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The Garden And The Glen

Elizabeth Moseley’s The Garden and the Glen is a delightful fable with a timeless feel. The story, which follows a blue butterfly exiled from her home for being different, is simple yet poignant. With the help of her charming woodland friends, who take her in with gracious, open arms, blue butterfly finds the strength to overcome the tyranny of the bossy butterfly and once again turn the forest into a safe haven for all to inhabit without fear of discrimination.

The book is divided into sixteen chapters, including the epilogue. Each chapter is bite-sized and easily digestible by younger readers, while still remaining enjoyable and engaging to older readers. The delivery of this fantastic story is similar in style to Aesop’s Fables.

Maggie Green, the illustrator, does a superb job at capturing the idyllic imagery of the garden and the glen. Her use of soft pastel watercolors throughout makes both the woodland creatures and the scenery of their home appear magical and precious. The illustrations also help the reader follow along with the dialogue and happenings of the story.

The content is just as welcome in an elementary school classroom as it is to a contemporary adult audience. The author’s ageless message about the value of embracing our own differences, as well as the uniqueness of those around us, is particularly relevant at this current juncture of 2020. This is a read I would gladly pick up over and over again when I feel that I need the inspiration it provides.

The Garden and the Glen

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Oink and Gobble and the Missing Cupcakes

Oink and Gobble have very little in common, but that doesn’t stop them from being the best of friends. No matter what others on the farm may say about either of them, they manage to ignore it and live happy-go-lucky lives. When Oink’s cupcakes go missing, the two best friends set out on a mission to find the culprit. With Gobble’s love for logic and Oink’s overactive imagination, the pair is bound to solve the mystery–with some light-hearted moments along the way.

Oink and Gobble and the Missing Cupcakes, written by Norman Whaler and illustrated by Mohammad Shayan, is a children’s book filled with humorous moments between farm animals and best friends on their way to solving a mystery. Bright and colorful illustrations clearly convey the story line and further add to the plot. Included is a page with the names of each farm animal complete with labels.

I enjoyed this book, but I felt like the story line belongs in a book for children ages 2 to about 6 while the verbiage and some of the exchanges between characters I think might be above the heads of most children in that age group. I enjoyed the asides and the humor injected into the dialogue but found it more appropriate for older readers. I would recommend the plot of the story for young children, but the narrative is much more fitting for young adult readers.

Well-written and superbly illustrated this book will bring a smile to readers’ faces. I think this book is best read with parents or teachers as it presents many learning opportunities. Oink and Gobble and the Missing Cupcakes is a fun and funny picture book.

Pages: 30 | ASIN: B07YN4W37Q

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The Penitent: Part II

The Penitent: Part II (The Immortality Wars Book 1) by [A. Keith Carreiro, Jamie Forgetta, Hollis Machala]

The Penitent: Part II introduces readers to Evangel. Rescued by a hermit and raised to embrace her powers. Although she tries to keep her powers a secret, fate has other plans for her. As she struggles with understanding her powers while keeping them hidden, one vision she has will change her life and the lives of countless others.

This is book two in A. Keith Carreiro’s Immortality Wars epic fantasy series. While I picked up the series at book two I was no less intrigued by the compelling world and lured in by the fascinating characters. Evangel is a character that is well accustomed to loss and pain. She’s a character I could easily empathize with and root for. The slow development, and evolution of her character, was something that kept me turning pages. The story is colored with base tones of faith and religion and I appreciated the subtly of its presence balanced with the far reaching effects it had on the characters. Evangel’s perspective of the world is a bit naive, but I found that to be endearing. In light of the dangerous world in which she lives I found it to be a welcome contrast that is well portrayed by the author. Her faith and beliefs are challenged, but what protagonist isn’t challenged in some way in a good epic fantasy novel?

I recommend starting the series with book one if you can, but otherwise this book is still intriguing. Pall is an interesting character that I would love to learn more about, especially since his story line seems to be so closely connected to my favorite character Evangel. Their relationship is intriguing and I wanted to explore it further.

A. Keith Carreiro has created an intricate world for some enthralling characters to inhabit. Things are rarely what they seem and I enjoyed the air of mystery that seemed to color everything coupled with a relentless sense of adventure. With deep world building and multi-layered characters, fans of epic fantasy will have much to appreciate in The Penitent series. I can’t wait for part three.

Pages: 256 | ASIN: B01MAZDG4S

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The Amazing Adventures of Jimmy Crikey

Jimmy McGellan is known as Jimmy Crikey, a name he loathes and only serves to remind him of the bullying he has endured from children in his school. His aunt is raising him and caring for him the best way she knows how, but Jimmy needs a change–he wants to be rid of the hurt and begin again somewhere far from this place that doesn’t ever really feel like home. He has no way of knowing exactly how much his young life will change when he chooses to venture away from his aunt and out on his own. A new world awaits him–a world he could never have imagined.

