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Malketh and the Undead

Three young knights in the king’s service, Raven, Romda, and Ravai, set out to investigate a mysterious threat deep in the mines of Gold Mountain. On the journey, they discover that the kingdom’s history has a significant part to play in the happenings of the now, as legends come to life before their very eyes. Encountering a deadly danger much more severe than the young knights ever would have thought possible, the team must summon all their courage to protect the kingdom from absolute destruction. Searching for answers and discovering the most unlikely of allies, the group gives its all to guard the kingdom they love.

Malketh and the Undead: Raven, Romda, and Ravai Book 2 by Dave Maruszewski is a concise fantasy adventure that packs an unbelievable amount of action into its pages. Somber Raven, the archer of the group, stalwart Ravai, the warrior, and fiery Romda, the mage, must work together to navigate the depths of Gold Mountain and discover the true nature of the threat to the kingdom. Raven and Ravai are best friends who tend to compete with each other, leaving Romda to act as a peacemaker and keep the group focused on their goals. However, threats escalate as the journey continues toward its conclusion, leaving plenty of room for more adventures in the lives of these upcoming heroes.

The story takes several pauses in the action to highlight an event of the past, giving readers more context to the tale. This novel does assume that the reader has read the first book in the series, so details are limited to past events, but these flashbacks help. In addition, the lighthearted narrative of the three friends embarking on an action-packed adventure to save the kingdom made this a fun read.

The author takes readers on a thrilling journey of magic and mayhem, making this an excellent fit for all who love a compact fantasy adventure. Malketh and the Undead is a tale of friendship and working together to overcome deadly odds. A story of camaraderie in the face of danger, this journey of three young knights at the threshold of greatness is filled with the promise of many more adventures to come.

Pages: 100 | ASIN : B0BT3FD25L

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Islanders: The Pacific Chronicles 

On the lovely island of Oahu, Hawaii, siblings Kaimana and Kilikina embark on a hike up the mountain. But when a terrifying storm appears, the brother and sister find themselves changed beyond all belief. Fighting to understand their newfound abilities and the mysterious world into which they have stumbled, the siblings must work together to navigate a place of marvelous magic and mythology. Deadly threats work behind the scenes to undo the peace of the Hawaiian Islands, and the only hope for the future rests solidly on the shoulders of Kaimana and Kilikina and the friends that they have made.

The Pacific Chronicles Book 1: Islanders by James Eldridge is a wonderful journey to the Hawaiian Islands. The heritage and mythology of Hawaii permeate every single page, as the main plot of the story is perfectly complimented by the engaging cultural adventure woven throughout. From legends of the Menehune to the ancient protectors of the islands, the rich history of Hawaii is beautifully told in this light-hearted tale.

I loved the story of big brother Kaimana and his little sister Kilikina working together to explore a new dimension. I also loved Eleu and Molawa, the Menehune brothers, and their incredible antics. While threats are introduced, the main focus of this tale is the special bond between siblings and the true beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. Book one focuses mainly on why the Islands need to be protected, coming to a conclusion that sets the stage for many more adventures to come.

The Pacific Chronicles Book 1: Islanders is a captivating children’s fantasy novel that would be perfect for older elementary and middle-grade readers. A perfect story for all who love world culture, fantasy, and a story of familial friendship, the tale of Kaimana and Kilikina is only the beginning of what promises to be a truly remarkable adventure.

Pages: 158 | ASIN : B0BGQJL688

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The Owl-Headed Wand

The Owl-Headed Wand, written by Daniel Peyton, takes readers to another world. A young boy named James is a homeless orphan that is tricked into stealing from a Master Wand-Maker. James is caught by the master wand maker, but he makes a deal to work off his punishment. The Master wand maker, Othano, is kind to James and teaches him many things. James finally feels at peace until one day, the Fire elves threaten all of Yohan and James’ new home. This leads James to make new friends and discover that he is braver than he ever thought. He also learned about the Owl-Headed wand and what it means to him.

Daniel Peyton does a splendid job in worldbuilding, Yohan. I loved that he mixes elves, witches, and wizards together along with other species. The map at the beginning of the book is an excellent addition because it really helped me imagine the direction everyone was going. I looked back at the map several times to see where the characters were.

James is a well-developed character that captivates readers with his backstory and continued strength and determination. His story will touch the heart of readers and bring about strong emotions as they follow along as he shares his tale with Othano and Giles.

