Saturday, July 22, 2017

Book Review: Sweet T and the Turtle Team


When Tara, aka Sweet T, visits Great-Aunt Mae on Gull Island, with her mom, she doesn’t expect to have all that much of a good time. She misses her older sister, Kristen, who stayed behind with their dad, and has only her younger sister, Jenna, for company. Oh, and of course Jenna’s blue stuffed rabbit called Fuzzy who has the annoying habit of always getting lost. So why are they even visiting Gull Island? It turns out that Tara and Jenna’s mom is involved in a special project at the Gull Island Aquarium.

The young reader is catapulted right into the story’s themes with the kids, including Billy (Great-Aunt Mae’s young neighbour), helping to save a pelican that had become entangled in fishing line. Tara meets a few local kids who are mysteriously rude to Billy. He won’t say what the problem is, but it comes out that Billy has a problem reading, something that Tara thinks she can help with. An impending storm heightens the drama over the special project with the aquarium – the annual hatching of the turtles! The kids can help by stepping in when a Turtle Team nest monitor had to drop out due to an injury. Will the storm prevent the baby turtles making it to the sea, and will the kids be able to help save as many hatchlings as possible.

Sweet T and the Turtle Team is an absolutely adorable book about lots of things that young readers will love: turtles, island life, wildlife and how we can help, friendship, family, and being there for each other. Author Cat Michaels very cleverly weaves both wildlife information and doing the right thing into the story without bogging the young reader down with too many details, or coming across as preachy. I have to mention the stunning illustrations! The images of the wildlife in particular (not forgetting Fuzzy, who has a couple of pics of his own) just make the story come to life and help draw young readers into the chain of events, as well as clarifying wildlife details. Irene A. Jahns is a brilliant illustrator. I also enjoyed the images of the text messages between Tara and Kristen, and this will appeal to the slightly older young reader who no doubt will be using text messages.

The characters are nicely developed and young readers will be able to relate to them easily. From feeling sorry for herself and wishing she were anywhere but on Gull Island, Tara rounds out very well into a lovely young person who thinks of others and tries to help. My favourite just had to be Great-Aunt Mae who, in the manner of many eccentric great-aunts out there, has boundless energy, can cook like a dream, and is always thinking up fun things for everyone to do. I really wish I had a Great-Aunt Mae who would make me triple fudge peanut butter pie for dessert!

The story ends on a bittersweet note, taking into consideration that nature can be harsh and only the strongest survive in times of storms and harsh conditions. I loved reading how the community come together to help the baby turtles find their way to the sea, where they will grow and thrive. The end of the book is not quite the end with some wonderful and relevant material, including gorgeous wildlife photos, which parents and teachers can use to amplify both the story and the information and lessons learned. Mind Ticklers are questions in a quiz to see how much the young reader remembers of the facts of the story. Brain Stretchers ask the young reader their opinion, what would they do in a particular situation. This is ideal for youngsters to start thinking about dealing with social issues, caring about others who are not like them, or who may have a problem, and what they think is the right behaviour in a situation.

Author Cat Michaels spent more than twenty years helping students of all ages, and her experience and expertise are apparent in this lovingly written story. Wise words from Dr. Seuss end this delightful tale, reminding us of the freedom that all creatures deserve. “And the turtles, of course... all the turtles are free, as turtles, and maybe, all creatures should be.”

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Book Blast: Sweet T and the Turtle Team

BeachBoundBooks is pleased to be coordinating a Blog Tour for the beautiful children's book written by Cat Michaels and Illustrated by Irene A. Johns, Sweet T and the Turtle Team. The tour will run from July 12 - August 9, 2017.
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 About the Book

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Title:  Sweet T and the Turtle Team
Author:  Cat Michaels
Illustrator: Irene A. Jahns
Publication Date: July 2017
Publisher: 2101 Ink
Number of Pages: 72
Recommended Ages: 6 to 11
Summary: It’s nesting season for loggerhead sea turtles on North Carolina's Gull Island. Nine-year old Tara (or Sweet T as her family sometimes calls her) is determined to see hatchlings make it safely from their nests to their ocean home.Summering on Gull Island with Great Aunt Mae could be tons of fun, but T is having a hard time making new friends with island children, let alone finding kids to help her monitor a sea turtle nest.There’s little sister Jenna, but Jenna is, well, little.  Fuzzy is around, too, but Jenna’s blue stuffy rabbit gets lost all the time.  Besides, a toy bunny can’t help protect turtle nests. Tara befriends Billy, a moody island child.  He teaches her skimboarding and shows her the best shelling spots. But Billy stomps away when she asks him to read the “Turtle Team Guide” and join her in saving baby sea turtles. What’s up with Billy?  He’s nice one minute and grumpy the next.  And why does he refuse to join T’s Turtle Team?  T can't figure him out. A tropical storm threatens Gull Island just as the sea turtle nest is ready to hatch. T must abandon the nest and prepare for bad weather.
  • Will Sweet T and her friends keep safe from the storm?
  • Will the sea turtle nest survive angry ocean waves?
  • Will Billy reveal his secret?
Dive into adventure, fun and secrets on Gull Island with “Sweet T and the Turtle Team” to find out! “Sweet T and the Turtle Team” is the third book of the Sweet T Tales Series of chapter books for early and reluctant readers by Cat Michaels, MS., Ed.  With a glossary, comprehension quiz, sea turtle hatch photo gallery, and discussion questions, “Turtle Team” delivers powerful messages about protecting marine life while helping young readers empathize with children who struggle to read.

