Billboard Express by Sigmund Brouwer and Cindy Morgen

March 1, 2018


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!


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


Avalanche! by Terry Lynn Johnson

March 1, 2018

AvalancheAvalanche! by Terry Lynn Johnson [Series: Survivor Diaries: Book 2]

Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: c2018: 104p.

Avalanche!! The word alone conjures up a combination of unspeakable beauty, power and terror.

Avalanche! is the second book in the acclaimed action-adventure series, Survivor Diaries by Terry Lynn Johnson.

Readers will be riveted by this narrative at the start from the opening tantalizing sentence “Tell me how you survived the avalanche?“.  The descriptive action and suspense continues  until the last page is reached!

The protagonist of this survivor diary is twelve year-old twin Ashley Hilder and her interview sets the stage for an engaging first-person narrative. Being told from this perspective heightens the reader’s anxiety levels as they become a silent witness to a family ski holiday where a rash ‘competitive’ decision has unforeseen consequences  for [both]  brother and sister.

The strength of Ashley’s character is a reflection of her intense training as a skier to always ‘be prepared’.  As the nightmare of the avalanche unfolds, this instinctive  reflex allows her to think logically and not panic.

Throughout the story, the author has interwoven all sorts of survival skills needed to survive such an event. All of the techniques that Ashley displays, are the reactions needed to get through an catastrophic event, such as being caught in an avalanche

Reader’s will add Ms. Johnson’s Avalanche and the books in Survivor Diaries, to Lauren Tarshis’ series “I survived” and Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet books.


Highly Recommended  for any reader from grade 3-6!

Don’t tell the Enemy

February 10, 2018

EnemyDon’t tell the Enemy by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

Published by Scholastic Canada; 184p. c2018 [paperback]

This is the latest release by powerhouse historical fiction author, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. Though this is slotted as a middle grade story, the power of this read lends itself to being read by readers of any age group or category. Skrypuch has expertly captured  the torment and emotions as “war rages around Krystia’s town, where her uncle and cousin have already died at the hands of the Soviet and Nazi invaders”.  The rawness and brutality of war is not tempered. With an uncompromising honesty, Skrypuch reveals to the reader, the merciless barbaric demeanor of occupying Nazi forces and the affects upon the inhabitants of the Ukrainian town.  However the savagery of these times is offset throughout the book, as the reader gets glimpses of humanity in unexpected places.

As the author’s note reveal’s this is the inspiring true story of Kateryna Sikorska and her daughter Krystia and it is a story that rings with deep emotion, extraordinary courage, determination, and the strength of the human spirit.

Highly Recommended for Junior and Intermediate students!


Harry’s hiccups by Jean Little

February 9, 2018

harryshiccupsHarry’s Hiccups by Jean Little;

illustrated by  Joe Weissmann

Published by Orca Book Publishers

[ARC] to be released April 2018



Something that almost everyone has experienced at onetime or another. In this new tale by author Jean Little, ‘Harry’s hiccups’, the main character, Harry, is desperate to have this reflexive sound stop! Many of the so-called solutions will make any reader smile, then giggle out loud, as they follow along with Harry as he tries one remedy after another.

The expressively vibrant and colourful illustrations by Joe Weissmann, perfectly capture the zaniness of each proposed solution and culminate in the last page with an unexpected laugh out loud surprise for the reader!

Student tested! Student approved with….

Highly recommended ages 4-8     A story of complete fun, smiles & giggles!

The Great and the Small

October 30, 2017


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


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!]


#Checkout more Karen Bass at: 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


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!



Checkout more- Lorna Schulz Nicholson at :