Othano is probably my favorite character in the story! While the book is about James, Othano’s character is kind and caring. His gestures to James were so heartwarming. Giles was another fantastic character. She was strong and fierce as the Commander of the Wind elves, but she was also kind and gentle with James. She was exceedingly protective of him. Daniel Peyton has mastered the art of creating an emotional response with his readers. Each character stirs up strong feelings in readers, from rage to tears of joy.

The Owl-Headed Wand is an extraordinary young adult fantasy novel with which to start the new year. The adventure James takes readers on as he seeks to clear his and Othano’s name is exhilarating. The bond between characters is heartwarming and gives readers hope for those less fortunate. I hope this is not the end of James, Othano, and Giles’s story and that there will be more in the future!

Pages: 316 | ASIN : B0BPHWW6P5

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The Witch’s Family

In this illustrated children’s book, The Witch’s Family, written by JJ Page, we follow a young Witch with a large family of pets that she cares for dearly and works hard studying every day. However, it soon all becomes too overwhelming for her, and she ends up getting sick. She is then taken care of in turn by her chosen family and friends. This is a magically fantastical story about friendship and family.

I absolutely loved this story; I didn’t want the story to end. Having friends and family, you can rely on is so important in life. We all need help from time to time, and it’s good to know someone has your back in times of need.

The book’s message was well thought out, and I could feel that there is so much world-building that isn’t even mentioned directly but is just given through the poetic prose of the text and the beauty of the illustrations. It reminded me immensely of ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ in all the best ways. The Witch’s pets, whom she called her family, were all so varied in species and size that they brought feelings of acceptance, which I feel is also an important lesson for young readers to understand.

The Witch’s Family is an inspirational picture book filled with the message of kindness, compassion, and caring for those in need. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone of any age because it is just such a beautiful story that is delivered masterfully. It would make an excellent addition to a home or school library to help young elementary children understand acceptance and compassion.

Pages: 44 | ASIN : B0BGW61M4B

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The Princess, the Knight, and the Lost God

Kassie is a princess of a whimsical world called Chess Mountain. On Chess Mountain, the residents are all chess pieces, and Kassie’s parents rule over them. Princess Kassie is a beloved member of the royal family, and it is her birthday. Kassie is excited to spend the evening with friends and family and celebrate her twelfth birthday. But not everything goes as planned, and Kassie is whisked away to Earth to complete her twelfth-year mission and to protect her from harm.

The Princess, The Knight, and the Lost God by Victoria Winifred is a unique novel about chess. While on Earth, Kassie must hide from evil Originals and make an impact in the lives of others. What better way to do that than to teach and improve her classmates’ chess game? Kassie must navigate Earth’s strange habits and traditions while watching her back for those who might harm her. She makes friends and helps them better their lives by teaching chess, and Kassie learns to stand up for herself against bullies while taking time to understand their challenges.

Winifred has created a unique world centered around chess, which shows her passion for the game. She weaved a story about lovers of chess and how it affects their lives. While the premise might seem a little silly at times, the story is exciting and entertaining all the way until the end. There are many twists and turns that await the reader throughout this story.

The Princess, The Knight, and the Lost God by Victoria Winifred is a captivating children’s chapter book. Young chess lovers will enjoy how Winifred weaves chess terms and strategies throughout the story while sticking to the fantasy genre. With memorable characters and an exciting plot older, elementary and middle school-age children will find this book a wonderful addition to their reading collection.

Pages: 226 | ASIN : B0BLT4PGSZ

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FastFlight 540

FastFlight 540, is an adventure-filled young adult fantasy novel by M. M. Mesldorf. Right from the get-go, readers are plunged into action as the protagonist, Anslie, makes quick work of stealing her friend’s identity to escape the seemingly horrible orphanage where she lives. While she thinks she has gotten away from the oppressive walls of Whippoorwill Children’s Home, she has instead traded one prison for another with Nocturnan Home. Soon, a being will come bursting into Anslie’s life. And that being is none other than Xander Benjamin Bump.

The chapters are written in a straightforward manner, and they flow smoothly together. When Anslie dreams, readers read the chapters from her perspective thoroughly, while the rest of the book is generally told in the third person. The shifts between are seamless, making it easy to follow along. There isn’t a break in the action in this novel; there is always something happening, someone coming, someone going, and adventure at every turn. It makes for a bit of a dizzying ride. Anslie carries on with the false identity she stole from the real Tucker Sullivan, and we watch her meager beginnings grow and blossom into something more.

