Switch – Five Star Review.

My recently released novel just received its first review. It is available free on Smashwords until Sept. 23, 2001. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1097582 Get your copy now.

Here is the blurb followed by the review.

Blurb

In the time of Queen Elizabeth I of England, fourteen-year-old Rosemary Prowd has a secret that could kill her. When she flees, with her parents, to her godmother’s cottage, the danger follows her. She seems to be destined to become a homeless beggar, the victim of a stalker, accused of witchcraft, or hung as a thief. As her support system collapses, her survival depends on her wits, courage, and determination. Then a mysterious plant opens a world of possibilities. Will using it be her salvation or her doom?

Review

D.J. Hawkins reviewed on Sep. 17, 2021 5 stars
This is the first book of Bonnie’s that I’ve read and let’s just say that I’m a fan. Bonnie’s writing style is so immersive and detailed. And who doesn’t love a classic you’re-a-witch, ghost story? As the protagonist, young Rosemary is misunderstood, snarky, and plagued with the ability to see ghosts. But she is endearing and oftentimes quite hilarious, even if she doesn’t mean to be that way. Another aspect of this book that I LOVE is the images throughout; the headers and the scene breaks. Visually, they pulled the story together and made me so much more intrigued. Although historical fiction (the book is set in England during Queen Elizabeth I’s time) is not my usual go-to genre, I can definitely say that Bonnie has prompted me to explore this genre more and I’ll definitely be reading more of her books.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)

The Gazebo by Emily Grayson. Book Review.

This is a romance story about lovers who cannot be together but cannot stop loving each other. No matter what, they meet once a year at the gazebo to reaffirm their devotion. By a series of circumstances, they live on two different continents and this cannot be reconciled.

The romance is sweet but I felt a little frustrated that they didn’t figure out a way to make it work. Many couples face these problems and overcome them.

The book is a quick read, not too syrupy, with just the right touch of romance. The characters are likeable and engaging. An enjoyable book.

4 stars

Buy L:ink https://amzn.to/3CmBv6D

Camino Winds buy John Grisham. Book Review.

Well, this was a real disappointment. It was a detailed, well-thought out plot but read like a second draft. Forget the overwhelming number of characters. Forget that lack of individual personality for the characters. But, for heaven sake, put some tension into it. It read like a police officer’s notebook, a dispassionate, flat recitation of events. There were numerous opportunities for suspense, where he could have heightened interest, but didn’t. A good screenwriter could turn this into a great movie and it would definitely be a case of the movie being better than the book. I don’t see how it could be nearly as boring. To call this a thriller is like calling Donald Duck a criminal genius.

two stars.

Olive by Emma Gannon: Book Review

Olive is a thoughtful woman in her early 30s going through some major life changes. She has shared everything with her three best friends since they were tiny but they are becoming distant since she is walking a different path. In the 30s women must make their decision of whether to have children or not.

One of her. friends has three children, one is pregnant, and one is undergoing expensive and painful procedures to try to conceive. Olive has never wanted children and society gives her the impression that something is wrong with her. Women without children are to be pitied or not trusted. If you don’t want them now you will later. There’s constant pressure to have a real family. To make matters worse, Olive’s boyfriend of 10 years wants to have children and he’s shocked to find out she seriously is committed to being parentless.

The book explores societal pressures on women to bear children, even pressuring each other. The book explores how life changes affect relationships as we watch the young women struggle with demands of their families, society, and their own needs. It is a thought-provoking book and will elicit a lot of great discussion for book clubs.

I thought it odd though that twice in the book, out of nowhere, she takes shots at vegans. It seemed really out of place. It was a minor diversion though.

She has a casual first person contemporary young voice. Easy to read, like listening to someone telling their own story.

 I recommend it for anyone who is pondering the idea of whether to be a parent or not, or wants to understand the dilemma of 30-year-olds trying to decide.

4 stars

Back home by Dan L. Walker- Book Review

This novel takes place in 1968 and focusses on two brothers who live in Alaska and are affected by the Vietnam war. The older brother, Joe, signs up to fight while the younger brother, Sam, becomes involved with the peace movement. When Joe is injured and returns home he is suffering from PTSD. He cannot understand his younger brother’s actions and their relationship suffers. Sam just wants to live a happy life fixing his car, dating girls, and hanging out with his friends. Life is complicated and major events affect everyone’s life. Unfortunately, the story ends with a cliffhanger. I hate not knowing the outcome of something so that always impacts my review of the book.

The voice is quite easy to follow and Sam is a likeable protagonist, not a perfect young man but a good guy. It’s easy to see viewpoints of both brothers. Perhaps a bit more background on the history of the war in Vietnam we help the reader understand Sam’s opinion better. Young readers may not know what triggered the peace movement.

It is it easy to read book about brothers, coming of age, family dynamics, and the impact of war on those who fight it and those who love those fighters when they return. It creates a fairly good picture of the 60s.

Suitable for grade 6 and up. There are a few fights but nothing too drastic and the encounters with girls are PG.

All in all a good read.

4/5 stars.

Book Review – Leonard (My Life As A Cat) by Carlie Sorosiak

Buy Link https://amzn.to/3mTrZBI

Leonard (My Life As A Cat) by Carlie the Sorosiak is one of the best children’s books I’ve read in a long time. I chose to read this to my granddaughter and found myself struggling not to read ahead when she wasn’t around. The author has a wicked sense of humour and a profound sense of humanity. We laughed out loud more than once.

