Review: Finn’s Rocket: A Surfer Catches Air by Serena Schreiber

Rocket-front cover

About the Book

Title: Finn’s Rocket: A Surfer Catches Air (Finn’s Fast Books, Book #3) | Authors: Serena Schreiber | Publication Date: November 1, 2015 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 176 | Recommended Ages: 7 to 12

Amazon * Goodreads

Book Description: Finn’s summer vacation plans didn’t include leaving the planet. When his little sister gets kidnapped from space camp, Finn will do anything and go anywhere to get her back. Even the international space station.

My Thoughts: If you know a middle grade reader that enjoys adventure books, Finn’s Rocket: A Surfer Catches Air is a great recommendation or better yet, a wonderful gift idea. This fast-paced book will keep young readers turning the pages as the story moves between Finn’s adrenaline-filled activities in the U.S. and Europe and Gabi’s fascinating astronaut camp. I was so impressed with the amount of scientific and technical information included in the descriptions about astronaut procedures and training. It’s written with such expertise that I didn’t even realize how jam-packed this story is with facts. Without spoiling anything in the story, the space adventure is definitely dramatic, although I will admit that the scenario is a bit far-fetched in places. But that’s what makes it fun and it didn’t stop me from enjoying the suspense. On another level, the characters have wonderful depth, even the villians, and I could easily relate to the likable characters throughout the book. The bond between brother and sister is absolutely heart-warming and I was rooting for Finn and Gabi from the start. I look forward to reading more from the author. Recommended.

The Buzz About “Finn’s Fast Books”

Finn’s Ship: The story blends Finn’s American upbringing with his German heritage, acquainting the reader with the many similarities and differences in food, culture, language, transportation and family values.~ Candy 613, Amazon

Finn’s Ship: The author did a marvelous job bringing the characters to life and making the reader feel apart of each scene.~ Glen G., Amazon

Finn’s Car: I really enjoyed reading this book! Very fun to read and it’s something that teens will love to read. I recommend it to everyone!~ Jocelyn, Amazon

Finn’s Car: A well-paced, funny and highly infectious read!~ Bree W., Amazon

About the Author: Serena Schreiber

serenaschreiberFirst published in Brooklyn in third grade, Serena Schreiber took a circuitous route through Europe to settle in Florida. When not writing for kids or scientists, she follows her other muse, fantasy. She’s a happy co-conspirator of Florida Writers Association Youth Program and runs the Howl at the Moon Writers Jam. Serena has two amazing children, a handsome husband, and a turtle named Bolt.


Author Website | Book Website

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Blog Tour + Giveaway: The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse by Gwyneth Jane Page

I’m always looking for great books that introduce children to different places around the world. So I was thrilled to be able to participate in the book review tour for two wonderful books in the Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse series coordinated by iRead Book Tours.

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada (BOOK ONE):

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world-discovering exciting new places and people along the way!

Come join PJ on his first adventure across Canada as he hikes on a glacier in the Rockies, finds a salt lake in the prairies, and walks on the ocean floor in Nova Scotia.

My thoughts: In PJ Mouse’s very first adventure we meet this delightful little stuffed animal under a park bench. Fortunately, he is found by the lovely Emily who brings him along on family vacations. Our first destination? A drive across Canada! From well-known attractions like Niagara Falls to the stunning Butchart Gardens, PJ Mouse zigzags through incredible Canadian scenery and even learns a few words of French in Quebec. With a knack for getting into dangerous predicaments, PJ Mouse gives children unique experiences in each place and often meets a native animal friend. The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada is a wonderful book to introduce children to the concept of travel, experiencing new places and meeting new people. The lovely illustrations are colorful and perfectly compliment the story. I really enjoyed the story and learning tidbits about Canada as I traveled along with PJ. The perfect gift for any child who plans to visit Canada. Definitely recommended!

Buy the book: Author’s , Barnes & Noble

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Queensland

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Queensland (BOOK TWO):

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world – discovering exciting new places, people, and animals along the way!

​Come join PJ on this, his second adventure, along the coast of Queensland, as he snorkels at the Great Barrier Reef, chats with a Loggerhead turtle in the midst of a great undertaking, and explores the tropical rainforest until he has to be rescued by one of the local friendly wildlife.