The Amazing Adventures of Jimmy Crikey: Worlds Beneath And Above The Stars, by Wallace E. Briggs, is a fantasy/science fiction adventure based on the main character Jimmy Crikey. Young Jimmy is relatable, lovable, and heroic. As his journey begins, he is clearly bullied, singled out for some glaring physical differences, and belittled to the point of despair. Young readers will find themselves identifying with his struggle and rooting for him from the very first chapter.

Briggs has created a beautiful world that meshes fantasy and science fiction for young readers. When Jimmy finds himself meeting one fantastic being after the other in Roombelow, readers will get an Alice-in-Wonderland-meets-The-Wizard-of-Oz feeling. However, Briggs’s work is original and departs from both story lines enough to make it into its own category. As the story began, I wasn’t taken with the science fiction aspect of Jimmy’s tale, but it grew on me, and soon I was engrossed in his mission and the plight of the unique characters.

Briggs’s lengthy list of secondary characters can at some points grow a little confusing, but many of them stand out in their own right. Gemma, for one, is a well-drawn character who provides important plot points and is just the right fit for a boy like Jimmy coming from a world of pain above. I was impressed with the vast array of characters and the unique traits given each.

Two notable elements of Briggs’s story deal with the obvious departure from violence and the rise of an otherwise weak character. As a teacher and mother of teens, I found it refreshing that characters in a book meant for school-age readers took a pointed turn from violence. The book does have some later scenes in which pain is inflicted, but the author is careful at the outset of the story to veer away from violent acts between groups of beings.

I found the heroism and the building up of a character’s self-esteem to be a refreshing and much-needed read right now. Young readers who look for science fiction elements in their chapter books will appreciate Jimmy’s discovery about himself and will find themselves lost in his world. I highly recommend Briggs’s work to any teacher looking for a long-lasting read aloud for students from ages 9 to 11.

Pages: 302 | ASIN: B08B34V4TN

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What I Tell Myself About Self-Protection

What I Tell Myself About Self-Protection by [Michael Brown, Ilham Fatkurahman, Michele Mathews]

What I Tell Myself About Self-Protection is an educational resource for children, adults and educators. It teaches the reader through simple rhymes that danger lurks in the world and one must be prepared for it. It shows how different people, young and old, can get into scary situations that may be harmful to them. It then empowers them with the knowledge that they can protect themselves by fighting back, but also that it is okay to run away or call the police. It gives readers the tools necessary to take their safety into their own hands.

This is the most pragmatic picture book that I’ve read this year. It teaches children and adults valuable skills that might literally save their lives. It presents readers with various situations where the characters are in danger, and then shows them different ways they could protect themselves. Either by being aware of their surroundings, or dialing 911, running away, or by simply saying No and Stop. The art that accompanied each scene was clean, bright, and emotive. It reminded me of the D.A.R.E comic books that used to be distributed through schools. This is a great book for parents or educators to begin a conversation with kids about self-defense and when it’s acceptable to defend yourself. I appreciated how varied the talking points were. At end of the book readers are given a list where they can write down the contact information for different self-protection resources, which is a good resource to keep handy, or at the very least it’s a great opportunity to begin a discussion about each resource. Simply knowing that those people and services exist should help children understand that there are people in the world that will help them when needed. The book also provides a summary of a self-protection law case that helps give the books topic a real world reference, but may be more suitable for older readers. What I Tell Myself About Self-Protection provides practical advice that is easy to understand and simple to implement.

Pages: 30 | ASIN: B08BCNV9RB

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A Chemical Engineer in the Palm Oil Milling Industry

A Chemical Engineer in the Palm Oil Milling Industry by [Hong Wai Onn]

Palm oil is used in so many ways from cooking to cosmetics to fuel. Very few ever think about the process of getting oil refined enough to apply in some of the uses. This book is about the role of a chemical engineer in the process of milling palm oil.  It is about the team work and passion that goes into milling palm oil. By the end of this book, you will know more about palm oil and the milling process. You will also get a literary tour of a mill as well as vicariously experience the dynamics of a palm oil mill.

One thing that is well appreciated in this book is the detail and expertise with which it is written. It feels like a school field trip one might actually enjoy. There is so much intriguing detail and information. With all of that the book still manages to be engaging and interesting even to a person whose only knowledge of palm oil extends to the temperature it needs to be before frying something. Palm oil milling and the chemical engineering involved might be something you never think of Googling. In fact, it might sound like something straight out of a National Geographic special but this book sure is an enjoyable read.