In the beginning, Anslie is alone. She has nothing and is nothing. We see this in her solitude in the attic, her pitiful friendship with her own shadow, and her brief but lonely interactions with Mrs. Simpler. However, what begins as a painful existence begins to shift and reshape as her interactions with others accelerate. First Xander, then Hobbs, and soon all manner of companion joins Anslie on her quest to play the Garden Game against the Nighthawks. Throughout the book, I wasn’t sure if these other children were real: I was confident they were manifestations of her extreme loneliness and solitude.

If you are looking for a fun book that is difficult to put down, you must pick up a copy of FastFlight 540 by M. M. Mesldorf. It’s a whirlwind in all the right ways as it takes you for a ride through Anslie’s youth with Xander to the happily ever after. But is it truly the end? The final words of the last chapter leave room for a potential sequel, but we’ll have to wait like patient children to see what comes next.

Pages: 284 | ASIN : B0B7LLG2GP

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What If The Stones Came Skipping Back?

Carolyn Watson Dubisch Author Interview

Dragon Stones follows a brother and sister who go on an adventure and meet a dragon, only to almost end up as a snack. Can Aunt Edwina save them? What was the inspiration for your story?

When I was young my family would spend summers at our camp on the lake in Maine. My older brother was obsessed with skipping stones out into the lake. He was quite good at it. He was also maybe a little ADHD so my brother is definitely the inspiration for Ron.

Later when I was writing down “story seeds” as I like to call them, I thought about that time on the lake and I jotted down one sentence. “What if the stones came skipping back?”

The cover for this book is interesting. How did you create the cover for Dragon Stones?

I wanted a very contemporary children’s book cover design. I did a Google search on “Best children’s book covers 2020”, then I added the words forest and dark to the search. I found about 10 that I liked and based my sketches on those. Then I chose the sketch that popped from the others. Once I had the illustration complete, I added three text designs and posted them in my Children’s Book cover critique group. The edited version based on comments is what made the cover. It’s a process I use often.

What drew you to becoming a children’s author?

I was drawn to creating children’s books during my time at The School of Visual Arts in New York. I loved the illustration work I was seeing in children’s books and it strongly influenced art. Then, once I had children I was reading so many children’s books all the time that I began writing them, and other stories for young people.

Will there be other books with Aunt Edwina, if so when will it be available?

I do have another book planned but it may be a year or two as I have several books scheduled before that one. That title is called “Forever Snowman,” and I am hoping it won’t be too long before I get to it.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A dull visit to their Aunt’s house turns into a magical and thrilling adventure when Lizzy and her brother Ron venture into the nearby forest. An inviting path leads to a shrouded lake in the woods… Perfect for skipping stones, but who or what keeps throwing them back?

Dragon Stones

A brother and sister are stuck visiting their aunt’s house; while listening to the grown-ups talk, they grow antsy and bored. Finally, they are told to go play outside and eagerly run out the door. Heading into the nearby forest, they find a path leading to a spooky pond. They start skipping rocks, but the stones come flying back at them! Not only are rocks come back from the pond, but they are also hot and burn to the touch. So the two set off around the pond to investigate the cause of the mysterious rocks. What will they find lurking in the mist?

Dragon Stones by author Carolyn Watson Dubisch has written an excellent picture book illustrated in a whimsical comic book style. The characters are entertaining and relatable for young to preteen children. Ron and Lizzy are your typical children, and they eagerly set off on an adventure to cure the boredom of sitting around talking about lawns. The children’s curiosity is contagious, and readers will want to race around after them to find out how the rocks are returning to them and with a pattern on them as well.

I enjoyed the story’s direction; I just wanted more. I feel like Aunt Edwina could have presented so much more to the story and that the climactic moment was cut short. There is a lot of potential in this character, and I hope readers will get to see more of Aunt Edwina as I think she has a lot of mystery sounding her. Her ending comments will leave readers asking questions, and hopefully, there will be another children’s book to answer that question.

Dragon Stones is a magical children’s fantasy story that captivates young readers. The illustrations are bold and well done, the characters relatable, and the story is interesting. This is a great children’s book for a classroom library.

Pages: 41 | ASIN : B09YR5RRBP

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