My thoughts: PJ Mouse, Emily and the family are off again, this time on vacation in Queensland, Australia. The second book in the series includes many of the same wonderful elements of the first book — charming artwork, meeting (and being saved by) native wildlife, visiting well-know sites (The Great Barrier Reef) and lesser known attractions (Mon Repos), and getting into lots of trouble. The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Queensland gives children a chance to visit an amazing area of Australia that doesn’t always get its fair share of publicity beyond The Great Barrier Reef. In addition to the fun story, I’m so impressed with the extras available for PJ fans including a passport, stickers and a stuffed version of PJ himself. The whole kit makes a lovely gift to inspire wanderlust in a child. Recommended! (P.S. I’ll be giving a copy of book two to my niece this Christmas.)

Buy the book:  Author’s Website – AmazonAmazon.caBarnes & Noble

Brand Products: PJ Mouse Stuffed Toy, Customized Stickers, Passport


Author’s Bio:

Gwyneth Jane Page (Jane), who holds an MBA from Simon Fraser University, has called many countries home. She grew up in such places as England, Peru, the USA, and the Caribbean, and has also lived in Australia and Canada. She now resides in Victoria, BC with her husband and four children. The PJ Mouse books are based on Jane’s family trips with the real stuffed animal, PJ, who was found by Emily, Jane’s youngest daughter.

Megan Elizabeth, Jane’s second oldest daughter, has lived in Canada and Australia and travelled extensively with her family and PJ. Having been artistic since she was a little girl, illustrating the PJ Mouse books has enabled her to combine her love of travel with her love of art. Megan completed her studies at VanArts and is now building her career as a professional photographer as well as an illustrator. She currently resides in Victoria, BC with her family.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook


Prize: ​Win Book One (Canada) of The Adventures of PJ Mouse + PJ Mouse Stuffed Toy + Passport Sticker Book (Open to USA & Canada)

Click HERE to enter the RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY. Good luck!

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Review: Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage by Julie Grasso

As a fan of Julie Anne Grasso’s books, I am pleased to be participating in the Book Review Tour for Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage coordinated by Mother Daughter Book Reviews.

About the Book

ScienceFairCover-CropHiTitle: Frankie Dupont and The Science Fair Sabotage | Author: Julie Anne Grasso | Illustrator: Alexander Avellino | Publication Date: May 11, 2015 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 134 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12 Summary: Frankie Dupont is less than impressed when he has to attend the Sustainable Science Fair with Kat and Amy. Upon his arrival, he learns that Amy’s brothers have had their robotics chip stolen. Keen to recover the chip, Frankie questions the kids in the competition, but everyone seems to have a motive. When baffling clues start rolling in via Snap-Goss instant messages, Frankie realises it will take all of his detective muscles to solve this case. An illustrated mystery for ages 8-12.

Amazon * Goodreads

The Buzz About the Books

Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage: “These books are quick and fun to read. They are perfect for young readers who enjoy mysteries and quirky characters. ” ~ Melanie, Amazon

Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage: ” Like the other books in this series, this is a story written and aimed at kids. The fantasy, thoughts and plot are laid out with lots of love just for this age group, and I think kids will enjoy this completely.” ~ Tonja D., Amazon

Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage: This fast paced, funny book is sure to thrill and entertain your middle grade reader.” ~ Susan, Amazon

Frankie Dupont and the High Seas Heist: “With each book, the author manages to think up a completely new, fun, and smart adventure for kids. I’d recommend this to any middle-grade story-lover, especially if they value friendship, perseverance, and learning new things.” ~ Ilana, Amazon

My Thoughts

Frankie Dupont books are such fun to read thanks to the smart, clever writing of Julie Anne Grasso. It’s all in the details with her books — both in solving the mysteries and in the subtle humor found throughout the stories. Here are some of my favorite examples of titles, names and phrases from Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage: I Call it Recyc-bling (yes, that’s jewelry made out of recycled materials), Ms. Ubersyentist and Martian vomit-coloured earing. Beyond the kid-friendly voice, she includes lots of great science and technology throughout the detective action. In this book, cloning and Snap-Gross (photos that pop onto a smartphone and then delete within seconds) play a big role in the story. Finally, the characters all have their lovable quirks and child-like traits (they are kids after all) that make them both endearing and real. Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage is another exciting book in this action-packed series. Recommended!

About the Author: Julie Anne Grasso

Julie Anne GrassoWith a background in paediatric nursing, Julie Anne Grasso spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed courage and resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories to entertain them. A science fiction nerd (she even owns a TARDIS), cupcake enthusiast and lover of all things mystery, she lives in Melbourne with her husband Danny and their little girl Giselle. Most days she can be found sipping chai tea and dreaming up wonderful worlds that often involve consumption of cupcakes.

