Tag Archives: suspense

“Save Our Animal Friends” and “Kids Can Change the World” by Benjamin Goldstein (2 Book Spotlight)

The World Patrol Kids give a concert in Kenya, to raise money for the National Game Preserves. The next day on Safari the World Patrol Kids run into trouble with an armed band of poachers who traffic in ivory and endangered species. In addition to the fast-paced adventure story, there are eight pages of puzzles, games, and other activities. The World Patrol Kids comic/activity books feature a multi-ethnic, crime-solving, environmental kids singing and dancing group, (ages 10-14) that takes on polluters, climate change, and traffickers in endangered species.

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Empowering Eco-Adventure for Young Readers!

The World Patrol Kids tackle pollution head-on when medical waste ruins their beach. This suspense-filled action adventure comic , perfect for middle-grade readers, is enhanced with 8 pages of interactive fun.

Packed with facts, puzzles, and games, it’s an engaging journey that encourages positive change. Join the young heroes and embark on an eco-adventure that empowers and educates.

Start your mission to make a difference today!

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Meet the Author

Ben has written, illustrated, produced, and directed books, films, plays, and songs, for Sesame Street, 3-2-1 Contact, Columbia Records, and many others. He has written for such licensed characters as Clifford the Dog, Snuggle the Bear, Rainbow Brite, Sweet Pickles, and more. Ben has an early childhood teacher’s license and has taught grades K-6. He also taught film courses at Western Connecticut State College. His children’s songs have sold millions of copies and his films have appeared at the Museum of Modern Art and on television stations around the world. Other books and plays by Benjamin Goldstein include: The Adventures of the World Patrol Kids, Kids, Kids Can Change the World, Garbage Can Drive You Crazy, Save Our Animal Friends, Looice, Been Dere?, Looice in the Stargarden, Looice Walks for President, Guess Again, Tales of the Baal Shem Tov, The Storyteller, An Evening with Jack and Charmian London, Jack London: The Musical.
 
 
 
 

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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. 

Action.

Adventure.

Suspense.

Multiple kidnappings.

Arson.

Secrets. 

Secret identity.

Surprise developments.

Strong heroine. 

Loving hero. 

Multiple villains.

Blackmail. 

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: ❤❤

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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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The Ickles®. They’re Everywhere! They’re Everywhere!: An Adventure in an Overlapping Parallel Dimension! by A. J. Eccles (Book Review)


An Adventure in an Overlapping Parallel Dimension!


We are Ickles. A proud, and independent people.
We just didn’t know we were such tiny little beings.
To us we seemed normal size.
Until the day we came face to face with our greatest challenge.
How would you feel if your world was suddenly overrun by giants five times taller than you and your friends?
How would you react if you and your neighbors were driven out of your homes and had to watch your town being turned into a theme park for the giants?


This was the situation facing Mac, a ten-year-old boy, as a rift in the fabric of space and time brought together two worlds of very different sizes. The invading giants were not monsters, not aliens, but normal-looking people just like the Ickles themselves. Only much, much larger. For the briefest moment in time, the tiny world of the Ickles and the larger world of humans overlapped, in a small bubble of physical space. Our hero, Mac, has an amazing adventure in both worlds and manages to help his fellow Ickles return home after the humans are pushed back to their own parallel universe.

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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.

 

The Ickles reside in a parallel dimension to our world. According to an Ickles historical book, our universes have only overlapped once, in the mid-1800s. The well-documented incident occurred in a farmer’s field in Ireland. The rift in the fabric of space and time closed up as quickly as it opened, shocking both sides. But now, for a reason unbeknownst to either side of the border, the two worlds can see one another again. This time around, their meet-up is significantly impacting both sides of the invisible wall.

The Ickles call “our world” the land of the giants, and I can’t fault them for their name choice. Our house pets are the same size as them. When a bull from our dimension entered theirs, its horns spanned the entire street and knocked down their power lines. Through their eyes, it looked monstrous and behaved accordingly! 

