Billboard Express by Sigmund Brouwer and Cindy Morgen

March 1, 2018

billboard-express

Billboard Express by Sigmund Brouwer &Cindy Morgan

Published by Orca Book Publishers; c2016 ; 118p.                    ISBN: 9781459811089  Series: Orca Limelights

Billboard Express, debuts Cindy Morgan, award-winning singer-songwriter/wife to Sigmund Brouwer, as co-author, in this new title in the Orca Limelight series
This tale follows a character that surfaced briefly in ‘Rock the Boat’ by Brouwer.

Charlene Adams, now known as ‘Elle McWilliam’, singer/songwriter has all the ingredients to fulfill her dream of being a big country music star. She is smart, strong voiced character, yet is plagued by underling insecurities that intrude on her as she struggles with the hustle and idiosyncrasies’ that make up the Nashville music industry.

Elle must find the courage and heart within herself in order to follow the words her mother told her “be true to yourself“!

The strength of this narrative lies in the fact that Morgan’s familiarity with the whole concept of what a singer/songerwriter has to endure in this industry shines through and is reflective in what the central character, Elle must discover.

This is a highly engaging and empowering read for any young person who has a dream!
Highly Recommended for Intermediate and Senior readers! Five stars!

five-stars

[ARC supplied By Orca Book Publishers in exchange for an honest review]

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A World Below

February 15, 2018

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A World Below : by Wesley T. King

Published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books  c.2018;  274p.  [Ebook generously supplied by NetGalley] : to be released March2018

[A 2018 Junior Library Guild selection]

From celebrated, multi-nominated award winning author, Wesley King, comes his latest middle grade adventure, “A World Below“. The ethereal-like cover only hints at what is the story could be like between the pages!

Readers will be shocked, riveted and intrigued from the first page : “consider everyone on this list missing or deceased.  Notify parents immediately. Pictures for identification of bodies may be required.” 

As the title implies, the majority of this fast paced adventure story dives deep below ‘terra ferma’ and takes the world of caving, caverns, and tunnels to a whole new level! The author`s effective use of vivid description, intense action and suspense continually builds with each alternating ‘time’ stamped chapter.

For myself, A World Below is a cool mix of  Arthur Conon Doyle’s The Lost World and Jules Verne’s “Journey to the centre of the earth” and Edgar Rice Burrough’s ‘The Lost Continent’ — a true science fiction fantasy adventure tale.

This is a story of challenges and discovery that will captivate even the most reluctant of readers!

Highly Recommended for all Middle Grade readers who wish to go ‘spelunking’!!

five-stars

Booktrailer: A World Below


The Great and the Small

October 30, 2017

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The Great and the small  by written and illustrated by Andrea Torrey Balsara

Published by: Common Deer Press

 

This debut story by author Andrea Torrey Balsara, “The Great and the Small“, is a tale unlike anything l have ever read and I was hooked from the start.

The author has crafted a very descriptive, darkly-told suspenseful tale where the reader is taken into a world that is often hidden from humans.

Each chapter begins with an excerpt taken from historical record dealing with the ‘Black death’ which foreshadows the setting of of each chapter. This in turn creates a sense of foreboding within the reader. Atmospheric, detailed black and white illustrations add to intensify this sense of apprehension.

Although for the most part this tale is told from the perspective of Fin, a young disabled rat, whose curiosity often ends with disastrous (dire) results. Yet there is also a parallel storyline. Fin’s zeal in following orders leads into a mishap and an encounter with an ‘ugly two-leg.’ Perceptions are altered for both characters.  The reader is given a glimpse into the beginnings of a strangely unique friendship in which both Fin and the ‘two-leg’ gain a greater understanding of one another.

This experience teaches Fin that being a part of the ‘colony’, blind acceptance and trust can have far-reaching consequences. But will he be able to look deep within himself and do the right thing?

This is not a story for the faint of heart, but it is a tale that will surely have a reader sitting at the edge of their seat and holding their breath until the end!

Recommended for intermediate readers!

Curriculum connections:
History- Medieval; medical research; fear; loss; bullying; courage; acceptance; drawing.


Two Times a Traitor by Karen Bass

March 2, 2017

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Two Times a Traitor is the newest endeavor by multi-nominated and celebrated Canadian author, Karen Bass. [Junior Library Guild Selection]

Published by Pajama Press ; c 2017

Two Times a Traitor is a surprising departure from what YA readers have come to expect from this dynamic author.

Laz Berenger  a strong-willed 12 year-old reluctantly finds himself visiting the historic Halifax Citadal with his family. The ever present friction between he and his father explodes while touring the Citadal, and Laz in defiance, takes off on his own. His explorations take him to a section of the Citadel where an unforeseen accident occurs. Laz  suddenly finds himself faced with a knife to his throat and his bravado rapidly dissipates when he realizes that he is no longer in 2017, but has been transported to the historic period of 1745. He finds his loyalty and perseverance tested repeatedly as he tries to earn back his St. Christopher’s Medal and perhaps the key back in time?