Website | Blog | Facebook

Twitter | Goodreads

Review: The Knights Before Christmas by Joan Holub

As promised during the Book Blast + Giveaway for The Knights Before Christmas, I’m back with a review of this hilarious soon-to-be Christmas classic.

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon 9780805099324 image copy 2

Title: The Knights Before Christmas | Author: Joan Holub | Illustrator: Scott Magoon | Publication Date: September 8, 2015 | Publisher: Macmillan / Henry Holt | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 4 to 8

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million

Goodreads | Indiebound | iBook | Kobo

Book Description: ‘Twas December 24th, and three brave knights were just settling in for the night when out on the drawbridge, there arose such a clatter! The knights try everything to get rid of this unknown invader (Santa Claus!), a red and white knight with a fleet of dragons . . .

But nothing would stop
their white-whiskered foe.
No matter their efforts,
he just would not go!

This parody of Clement Clarke Moore’s well-known poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is kid-friendly, clever, and just plain silly. Sure to become a holiday classic of a different kind!

My thoughts: This is such a fun book to read aloud. There is so much humor to be found for seasoned readers (i.e. adults) of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and simply a great story for children. The word play and puns are incredibly clever as is the overall concept of this delightful book.

Three well-meaning knights — Silent, Polite and Brave — are just doing their job (protecting the king from invaders) but said invader (Santa Claus) is trying to deliver gifts to the castle. What ensues is silly antics as Santa attempts various ways of entering a place that has no chimney while the knights do everything they can to stop him.

The illustrations are bold and bright adding a wonderful contemporary feel to the book. Visit illustrator Scott Magoon’s website for a behind-the-scenes look at how he created these fun images.

The Knights Before Christmas is a fantastic gift idea for children this Christmas and sure to be a story you’ll look forward to reading every year. Highly recommend.

For more reviews, information about the author Joan Holub and a sneak peek at some of the illustrations, visit the original book blast + giveaway post from earlier in November.


Blog Tour + Giveaway: Birds of Passage by Joe Giordano

I’m pleased to be participating in the blog tour for Birds of Passage: An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story by Joe Giordano coordinated by Italy Book Tours.

Title: Birds of Passage: An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story | Author: Joe Giordano | Publication Date: October 8, 2015 | Publisher: Harvard Square Editions | Pages: 272 | ISBN: 978-1941861080

Birds of Passage by Joe GiordanoSynopsis: What turns the gentle mean and the mean brutal? The thirst for wealth? The demand for respect? Vying for a woman? Birds of Passage recalls the Italian immigration experience at the turn of the twentieth-century when New York’s streets were paved with violence and disappointment.

Leonardo Robustelli leaves Naples in 1905 to seek his fortune. Carlo Mazzi committed murder and escaped. Azzura Medina is an American of Italian parents. She’s ambitious but strictly controlled by her mother. Leonardo and Carlo vie for her affection. Azzura, Leonardo, and Carlo confront con men, Tammany Hall politicians, the longshoreman’s union, Camorra clans, Black Hand extortion, and the Tombs prison.

Kirkus review“With Birds of Passage, Joe Giordano delivers a rollicking, wholly entertaining take on the Italian immigrant story. His rich cast of characters arrives seeking the usual: Money, honor, love, respect, a decent shot at the pursuit of happiness. But things get complicated fast as they plunge into the rough-and-tumble world of rackets, scams, and politics of early 20th-century New York City. Giordano serves up a thick, satisfying slice of the entire era in all its raw and brutal glory.”

Joe GiordanoAuthor’s Bio: Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. His father and grandparents immigrated to New York from Naples. Joe and his wife, Jane have lived in Greece, Brazil, Belgium and the Netherlands. They now live in Texas with their shih tzu Sophia. Joe’s stories have appeared in more than sixty magazines including Bartleby Snopes, The Newfound Journal, and The Summerset Review. Connect with the author:  Website  ~   Twitter  ~   Facebook

My thoughts: As an avid traveler and self-proclaimed “writer with wanderlust”, I am always on the look out for books that have a strong sense of place. Plus, being of Italian heritage I hold a special place books that give me a new perspective on Italy or Italians. So I was thrilled to join the blog tour as a reviewer for Joe Giordano’s Birds of Passage: An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story.

The book takes readers on a journey from Italy to New York through the eyes of young, ambitious Italians. I really appreciated that these characters and even the back stories of their families, were anything but typical. Yes, there are the ever-intriguing topics of organized crime, love and betrayal, as well as family loyalty, but with new complexities. How loyal do you have to be when your family holds onto Old World traditions? How far does a man go to protect is father’s estate? What makes a person “good” v. “bad” and does a well-intended motive change that?