In the “giant” world, our dimension, we were shocked by a sudden miniature town appearing in thin air. Every morsel of food was real. Every aspect of the town was functional, including the vehicles that ran on the same fuel we use. With dollar signs in their eyes, the “giants” didn’t waste a moment capitalizing on the discovery. 

The “giants” had theories about who the “little people” were, and the Ickles had theories about the thin veil separating the parallel universes. Each was curious about the other, which led to scenes with action, humor, and danger. 

The Ickles®. They’re Everywhere! They’re Everywhere!: An Adventure in an Overlapping Parallel Dimension! by A. J. Eccles is a thrilling science fiction story; however, it lacks one component that readers would wish the author added: images. Young readers will want to see the little town surrounded by the train track (Earth realm), the bull smashing its way down the tiny streets, Mac facing off with the “giant” cat, and especially the surprising development in the final chapter. 

If your child loves science fiction stories, I recommend you purchase The Ickles®. They’re Everywhere! They’re Everywhere!: An Adventure in an Overlapping Parallel Dimension! It’s a fantastic read! 

 

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

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Meet the Author

I first turned my hand to writing fictional stories after a career as a copywriter, video producer, and senior global marketing executive. I love writing for strong characters and developing unusual stories with unexpected plot twists. The stories range from comedy to adventure to sci-fi drama.

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Mishaps of Marvelouz Witch: Marvelouz Grows a Garden (The Mishaps of Marvelouz Witch Book 2) by Karen Fronterhouse (Book Review)


Marvelouz sees her sister’s beautiful garden and she immediately wants one of her own. Without any sort of research, she tries to create what her sister has and is surprised when it is not as easy as she thought it would be. Who is Cody at the local feed and seed? And where did that familiar-looking mushroom come from? Another lesson to be learned as a young witch hones her magic skills in the middle 1800s in Ricochet Forest.

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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.

 

I didn’t read book one in The Mishaps of Marvelouz Witch series, but book two takes us on a wild journey as the young witch attempts to grow a beautiful garden like her older witch sister, Sparkleful. 

As the story begins, we catch up with Marvelouz, who was gifted a private dwelling for her thirteenth birthday. The customary “coming-out” gift allows a young witch to practice magic safely and privately. This present was perfect for Marvelouz since her spells tended to backfire. Her lack of magical control came into play as the story progressed. 

Marvelouz idolized her older sister, Sparkleful. Marvelouz wanted to do everything Sparkleful did for no other reason than to prove she could. When Marvelouz flew to her sister’s garden, her eyes became saucers. Before the witch stood the grandest garden she’d ever seen, and Marvelouz knew she had to create one herself. 

Marvelouz made several mistakes during the adventure. She should’ve taken her time and had patience with the process. She should’ve asked for assistance. Marvelouz wasn’t technically alone in the gardening fiasco. The witch had Pounce by her side. Ponce was a black cat and Marvelouz’s “pairing.” People who read paranormal/supernatural stories might recognize the word “familiar.” “Pairing” and “familiar” are (basically) the same thing. 

Pounce was a magical cat. He communicates with humans using puff messages. When Pounce has something to say, he sends the thought up in little clouds of smoke, and the picture forms to show it. The artistry of his thoughts was spectacular. Every illustration was well-crafted. 

Marvelouz and Pounce gardening skills need tweaking. While they managed to grow crops and flowers, her garden didn’t resemble the ones we’d see in our yards. Her garden became animated and not in a sweet, fairy tale way. Her plants were angry. They had eyes and fangs. Marvelouz’s spell backfired in epic proportions. She needed help and relied on a talking crow to forward her SOS to Sparkelful. 

Mishaps of Marvelouz Witch: Marvelouz Grows a Garden had humor, suspense, and action. Karen Fronterhouse created unique characters and a storyline that will fascinate elementary students. 

While the story had many great attributes, one being Julez the fanged blue mushroom, it also contained numerous editing mistakes. Despite the hiccups, I recommend the story to young readers who enjoy magic-infused reads. 

