a skeleton named Errol has cursed her with magical powers that keep getting her in trouble. Suddenly strange things are happening with disastrous effects, and if Alyssa can’t remove the magic, she will lose everything she holds dear. In order to get rid of her unwanted wizardry, Alyssa will have to boost her bravery and confidence and determine who Errol really is. But every time Alyssa uses an enchantment, Errol is one step closer to getting his flesh back and becoming alive, and he will do anything to achieve his goals…even if it means destroying Alyssa’s happiness.
Originally published in 2016 as “Wizardry Goes Wild” and “The Unruly Curse” in 2019, “A Curse of Mayhem” is book two in the exciting and suspenseful “Magical Missions” series.
 
BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Kobo
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.
 

Since my (pre-teen) daughter gave me such valuable feedback regarding The Frights of Fiji, I enlisted her again in the review for A Curse of Mayhem (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions, Book 2). 

 

Cover:  She thought the winged person was creepy and didn’t understand who it was supposed to be since she didn’t recall a flying kid in the story. The birdman didn’t bother her; in fact, she thought he looked comical. 

Plot:  We both agreed there were plot holes again. We didn’t understand how Alex, the godfather, forgot about magic and Alyssa’s kidnapping. 
We weren’t sure how mortals could be so confused magic exists when there is a magical zoo in Nebraska. 


Characters:  
She liked the winged unicorn-zebra, and so did I.  

 

Extras:  We both agreed the community service hours for students are a good idea. It teaches young people to take care of our world, and it’s important to take care of your community/people. However, realistically, I don’t think many schools will make it a requirement for school. Maybe for a class, though. 

While there were some hits and misses in this story, it was more enjoyable than The Frights of Fiji. It did represent how I believe a person would react to unwanted powers and the lack of control over them. 

On a final note: My daughter said the ending was “Ahhh, so sweet.”  She’s right; it was adorable. 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤1/2
 
BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Kobo
Add to Goodreads
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Sunayna Prasad
 
Sunayna Prasad enjoys writing fantasy books for children, as well as cooking, creating artwork, watching online videos, and blogging. She has also written The Frights of Fiji, and A Curse of Mayhem. She constantly in creating and brainstorming new ideas.
 
Connect with the Author:   website ~ twitter goodreads
 
 

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Cancer Awareness Book Tour: Titles Written by or Inspired by Cancer Survivors! (Multi-Book Showcase)

cancer awareness spotlight tour

 

Adult Non-Fiction (18+), 256 pages

A breast cancer diagnosis at forty-nine forces Christine Shields Corrigan, a wife, mom, and meticulous list-maker, to confront her deepest fears of illness, death, and loss of control as she struggles to face cancer again. From the discovery of a “junky” cyst, to chemotherapy and surgery, sleepless nights filled with rosaries and “what ifs,” and shifting family dynamics, her adult experience mirrors her teen bout with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with one exception—she no longer has parents keeping her in the dark.

With the ghosts of cancer past hovering around her, Chris falls into the same overprotective traps her taciturn Irish-Catholic parents created, striving to keep her family’s life “normal,” when it is anything but, and soldiering through on her own, until a neighbor’s unexpected advice and gift move her to accept others’ help. With fierce honesty, poignant reflection, and good humor, Chris shares a journey filled with sorrow, grace, forgiveness, and resilience, as she winds her way through cancer for the second time. Again offers practical guidance and hope to individuals that they have the strength to forge a path beyond a diagnosis.

