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Torn from Troy: Odyssey of a Slave

Title: Torn from Troy: Odyssey of a Slave
Author: Patrick Bowman
Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 and up
Series: Odyssey of a Slave (Book 1)
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Ronsdale Press (February 15, 2011)
ISBN: 978-1553801108

Two-and-a half millennia after it was created, Homer''s Odyssey remains one of humanity''s most memorable adventure stories. In this re-creation of Homer''s classic as a young adult novel, we see the aftermath of the Trojan War through the eyes of Alexi, a fifteen-year-old Trojan boy. Orphaned by the war and enslaved by Odysseus himself, Alexi has a very different view of the conquering heroes of legend. Despite a simmering anger towards his captors, Alexi gradually develops a grudging respect for them. As the Greeks fight off the angry Cicones, weather a storm that pushes them far beyond charted waters, and nearly succumb to the blandishments of the bewitching Lotus-eaters, he realizes that they are not the demons they were said to be, but people like himself. At the same time, Alexi''s quick thinking, bravery, and the healing skills that he learned from his father prove to his captors that he is no ordinary slave. His key role in their escape from the Cyclops earns the respect of his master, Odysseus, and a striking discovery during their escape gives his life a newfound purpose. Straddling the boundary between historical fiction and mythology, Torn from Troy is written in a hard, realistic style and brings to life the travails of a bronze-age slave of the Greeks in a form that will appeal especially to teen boys. While this book is the first volume of the author''s Odyssey of a Slave trilogy, it is a compelling and fully-realized work on its own.

-Description: Chapters/indigo

Look Back!

Title: Look Back!
Author: Trish Cooke
Genre: Children
Publisher: Crocodile Books(Inteu) (October 1, 2014)
Formats: Hardcover & Paperback
Pages: 32 pages
ISBN: 978-1566569804

"This is a beautiful book with painstaking, lifelike illustrations that pull you into the story from the start - And I love the way the exploration collides here with a celebration of the rapport between a grandmother and her grandson: family, at its best, the ultimate tonic." The Observer "Atmosphere illustrations - A very special story about the power of the imagination." Parents in Touch "You feel as though you were there. And you could be. Maybe. Bookwitch "It is a great pleasure to recommend another title by the same award-winning author. I would hazard a guess that Look Back! will be just as popular with a slightly older readership at KS1 and early KS2."

--The School Librarian

For the Love of A Poet

Title: For the Love of a Poet
Author: Marilyn Z. Tomlins
Genre: Romance
Pages: 396
Publisher: Raven Crest Books (May 7, 2014)
Format: Kindle & Paperback


Gerald Lombard, is on a mission, he is searching for Tanya Brodovskaya, he knows how to recognise her, and so he goes to Red Square, after all, he’s been told, she is always there ‘on any Wednesday.’ Then he sees her, just as she had been described to him, and she agrees to tell her story, and so the biography begins…
This is the story of the love between an older man, and a naive young girl whom he met, in 1931, when she worked at the offices of Pravda in Moscow.

Tanya Brodovskaya, had been infatuated with the poet Boris Petrovich Beretzkoy, for a long time, however, on that day, when he took her hands in his, their lives were about to change forever.

As they say, love is blind, and when one is in such a state, nothing else matters, barriers such as age and marital status are overcome in the bat of an eyelid. Thus began their love affair, one in which Boris shaped her life, and she accepted the restrictions, making sacrifices, and giving up on dreams, freely, as only a woman who is in love will do.

It is Russia, Lenin has just died, and Stalin has taken over the reins of this enormous, harsh country. It is a country which is in a state of political unrest and turmoil, its people living in fear for their lives never knowing when they are going to be dragged away and interrogated, or deported to Siberia, some never to return…

Life for the Russian people is hard. The country is suffering from terrible famine, and pandemics ravage the country’s population, who are already weak and living in terrible conditions.

As you read this book, you realise that not only are you following the lives of these two lovers, but you are also being given an insight into this turbulent period in Russian history.

The book I believe, is based on two real people, although the names have been changed. Through meticulous research, the author has written a very thought provoking and fascinating story, which lovers of modern history will enjoy.

-Reviewed by Susan keefe

Fruits: A Caribbean Counting Poem

Title: Valerie Bloom
Author: Fruits: A Caribbean Counting Poem
Pages: 32
Genre: Poetry
Ages: 3 and up
Publisher: Henry Holth & Co (J) (March 1997)
ISBN: 978-0805051711

PreSchool-Grade 2. A mischievous counting poem that mimics the cadence and rhythm of the Jamaican language, Patwa, and introduces children to some familiar and exotic tropical fruits. An older sister stealthily sneaks fruits from obvious and hidden places throughout the house and around the yard. Little sister tags along hoping to enjoy a few tasty pieces. The phonetically spelled text is printed on the left-hand side of the book above an illustration of the featured fruit (half of a pawpaw, one guinep, two guava). The number of pieces of fruit is stated, but the numerical symbol is not presented. On the opposite page, Axtell's colorful, full-page paintings capture the warm, sun-splashed colors of the tropics. The expressionistic, oil-on-canvas-board art emphasizes the poem's tone. Big sister's expression of stomach pain at the end of the book will not surprise most readers. Understanding the dialect may be difficult for youngsters, but adults who can read it aloud can share a humorous, childlike poem with their audience.?