Through the talented pen of Giordano, readers follow Leonardo Robustelli through the drama of leaving his family behind for the New World to find a better life. I enjoyed the variety of characters in this book – from a not-so-traditional Italian mob leader to an independent Italian-American young woman and from a good man pushed to defend his family to a seemingly evil one protecting a friend. And I absolutely adored the phrases — often in Italian — and details like Italian mannerisms that make this such an authentic read.

Recommended for anyone that enjoys historical fiction, especially Italophiles.

GIVEAWAY: Win 1 of 3 copies of Birds of Passage (print book USA & Canada, ebook international). Click here to enter the RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY!

GET YOUR FREE COPY! The Kindle edition of Birds of Passage will be free to download Saturday, November 7th through Wednesday, November 11th. Or if you can’t wait, Birds of Passage is now available on Amazon.

Note: I received a free digital copy of Birds of Passage in exchange for an honest review.
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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Lonely Planet Kids: The Travel Book

I’m pleased to be participating in this blog tour coordinated by Mother Daughter Book Reviews for the new titles recently released by Lonely Planet Kids (an imprint from Lonely Planet, the world’s leading travel publisher), from October 15 to 31, 2015.Lonely Planet Blog Tour Button

Lonely Planet Kids aims to enhance learning, interaction and appreciation for the planet’s rich diversity of people, places and cultures. Immersive, engaging and educational, the new Lonely Planet Kids books continue to explore the world and inspire awhole new generation of travelers as only Lonely Planet can.

About The Travel Book

The Travel Book Title: Lonely Planet Kids – The Travel Book: A journey through every country in the world | Publication Date: September, 2015 | Publisher: Lonely Planet Kids | Pages: 212 | Recommended Ages: 8+ Description: Where can you climb a giant tower of sticky buns? What is a bokikokiko? Discover the answer to these questions and hundreds more with Lonely Planet Kids The Travel Book: A Journey through Every Country in the World the new, kid-friendly (ages 8+) version of Lonely Planet’s best-selling The Travel Book. In Lonely Planet Kids The Travel Book, every country from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe gets a dedicated page spread packed with amazing facts on animals, culture, sports, food and much more, bringing the world to life with eye-popping photography and illustrations.

My thoughts: As a self-proclaimed writer with wanderlust, expat family and mother of a passport-toting toddler, I am always looking for new ways to introduce my child to the world. Lonely Planet Kids The Travel Book is a fantastic way to explore new places without leaving home. I really appreciate that each country – no matter how big or small, rich or poor, well-known or obscure – gets the exact same amount of space, one page. And that page is packed with kid-friendly information about the things that make that country special. Think hopping rats from Kuwait, Benin as the origin of Voodoo and the national sport of The Netherlands… Fierljeppen, of course. It’s just plain fun to open this beautiful, hardcover book to a random page and discover a fascinating fact about a place we haven’t visited. For an older child, it will be a reference book for geography assignments and plain old curiosity. Highly recommended and topping my gift giving list for middle grade nieces and nephews this year.

Here’s a sample of the chocked-full-of-information pages throughout this gorgeous book…


I was also fortunate to get a sneak peek at another new Lonely Planet Kids book, Adventures Around The Globe.

About Adventures Around the Globe

Adventures Around the Globe Title: Adventures Around the Globe | Publication Date: September, 2015 | Publisher: Lonely Planet Kids | Pages: 60 + 12 pages of stickers | Recommended Ages: 4+ Description: Come and explore some of the world’s most amazing places with Adventures Around the Globe, a special edition sticker atlas from the ‘Adventures in…’ activity book series. Young explorers (ages 4+) will discover fun facts, interact with maps and puzzles, decorate real-life locations with over 250 reusable stickers – even create a fold-out 3D model of the globe.

My thoughts: Well-suited for preschoolers, kindergarteners and early primary grades, Adventures Around the Globe is filled with activities that reinforce the uniqueness of each continent. From mazes to coloring indigenous masks, finding the differences between geisha costumes to creating a personalized map with removable and reusable stickers (brilliant!), there is a lot to keep a youngster busy. Plus, the facts listed on the pages for each region are unique and utterly fascinating. My toddler loves the idea of glowing worms living in caves in New Zealand. This portable paperback is a great item to have on a trip for the educational and entertainment value. Recommended for young children that are interested in learning about the world or those that aren’t because after seeing this book, they will be.

Here’s a sample of the informational pages in this colorful book…


Be sure to enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal payment via Rafflecopter below and visit the other blogs participating in this tour for insights about all four of the upcoming books by Lonely Planet Kids.