 
Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ B&N ~ BAM
Book Depository ~ IndieBound
Add to Goodreads
 
 
 

 

Adult Non-Fiction (18+), 249 pages

Jean-Jacques Trochon (or JJ as he is more commonly known) spent thirty-two years as a commercial airline pilot for Air France. A French national, he enjoyed an early childhood in Tahiti before finishing his schooling in France and the USA. In 2003, JJ was diagnosed with aggressive kidney cancer and subsequently underwent the removal of his left kidney. In 2012 and 2014, he underwent further surgeries following the discovery of multiple metastases in both lungs. Despite being given a slim chance of survival, JJ again returned to work in 2016. He captained the world’s largest commercial aircraft, the Airbus A380, until his retirement in spring 2020. Today, Jean-Jacques devotes his spare time to helping other cancer sufferers and spreading the word about his revolutionary approach to the disease. He was the initiator of Rethinking Cancer 2017, a groundbreaking conference held in Paris on September 21, 2017, at Institut Gustave Roussy, the leading cancer center in Europe.

Heather Whitehall-Trochon is a lover of languages and translator of French and German into English. A British national, she completed studies in fashion journalism at the London College of Fashion before moving to Munich, Germany, where she worked in public relations for fashion and film. After relocating to Vienna, Austria, she had a brief stint as an editor at the Associated Press, prior to becoming a freelance translator and seasoned backpacker. Heather met JJ in Paris in 2007, marrying him the following year. The couple, together with their cat, Zulu, have now settled in Biarritz, France.

 
Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Book Depository
add to Goodreads
 
 
 

 

Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 186 pages

 

This novella was written by USA Today bestselling author Jeff Gunhus after he received a devastating diagnosis of state 3 cancer. The story is a message to his five children on how to deal with grief and a plea for them to grasp onto joy and love even in the darkest of times.

Caroline loses her spark. It takes a great adventure for her to find it again.

Caroline loses her father in a car accident for which she feels responsible. Consumed by grief, she has a difficult time readjusting to a world that has changed so dramatically for her. On the anniversary of her father’s death, a strange window opens in the middle of the small lake behind her house. She climbs up an old oak to peer inside, but falls out of the tree and discovers that the window also serves as a door into a different world.

Enter Mordecai the Gand, a mysterious traveler who befriends Caroline and promises to help her find a way back home since the window she fell through has disappeared. The two set out on a series of adventures that include visiting a tree village populated by a tribe known for eating travelers, running into a witch under a spell of her own making, hiding in a cave with a dragon encased in a wall of ice (prone to melting by campfire), all the while being pursued by a mysterious entity call the Creach which promises to devour Caroline and trap her in an eternity of despair.

As they navigate these adventures and this new world, Caroline slowly discovers that she is meant to help each of the characters she meets. As she battles internally whether to stay or return home to the sadness and grief waiting for her there, she must regain perspective and open her heart to the act of caring and to the joy of love itself. In the end, she must demonstrate great courage, loyalty, and caring as the plot unfolds, becoming the active hero of her own story.

 
Buy the Book:
Amazon ~  Audible
Add the Goodreads
 
 

 

 

Children’s Fiction (Ages 3-8),  40 pages

 
Caitlin Bangsund is the author of Marvellous Macey, The Delightful Days. It is the first in a series based on true life. Caitlin knows the trial and trauma of childhood cancer, childhood disability, and the fear of almost losing her daughter — the star of the series — Macey. She encourages readers to look for the treasures that hide in the rubble and gloom. Life is beautiful chaos and her message is to press on and conquer. Read her stories and help create a world that is full of kindness and acceptance.

BUY THE BOOK:
Author’s Website
Amazon

add to Goodreads
 
 

 

Children’s Fiction (Ages 3-7),  64 pages

 

 
When asked about her motivation for writing her children’s picture book about cancer, author Eva Grayzel explains:

My children were 5 and 7 when I was diagnosed with stage IV oral cancer. It’s a disease that cannot be hidden under clothing. My caregivers were so consumed with me, we didn’t addressthe feelings of our children. I regret not seeking professional attention for them during that time, but we didn’t think of it. If my healthcare providers had recommended it, we would have followed through. 
 
Since my voice was compromised during treatment, finding a book about understanding cancer would have been an easy solution. However, I could not find one to help start the conversation with our children.
 