- Reviewed by School Library Journal, Marie Wright, University Library, Indianapolis

Sway

Title: Sway
Author: Amber McRee Turner
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Edition: Ppaperback and Kindle

Sway, Amber McRee Turner's 2012 novel, grabbed my attention on the first page. Anything that describes "tired eyeballs" as feeling like "they've been rolled in corn-bread crumbs" has the potential to be a uniquely descriptive book. I wasn't disappointed. Turner's witty, unusual language provides a great contrast to the novel's often heavy subject of divorce.

Ten-year-old Cass spends the early part of her summer waiting and longing for her mother, who volunteers with a local relief organization, to return from her latest mission. Cass adores her rescuer mother while finding her part-time janitor, part-time meat salesman father to be dull as dirt. Her mother's homecoming quickly goes awry, forcing Cass to reluctantly spend the summer traveling in a beat-up RV, named Roast, with her father. Through random shoes on the side of the road, famous soap slivers, and the extraordinary power of Sway, Cass slowly realizes that not everything, or everyone, in life is what you expect, and sometimes a hero can be disguised in a fraying 70s green-and-yellow-striped suit. Turner's first novel is by turns heartbreaking, enchanting, and just plain awes (that's awesome for you Sway newbies).

Review by The Book Children

The Adventures of Joe-Joe Nut and Biscuit Bill Case#2: The Case of Mineral Mischief

Title: The Adventures of Joe-Joe Nut and Biscuit Bill Case #2: Mineral Mischief
Author: Renee Hand
Genre: Mystery/Educational
Pages: 80

Hand’s (Mineral Mischief, 2011, etc.) entertaining third installment in the author’s mystery/educational children’s series starring a squirrel and duck detective team, Joe-Joe Nut & Biscuit Bill.

The elementary school at Acorn Valley holds an art fundraiser to help local animals whose homes were lost due to natural disasters. Four famous local artists—Claude Monet Mongoose, Georgia O’Giraffe, Vincent Van Goat and Pablo Picasso Peacock—have generously donated their weather-themed paintings for a charity auction. But a monkey wrench is thrown into the proceedings when distinguished Gila monster Dr. Ced E. Meant discovers, in a presentation at the Metropolitan Museum before the event, that his invaluable research has been stolen! His findings are so important that they cannot be leaked to the world at large! Meanwhile, more mysterious and fishy things are going on at the art auction, which Detectives Nut and Bill are determined to unravel. Geared for older children (and appealing enough for adults), this third entry in the series once again paints a delightful world of animal protagonists—teachers, scientists, etc.—using colorful illustrations with the lively black-and-white cartoons of Karwoski. Each of the animals—garbed like humans—has personality to spare, and they make amusing references to bills, hooves and tails. A genuinely crafty, complex mystery (including secret panels, art theft and characters who aren’t as they appear) combines seamlessly with info about weather and art. Hand’s first entry in the series,The Great Pie Catastrophe, won Creative Child Magazine’s 2010 Seal of Excellence Award. With so much to recommend this entry has a rich presentation. A glossary of weather terminology, artist bios and activities for kids are included.

An engaging and delicious mystery/educational series with a fun pair of animal detectives and several well-crafted storylines.

Reviewed by Kirkus

Drowning in Memories (Bitter Memories Series # 2)

Title: Drowning in Memories
Author: Sue Julsen
Genre: Memoir
ISBN: 978-1492738862
Pages: 376
Format: Paperback and Kindle
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Description:

Drowning in Memories is part two of the first book, "Bitter Memories." In part two, I talk about many times in my life. I tell about my mother's sister, who I ended up living with and running away from, and of  a time I literally ran from an abusive husband with nothing but my Siamese cat and what clothes I could fit into a paper sack, finding I was happier than I'd ever been in my life.  I also talk about  my big brother who I'd never met in book one.

Included is the bonus story, a very special story about a  wonderful man who brought me back from a never-ending abyss after my suicide attempt, giving me hope to go on. This man changed the direction of my life.

 

Review:

Another superb book by Sue Julsen. If you read the book Bitter Memories you can not deny yourself the pleasure of taking the next part of the journey with the Author. Again superb style of writing. A must read for "Julsen" fans.

Reviewed by M.L.