Pre-order Now ~ Available July 21, 2017

Take a peek inside the book...
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Watch the book video...

About the Author

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Author, blogger CAT MICHAELS, M.S., Ed., has more than two decades of experience helping students from kindergarten to college with learning disabilities and Asperger’s syndrome.

Her chapter books and Sweet T Tales series for beginning readers tell of every day life with a twist of magic and mischief.  Cat’s books encourage young and reluctant readers to use their imagination and solve kid-sized dilemmas as they enjoy reading.

Cat lives in North Carolina with her family, where she enjoys digital photography and graphic design, creates pocket gardens, works out as often as she can, and writes.  

Find Cat’s books on Amazon and iTunes

Blog Tour Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive a $75 Amazon gift card or $75 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice Giveaway ends: August 9, 11:59 pm, 2017 Open to: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Cat Michaels and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel free to send an email to stacie@BeachBoundBooks.com. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Book review: The Shadow of the Tudor Rose


The Shadow of the Tudor Rose, the ninth adventure that twins Jemima and Joe Lancelot and their friend Charlie find themselves undertaking, starts off in a typically mysterious way. Catching a quick breath of fresh air outside one evening, Max, their handsome, big boned (certainly not fat!) talking Tonkinese cat, hears a strange voice calling across time and space ... “El Gato!” Of course, everyone know that means cake, right? But somehow the voice, the words, combined with a storm make Max hurry back inside, hoping that the scenario does not presage another adventure back in time, back to usually uncomfortably dangerous situations. Max is not cowardly, just cautious, and although he also wants to help the twins locate their parents, who had gone back in time and are now lost in the past, the reader is ever mindful that a cat only has nine lives. Max might have used up eight already ... who knows? And if this is their ninth adventure, well, it could be the final one.

Every time the twins, Max, and Charlie step into history, using the magical book and key, along with clues in a poem, they manage to experience some dramatic event or other, and several of the events have been particularly hair-raising. This latest adventure is no less exciting than all the others. It is the year 1588 and a dastardly plot is being hatched on the part of the Spanish to invade England using the Spanish navy, the Armada. Although the twins are desperate to locate their parents, of course they can’t ignore the fact that this event is of the upmost importance, even though they already know the outcome. However, this is a three-pronged plot that involves more than just a naval battle. Sabotage, treachery, and assassination are involved! And what of the mystery of the Tudor Rose, since the price of treason is the ultimate punishment...

Once again, under the skilled pen of author Wendy Leighton-Porter, history comes to life! The dangerous intricacies and machinations of court intrigue, the enduring animosity between England and Spain, and the life of people in Elizabethan England are clearly laid out. From the (disgusting) lack of sanitation, to problems involving having no local money, to where to sleep, to how to get food, to how to survive being maybe considered a spy (horrors!), to meeting people now famous for their achievements, young readers get lots of history woven into an incredibly fast-paced and exciting plot that has Max really shining as the ultimate hero. He even gains royal favour! Max has a particularly poignant relationship with young playwright Christopher Marlowe (Kit) that is very special, and very moving.

I enjoyed how the author included so much of the Elizabethan flavour in both the language and phrases (very easily understood) and the events of the times. The twins meet Shakespeare himself, and this does annoy Kit more than a little because, after all, wasn’t Shakespeare just a country bumpkin? Readers who have been following the kids’ adventures, as well as Max’s own independent adventures, will learn more about the Guardians of Time. Once again, lovely word play ensues as characters misunderstand certain words, or else significant clues are embedded in phrases – all very important in foiling this plot. The end of the book contains a glossary of words and phrases, plus details of the major characters who were real life people of the era.

