The Book Review Cafe
2000-2004


For a number of years this was the website for The Book Review Cafe where visitors could find down-to-earth book reviews of all book genres as well as in depth author interviews.
When the domain registration of The Book Review Cafe expired, the site disappeared along with all its reviews. The new owners of the domain felt that the site's content is as relevant today as it was in 2004- especially the reviews. Consequently the new owners have restored an edited version of the site from its 2004 archived content from August 22 offering a glimpse of what this site offered its readership.
Enjoy.

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The Book Review Cafe is where you can find down-to-earth book reviews of all book genres as well as in depth author interviews. Whether you're looking for Suspense, Romance, or even Mystery, you'll find it here at The Book Review Cafe. Join our newsletter, The Freshly Brewed News, and receive updates on upcoming authors. By joining, you are automatically entered to win free books!

This is the August 22nd, 2004 edition.

 

Book Cover Reviews for January 6th:
New to the Book Review Cafe. Not only do we review books, but now we review the covers, too! Book cover artwork is important...

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The Perfect Gift for Avid Readers and Writers:
Are you looking for that last minute gift idea for your Read-A-Holic friends, or for that special writer that you know? Then check out Levenger's online store. They have many elegant items such as:

  • Book Lights
  • Book Marks
  • Reading pillows
  • Book Bags
  • and a ton more!

These products are beautiful, giving your gift an aura of sophistication. You just can't go wrong!


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Carolyn's Corner for June 7th:
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of This is the Place, and now she's Book Review Cafe's special columnist. She's such a bright author, we had to give her a place in the Cafe. Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel, This is the Place, has won eight awards. Her second book, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, is creative nonfiction; it has won three. Her fiction, nonfiction and poems have appeared in national magazines, anthologies and review journals. She speaks on Utah’s culture, tolerance and other subjects and has appeared on TV and hundreds of radio stations nationwide. She loves to travel and has studied writing and poetry at UCLA and in the United Kingdom; St. Petersburg, RU.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Author
This is the Place has won eight awards and Harkening has won three.

Culture, Genetics, Nurture: All Influence Destiny

It is not exactly a revolutionary idea that families are important in a person’s life. Many of us point at what was supportive in our families and what was not as reasons for our strengths, excuses for our failures. I believe (and someday I feel certain the sociologists/psychologists/geneticists will prove my thesis) that we are born with a certain character (genetics) and that we react to certain dynamics within our families and cultures (environment/sociology) according to those predetermined genes. That our reactions are mostly within our control is also predetermined by chemistry (genetics) that predetermines that we have that control.

To prove that point, there may be a study out there that tracks families in which one child is a real mess (the Gilmores, the Kempers, the Daumers, the DeSalvos) and the others are, you know, regular guys who pay their taxes and pursue happiness in constructive ways.

My theory does not come from a formal study but observation of my own reaction to influences in my own family. I believe that one of the reasons I am a writer is that my mother was a storyteller.

Just when I though I had heard all the family stories—many times—my mother thought of another to tell me. She always loved to read. Her voice echoed that of many great authors—which I hardly noticed—and many supermarket romances, which I did. She described people she has met or only observed from across the waiting room at the doctor’s office. Her words painted a picture down to the last detail like a paragraph carefully wrought. So, did I inherit a genetic trait for detail, for stories, for memories? Or were those interests and/or abilities nurtured?

The general question is still being argued but I do know that at one time I did not value my mother’s tendencies toward storytelling.

“Her hair is as thick as a mane,” she would say. She would detail a woman’s beauty from the shape of her eyelids to the way the tilt of her nose changes as she ages. When she told a story she repeated it back in dialogue, even when it happened years ago--as if her mind were a tape recorder and had stored every nuance. I would roll my eyes, or sigh or shuffle my feet. With that attitude you can be sure I did not intentionally follow her example.

Then, one day I did. A little maturity helped me to be more accepting and because of that, I made self-actualizing choices. I decided that the record keeping she was doing in her head and in her speech would be even more valuable if I put pen to paper.

I was also influenced by my culture. My father’s side of the family was Mormon and all of them were very interested in genealogy. I was raised in Utah, a state permeated with an interest in family history. That was probably not genetics but influence-- unless one thinks that what is in the air influences a person at the cellular level. (This is an idea that I do not fully dismiss.)

Mother was elated, of course, that I decided to write her stories. But I was the greater beneficiary of the decision I had made (or was it of the genes I had inherited? Or was it the influence that she had over me?)

It’s an interesting problem. The truest solution probably is a combination of these possibilities. The point is, I didn’t run away to Europe to avoid what I thought I hated. Instead I wrote what I had heard, filtered, to be sure, through my own sensibilities.

