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The Infinite Wisdom

The Infinite Wisdom (The Snow Adventures Book 2) by [Estes, Danny C]

You can tell a good book from the first chapter. I loved the first paragraph, as the author used animal characters which I enjoyed reading. The story line is fun, and the reader easily falls in love with the characters. One good thing about this book is that the reader learns a few lessons after every chapter. Reading about animal characters is exciting, as apart from the knowledge we have about animals, the author added other traits to make the book more interesting.

Mr. Thomas Thelin and his wife were among my favorite characters in the book. I also loved Mrs. Svea Dovell as she was a bold character. She was also not afraid of showing her disgust towards the characters she didn’t like. Though aggressive at times, I loved her attitude. Some stories are broken into smaller bits, which make it easy for the reader to understand.

What better way of making the book a little colorful than to add pictures of characters? I loved that the author added images in between the chapters which made it easier to picture the characters’ habits and their physical looks. Johnny Roo’s outfit fits his character.

The Infinite Wisdom is a great read for fans of the fantasy genre as I found this book to be engrossing. The character development, as I’ve seen in many pieces by Danny Estes, is superb. Using anthropomorphic animals to tell the story adds an extra layer of intrigue to every piece of character interaction. This book is a fun read and I was quickly swept away as the characters navigate a genetics lab and track down the hairless apes.

The Infinite Wisdom is an excellent book for both young adults and anyone looking for a lighthearted read that still captures your imagination. Like any good author, Danny Estes has a good command of language and sets his character up for twists that I surely didn’t see coming.

I enjoy books that make me lose myself when reading and this book did exactly that. I couldn’t stop once I started.

Pages: 287 | ASIN: B07HD79PW5

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Return of the Sagan

Return of the Sagan by [O'Donnell, Neil Patrick]

Francis, a twenty-three year old man dealing with his own overwhelming fears brought on by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, happens to be humanity’s next best chance at establishing life on Earth once more. Traveling aboard the Sagan, Francis faces all the struggles of a man coping with life in space and the anxiety of having one of his own forgetful moments bring about the destruction of the entire vessel and all who inhabit it. As a professor and trusted expert, it is Francis to whom the rest of the crew turn to as they make plans to return to Earth. Forced to break out of his comfort zone and abandon the safety of his classic literature, Francis obliges and proceeds to help save life as it was once known.

Professor Francis Burns, the main character in Neil O’Donnell’s Return of the Sagan, is one of the richest and most well-drawn characters I have encountered in a book in the science fiction genre. He is endearing from his first appearance and continues throughout the book to be relatable on a level most characters never reach. Francis’s battle with OCD is just one of the many aspects that keeps him down-to-earth. His constant references to Tolkien and the effortless way with which he quotes lines from Tolkien’s novels make him a less intimidating personality among the other characters.

O’Donnell’s desire to pepper his text with pop culture references adds to the book’s overall appeal. I am not a science fiction fan, but familiar names, books, movies, and song titles pull me in and give me more of a reason to continue reading when the more technical lingo tends to have the opposite effect. The author places these pop culture hooks in the perfect spots throughout the reading.

The unique blend of science fiction and fantasy emphasized by Francis’s extensive knowledge of literature and history is quite amazing to behold. The repopulation of some of the world’s most endangered animals was beautiful to visualize. However, the reappearance of extinct species–and aggressive predators, at that–was simply breathtaking. I hesitate to compare it in any way to Jurassic Park, but in some small ways, O’Donnell’s story bears a resemblance to the original movie’s plot.

I have to admit, I saw the plot going in a much different direction once the crew reached Earth. I won’t say I am disappointed, but I will say, without giving away the ending, that I looked for a resolution that never arrived. O’Donnell has left me to reach some of my own conclusions–and that, I appreciate. Whereas, some readers prefer to have the story wrapped up in a nice little package by the concluding lines, I prefer an author leave me with the desire to reread for clues and leave the book open for a sequel. O’Donnell definitely inspires as many questions about the fate of Earth’s human population as he does answers about the resurgence of plant and animal life.

I give Return of the Sagan 5 out of 5 stars. With a relatable main character and a plot filled with action from the opening chapter, O’Donnell has provided readers with a hit. Science fiction fans who seek memorable characters will not be disappointed with Professor Francis Burns, his extensive knowledge base, and his undying love for J.R.R. Tolkien.

