Sunday, November 19, 2017

Giveaway: Pumpkin Spice Secrets


Just as Maddie picks up her favorite pumpkin spice drink from the coffee shop counter, she spills it all over the cute guy standing behind her! Luckily, her embarrassment evaporates into a crush when she starts chatting with him -- his name is Jacob, and he's just starting in her grade at her middle school. 

But before Maddie can tell her best friend Jana about him at lunch the next day, Jana announces her huge new crush -- on the same guy! Maddie doesn't want to cause trouble, so she keeps her feelings hidden. Jana will get over her crush soon, right? 

Add major school stress to Maddie's secret, and it's a recipe for disaster. Can she keep her cool and work things out with both Jacob and Jana before it all turns into a total mess?

Giveaway Perfecto Pet Show: (Bobs and Tweets #2)


I found an ARC of Bobs and Tweets #2 while cleaning house for the holidays. It needs to go to a good home - it could even make a nice gift for some young reader you know.

Fall Reading 2017 Hidden Women: The African-American Mathematicians of NASA Who Helped America Win the Space Race


With the box office success of "Hidden Figures" and the demand for more books such as Hidden Human Computers (by Duchess Harris), it is not surprising to see that publishers have stepped up to fulfill the need. Hidden Women tells the story of six African-American women who worked with NASA and its predecessor NACA, to help win the Space Race. Their stories are interwoven with historical events such as Gagarin's first orbit of the Earth, Civil Rights sit-ins, and JFK's dream to have America be the first to land a man on the moon.

Katherine Johnson, Miriam Mann (grandmother of Duchess Harris), Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Annie Easley, and Christine Darden are included in this discussion of the role African-American women played in the country's space program. Through the details of their careers, readers learn of the many challenges facing these women. While other workers were given paid leave to attend college, or received funds from NASA to pay their tuition, these ladies had to take unpaid leave and find their own way to finance college degrees. Even if they did have degrees, they were still assigned to pools of workers, rather than being given the same pay and projects that the white men at NASA enjoyed. There were also segregation issues such as not being allowed to live in the dorms on base, having to sit at separate tables in the lunchroom, or use separate restrooms. 

Despite all the negative aspects of their jobs, these women still accomplished remarkable things. Some calculated trajectories to safely get astronauts to the moon and back again, others plotted out the safe rendezvous between two spacecraft or made rockets flying with extremely volatile fuel safe to use. Some tested aircraft and spacecraft designs in wind tunnels, or developed new computer code to use with the FORTRAN they had already learned. They all exceeded the expectations of everyone around them in the work place, proving that women and people from diverse racial backgrounds were just as capable as the white men on the job.

A final chapter visits with three women who are currently working in the space industry and contrasts their experiences with those of the early pioneers like Johnson and Easley. Back matter includes a timeline, glossary, bibliography, source notes, and index. There is a list of books for those who wish to read more about the topic, and also critical thinking questions that would be useful for a book group or class book study. The archival photos throughout the book show all the featured women, as well as several of the astronauts and rockets mentioned.

Recommended for middle grades and up.

Fall Reading 2017 Garvey's Choice


Nikki Grimes just continues to amaze me, although by now I expect it to happen. In Garvey's Choice, she tells the story of an overweight boy whose father pressures him to try sports when he would rather read. It is a novel in verse, using the tanka form. Some pages have a single tanka, others have several which serve as separate stanzas. The book is from Garvey's point of view, so readers know his thoughts and feelings as kids at school call him names, his father complains to his mother about his lack of interest in football, and even his sister calls him "Chocolate Chunk" or "Sweet Chunk." But he has his friend Joe, and then he meets a new kid at school named Manny and they become friends, too.

The poetry captures the impressions of each moment perfectly.
"Over breakfast, Dad
eyes me like an alien
never seen before.
Sometimes,  I swear that he's
hoping to make first contact."

Highly recommended for middle grade readers and up. At once a story of growing up, finding yourself, and also finding a way to connect and learning that maybe connection is what your parent was after all along.

I received a copy from the publisher for review purposes.

Fall Reading 2017 Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power!


Welcome to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hard-Core Lady Types. The campers in Roanoke cabin (April, Ripley, Jo, Mal, and Molly), are ready for adventure. While working on their Living the Plant Life Badge, they discover a field full of unicorns near a strange pink and purple mountain. And when the girls decide to climb the mountain and earn an Extraordinary Explorer Medal, things really get crazy. That's right, crazier than wearing a live raccoon on your head the way Molly does. Even crazier than unicorns smelling "like sweat sock stew." So prepare to be taken for a ride that includes things like the Sound of Muesli badge, accordion music, and inventions for toasting multiple marshmallows over a campfire. The girls all have their own style and strengths - inventing, leading, enthusiasm, etc. - but they all know the first rule of Lumberjanes; "Friendship to the max!"

For those looking for diversity and LGBTQ titles, Unicorn Power includes a camper named Barney who were previously a Scouting Lad, but "being a Lumberjane was a WAY better fit because Barney did not feel like they were a lad." (Barney uses they rather than he or she.) And Jo has two dads, who have made her a wonderful workshop for all her tinkering an inventing. The dads are mentioned a couple of times, but not do not appear as characters in the story.

I received an ARC in a giveaway by the publisher.

Fall Reading 2017 Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story


Have you ever wondered about the explorers who tried to find the North Pole before Henson and Peary succeeded? This book takes you on an adventure of over two years as the crew of the Jeannette tried to reach the top of the world. In the days after the end of the Civil War, the Navy helped to set up an expedition sponsored by a wealthy newspaper tycoon. The crew packed supplies - including telephone and telegraph wires and electric light bulbs (from Edison himself) - and planned to return within a year and share all the knowledge they had gained with the world. Instead, the new inventions could not be made to work, their ship was trapped in ice, and they were pushed further and further from land and any hope of rescue. Read all about the emergencies, the celebrations, the fights between polar bears and sled dogs, and everything else the crew endured in their efforts to get back home to their loved ones.

Filled with excerpts from the journals of the captain and crew, along with newspaper clippings and photos, this detailed account of the expedition is supported by the primary sources worked into the text. Back matter includes an author's note, bibliography, source notes, and picture credits. Perfect for fans of the I Survived... series. Recommended for middle grades and up.

I received a copy from the publisher for review purposes.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Giveaway: Michael Okon book set

I've been fortunate enough to collect several copies of Michael's books (writing as Michael Okon and under the pen name Michael Phillip Cash). If you enjoy chills and thrills, then this is an author you need in your to-be-read pile. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.

Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.
Author bio from