Leonard is actually an alien who meant come to Earth as a human and spend one month in Yellowstone Park working as ranger. Unfortunately, something went wrong and he arrived hundreds of miles away, in the middle of a flash flood and in the body of a cat. He was rescued by a ten-year-old named Olive who is also a unique individual and going through tribulations of her own.

Leonard can type to communicate and can understand every species on the planet. It becomes Olive’s mission get him to the rendezvous point within a month’s time so that he can continue his immortal, hive-like, logical life. Olive tries to enrich his stay by fulfilling his unusual bucket-list, unusual that is, for a cat. However, a lot can change in a month. Both Leonard and Olive develop deep feelings for each and as the date approaches, we also find ourselves torn.

There are complications galore included the near impossibility of getting to the rendezvous point on time. Sorosiak builds the suspense and our angst over how this story will end. But she handles it like a master.

This story is about family, friendship, acceptance, love, courage, and sacrifice. My granddaughter and I were in tears when it was over, realizing that there could never be a more perfect ending.

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Be Patient, Little Chick – Little Animal Adventures – by Patricia Jensen – Book Review

This charming picture book tells us about the hatching of an independent-minded and curious little chick. He  boldly sets out to explore the world without his mother. He wants to fly like the robin, swim like the duck, eat bones like the dog,  and face down the big scary rooster. In the end mother hen has to drive off the rooster and the little chick finally excepts her wisdom that growing up takes patience.

The illustrations are realistic but lack any originality or pizzazz. It could have been more humorous.

The story ends with two pages of facts about baby chicks and hens.

This is a good book to teach a child that chickens are more than just meat and egg producers. They are living beings with relationships and personalities. As well, most children can relate to the little chicks impatience at not being able to do everything the grown ups do. It’s suitable for ages 4 to 7.

 This is a good book to stimulate discussion about animals and about maturing at a safe and reasonable  pace.

Buy link https://amzn.to/36ho6jm

 

Chick toy purchase link https://amzn.to/37eCvMg

Bathtime for Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. Illustrations by Pat Schories. Book review.

Buy link https://amzn.to/2Vhcgz2

The Biscuit series of books are classed as “I can read!”. They are perfect for very beginning readers. Biscuit is an adorable puppy who does the kinds of things real dogs do. In this story, he resists getting into the bath.

The little girl wants Biscuit to get into that tub but he wants to dig instead. She struggles to manipulate him into the water but, after a short emmersion, he escapes and chases another puppy named Puddles. The two of them dig in the mud and play in the water. Then they roll in the flower bed where the girl tries to catch them with a towel. Both puppies latch on and a tug-of-war ensues. It ends with the little girl falling into the bathtub herself. Children laugh out loud at this ending.

It is difficult to find emergent reading books that have engaging, logical stories children can relate to and enjoy reading. The Biscuit stories are perfect. Capucilli captures the mischievous and endearing nature of puppies while Schories draws them with simplicity and charm.

Highly recommended for emergent readers in Kindergarten and first grade.

I am accepting books for review. For information on how to submit, go here: https://bferrante.wordpress.com/2016/07/09/get-featured-on-my-blog/

Fairy in Waiting by Sophie Kinsella. Illustrated by Marta Kissi. Book Review.

Buy link https://amzn.to/3fIfPrI

 This  popular humor writer now has two children’s books. Both feature a girl whose mother is a fairy and father is  a mortal. This isn’t your typical fairy story however, as she uses a computerized wand and presents herself as a normal woman most of the time. The husband is reminiscent of the early Bewitched  television series. He’s not too crazy about her using magic.

  Kinsella  uses humor and suspense  effectively and engages a young audience from the first page. My almost six year old granddaughter listened eagerly as I read this book to her in four sittings.  This early chapter book is supplemented with many pictures.

 If you are a traveler to resorts, you’ll chuckle at the scene where two fairy mothers have a wand battle over reserving poolside seats with their towels. There is also a chapter with wacky monkeys that children will love.

All in all, this is a light-hearted romp through modern magic and family dynamics.

 

I am accepting books for review. For information on how to submit, go here: https://bferrante.wordpress.com/2016/07/09/get-featured-on-my-blog/

Buy link https://amzn.to/3ljMNj4

Pushball A Game That’s Tasty to Eat! by Thomas Leavey. Illustrated by John Buck. Book review.

 

I procrastinated reviewing this book for quite some time because I was unsure what to  say about it. I read it a few times to my granddaughter and  solicited feedback from others.

The storyline is quite peculiar. A duck tries to get a groundhog to play Pushball with a giant ball. The groundhog dislikes the game and wants to eat the ball. The game does not go very well; the groundhog thinks it is too rough. At the end the groundhog eats the entire ball which swells him to four times his natural size.

The story is written in humorous rhyme abcb. Each page has from 1 to 3 quatrains. Here’s an example.

 The groundhog was puzzled

And stopped in his tracks.

He said, *that’s what I get (sic)

 for playing with quacks!”

 There are 42 quatrains in total which seems more than necessary for such a simple story.

The author explains on the last two pages that the moral of the story is “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” Then he explains  each animal’s secret for success.  This felt a little awkward.

However, the other reviews on Amazon  are all five stars. But the people I shared this with felt more like I did. My granddaughter thought it was funny and strange but long and wasn’t interested in subsequent readings.

 The illustrations are great. Vivid, lively and funny.

I have mixed feelings about this book.