Pages: 304 | ASIN: B00SP4BOZS

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The Adventures of Fawn: ‘Til the Last Snowflake Falls

The Adventures of Fawn: 'Til the Last Snowflake Falls by [Boy, Al E.]

Do you still believe in magic? Do you still believe in Santa and his elves up at the North Pole? Comet and Vixen have a new little fawn that unfortunately is very bored and lonely at the North Pole. There are no other children to play with or keep her company. Fawn secretly discovers how to leave Santa’s village and escape to the outside world. There she meets a Snowboy, and a bunny. They decide to become best friends ‘Til the last snowflake falls. What happens though is that they discover that animals are going missing out of nowhere. Baby animals are left parentless and afraid. There is a new human, Dr. Mary Weather, a veterinarian that has come to the artic to study and help animals. With the help of Dr. Weather the inhabitants of Santa’s village look to solve the mystery of the missing animals and reunite all the families.

The Adventures of Fawn ‘Til the Last Snowflake Falls by Al E. Boy is listed as a children’s book, however it is novel. The writing is easy to understand, not a lot of challenging words. The scenery descriptions are colorful and entertaining but kept short to appeal to childrens shorter attention spans. There is a lot of funny interaction between the animals that will have you laughing and rooting them on. The personalities are well written and appealing, they have a mischievous streak, not a “bad kid” one but just kids being kids exploring and playing pranks. One funny scene involves two elves, known as the Forgetful Twins, and a bunny scatters who straw behind the elves as they’re sweeping, and the elves can’t figure out what is going on. The book than goes into deeper plots and themes. The bad guys that are kidnapping animals are mean to both people and animals. While there isn’t a lot of violence, the hostilities are implied.

The constant theme of friendship and sticking together is weaved deeply into the plot. At every turn characters are bonding and helping each other. The concern for their fellow companions is heartwarming. It shows that despite all the differences, human, snowman, reindeer, elf, bunny, it doesn’t matter, they all bond together. This is a great lesson for children, and adults. It doesn’t matter how different we all are, we can come together to solve a problem and help each other in times of need.

While the story takes place in the North Pole, it is not a Christmas story. It is a compelling story about friendship and overcoming adversity. Fawn is a loving character that is easy to relate to, and the magic of Santa’s Village and talking animals is sure to draw in readers of all ages. I loved being able to escape back to a childlike innocence and for the course of this book just believe in the magic of Santa and the North Pole again. It makes me happy and reminds me to appreciate the little things in life and share these moments with my own kids. This would make a great family reading novel with lots of topics for discussion.

Pages: 349 | ASIN: B00NRZO920

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As Wild As All the Squirrels

S. Jackson Author Interview

S. Jackson Author Interview

In The Big Cheese Festival, we meet Stubby Mouse who is being bullied by because his tail is short. Why was bullying an issue you wanted to tackle in this kids book?

I see bullying all the time and it just makes no sense to bully another child, or adult for that matter. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed in childhood. Cyber bullies come into play and one reads about another child taking their own life due to being bullied. If I can help children be a little kinder to one another then this book was worth writing. Kindness breeds kindness. Bullying must stop. Children need to take a stand against bullying and their families must do the same, as do the educators in our system. It is bad when ones parent actually cyber bullies another child and that child ends up taking their own life. Parents need to be held accountable.

Do you think children struggle with confirmation of their self worth? How do you think kids seek that out?

Of course they struggle. Self worth and self esteem are huge issues as a child grows up and I, for one, still have self esteem issues at my age (56). Not all children grown up in a loving or supporting home. As a mother, and as a registered nurse, I have seen the dark side of life and it is ugly. Many things are preventable, and if parents aren’t willing to step in and assist in a positive manner then educators need to step in. Kids seek confirmation in many ways and most are a sacrifice, that is, some seek out sex to feel worthy, or eating disorders to help with body image issues they perceive as having or have at that moment/time span in time. Others over medicate and some over dose, others try their hardest to please their parent/parents/adult care provider, etc. and many don’t measure up or they simply give up. They lose hope, and we all need to have hope. Society in general needs top help foster self worth in troubled kids and teens.

There are lots of wonderful images in this story. What was your favorite image to use and write for?