 

Voices from the Block: A Legacy of African-American Literature

Title:  Voices from the Block:  A Legacy of African-American Literature
Authors: Ann Fields, Toyette Dowdell, Bennye Johnson and Ingrid Lawton
Genre: Anthology of collected works of short stories, poetry and essays
ISBN:  9780978625313 (ebook) / 9780978625320 (print book)
Price: $4.99 (ebook) / $9.99 (print book)
Publisher: Writer's Block Publishing/www.writersblockinc.org

One hundred sixty-eight pages of unforgettable words ٠ Seven women writers ٠ One relevant writers group ٠ Equals one must-have book for every bookshelf.

A collection of unforgettable short stories, poems and essays from emerging and established writers, members of the Writer's Block. These original works are guaranteed to stroke your heart, mind and soul as they reveal in written form the very essence of life. Prepare to read about the ups and downs of marriage, the emotional trauma of being without child, the questionable mental state of writers, the regrets of murderous decisions, mother-daughter life patterns, and so much more. By selecting and reading this offering, you've made a decision to laugh, learn, cry; to be offended and soothed; and to scale the range of light and dark emotions. So sit back, get comfortable, and enjoy the experiences of life in written form.

This book can be purchased at:  
•    Amazon.com (ebook and print)
•    BarnesandNoble.com (ebook and print)
•    Kobo.com (ebook and international sales outlets)
•    Writer's Block @ www.writersblockinc.org

The Ugly Daughter: A Memoir

Title: The Ugly Daughter
Author: Julia Legian
Genre: Self Discovery/Spiritual
Pages: 202
Format: Kindle and Paperback

We have no idea. No-one not brought up in a war-torn country can have any conception of what it's like. This is a story of a little girl who was. Bodies are commonplace, death unsurprising, and poverty and danger extreme and ever-present. But the worst aspect of it all must have been the utter hopelessness. Most children came to accept the situation. But this little girl didn't. And that is the joy of this book.

Written with great wit and wisdom 30 years after the event, The Ugly Daughter is about the ugliest of events. Yet the reader is constantly reminded that this is not what this book is really about. Instead, like "The Odyssey," it is about the resilience of the human spirit in the face of extraordinary odds, a hugely inspirational and uplifting work. It shows the upside of the motive that drove a young girl to find joy in an execution: the desire to be much better than she might have been. Because this little girl goes through these horrors and not only survives, but does so with her spirit and sense of humour firmly intact. Surely, we in this lucky country of Australia, can do likewise? Perhaps we could start by welcoming our fellow-humans instead of turning our back on them."

Reviewed by C. S. Boag author of Mr Rainbow series

The Curse of Sea Shell Cave

Title: The Curse of Sea Shell Cave
Author: John Priest
Genre: Children-Fiction & Literature
Publisher: John Priest
Series: Jay-Pea-Eyes aka Junior Private Investigators , #2
Format: Paperback



The Junior Private Investigators are on holiday in Portsmouth, UK.

The Pelican Hotel is owned by Stan's gran Muriel Larkin and she's great fun to be with. But not this time, this holiday is different. The JPIs sense it straight away but their parents won't discuss it. Stan is acting strangely; he refuses to talk and locks himself in his bedroom.

Muriel's private beach is now out of bounds too.  A mysterious green pigment has seeped into the sand, changing its colour. The council were closing it pending laboratory testing which they believed would show the beach to be poisonous.
That meant they couldn't explore Sea Shell Cave either.

Earth tremors at night are so ferocious they rock the very foundations of the building. Muriel is distraught and thinks everything is cursed, the beach, the hotel and Sea Shell Cave.

After noticing strange goings on in the hotel and on the public beach, the JPIs have a different idea on the subject. They believe something or someone is responsible and they intend to find out why.

It will lead them into life-threatening danger and will be their toughest case yet.
 

Odin the Ferret

Title: Odin the Ferret
Author: Kathryn V White
Genre: Children's
Publisher: Om Mandala LLC
Edition: Kindle

So what is the worst that can happen to you when you try to sneak an unwanted pet into your mum's house? Everything! Odin the Ferret by Kathryn V. White is a hilarious short story that is a delight to read. It highlights the wacky events in the life of a pet ferret, a little girl, and her mum. It’s full of surprises. It’s fun. It’s heartwarming.

 Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers' Favorite

Honeybee's Family & Home - Volume 1

Title: Honeybee's Family & Home: Honeybee Series - Volume 1
Author: Jeanette Vuuren
Genre: Children/Educational/General
Pages: 40
Edition: Kindle

5-star rating: An absolutely delightful book!

Honeybee's Family & Home: Honeybee Series - Volume 1 by Jeanette Vuuren is an educational book for small kids. It gives information about Honeybee, her home, family, food habits of bees, how they communicate etc. By the time the book is completed, children will have a thorough knowledge about Honeybee and everything related to bees. The colorful pictures convey the author's ideas with clarity to young readers. Children's story books are incomplete without pictures. The illustrations here capture the imagination of readers and attract them to read the story. Hopefully the next volumes in this series will see them increasing the learning value to a higher age group.