Months after my recovery, my daughter still wouldn’t kiss me. She was intuitive, afraid of losing me and didn’t want to commit to another day of loving me. My son was shopping  with his grandma for a birthday card and he found a Get Well card. “Let’s buy this for Mom.” Grandma had to tell him that I wasn’t sick anymore.
 
When I reached my 10 year cancer-free anniversary, I had to mark it. There was no better way than filling the void for a children’s book to minimize fear and promote dialogue about cancer. ‘M.C. Plays Hide & Seek’ emphasizes feelings children experience and ways to address their emotions in a healthy, comfortable way. It’s everything I wished I had for my children. And, I hope it will be everything you need for yours.

Buy the Book
Amazon.com
Eva Grayzel ~ B&N

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Caroline And Mordecai The Gand: A Fantasy Novella by Jeff Gunhus (Book Review)

Reading age: 8 – 18 years Grade level: 4 – 12 Print length: 126 pages

Content Rating: PG: The language is G. There is one scene with the main character punches a bully resulting in a bloody nose. The emotional treatment of grief and the death of a loved one can be somewhat intense.

 

This novella was written by USA Today bestselling author Jeff Gunhus after he received a devastating diagnosis of state 3 cancer. The story is a message to his five children on how to deal with grief and a plea for them to grasp onto joy and love even in the darkest of times.

Caroline loses her spark. It takes a great adventure for her to find it again.

Caroline loses her father in a car accident for which she feels responsible. Consumed by grief, she has a difficult time readjusting to a world that has changed so dramatically for her. On the anniversary of her father’s death, a strange window opens in the middle of the small lake behind her house. She climbs up an old oak to peer inside, but falls out of the tree and discovers that the window also serves as a door into a different world.

Enter Mordecai the Gand, a mysterious traveler who befriends Caroline and promises to help her find a way back home since the window she fell through has disappeared. The two set out on a series of adventures that include visiting a tree village populated by a tribe known for eating travelers, running into a witch under a spell of her own making, hiding in a cave with a dragon encased in a wall of ice (prone to melting by campfire), all the while being pursued by a mysterious entity call the Creach which promises to devour Caroline and trap her in an eternity of despair.

As they navigate these adventures and this new world, Caroline slowly discovers that she is meant to help each of the characters she meets. As she battles internally whether to stay or return home to the sadness and grief waiting for her there, she must regain perspective and open her heart to the act of caring and to the joy of love itself. In the end, she must demonstrate great courage, loyalty, and caring as the plot unfolds, becoming the active hero of her own story.

Amazon Purchase Link 

 

 

 

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

 
Caroline & Mordecai the Gand by Jeff Gunhus’s target audience was intended for middle-grade students, but I became immersed in Caroline’s emotional journey, and I’m in my 40s. Like Caroline, my father died when I was young. And like her, I carried a lot of guilt surrounding his death. 


Grief is complicated at any age, but I feel kids have a more challenging time handling a personal loss because, sometimes, they aren’t able to articulate their feelings. Heck, even adults have trouble with the task. 


Jeff Gunhus did an outstanding job depicting the internal struggles people of all ages face when dealing with loss. 


I adored everything about Caroline & Mordecai the Gand. It made me smile, and it made me cry. Jeff Gunhus made me reflect on my father, a voice I can’t hear anymore but a face I’ll never forget. 


Would I recommend this book? Yes. This book’s audience extends past middle-school. It will touch many hearts. 

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

 


Meet the Author

Author Jeff Gunhus

 
Jeff Gunhus is the USA TODAY bestselling author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade fantasy series, The Jack Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year-old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 30 on Amazon, have been recognized as Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists and reached the USA TODAY bestseller list.

Jeff wrote Caroline & Mordecai the Gand after receiving a devastating diagnosis of stage 3 cancer. The novella was meant as a private story for his five children on how to face grief by holding onto joy and love. He leads an active life in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of Old Fox Books in Annapolis working on his next novel or on JeffGunhus.com.

 
connect with the author:  
website  ~  twitter  ~  facebook 
instagram goodreads bookbub
 
 

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