Readers will be swept up and away in this riveting richly detailed, middle-grade historical/time travel nail biting adventure, and into the pages of an exciting part of Canadian history!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! [for Junior and Intermediate readers!]

five-stars
FIVE STARS!!

#Checkout more Karen Bass at:  http://www.karenbass.ca/ and the Two times a traitor book trailer :

ARC: generously supplied by Pajama Press in exchange for an honest review.

 

 


Bent not Broken by Lotna Schultz Nicholson

February 28, 2017

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Bent not Broken by celebrated and multi-nominated author, Lorna Schulz Nicholson is the third book in the acclaimed “One-2-One“series published by Clockwise Press and released this March, 2017. This is a series that focuses on teens in the ‘Best Buddies Program’ at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School. ‘Here they help each other find and accept things about themselves.’ [back cover of Born with…].

In Bent not Broken, Justin and Madeline are ‘Best Buddies’ and have to deal with their own inner demons. For Madeline, her entire world needs to have the ‘reset button’ re-activated after a traumatic accident. This alone almost seems insurmountable, but having the feeling of her ‘twinness’ also severed, often results in frustration with herself that spills over and unintentionally results in uncontrollable reactions.  At these times  Justin’s quiet influence seems to be the only voice that steadies Maddie. As for Justin,  his personal life is also filled with tragedy and grief. However, both of these best buddies find common ground in an unexpected place that allows each of them to become “like a willow tree who bends in the face of adversity, but is not broken.” Told in alternating perspective, this tale of the human struggle with disappointment, grief, guilt, depression and self-worth. 

At the core it proves to the reader, that no matter what each of us has to endure, sharing the burden often lends each of us to tap and cultivate a hidden strength found within us all.

Schulz Nicholson has written this with such sensitivity and poignancy, that you cannot help but be totally engaged from beginning to end!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READ !!!!  

FIVE STARS

Checkout more- Lorna Schulz Nicholson at : http://lornaschultznicholson.com/

 


Mouse Vacation by Philip Roy

October 26, 2016

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Mouse Vacation by Philip Roy; illustrated by Andrea Torrey Balsara

Series: Happy the pocket mouse, Book 4

Published by: Ronsdale Press, c2016 ISBN:9781553804796

Happy the pocket mouse has dreams of taking a holiday like his neighbour Mrs. Farrell. When he approaches his human friend John, about his ideas, John and Happy’s ensuing conversation will take the reader on a journey that covers many areas on the globe.

The soft watercolour closeup illustrations of Happy throughout this tale of the “Pocket Mouse“, expertly captures and mirrors expressions that young children often convey when having similar conversations with an adult.  The lists that Happy and John compile reveal the difference each character has about taking a vacation. Happy’s  trips are all to farway places, whereas John’s rational for his choices are made from a more humble origin.

Eventually, a compromise is reached by both, which has Happy and John taking a journey via an overnight bus trip to the seashore.

At 32 pages, the expressive illustrations highly compliment the text and allow the reader to become fully engaged with Happy and John’s tale.

Although the story is simple in the telling, I found that Happy’s big ideas of ‘taking a vacation’ is an original way of introducing  world cultures, places and maps and engage young children!

A great curriculum connection for primary children!

 

Highly Recommended! FIVE STARS!

five-stars

 

[Book supplied by Ronsdale Press in exchange for an honest review]


Slide by Norah McClintock

September 26, 2016

slideIn the “Seven Prequels” set, Slide by award winning author Norah McClintock, is one of the titles in the latest “Seven” series phenomena published by Orca Book Publishers.

Readers familiar with the characters in these books, are re-introduced to them as  boys who are a bit younger…namely in 13 years old range. The characteristically dare-devil grandfather and grandson relationship that is often core in these narratives, is replaced in  McClintock’s tale by grandson Rennie ‘hanging’ with his adventure rule-bending grandmother as he gets to travel with her to a ski resort in the back country, despite his stepfather’s adamant instructions to the contrary.

McClintock creative writing style weaves together action, adventure, mystery and murder with humour as Rennie experiences the first ever pangs of ‘love’ in the midst of trying to satisfy  and solve some very unusual circumstances.

The story accelerates with a dizzy pace that has the reader hanging on to every sentence until it ‘slams’ to a stop!

This is a story that can be enjoyed by junior and intermediate students!
Highly Recommended!
FIVE STARS!!

 

[ARC supplied by Orca Book Publishers in exchange for an honest review]