 

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

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Meet the Author

I’ve always loved magic. I have spent my life working in accounting and being a single mom. The house, yard, job and all that goes with it. I love camping, fishing, gardening, dollhouses, Christmas and Halloween decorations. I laugh every day at my little dogs. They are my joy. Now that life is slowing down I’m taking the time to pursue my passion for writing fantasy fiction. I hope you all enjoy it and may you smile at least once.

A special thank you to Joe Camp, a master storyteller, for all his expert guidance, advice, and most of all his patience. It meant everything to me. Many thanks to my sister, who is also my best friend, for all the support and punctuation corrections and for reading the story over and over until it was complete. I’d be lost without you. Also thanks to my many Mountain friends who were so supportive and positive along the way.

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ROSA AND MEE: An AI Adventure Story by Ben Goldstein (Book Review)

Ten-year old Rosa lives in a shelter and attends a failing school in New York City. At school, Rosa is bullied and robbed. Things are going badly for Rosa until she is contacted by “MEE,” a newly created artificial intelligence, who inhabits her school’s computer system. Mee teaches Rosa to defend herself and helps her save her family from falling through the cracks of the welfare system. An inner-city Cinderella story.


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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.

 

Rosa and Mee written by Ben Goldstein, captures all the drama one might experience in school and much more. The author dives into family drama and issues with the law and even incorporates artificial intelligence into the storyline. 

As the story begins, eleven-year-old Rosa, her mother, brother, and other tenants in the building are rushing to safety. Their home was engulfed in flames. With nowhere to go, Rosa and her family had to turn to a shelter for help. Living in a shelter for any reason is a last straw solution for many families. But when life knocks you down, it’s their salvation. 

While Luishana searched for employment and new housing, Rosa spent her days at P.S. 101. Rosa’s school consisted of shy students and bullies. Like almost every other school in the U.S. and abroad, the bullies love to make shy kids’ lives miserable. The class bully Shantel did just that and participated in illegal acts. These unlawful acts put many lives in danger. Every character was connected in this story down to Mee, the artificial intelligence. 

Rosa was shocked when she initially met Mee. She had never met a computer that could communicate of their free will. Her reaction was realistic. Doubt what she was seeing and spoke to the teacher about the development. 

Mee proved to be very useful. It helped Rosa academically, aided her family out of a sticky jam, and also helped save her and Luis from thugs with deadly intentions. Mee was extraordinary, but so was Rosa. 

The more Rosa interacted with Mee, the more confidence she gained: in school and on the streets. Through Mee’s guidance, Rosa was able to learn martial arts. Rosa’s new skills were tested, and she prevailed victorious.

When the school was robbed, and a student went missing, Rosa and Mee worked together to save the day. When some people think of artificial intelligence, they imagine robots taking over the world. Mee proves that they are there to help those in need. Only criminals should fear them. Mee had eyes everywhere and could call upon his minions at any time. Okay, that last one will make more sense as the cliffhanger plays out. 

Rosa’s family did have a VERY happy ever after. They no longer have to fear falling through the cracks of the welfare system. Luis, the main target of the bully’s taunts, went from victim to hero. And the villains of the story received the appropriate punishment. Justice was served! 

Will Mee be Rosa’s sidekick forever, or is it the end of the dynamic duo? You’ll have to purchase the book to find out, and I hope you will. It had action, suspense, drones, drama galore, and plausible scenes. With the rapid advancements in A.I. and their remarkable learning capabilities, I’m confident we will one day communicate with a similar version of Mee.

There was one minor inconsistency: chapter one states Rosa is eleven, while the book summary says, “Ten-year old Rosa lives in a shelter and attends a failing school in New York City.” That should be a quick and easy fix. 

This book is perfect for teens and young adults. 

 

Review submitted  to Reedsy 2/25/23.

 

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

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Visit the Author’s Website For More Information!

 

 

Meet the Author

Ben Goldstein has written, produced, and directed, books, songs, films, and audio and video productions for such companies as Sesame Street, Jim Henson, Holt Rhinehart, Nelvana, CBS, and Scholastic. He has written for licensed characters, Clifford the Dog, Snuggle the Bear, and Rainbow Brite.

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