Max is by far my favourite character, and in this story he outdoes himself in terms of bravery and his importance in foiling the plot. To his great relief, he was not required to don a disguise, although he cannot understand why so many ancient prophecies abound which all make mention of some hero’s extreme courage that is necessary for all to end well. And, in this tale of conspiracy and derring-do, “all’s well that ends well!”

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to teachers as well as parents because there is so much interesting information, wrapped up in an exciting, suspense-filled package, to get young readers eagerly delving back into the past. Young and of course young at heart readers are in for an incredible treat.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Book Review: Majelica’s Voyage to the Land of the Fairies


 
Book 3 in Majelica’s adventures finds this adorable, green-haired half-fairy/half-human being invited by the Fairy Chiefs to the Land of the Fairies to discover her origins. Majelica had hatched from a sapphire egg and had always been curious about her origins. She longed to discover who she really was, and where she came from. Prince Will and Goldy arrive via the rainbow to accompany her back to the Land of the Fairies. They must traverse the forest to find the portal through to the Land of the Fairies. But can they do it? The forest is filled with all sorts of potential dangers; challenges that might make Majelica become discouraged and give up. Can Majelica overcome her negative thoughts so that her positive thoughts help her find a way through? Will she discover the story of her parents?



Majelica’s Voyage to the Land of the Fairies by Louise Courey Nadeau is Book 3 in Majelica’s adventures. Young readers and their parents who enjoyed books 1 and 2, in which we met Majelica, her guardian Gri, her pet dragon Tris, the warblegrif Odin, Prince Will and his goldaron, Goldy, as well as the Isle of Dreams, will be enchanted by this tale. Once again the author stresses how important it is for young readers to have self-belief, faith, confidence, and many more positive attributes to help them along the path of life. The most exquisite full colour and full page illustrations by Nathan Heinze keep young readers immersed in the story as well as adding visuals that will help even the most reluctant reader to dive into the adventure.

Learning about yourself is also part of the story, as it is with Majelica’s journey in this tale. The back of the book has a lovely question and answer session for young readers to relate their own self discovery to that of the characters in the story. The power of love, the power of self-belief, the power of listening to your own heart and following your dreams are themes that are beautifully explored, and I have no doubt that young readers will be able to relate to all the characters in this third tale. For readers new to the series, the author includes a mini synopsis and cover image for the previous books that will encourage young readers to go back to the beginning of Majelica’s story. An enchanting book to be shared in the classroom and in children’s libraries, a must-read tale filled with beauty and magic that will soon become a great favourite.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Book Review: Initiation - Sky Raider Academy Book One


Life just couldn’t get any worse for 11-year-old Tommy. After the death of his father, he and his mom move from New York to Colorado, and (even worse) they’ll be staying with Tommy’s eccentric Uncle Joe, who owns a llama farm, and is (adding to the even worse part) a conspiracy theorist and something of a joke to the townsfolk. His new school is called Mustang Mountain Elementary and Tommy’s convinced, especially after a rocky start, that he’ll never be happy there. The teachers are also a bit eccentric, albeit in an interesting way, and the school bully has homed in on him from day one. Life sucks! But then life changes in (literally) a flash of light as a mysterious stranger, Mr. Bellarium, appears to Tommy one night and whisks him away to a very different kind of school, one in the sky called The Sky Raider Academy. This is where specially chosen kids learn how to manage the weather. Tommy’s father was a Sky Raider, and considered to be one of their most gifted and inventive students. Tommy’s problems with fitting into a new town, a new school, and dealing with new people fade into insignificance when it becomes apparent that a rogue Sky Raider is wreaking havoc on the world by manipulating the weather ... with disastrous consequences! Can Tommy, with his new Sky Raider friends, Will and Rachel, find the courage to combat this enemy and emerge victorious, and how much did this rogue Sky Raider have to do with Tommy’s father’s mysterious death?

First up, kids who aren’t even vaguely interested in science and meteorological phenomena will be riveted by how the author has turned science into magic. After all, “magic is just misunderstood technology.” There aren’t any magic wands, but there’s a plethora of gadgets, gizmos, rides, and novel pieces of equipment to delight any kid who loves to tinker with “stuff.” There is danger, excitement, and feats of derring-do aplenty. In between all the otherworldly Sky Raider activities, Tommy fits in a normal day’s school every day.  The author shines here in making real the dialogue, the problems, the events, and the interactions normal kids would have. As Tommy realises the world is bigger than he is, he starts noticing more about others; for example, his mom seems happier here on the farm now. It’s easy to turn inward and feel sorry for oneself, but Tommy rises to the occasion, especially the one that demands a final act of heroism.