Stubby Mouse is my favorite. The idea for him came about from one of our backyard squirrels who only has half a tail, and partly crippled due to meeting up with a vehicle and living afterward. We named him Stubby (his tail) and he has a different scamper than the other squirrels but he is determined. Stubby is just as wild as all the squirrels are and he loves to play chase. From one little stubby tailed crippled squirrel a book was born. I purposely presented all of the characters to dress the same, and for the girls to have different hairstyles. Stubby is the only one who is different and I knew that his short tail would be noticed by keeping the other characters similar. This worked quite well. Stubby is favorite for the preschoolers and kindergarten kids as well as first graders. The kids latched onto Stubby and they all defended him. Once the kids settle back down after a reading and discussion, then I will point out various differences in the kids in front of me such as hair color, etc. and I explain our uniqueness to all, and how that makes us special.

What are some themes of future books that you would like to write about?

I have many yet my time is limited due to health. I will say that we put out a book last year that speaks about molestation/sex abuse. It’s titled “Suzy Has A Secret” and it includes an adult/educators part in the back of the story. I used characters that do wear different colored clothes but facial expressions are the same. My mantra here is good touch/bad touch and children are innocent/predators are not.

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The Big Cheese Festival“In The Big Cheese Festival, we meet Stubby Mouse and his family and friends. We learn that Stubby Mouse has a secret, that he is being bullied by another mouse, simply because his tail is short. Read how Stubby Mouse stood up for himself, and how he ended the bullying, in this delightful story for children. Targeted at ages 4-8, the book is easy to read and perfect for home or classroom. Children learn how bad bullying is, and what they can do to help stop bullies! Stubby Mouse encourages children to take a stand against bullies, and always be kind to each other. This story illustrates how everyone is different and unique, and it is a delightful read with cute illustrations for both children and adults. Take a stand against bullying today!”

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The Big Cheese Festival

The Big Cheese Festival4 Stars

There are issues that plague all children as they grow up. Each child struggles with identifying who they are as a person, how they relate to other people and how to find out what they believe in. Children can be cruel to each other while they learn how to navigate the messy world of emotions. This can come out in the form of bullying. In The Big Cheese Festival the authors explore the concept of bullying and how it can impact the life of another. What may seem like funny and harmless words to one can truly hurt another. We’ve got a fantastical world of anthropomorphic mice, one of whom only has half a tail. He is named Stubby and due to the unkind bullying from his brother’s friend worries about whether or not he’ll find any worth in himself.

Bullying is a big issue to tackle. Some children’s books try to address this and drop the ball completely. Jackson and Raymond have bundled up the idea of bullying in their book. They take an obvious difference, like having half of a tail, and use it to illustrate how others might react to something so clearly different from the norm. It’s a cute book with the little mice getting ready for a festival. Cutter Mouse, who is friends with Stubby’s brother, is the perpetuator of the bullying. It is often someone close to the bullied who begins the abuse, which Jackson and Raymond have captured here.

While the story is simple and easy to either read or read to a child, there are a few areas in which it lacks. The mice all look exactly the same, in the same outfits. The girl mice have different hairstyles but the boy mice don’t have anything to separate who they are from each other. Different coloured outfits may have helped with this issue. The mice also don’t seem to express emotion. For a story about bullying and overcoming that, showing joy or sorrow would be necessary.

Stubby does stand up to the person who is making him feel poorly which is an important message to children. He doesn’t do it with violence or by calling Cutter names back. He uses his words. S. Jackson and A. Raymond know that children need to learn these skills to survive in this modern world. The Big Cheese Festival helps to make it less frightening and more relatable by creating a fun and entertaining world.

Pages: 37 | ASIN: B01H3S381O

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Accomplishing Great Things

Diane Mae Robinson Author Interview

Diane Mae Robinson Author Interview

In Sir Princess Petra’s Mission, Petra’s father sends her on a mission where she is expected to fail so that she can stop having fantasies of adventure and become a proper lady. The book is beautifully written, did you set out to create a story rich in kindness and morality, or did that happen organically?

Before I began to write the story, I did tons of work creating the characters. When I felt the characters were fully rounded and as well-known to me as friends, I began to write their adventures.  It was, also, important to me to have noble characters doing noble deeds.  So, the story was written and developed with noble values in my mind, but the characters seemed to develop the story organically because of who they are.

Princess Petra is a strong young woman. What was the inspiration for the main character’s traits and dialogue?