The author has achieved a delicate balance of casual and professional. Providing the reader with stories of their experiences which personifies the book and gets the reader to not only connect with the writer but also remain rooted in their seat throughout the book. It reads a little bit like The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt. Narration of a tale with a very important purpose. This style is well appreciated especially for this subject.

This book may be about chemical engineers in palm oil milling but a lot of it could really apply elsewhere. For example, the writer talks about teamwork, passion and importance of caring for the environment. These sentiments could carry to many other areas of life.

The writer uses very simple language. You do not feel as though you have to constantly consult chemical engineering books and the palm oil Wikipedia page. Once you have started, you feel yourself relaxing and settling into it. The writer’s passion is evident through his writing. You can feel that he enjoyed writing this book.

This book will educate you, and might inspire you to change careers or give an aspiring chemical engineer some direction and a sort of literary internship. It is quite the task to write a book about such a highly scientific subject while keeping it simple and relevant to anyone and everyone who comes across it.

Pages: 216 | ASIN: B08CGVT4W5

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“Revelation” the Patmos Vision Unveiled

“Revelation” the Patmos Vision Unveiled by [Rev. Gerald F. McPeters]

“Revelation” the Patmos Vision Unveiled provides a deeper meaning to the book of Revelation from the Bible and interprets the symbols, metaphors and figurative language in the same book. The author also covers the similarities between the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation.

The author, Rev. Gerald F McPeters has brought a new perspective to how Christian’s interpret the Bible, especially the book of Daniel and Revelation. The author understands and respects different religions and also different perspectives of Christianity. His perspective sheds new light on what most Christians have been brought up knowing and maybe overlooked. Although Rev McPeter’s interpretation of the book of Revelation is possibly controversial, it has created room for people to think outside the box. He has done a great job of comparing the relationship between the United States of America and Israel to what the bible talks about God’s chosen nation. The author uses real life scenarios and current events to explain his understanding of the book of Revelation and this helps in creating a vivid image in the mind of the reader.

“Revelation” the Patmos Vision Unveiled does not have fictional characters but the author has done a marvelous job of creating perfect images of all the symbols and metaphorical figures in the book of Revelation using simple language that can be easily understood. A good example is of the seven seals that are mentioned in Revelation 5. The book makes many references to Christianity and the United States so if you’re not within one of those two groups you may have a different experience with this book. Besides that, the book is an thought-provoking piece of literature that provides guidance, new perspectives and new ideas to the biblical knowledge of Christians all over the world. I would recommend this book to Christians and anyone who wants to learn more about the life of Christ and end times.

Pages: 130 | ASIN: B0793NSBST

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The De-Coding of Jo: Hall of Ignorance – Trailer

What would you do if you accidentally discovered a holographic portal into the cosmos, in the basement of your high school’s library? Would you take the leap of faith?The De-Coding of Jo:Hall of Ignorance is a meld of fantasy, paranormal and science fiction, with a strong appeal to young adult readers (ages 15 years+). It is the first book of the Ascending Angel Academy series, incorporating plot driven and coming of age stories of diverse, gender inclusive teenagers struggling with self-identity and a sense of belonging.

Sixteen-year-old Jo attends Forest Hill Academy, a preppy co-ed private school with her best friends Nisha, Daphne, Reyes, Zaxden, and Flynn. Ever since the fatal night her mother was taken hostage by a homicidal maniac, Jo has been plagued by debilitating nightmares. As she tries to unravel her bleak reality, Jo and her friends discover a mysterious gateway into a Black Hole,hidden behind a strange mirrored door in an eerie underground hallway of the school’s library. Reyes accidentally releases the evil that has been imprisoned in this grid-matrix and unknowingly becomes infected with the menacing parasites.

These demons emerge from their shadows and spread throughout the school to gain control over their hosts. One by one, they raise an army of sleepwalkers to serve the Lord of Darkness in a sinister plot for universal domination.As Jo is activated by the Light to realize her truth and ascend from the hall of ignorance, she finds an antiquated Galactic Compass. Jo discovers its interstellar capabilities to time travel through the cosmos, and secures the Akashic Records, stored in a library of multi-dimensional consciousness of every soul since creation.

Primed by the Galactic Council and Ascending Angel Academy, Jo faces heartbreak and accepts a difficult mission to embrace her celestial form. She must unlock the power of creation and prevent the Lord of Darkness from enslaving all of humanity into obscurity. Will she be able to decode the artificial system in time to save her friends and the sacred Light?

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