Thursday, May 5, 2016

#MMBBR #BooknerdBoy #Review Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp by Shana Gorian @AuthorShana

Ten-year-old James and his seven-year-old sister, Mandy are off to summer camp with their loyal German shepherd, Rosco. While Mandy struggles with homesickness, James’s week is threatened by a prank-playing bunkmate’s antics. But, during an unexpected thunderstorm in a game of capture-the-flag, the prankster finds himself lost, alone and injured deep inside the forest. Rosco must play the hero and save the boy, but not before he teaches him a hard-earned lesson about friendship. Join Rosco and the gang in their third adventure, this time, out in the woods! *136 pages *17 black and white illustrations throughout *Recommended for ages 8-10

Shana Gorian

Shana Gorian is the author of the Rosco the Rascal series, chapter books in which a sometimes rascally German shepherd uses his true heroic nature to help his pals, James and Mandy, find adventure and overcome obstacles. FOLLOW her at the link above to be informed of the next Rosco book release.

Originally from Western Pennsylvania, Shana lives in Southern California with her husband and two children, and their German shepherd, Rugger, the real Rosco the Rascal. Shana grew up in western Pennsylvania and attended the University of Pittsburgh, earning her Bachelor of Arts in English Writing in 1994. After migrating to the West Coast, Shana trained as a graphic designer. Working in web site design for nearly a decade, she then left the workforce to raise her children full time. Ten years into motherhood, she published her first children's book. Shana is an avid lover of the great outdoors and weekend fun and adventure with her family. She is always searching for more stories!

Sign up for Shana's mailing list to read short stories about Rosco the Rascal every month

Visit her website at
Follow her blog at
Twitter: @AuthorShana
Facebook: Author Shana Gorian

What did you love about this book?
I liked when they had the big game of capture the flag.  I thought that was really cool and made me wish for warm summer days.

Can you tell us all a bit about Rosco?
Well, Rosco was your original house dog, but to the next level.  Rosco is nice, protective of his family and so much fun to read about.

What was memorable about the book?
The book was funny and made me want to go to camp.  I can still picture what happened in the book and I feel like that is what is memorable about it.  I am still thinking about the story and the characters.

Do you want to continue reading the series? If so, why?
Yes, because of Rosco and the other characters.  It was a really fun book to read.

Would you recommend this book?  To whom? 
Anyone who likes stories about dogs and has been to camp or longs to goes to camp.  Or anyone who wants a quick, fun read.

On a scale of 1-5 how would you rate this book?
4 stars

#MMBBR #Showcase Girls' Weekend by Cara Sue Achterberg @CaraAchterberg

Dani, Meg, and Charlotte have bonded over babies, barbeques, and backyards, but when they escape for a girls weekend away, they can't bring themselves to return to lives that don't seem to fit anymore.

Harried Dani can't explain why she feels so discontented until she meets a young gallery owner who inspires her to rediscover the art that once made her happy.
Dependable Meg faces up to a grief that threatens to swallow her whole and confronts a marriage built on expectations.

Flamboyant Charlotte, frustrated with her stagnated life and marriage, pursues a playboy Irish singer and beachside business opportunities.

All three of these women thought they would be different. None of them thought they'd be facing down forty and still wondering when life starts. What they do when they realize where they're headed is both inspiring and wildly entertaining. 

GIRLS' WEEKEND is a fun, yet poignant romp through the universal search of who we are, why we love, and what makes us happy by an author who is quickly emerging as one of our most incisive storytellers.
“Well written, sometimes light, sometimes frightening, but always intriguing, this bird's eye view of two lives intertwined among millions is certainly food for thought, especially when one walks a mile in another's shoes.”
– Tome Tender

“What an intriguing storyline!”
– Teena in Toronto

“I loved this novel . . . This book had me laughing at some points, and it had me wiping away tears at others.”
– Comfy Reading

“After about two pages I was hooked.”
– Glitter and Cookies

“An awesome read! The theme of living the life of another no matter the situation and not judging without truly knowing is a lesson we should all take to heart.”
– Literarily Illumined


Who am I, you ask? Via her website....

I am an irrepressible writer, a tired mom, a lazy gardener, a resentful chauffeur, a loyal friend, a daily dreamer, a terrible dog trainer, and an occasional cowgirl. I'm also a compulsive blogger,  an almost famous novelist, and a huge fan of teenagers writing. I will talk your ear off about processed food, growing tomatoes, training horses, Virginia wine, or the dog I'm currently fostering. If you ask about my kids, prepare to be bombarded with how FANTASTIC and AMAZING they are. If you follow me on Facebook or twitter you'll be treated to near daily doses of my thoughts, adventures, and animal photos. Links to all my social media ramblings are below. I'd be honored if you followed me anywhere....

Q.  What inspires your writing?
A. People inspire my writing; I find them so fascinating. I’m a serious people watcher. I can be completely entertained sitting on a bench in a park, or office building, or- my favorite – the boardwalk. I watch people and imagine their stories and wonder where they came from and where they are going. I love meeting new people. They’re like packages waiting to be unwrapped – what makes them laugh, cry, think? What are they passionate about? What can they teach me? That said, I suppose it’s dangerous to be my friend; it’s quite possible you will end up in one of my books!

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A. Writing. I love imagining, so the writing is the best part. And I suppose I’d have to add that I love being able to structure my own day. I’m no good at 9-5.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A.  Editing! It’s such a grind and easily 80% or more of what I do. It’s painful and tedious and frustrating, but so, so necessary. I used to think rejection was hard, but you get used to that. You can’t survive being a writer without developing some tough skin.

Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A. I would work with dogs. I foster dogs for a rescue organization now and I truly wish I had time to do more. I’d love to be part of fixing the problem – educating people about the need to spay and neuter their pets and telling the stories of the thousands of dogs that are euthanized each year.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A.  Hmmmm….My Glass is Half-full? I’m a possibilitarian. I can nearly always find the good, the lesson, the wisdom in all my life’s adventures- even the painful ones.

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A. Now that’s a really tough question. I’m torn between Life of Pi and Prayer for Owen Meany. But then I’ve loved so many books! The Art of Racing in the Rain comes to mind and pretty much everything that Wally Lamb wrote. And that’s just fiction! Okay, I’m going to go with a non-fiction simply because I can’t narrow the fiction down to one book. I’m going to say Julia Cameron’s The Right to Writebecause it inspired me and got me past the hump of I’ll-never-be-a-real-writer more than a dozen years ago. I still use it when I’m teaching creative writing.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. Wow, these are not easy questions! When I was little, I was Laura Ingalls. When I was a teenager I was Holden Caulfield. As an adult, a mom, I’d like to think I’m Molly Weasley from Harry Potter. She was a tough mom who raised amazing kids AND she was a powerful witch!

Q.  What character from all of your book are you most like?
A.  I suppose I’m most like Dani in Girls’ Weekend. She struggles with feeling qualified as an “artist” and I do, too. Plus, she’s married to the most amazing, underappreciated man who unabashedly adores her. I like to imagine that’s what I lucked into also.

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. So, of course I’m going to say Hogwarts. But then I think I might also like to spend a vacation on the Appalachian Trail via Bill Bryson.

Q.  What is your favorite season?
A.  Fall. Best season. Tomatoes and apples are finishing, garden gets put to bed, and I love trailriding in the woods. Plus, fall always feels like a new start – anything’s possible.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A.  I didn’t design my book covers, but I was able to give creative suggestions. I suggested the wineglasses on the cover of Girls’ Weekend and it is my favorite cover because of the gorgeous blue water.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A.  Okay, maybe this isn’t funny, but it is embarrassing. The first print run of Girls’ Weekend was done about a month ago and I received my ‘author copies’. I posed for the requisite picture with my box of books and opened a bottle of wine. I was busy preparing for the launch, so I never actually read any of the book. A couple days later, I dropped off a copy to one of my beta readers. That afternoon, I heard from her via text – “Hey, the pages are out of order.” What? I pulled out a fresh copy and sure enough – they were! AGH. I’d had the books over a week and hadn’t noticed. I texted my publisher immediately and he checked their copies and yup – all out of order. I wasn’t privy to the phone call to the distributor, but I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant. Meanwhile, I texted my friend back and said, “Thank GOD you caught that. I never noticed and unbelievably my publisher didn’t either! Heads are gonna roll!” (or something to that effect) and it wasn’t until after I hit ‘send’ that I realized I’d sent the text to my publisher NOT my friend! Ugh. Somedays I don’t think I’ll ever feel like a professional.

Q.  Are you working on something new?
A. I’m working on a third novel for The Story Plant. I’m loving every minute of it and actually don’t want to send it to the editor yet because I’m enjoying these characters so much. I’m not ready to turn them lose to be judged!

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A.  When you read a book – review it! I never realized until I became an author, but the number of reviews a writer has can be the difference between whether they make it or don’t. Books that don’t have many reviews, don’t get promoted by Amazon or other booksellers. So, even if it’s a wonderful read, it may not make it very far unless readers review it! It doesn’t have to be Pulitzer prize winning writing, but say something! Amazon and goodreads are the two biggest, but also Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and BAM are influenced by number of reviews. The best way for you to help any writer is to rate/review – promise me you’ll do it!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

#MMBBR #ReviewRoundUp #ChildrensBooks @SplashingCow

This wonderfully illustrated picture book reminds us that we can't always control what a day brings us, but we can always control the attitude we bring to the day.
Kimberly Waltman has a passion for reading, theme park rides (minus the hurl-inducing spinning type), traveling, and a very long list of so-bad-but-oh-so-good junk food. Her love of reading and sharing books has led her to her Next Big Adventure as a children's book author. Her dream is to ignite the love and joy of reading in the hearts of kids, young and old alike. She currently freezes her butt off (lives) in Minnesota with her husband and son. Bright or Blue was named a Finalist by the USA Best Books Awards in 2015.