I’ve always believe that gender was never an issue to accomplishing what one’s heart desires. Petra’s character was created out of that belief. Petra is a strong young lady, and I am sure those traits come out because of my upbringing with a strong mother figure who has, and still is, accomplishing great things in life whether those accomplishments are male or female orientated.

What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in Sir Princess Petra’s Mission?

Believing in oneself is the most important theme Petra instills throughout the series. Also, kindness, acceptance of others, standing up for what is right, bravery, and friendship were important themes to bring out in all the characters.

What will the next book in that series be about and when will it be published?

The characters haven’t told me yet what the next book is about yet. They have mentioned that they like the title Sir Princess Petra’s Quest. I’m hoping we’ll have created the 4th book for publication in later 2017. In the meantime, I have a new book, based on these characters, releasing in early 2017. The book is entitled The Dragon Grammar Book, and it’s an-easy-to-understand grammar book for middle grades through adults. The book is kind of quirky (well, if you think fantasy characters giving grammar lessons is quirky), and a fun and easy way to learn grammar.

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Sir Princess Petra's MissionSir Princess Petra has already attained her knighthood in the Kingdom of Pen Pieyu and her non-princess-like talent certificate from Talent School, neither of which pleases her father and mother, the king and queen. The king writes up more silly rules in the royal rule book to deter Sir Princess Petra from her knightly ways and useless talent, and turn her into a real princess once and for all. Will the king finally succeed with this newly written, ridiculous mission for Petra?

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Horatio Hobbs and the Calimor

Horatio Hobbs and the Calimor: A tale of adventure by [Francis, L.J]5 StarsAt first glance this novel looks like a story taken from the world of Tolkien, you have trolls, mortals, a mystical race of beings that live in the woods, talking animals, and a quest. That, however, is where the similarities end. L.J.Francis has managed to create in Horatio Hobbs and the Calimor, a magical world that will appeal to readers of all ages. Francis brings in some of the traditional magic and creatures that people come to expect in fantasy novels, such as the trolls and elf like beings, but he turns many of the stereotypes of these fictional beings around. Nothing is as simple as it seams in the sleepy town of Drinkwater and the feared forest of Shadowmere.

Horatio is a young boy about to turn sixteen. In the town of Drinkwater, sixteen is when you become an adult to the community. He was raised by his grandfather Theodore Hobbs. You learn in the book that his mother died during child birth, as for his father, well you will have to read the book to find out what happened to him. Theodore Hobbs is a master furniture maker, and excels in his craft. He is known far and wide for his skill and ability to create the perfect item. At the center of this novel is one of his works of art. The mayoral throne. Unbeknownst to Theodore, he has carved this throne from magical wood. The tree that this wood came from is also the source of a magical acorn, the Calimor, that is delivered to Horatio by a fox. This acorn has a magical and devastating story.

The epic journey begins with Horatio setting out with his pony Thomas for the mysterious woods of Shadowmere. These woods are dark, thick, and filled with magic. The Bloodeye trolls make their home in Shadowmere. The leader of the Bloodeye, King Bovik, hates the mystical race of Eldrin that live in a protected area of Shadowmere called Celeste. When word gets back to him that Horatio has something from Celeste and is headed there King Bovik decides he will intercept Horatio and get information from him on how to destroy the Eldrin. The Bloodeye’s pursuit of Horatio and Thomas lead them on further adventures and bring them into contact with several interesting characters. One character that I feel offers the most passion and heart is Krunger, the exiled Bloodeye troll.

Francis’s ability to portray the relationship between Krunger and Horatio speaks volumes. These two characters couldn’t be more different on the outside but inside share the same goals and passions. The transformation both characters must go through is immense and will pull at the reader’s compassion and provide a renewed sense of hope.

Overall L.J. Francis gives readers a new look in the fantasy novel realm. He turns traditional character rolls around and offers a brightened future for the lands he creates. The easy reading style and lack of extreme gore from fighting scenes makes this novel appropriate for young adult readers. The complex character development and unique plot makes it appealing for adult fantasy novel followers. This book leaves the reader with just enough questions to look forward to the second installment that L.J. Francis is currently working on, but offers a conclusion to the story line in this novel. A well written novel with the promise of more adventures to come.

Pages: 284 | ASIN: B01D1XNPOA

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