There’s a large cast, but young readers won’t get confused because teachers (both at school and the Academy), family members (including Pinky the llama that eats almost anything), and friends are well defined and stand out as individuals. Hopefully, there’ll be more on them in subsequent books. I found the setting up a little slow, but considering this is to be a series, the information will serve young readers well. As an adult, I also found the meteorological and scientific details a bit too much, but looking at this book from a young reader’s point of view, I am sure that won’t be a problem. Author Kirsten Pulioff’s middle grade book, Initiation, tackles issues that children have to deal with and often struggle to cope with adequately (death, bereavement, moving, leaving friends behind, new school, bullying), as well as infusing a real world with a parallel world of fantasy, adventure, heroism, and more. I enjoyed the moment where Tommy stands up to the school bully and, in a unique way, gives him a “taste of his own medicine.” This could be seen as a book for boys, but Rachel is a very appealing sidekick and girl readers will love her character. A good start to an exciting series!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bartholomew Buggins : A Zombie with Different Cravings

2017-02-16 

 BeachBoundBooks is pleased to be coordinating a C over Reveal for Crystal Marcos's new picture book, Bartholomew Buggins : A Zombie with Different Cravings. The cover reveal will take place on February 20, 2017.


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Title: Bartholomew Buggins: A Zombie with Diffe rent Cravings
Author: Crystal Marcos
Illustrator: Marie Marcos
Number of pages: 32
Recommended ages: 4+
Expected Release Date: April 2017
Book Description: A humorous Children's rhyming picture book by Award-winning author Crystal Marcos about a distinguished littl e zombie who just want to be your friend.

Available for Pre-Order on Amazon



Order Authographed Copies from the Author


Watch the Book Video




About the Author

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 Award-winning author Crystal Marcos has been a story teller her entire life. As the oldest of five children, she had to do a lot of entertaining. She lives on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State with her husband, daughter Kayle e, and toddler son Jaxon. Crystal is the author of Middle Grade Readers, BE LLYACHE: A Delicious Tale and HEADACHE: The Hair-Raising Sequel to BELLYACHE, Young Adult Novel, No vus (The Cresecren Chronicles, Book 1), and Children ’ s Picture Book, Bartholomew Buggins: A Zombie with Different C ravings.



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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Book Blast: Dream Horse Adventures

BeachBoundBooks is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for the children's book series Dream Horse Adventures written by Susan Count. The blast will run February 7 - 9, 2017.

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About the Books


maryssong

Title: Mary's Song (Dream Horse Adventure Book 1)
Author: Susan Count
Genre: Children's Fiction
Number of Pages: 122
Publisher: Hastings Creations Group
Release Date: October 20, 2016
Book Description: Mary’s heart breaks over the pending destruction of a beautiful, but damaged filly. When life is not fair, the courageous challenge the obstacles. Twelve-year-old Mary was disabled at the age of four by the same virus that took the life of her mother. While she longs to have a horse of her own, she’s limited to reading horse books. A talented artist, she spends her days on a blanket in the grass sketching the horses at the farm next door. She falls in love with one of the foals and is outraged to learn the filly is considered worthless as it was born lame. Mary befriends and enlists the help of twelve-year-old Laura, whose family owns the horse farm. Against the better judgment of the farm manager, a brief reprieve is negotiated for the foal’s life. The girls conspire to raise money to save her, but time is running out. Sadly, it appears the expensive surgery the foal needs has little chance to correct her problem anyway. Mary isn’t about to give up. She sacrifices what she holds dear, including the trust of her papa, to gain her heart’s desire. Will she lose everything in her struggle to save the foal?



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Title: Selah's Sweet Dream (Dream Horse Adventure Book 2)
Author: Susan Count 
Genre: Children's Fiction 
Number of Pages: 198 
Publisher: Hastings Creations Group 
Release Date: December 15, 2015
Book Description: American Horse Publications - FIRST PLACE - Equine Fiction..... Feathered Quill - GOLD Award..... Readers Favorites - GOLD Award..... Twelve-Year-Old SELAH (Say-la) aspires to be an equestrian superstar. That would require a horse. HER DILEMMA: Grandpa wants nothing to do with horses. THEN: Selah sees buzzards circling the grasslands behind Grandpa’s farm. They are stalking a horse trapped in wire and Selah is its only hope. DANGEROUS: The horse is wild and defiant - jeopardizing Selah’s dreams. FOILED: The legal owner searched for the horse for two years and wants it back. BUT: Selah is confident that God will provide her heart’s desire. MEMORIES: Grandpa shows Selah a video, from long ago, of a phenomenal equestrian. Selah declares that she wants to be like her and Grandpa explains the rider was her grandmother. HOPE: A world renowned horse trainer offers to train SweetDream and Selah. FOILED AGAIN: Her parents could ruin everything unless Sweet Dream’s unruly behavior ruins it first. LOST: Selah’s opportunity to mirror the equestrian talent of her renowned grandmother evaporates when the horse causes mayhem at the trainer’s facility. NEVER GIVE UP: Will Selah gather her courage and face up to the trainer to save her aspirations?

https://www.amazon.com/Selahs-Sweet-Dream-Susan-Count/dp/0997088303/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1484936125&sr=8-2&keywords=susan+count

About the Author

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One day...I began to write with no preconceived ideas about anything. I’d read what I had written the day before and add another scene to the adventure. No one could have been more astounded than I was when it turned into a book. The whole process gave me great joy and restored my spirit after a season of loss. My motivation was my desire to bless one particular young lady with a story to show her a love relationship in a family, with the Lord, and with a horse. I truly thought the story would remain in a drawer until she was old enough to read it. Surprise. 

I write at an antique secretary desk which belonged to the same grandmother who introduced me to horse books. The desk has secret compartments and occupies a glass room with a forest view. Bunnies and cardinals regularly interrupt my muse, as do my horses grazing in a clearing. 

Though I am a rider and lover of horses, I make no claims of expertise in any riding discipline. I hope that my research keeps me from annoying those who would know. 

The only thing more fun than riding might be writing horse adventure stories. Saddle up and ride along!



Dream Horse Adventure Series Giveaway


Prize: One winner will receive a copy of Mary's Song and Selah's Sweet Dream

Giveaway ends: February 22, 11:59 pm, 2017

Open to: US and Canadian Residents Only

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel free to send an email to stacie@BeachBoundBooks.com.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review: The Musketeers is a "Must-See!"



It’s not often that I feel inspired to review movies or a series. However, The Musketeers is what you’d call a ‘must-watch’ series. I hesitated before picking this up. I mean, how many versions have already been done of Dumas’ story? But something said, go on, have a look. Well, I was riveted. First, the series is perfectly cast. I cannot imagine any other actors playing the roles that these performers filled. The costumes are perfect, the settings beautiful (even the grotty streets with mud, mud, and more mud), the action is real, and thankfully the fights are perfectly timed and do not go on so long that you’re mentally saying, “For pity’s sake, kill him already!”
The episodes pay homage to the original story, but veer off into great little side plots. Yes, you know that at the end of each episode things will be resolved in favour of the musketeers, but that’s fine, that’s good, and there’s none of this new trend of producers to lure viewers into loving and rooting for a character, only to have him/her killed off in a nasty “take that, suckers!” kind of attitude. In fact, the very lack of vicious, gratuitous violence, abusive kinds of sex, and needless nudity that sadly seems to be popular with a famous series (no names here) is part of the reason why I stuck with and so enjoyed this series. Everything that happened was meaningful, within context, and played a part in the overall story arc.
For once, I want to mention the villains more than the heroes. Possibly because I have stopped watching The Walking Dead because for some reason the producers or the scriptwriters have turned a fine actor like Jeffrey Dean Morgan into a leering “Mwahahaha” villain with the depth of a puddle and little or no intrigue or back story to make one want to watch further. The Musketeers’ villains are just wonderful. From the coldly calculating and Machiavellian Richelieu (superbly and intelligently played by Peter Capaldi) to the psychotically cruel but lovelorn Comte de Rochefort (a brilliant Marc Warren) to the horribly creepy and plotting Marquis de Feron (also brilliantly played by an almost unrecognisable Rupert Everett) to Milady, whose love for her husband was destroyed. These villains all have some redeeming quality – hard to find in some cases, but it’s there. Richelieu loves France; Rochefort loves the queen; Feron discovers that he is, in fact, loved and accepted by Louis, and that changes everything. A villain must have depth for viewers to want to keep watching. Milady is a study in complexity and far from the surface villainess one might initially label her.
Another character I thought really warrants mentioning is Louis himself, and how actor Ryan Gage chose to portray him. It’s hard to give life to someone who comes across as capricious, shallow, vain, and self centred. But Ryan Gage managed to imbue the character of Louis with a certain childlike charm, a naiveté, and even an innocence, sheltered as he was from the realities of life. I thought the actor brought tremendous depth to a character who might have been dismissed as annoying but necessary.
Last but not least, take the time to watch the Extras on the DVDs. They are informative and very enjoyable. Sword fighting and horse riding is not as easy as these fine actors make it look.