6" x 12"Full color illustrations
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 2015

I loved this book!  I love that it is an usual and fun size at 6" x 12".  It makes for a new and enjoyable reading experience.  I adored this book because it helps children learn how to cope with their emotions, moods and adversity.  I love that it puts the responsibility back on them to make their day bright or blue. It helps to create dialogue with them regarding their view on the events that take place throughout the day and how changing their thinking to positive rather than focusing on the negative can make all the difference.  I enjoyed the rhyming prose, vibrant and detailed illustrations.  It is a sure fire hit.  I cannot wait to read it to my classes and come up with a few fun art projects to go with it.  5 stars 

From a circle, a stick figure emerges.
But this stick figure is different.
It becomes a friend.
This simple story about the simplest of creations,
reminds us that love can come from anything,
even from a circle.
After a brief career as a print reporter for three newspapers, including The Wilmington Morning-Star in North Carolina and MetroNorth Newspapers in Denver, CO, Najah A. Jabbar chose to teach. She is passionate about allowing children to express themselves and finding appropriate but honest words to comfort them in emotional times. Currently, she is a liberal arts graduate student at the University of Denver and a licensed elementary teacher, balancing her days between work and family-time with her beautiful daughter, who is her constant inspiration. At night, when her daughter is tucked in to sleep, she finds her time to write children's stories and short stories. From A Circle is Najah's first book. Three more in the picture book series are currently in production. 
7" x 9" vertically oriented picture book.32 pages. Hardcover.
Black and white illustrations on white paper.
Published 2015

I loved that this opens vertically.  This created a new and fun way to read a book.  The simple illustrations in the book had huge heart and created a big story.  I was smiling the entire way through the book.  There was so much love between the girl and the circle.  I loved the dialogue between the two of them, as she drew more and more detail to the circle the bond grew too.  It was written in a way that made the reader feel like part of the story. I feel like this book will spark creativity in young artist and readers.  It is sweet and tender.  I cannot wait to share this book with my boys, class and the parents!  They will all adore it.  5 stars 

Embark on a counting safari from 1 to 10 with this fantastically whimsical picture book for children just learning their numbers. Written by Harris Tobias. Illustrated by Brianne Burnell.
Four Fabulous Fly Fetching French Frogs is a DartFrog publication: exceptional & author-owned.
8.5" x 8.5" 
Full Color Bleed on White paper
24 pages

This book is simply adorable.  It is zany and original and one my counting class with become entranced by.  This book makes for an amazing read-aloud.  As the story counts up so do the number of descriptive words used to detail the characteristics of the animals all starting with the same letter of the animal.  One outgoing octopus, two torpid Tibetan tigers, three tranquil ticklish toothless much fun right?  The beautiful illustration match the text perfectly.  A hit for sure!  I love that it can help broaden vocabulary and teaches adjectives.  Such fun... 5 stars

We've all heard of Groundhog Day.
But have you ever wondered how groundhogs predict the weather?
No one, not even groundhogs, knew the secret.
Until now.

The Secret of the Shadow was written by Chris Zollner and illustrated by Alexandra Gheorghiu. Chris is an educator by training, and teaches third grade at the San Bernadino City Unified School District. He was a co-writer on a documentary about the UPA film studio (creators of Gerald McBoing-Boing and Mr. Magoo), as well as a writer for a children’s educational program previously in development with PBS.
8.5" x 11Full color illustrations
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 2016

This book is jam packed with fun and information.  Groundhogs Day is a tradition that is so much fun and this book takes a new and unexpected take on that tradition.  There is so much information in this book about weather, groundhogs and science, but it is all tied together with an amazingly fun and creative story about how the groundhog really predicts how much winter is left.  The story is a bit advanced with its vocabulary and weather information, so it would be more appropriate for more advanced readers.  It is a great book to facilitate discuss on weather forecasting and kids who find this interesting with be blown away!   

The truth about Groundhogs Day is going to be uncovered once and for all...5 stars 

What happens in a robot zoo when no guests are there? This unique and fun picture book takes young readers on a trip they won't soon forget, and makes us all wish we could come along. Written by Harris Tobias. Illustrated by Bill Barden.
At the Robot Zoo is a DartFrog publication: exceptional & author-owned.
8.25" x 6" 
Full color bleed on white paper
32 pages

At the Robot Zoo is a fun and creative look at a zoo of robot animals.  It is so very clever and the illustrations are very fun too. All lovers of zoos and robots are going to get a kick out of this book.  It is a rhyming book that flows beautifully.  It is funny and inventive.   I love all the ways that the writer kept true to animals being cared for in a zoo and twisted it to fit robot animals.  It is really quite brilliant.  I am already thinking of a whole new lesson plan on robots and animals for my Art Through Stories class.  Boys and girls with adore taking this trip the zoo.  It will be a fun and memorable experience for all because this book is perfect for a read-aloud.  5 stars 

When Sammy faces a bully, he tries to get even.
But that makes him no better than the bully.
What Sammy finally learns, helps him and the bully to change.
Connie Spanhake is an elementary teacher in Upstate NY, where you will find her going for long walks with a pen in her hand and a small notebook in her pocket.
8.25" x 8.25" Full color illustrations on white paper Hardcover, 32 pagesPublished 2015

A story about a squirrel that is being bullied and then after continued incidents of being bullied Sammy decides to get even.  But does it make the one being bullied feel better to then BE the bully?  No.  Sammy then feels so much worse and takes steps to make it right.  In this day and age I think that this book is a good book to use to facilitate discussion around the consequences of bullying and how it affects all parties involved.  There many roles people play when it comes to bullies and this book seems to have them all covered.  A great book to capture the bullying epidemic we are facing. 4.5 stars

An inspiring tale about a King who realizes that some things in life can't be bought. For fairy tale enthusiasts of all ages and children everywhere. Written by Harris Tobias. Exceptional illustrations by Cathy-Reene.
The King's Dream is a DartFrog publication: exceptional & author-owned. The King's Dream was named a Finalist by the Tybee Island Book Festival in 2015.
8.5" x 11"
Full color bleed on white paper
32 page
This book comes in paperback.

"The only way to possess a to live it." This is a great book about becoming the good you want to see in the world.  It is a story about doing good, rather than collecting things.  The best things in life cannot be bought and this book is a perfectly told and illustrated version of that life lesson.  With a fairy tale feel and a touch of A Christmas Carol this story is one that will resonate with young readers.  The King's Dream is an insightful and creative tale that will warn off greed and encourage altruism in the readers.  5 stars


More about Splashing Cow Books LLC HERE

#MMBBR #MrMommyBooknerd #Review War Hawk by James Rollins 5 stars @jamesrollins

Former Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and his war dog Kane are thrust into a global conspiracy that threatens to shake the foundations of American democracy in this second exciting Sigma Force spinoff adventure from New York Times bestselling authors James Rollins and Grant Blackwood.
Tucker Wayne’s past and his present collide when a former army colleague comes to him for help. She’s on the run from brutal assassins hunting her and her son. To keep them safe, Tucker must discover who killed a brilliant young idealist—a crime that leads back to the most powerful figures in the U.S. government.
From the haunted ruins of a plantation in the deep South to the beachheads of a savage civil war in Trinidad, Tucker and Kane must discover the truth behind a mystery that leads back to World War II, to a true event that is even now changing the world . . . and will redefine what it means to be human.
With no one to trust, they will be forced to break the law, expose national secrets, and risk everything to stop a madman determined to control the future of modern warfare for his own diabolical ends. But can Tucker and Kane withstand a force so indomitable that it threatens our very future?

James RollinsJAMES ROLLINS is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers, translated into more than forty languages. His Sigma series has been lauded as one of the "top crowd pleasers" (New York Times) and one of the "hottest summer reads" (People Magazine). In each novel, acclaimed for its originality, Rollins unveils unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets--and he does it all at breakneck speed and with stunning insight.

War Hawk: A Tucker Wayne Novel

Tucker Wayne and Kane were introduced to Sigma Force fans in 2013 in Rollins best seller BLOODLINE.  The Tucker Wayne series was born with the release of KILL SWITCH in 2014. We have been anxiously awaiting the return of Kane in the 2016 release of WAR HAWK.

WAR HAWK delivers again.  Classic Rollins story lined based in historical fact, current world trends, thorough research to force the reader to believe, this could really happen. WAR HAWK unveils how exploiting governments engulfed is social and politic chaos, are manipulated by the greed and ego of those in powerful business positions, by directing private armies to fulfill their lust for wealth.

This is a story a story of artificial intelligence versus human intelligence and the future of warfare.  The story stays true to its Sigma Force roots with non stop action, plot twist, and the unique perspective of allowing us to understand Kane’s perspective.  Despite holding off on enlisting Sigma’s help, Tucker Wayne and Kane are ready to become part of this team.  The relationship of between Kane and his handler Wayne brings a unique skill set to fighting off terrorist, bad guys, and those who wish to do harm to others.  Those familiar with Rollins work will find themselves quickly immersed within the story, rooting for and intrigued by the characters, and hoping that if they ever make a movie, it better live up to the one the plays out in our heads.  5 stars

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...