This educational book has been presented in a manner that is very easy for children to comprehend. The book starts its details right from the beginning when Honeybee lays her eggs. The layout, the pictures, and the short sentences work extremely well with the targeted age group. The word list at the end of the book is very useful. Apart from children learning everything about Honeybees, this book also helps them to expand their vocabulary.

The complete series would be an ideal collection for school and children's libraries. Parents can use this book as a bedtime story and teachers can use it for read-aloud sessions, as well as for reading in classrooms. It is a good book that is resourceful for teachers teaching in smaller classes. This book will be a pleasant experience for small children, both in content and pictures. An absolutely delightful book in which the author has taken one topic and made it an appealing read for children.

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite:

Emily-Rose's Day at the Farm

Title: Emily-Rose's Day at the Farm
Author: Simone Da Costa
Publisher: Da Costa's Empire Publishing
Genre: Children
Pages: 36
Format: Softcover

“Emily-Rose’s Day at the Farm” is a delightful story about a little girl’s day visiting her grandmother on the farm. In her exciting adventure Emily-Rose learns from Grammy not just about the farm, but about a grandmother’s wisdom and love.

Emily-Rose had always wanted to feed her grandmother’s farm animals by herself, but Grammy had forever cautioned her that they were too rambunctious. In this story, Emily-Rose gets her wish, but she soon finds out that Grammy was right -- and also exactly what rambunctious means!

Grammy takes her to feed the chickens, the pigs, the horse, and the ducks, and then to milk the cow. Emily-Rose learns something new about each animal they visit from her grandmother’s kindly advice and explanations as she is pecked by chickens, chased by ducks, slopped by pigs and in other ways finds out just how rambunctious and unpredictable farm animals can be. Through it all is the calming, guiding wisdom of her grandmother’s loving advice and soothing words.

“Emily-Rose’s Day at the Farm” is not just about a fun day at Grammy's farm. Emily-Rose learns to try new things, about pushing her boundaries, and finding her limits. And through it all it’s about the love between a grandmother and her granddaughter, and the bonding experience they had that day on the farm.

Reviewed by David Wilson, author of Luna Raccoon

Silver Ilver and the Cleft Palate Puppy

Title: Silver Ilver and the Cleft Palate Puppy
Author: Nina Carothers
Pages: 40
ISBN 10: 1937376303
ISBN 13: 978-1937376307
Publisher: All Star Press (January 17, 2014)
Genre: children/animals/disabillity

When Silver Ilver realises that one of the puppies in her dog Princess’s litter is unwell she knows that she must look after it, but what should she do?

Well, with the help of her special book and a prayer she sets about feeding the little puppy, however she soon she realises there is something really wrong with this little fellow.

A trip to the puppy doctor gives her the answer, the puppy has a cleft palate and the doctor warns her that the outlook is bleak.
However, Silver Ilver refuses to give up on the little one and names him Zeus. She searches for ways to make him well and discovers there is another puppy, called Mia, who has a cleft palate too, and she’s owned by a lovely lady called Sue.

With help and guidance from the friendly Sue, soon Zeus is getting on fine and acting just like any other puppy, getting into all sorts of mischief.

The author has written a lovely, inspirational story and the book has been beautifully illustrated by Chris Padovano. It conveys wonderfully the very special message, that animals born with birth defects deserve a chance at a life too.

A portion of the proceeds of this book benefit The Mia Foundation. Yes, it’s not a fairytale - The Mia Foundation is real, and Sue and her helpers work tirelessly every day to rescue, care for and help dogs with all sorts of problems, and it all began with a little dog called Mia...

If you would like to know more about the Mia Foundation please take a look at their website http://www.themiafoundation.com/

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Audio Book – The Treebobs and the Runaway Cauldron

Title: Audio Book – The Treebobs and the Runaway Cauldron
Author: Declan Harney
Program Type: Audio book
Listening Length: 29 minutes
Version: Unabridged

Rotten Rena the witch is in trouble. She has received receives a gramagram from her very unhappy mother who has said that unless she wins The Great Egg and Cauldron Race she will lose her home. Desolate, Rotten Rena knows that she must win, but how can she?

Her cauldron is not very helpful, but luckily, her Treebob friends and Bindweed Belle the Fairy decide to help her.

But first they have to get her cauldron to agree, and then hatch a plan to win the race.

Will they manage to save the day?

I loved listening to this magical children’s audio book in the Treebob series, written by the talented Declan Harney.

The brilliant narration of Lindsay Abbot bought the characters wonderfully to life, and I would imagine any child would love this book.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe