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The Elegant Emu (Adventures in Harmony) by Karen Bobos (Book Review)

The magical sisters are enrolled in an etiquette class when their manners are not fit for the king and queen of the enchanted land of Harmony. Can Elizabeth the Emu help the royal sisters?

In the beautiful and peaceful land of Harmony, three magical sisters and royal daughters of the land, uproot the kingdom’s tranquility with some not-so-polite actions —nose-picking, belching, and other noisy…expulsions. Their parents, the King and Queen, enroll the sisters in the elegant Elizabeth the Emu’s etiquette class where they learn manners and other ways to self-improve like being on time, politeness, and proper personal hygiene.

Elizabeth the Emu explains to Angel Scarlet, Princess Daphne, and Fairy Cora that having proper etiquette is more than good manners, it’s about being kind and courteous. And for the sisters? Well, let’s just say that they will be needing more than one lesson from Elizabeth the Emu’s etiquette class.

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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.

 


Amazon has The Elegant Emu (Adventures in Harmony) by Karen Bobos for children 3 – 11 years. Children on the younger side will enjoy humorous moments such as burping and farting princesses. Oh, and let’s not forget Scarlett, digging for gold. Kids will crack up because those three things are always funny to a kid – big or small. 

Etiquette classes are not so common here in the states, but I imagine they are over in the UK, where royalty is a prominent fixture. When you read The Elegant Emu (Adventures in Harmony, it’s wise to ask your child(ren) or student(s) if they understand what etiquette means. Depending on the age of your reader/listener, several other words might need explaining: epitome, tranquility, drear, doting, and insight. 

I do believe some table manners are essential in any home. For instance, chew with your mouth closed and don’t talk with food in your mouth. I also think it’s unsafe to stab a piece of food with a knife and eat off of it. That’s an easy way to cut yourself! Hand washing should be encouraged, not just at meal times and not just for two seconds! My family already knew the happy birthday trick (singing it twice) regarding hand washing, but others may not, so this was a nice addition to the story. 

The final moments in the story made me smile. The poor Emu had a tough day at work, and it was sweet to see her hubby was waiting for her and drew her a bath. What a sweetheart! 

Special shout-out to Emily Hercock for your lovely illustrations. We loved them all, but Patrick the Peacock was our favorite drawing. 

 

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

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Meet the Author:

AUTHOR KAREN BOBOS

 
Bobos began writing poetry and stories at the early age of ten. She is a life-long Chicagoan who now raises her family in the downtown area. During the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, Chicago also became a city of unrest. Trying to keep her three young daughters in a world of magic during such scary times, the Bobos Babes Adventures were born. Her goal was to create a world of Harmony for her family and hopefully for others to escape, even if only for a moment. The first book of the series, The Case of the Giggles, was published in December 2020. The Missing Egg launched in March 2021. The The Lion’s Secret was published in June 2021, a tribute to her mother and late father’s incredible love story.  The Lovey that Came to Life and The Bobcat Birthday party will be releasing in the upcoming months.​
 
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Jack Gregson & the Stolen Sons by Peter Wilson (Book Review)

JACK GREGSON AND THE STOLEN SONS by Peter Wilson

 
Dark Mystery
Ancient Prophecy
Family Secrets

When a loud, incessant knocking disturbs the peace at Gregson Manor, David and Rosie once again travel through the mysterious portal, where they encounter darkness, chaos and impossible impossibilities.

Only by fulfilling an ancient prophecy and uniting unlikely allies can they save parallel universes.

A dormant sun awaiting new dawn,
Two stolen sons their mothers mourn.
One will wake from whence they laid,
The other repeats a mistake once made.

​Who are the sons?   

 
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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.
 
 
Jack Gregson & the Stolen Sons by Peter Wilson had more suspense, mystery, surprises, and bombshells than Jack Gregson & the Forgotten Portal. It also had more humor, thanks to pixie dust. I like Jarl, the sparkling golden pixie. While she might’ve not been the brightest bulb, she was fun to watch in action. She reminded me of Tinkerbell, except Tinks never turned herself into a frog. 
 
This story also had more family drama and unveiled another traitor. The traitor will play a major role in the next book, which I’m looking forward to reading! 


As with the first book in the series, Jack Gregson & the Forgotten Portal, there is oodles of magic. Colors play a significant role in the magic scenes. If you’re a teacher, this would be an excellent opportunity to discuss symbolism with your students. 


As I stated earlier, there are many humorous scenes in the story. One fight scene made me smile because David was wielding the unlikeliest weapon. Oh, I wish I could tell you what it was, BUT I want to leave you guessing. I can see kids laughing at it, though! I did give a slight chuckle. 


On a final note: I didn’t think Peter Wilson could make the punkey any weirder, but he did. I’m curious how the mutant will evolve in the next book. 
 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Peter Wilson
Peter Wilson is an award-winning writer based in Sydney, Australia. His first novel, Jack Gregson & the Forgotten Portal has won awards internationally, in both the USA and United Kingdom, and has quickly become a favourite with young readers. Peter’s second book in his trilogy series, Jack Gregson & the Forgotten Sons, is set for release in 2021. In addition to children’s and young adult content, Peter is also interested in writing for the adult market and is currently working on a crime thriller set in his home city, Sydney.

 
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Matrimony. Mayhem, and Murder (A Fiona Quinn Mystery) by C.S. McDonald (Book Review)

Matimony Mayhem and Murder (A Fiona Quinn Mystery) by C.S. McDonald

 
The venue is set, invitations sent, and the flowers ordered. It’s almost time for Fiona and Nathan to get married…again. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing…well, until the wedding planner is found dead.
Then the woman Fiona has never met shows up–Nathan’s enigmatic mom, Rita Landry. And she’s wearing a gorgeous but mysterious necklace. Worse, Rita is being followed by two sinister-looking men, forcing her to flee the country. And who gets dragged along? None other than the bride-to be! How does a girl prepare for all of that? Looks like Fiona’s perfectly planned matrimony has morphed into mayhem and murder!

You’re formally invited to Fiona and Nathan’s wedding. Question is: Will the wedding happen?
 
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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.
 
 
It’s very common for some hiccups to occur in preparation for a wedding or even during the big event. However, no one could have foreseen the details unfolding before Nathan and Fiona got married for a second time.


First off, their wedding planner gets whacked, and Fiona’s brother is the prime suspect. You’d think that’s the worst event to happen, but that is just the beginning of the drama. A very important and expensive necklace has gone missing, two persistent Russian agents are following Nat’s mom around, and yet that’s still not all the drama. 


C.S. McDonald has named this book appropriately because there was Matrimony. Mayhem, and Murder. There was also a meddlesome mom, aka Nancy, Fiona’s mom. If I’m ever in trouble, I want her in my corner. I want Rita (Nat’s mom) as well! 


While the story does contain a murder, which is not a funny crime, C.S. McDonald included much humor in this story. I found Rita’s interaction with the Russian agents quite amusing. Fiona’s retelling of Chad’s “band performance” was also quite comical. 


From beginning to end, I was entertained by Matrimony. Mayhem, and Murder. It’s a story I would proudly recommend others to read. 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
❤❤
 
 
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add to goodreads
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author: 
For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and many others, she became a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time, she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. In 2016 she added the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series that everyone, including teens and tweens, can read and enjoy. Presently, the Fiona Quinn Mysteries nine books with a tenth slated for 2021. The books are also available on audio, narrated by Maren Swenson Waxenberg. Cindy’s newest venture is The Owl’s Nest Mysteries. Once again, she has set her cozy mystery in Pittsburgh. The female protagonist, Alexa Owl, is much different from Fiona Quinn. The Owl’s Next Mysteries has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lot of cozy! Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.
 
 
Connect with the author:  
Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook
 
 
 

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The ‘Annie Oakley Mystery Series’ by Kari Bovee (Book Series Spotlight)

Book 1
GIRL WITH A GUN (an Annie Oakley Mystery) by Kari Bovee

2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards: finalist in historical fiction
2019 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards: first place in the mystery/crime category
2019 Hillerman Award for Southwest fiction
 
 

She’s on the rise to fame and fortune, but her sudden notoriety comes with some deadly consequences.

Annie Oakley thrives as a sharpshooter in the Wild West Show. Finally, she has a chance to save her family’s farm—and make her dreams come true.

But her act misfires when she discovers her Indian assistant dead in her tent. Uncovering a shocking secret from her assistant’s past, the girl with the gun believes it’s murder. Determined to find the truth, she ruffles some horse feathers, making enemies along the trail.

​But, when her prized gelding is stolen, Annie realizes she might have been the target all along.

Can Little Miss Sure Shot save her equine friend and find the killer before everything she’s worked for is destroyed?

​If you like a cunning mystery, a feisty heroine, and a fast-paced plot that keeps the pages turning, you’ll love this wild ride with the iconic Annie Oakley in the saddle.

 
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Book 2

Shoot Like a Girl (a prequel to the Annie Oakley Mystery Series) by Kari Bovee

She would do anything for her loved ones, even if it meant she’d be lost to them forever.

Young Annie Oakley never expected to be saddled with responsibility so soon. Following her father’s sudden death, the spirited girl finds herself shipped to a nearby county working for a couple promising a good wage. But when she discovers they are not what they seem, Annie suddenly fears her life may be in peril.

Determined to help her mother and siblings, she endures the hardships and mistreatment from the couple. But when that cruelty is targeted at the beautiful Buckskin horse who is her only friend, Annie decides to take matters into her own hands.

Will the spunky teen return to her loved ones, or will her decision land her in jail?