Note: I recieved a copy of Lonely Planet Kids – The Travel Book: A journey through every country in the world (physical and PDF) as well as a PDF copy of Adventures Around the Globe in exchange for an honest review.

About Lonely Planet Kids

LP Kids Logo From the world’s leading travel media company comes Lonely Planet Kids, a children’s imprint that brings the world to life for young explorers everywhere. We’re kickstarting the travel bug and showingkids just how amazing our planet can be. We will inspire and delight curious kids, showing them the rich diversity of people, places and cultures that surrounds us. We promise to share our enthusiasm and love of the world, our sense of humour and continual fascination for what it is that makes the world we live in the diverse and magnificent place it is. It’s going to be a big adventure! Come explore.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Lonely Planet Kids Blog Tour Schedule

October 15

Mother Daughter Book Reviews (Launch & Giveaway)

Cherry Mischievous (Spotlight: Adventures Around the Globe)

Rockin’ Book Reviews (Review: How to be an International Spy)

October 16

Domestic Chanteuse (Spotlight: The Travel Book)

Reading Authors (Review: You Rule!)

October 17

Adalinc to Life (Review: Adventures Around the Globe)

Geo Librarian (Review: The Travel Book)

October 18

2ReadBook (Review: How to be an International Spy)

Tea Time and Books (Spotlight: You Rule!)

October 19

The Blended Blog (Review: The Travel Book)

Icefairy’s Treasure Chest (Review: Adventures Around the Globe)

October 20

Bookworm for Kids (Review: You Rule!)

Mami Tales (Review: How to be an International Spy)

October 21

Here’s the Story (Review: The Travel Book)

Alwaysjoart (Review: You Rule!)

October 22

Tina the Bookworm (Review: How to be an International Spy)

Sunshine Girl Blog (Spotlight: Adventures Around the Globe)

October 23

Fuonlyknew (Review: Adventures Around the Globe)

Books for Books (Review: You Rule!)

October 24

Jemima Pett (Review: The Travel Book)

October 25

Published Bestsellers (Spotlight: How to be an International Spy)

October 26

K&A’s Children’s Book Reviews (Review: Adventures Around the Globe)

Christy’sCozy Corners (Review: The Travel Book)

October 27

My Soul Called Life (Review: How to be an International Spy)

I Read What You Write (Review: You Rule!)

October 28

Blooming Brilliant (Review: Adventures Around the Globe)

Writer With Wanderlust (Review: The Travel Book)

October 29

View From the Birdhouse (Spotlight: The Travel Book)

Kevin Gerard, Author of Diego’s Dragon (Review: You Rule!)

October 30

P is for Preschooler (Review: Adventures Around the Globe)

The Logonauts (Review: The Travel Book)

October 31

Oh My Bookness (Review: How to be an International Spy)

Blog Tour Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner’s choice Giveaway ends: November 8, 11:59 pm, 2015 Open to: Internationally

Click here to enter the RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY. Good luck!

World Book Reviews: Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the missing canary eggs by Janet Hurst-Nicholson

LeonSet in Durban, South Africa, Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the missing canary eggs brings together a wonderful cast of animal characters as the mystery of an egg caper unfolds. With a good dose of humor along the way, the realities of life in the wild are not diluted — moles really don’t see very well, birds prance and strut, and sometimes rats get hungry — and these fantastic creatures stay true to character.

The author does a marvelous job of cleverly inserting facts about the animals we meet in Pigeon Valley throughout this middle grade detective story. The lovely illustrations throughout the story give the animals their own personalities — Constable Mole wears sunglasses and Spotted Eagle Owl, the judge, puts her big eyes to use — that will help young readers remember the unique features of this wonderful South African cast.

Selected as a Jay Heale’s BOOKCHAT AWARD winner in the 1993 South African Books of the Year, Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the missing canary eggs has recently been released as an ebook. For more information, visit Just4Kix Books, the author’s fun and fact-filled website, to check out all of Jan Hurst-Nicholson’s books, see drawings and details about the cast of characters in Leon Chameleon P.I. books and read a sample.

A sincere thank you to the author for providing a digital copy of the book and introducing me to her wonderful stories. I’ve just added another of her books, Bheki and the Magic Light, right on the top of my ever-expanding TBR pile!

Leon Chameleon P.I. and the case of the missing canary eggs
Written by Janet Hurst-Nicholson
Illustrated by Barbara McGuire
ISBN: 978-1515294450
Available at Amazon

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