Shoot like a Girl is the prequel novella to the Annie Oakley mystery series. If you like a fiercely loyal heroine who won’t be anyone’s victim, then you’ll love Kari Bovée’s thrilling story of America’s best-loved sharpshooting sensation.

 

Buy the Book:
Audible ~ Amazon
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Book 3

Peccadillo at the Palace (An Annie Oakley Mystery) by Kari Bovee

She’s outgunned her opponents at every turn, but will it be enough to solve a royal case of murder? Annie Oakley can’t believe her good fortune at an imperial invitation.

Queen Victoria wants Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show to perform for her Golden Jubilee. But during the voyage to England, a royal escort is murdered and the gun-slinging star finds herself at the center of an assassination plot against the crown.

Determined to catch the killer, Annie tracks down the clues. And by the time they reach London, she thinks she’s right on course. But when her husband falls mysteriously ill, and an assassination attempt is made on the queen, the sharpshooting amateur sleuth may find herself out to sea before her ship comes in.

Can the clever markswoman solve the double-barreled mystery before it’s too late?

Peccadillo at the Palace is the second novel in the Annie Oakley Mystery Series. If you like a fast-paced mystery with unexpected plot twists that will keep you guessing until the very end, you’ll love this riveting historical mystery featuring America’s favorite sure-shot.

 

Buy the Book:
Audible ~ Amazon
Add to Goodreads

 


Book 4

FOLLY AT THE FAIR (An Annie Oakley Mystery) by Kari Bovee

She never misses a target. But unless she can solve this murder, she’ll become one…

Chicago World’s Fair, 1893. “Little Sure Shot” Annie Oakley is exhausted from her work with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. But when a fellow performer scuffles with a man who threatens her harm, she has to keep her eyes peeled. And when the heckler is found dead under the Ferris Wheel, Annie won’t rest until she proves her defender is innocent.

Before she can rustle up any clues, an old friend asks Annie to protect her young daughter. And as more bodies turn up around the grounds, she’s going to need all her sharpshooting skills just to stay alive.

Can Annie live up to her reputation and put a bullseye on the killer?

Folly at the Fair is the third book in the Annie Oakley mystery series. If you like strong heroines, Wild West adventures, and suspenseful twists and turns, then you’ll love Kari Bovée’s fast-paced whodunit.

 

Buy the Book:
Audible ~ Amazon
Add to Goodreads
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Meet the Author:
Autor Kari Bovee

 
When she’s not on a horse, or walking along the beautiful cottonwood-laden acequias of Corrales, New Mexico; or basking on white sand beaches under the Big Island Hawaiian sun, Kari Bovee is escaping into the past—scheming murder and mayhem for her characters both real and imagined, and helping them to find order in the chaos of her action-packed novels. Bovee writes the award-winning Annie Oakley Mystery Series and the Grace Michelle Mystery Series, and has more ideas than time for many, many more.

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Ponce: What Actually Happened at the Fountain of Youth by Jim Halverson (Book Review)

Picture
 
Two Florida State geology students found the pages written by Ponce de Leon’s chronicler in a dry limestone cave in the northwest panhandle. The original Spanish papers, five hundred years old, were found in relatively good shape, protected from time and moisture in a heavy triple-walled leather case. They chronicle Ponce de Leon’s second expedition to Florida in search of the fountain of youth.
 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
In history, it is pretty well-known explorers took land from the Natives. Power was the name of the game. Explorers wanted wealth and notoriety, while Kings aimed to increase their wealth, power, and control of lands. 


Speaking of explorers, readers will recognize the ones mentioned in the story. Most children study them in middle school; my daughter did, so she knew who Ponce de Leon was and about the Fountain of Youth. 


Through lessons, we know that when explorers traveled to new lands, they brought with them diseases. Ponce: What Actually Happened at the Fountain of Youth by Jim Halverson did note this and how the Natives got revenge on foreigners by giving them an STD, which they brought back to their homelands. (If you haven’t spoken to your child about STDs yet, then this might be a good time to explain it.)

There were no graphic scenes or questionable topics (besides the STD passages), so middle school children could read this on their own. At less than 160 pages, it shouldn’t take them too long to read it. If your family homeschools, maybe have your child write a review on the story or complete a book report. I’m sure they’ll have plenty to talk about: snake bites, runaway rooster, greed-filled men, “magic water,” and much more. 


While Ponce: What Actually Happened at the Fountain of Youth did lag for me a bit, I did find it amusing how the white men underestimated the Natives, and how Ponce was on the constant verge of having an absolute hissy fit. 


The ending was superb too! 

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

 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:

Picture
​Jim Halverson grew up in the rural, gold-mining town of Mokelumne Hill, CA and received his MBA from Golden Gate University. He spent part of his life on a ranch and is an avid student of psychology. He recognizes the struggles of all men and women seeking equality and respect. Jim and his wife, Gail, spend their time traveling from their small farm in Forestville, CA.

 
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