Two books have been made from my memories, the hearkenings of my mother and the storytellers and genealogists in my family. I liken the process of recording them to a child who listens to adult conversation with nuances that she doesn’t quite understand: she fills out the meaning with her own experiences. It is a bit like the child who tries to stand upright after twirling herself into oblivion; she learns that the pictures blend into a blur like a pinwheel and then—with time-- reassemble themselves in the living world.

That I chose to give in to my destiny, whatever its source, has brought me more “self-fulfillment” than any other aspect of my life. Marriage and children are “other-fulfillment” and I’m glad I had those, too. Taken together they are what many call happiness.


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Book Review Cafe's Boy/Girl Shop:

 

Book Review Cafe teams up with Cafe Press to bring you our first ever Boy / Girl T-Shirt, Sweat Shirt and mugs. They're fun items to wear or use.
 

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Mail Bag for Oct 20th to 26th:
Check out the best emails that Book Review Cafe received. Some will make you laugh, others will make you cry. Read for yourself, and have a good time...

The Book Review Cafe Mailbag:

Over the course of many years, we received many emails. Some are good, some are bad, and most of them are just Spam. But there is that one percent that just raised our eye brows. It's about time we shared these with you.

Now, just to let you know, I'm not going to specifically mention who wrote these emails. So if you are someone who wrote something that's pretty stupid, don't worry. You're identity is between me, you, and my friends...that last part was a joke.

The format will be simple enough, I'll provide the email's text and then I'll throw in my own little commentary afterwards.

Enjoy the show

Marc Sadowski
Assistant Editor


Some of our best emails come from those that want to unsubscribe from our newsletter. They are short and sweet, but sometimes they rub me the wrong way. Here's one:

Sender: Unknown
Please remove my email from your mailing list. Your newsletter doesn't currently meet my needs.

Removing people from a newsletter subscription list is nothing new. It's that last part that bothers me. Your newsletter doesn't currently meet my needs. What the heck does that supposed to mean? I can only picture some guy sitting by his computer, needing some sort of online newsletter fix to keep up with his addiction of the World Wide Web. Maybe it was to show his girlfriend that he had culture by subscribing to a literary magazine, but when his girlfriend read one of my feature articles, she was quickly turned off by my crass behavior. I ruined his relationship, and his life. The Freshly Brewed News could no longer meet his needs.

I feel so used.


Here's one that I received from a lot of people recently. But before I show you one of the messages, let me tell you the story behind it. In a lot of the Freshly Brewed Newsletters, I like to joke about what I look like. I make some sort of snappy comment, followed by a picture on the right. So, here's the email:

Sender: Sandy
Marc, I read your latest article in your newsletter and it was funny :-) But is that what you really look like?

Keep up the great work.
~Sandy~

Here are a few images of myself:

 

Image 1 is obvious. It's Brad Pitt. Perhaps some of you heard of him. Image 2 is a bit tricky. It's Clive Owen, star of the popular online movies produced by BMW. It's well worth the visit to BMWFilms.com. Clive was also in The Bourne Identity.

To know what I really look like, it's not for the faint of heart.

So that's what I really look like...or is it? Dun, dun, Duuuun!


This last email was a fun one because this person and I went at it for a few responses. I argued with him for a few days before I just ignored him. It all started with the new book cover reviews on this web site.

Sender: Donald
Dear Marc Sadowski,
I am a freelance graphic designer from Delaware. I am appalled by your book cover reviews. I don't judge books by their covers. I go by what the author wrote because that's what's most important.

Please unsubscribe me from your newsletter. I no longer want to be a part of something so insane.

Donald

I wrote back by saying:
Dear Donald,
I am sorry that you did not like the book cover reviews. The whole point was to critique the art work on the covers. A book cover is like a beacon of light. Its goal is to entice the potential consumer to buy the book. I review how well the book cover works.

You are now unsubscribed from our newsletter. I am sorry that you did not enjoy the book cover reviews. I hope that you enjoy our book reviews, and we will welcome you back any time.

Cheers,
Marc Sadowski

thought that it was a good reply. I tried to be polite. After all, you can't win them all, right? Well, he wrote back with this:

Dear Marc,
I told you that I am NEVER going back to your web site! The fact that you keep doing those asinine book cover reviews is what makes me hate you and your web site. I am a graphic designer, and I know better. I do not want to be part of your idiodicy any longer.

It's too bad that none of you have any brains to figure this out. You're all stupid! Go and get a real job!

At this point, I felt that too much was too much. The gloves were off. Now it was personal. I usually don't do this, but something compelled me to reply in a manner that Donald would soon not forget:

Dear Donald,
On behalf of the Book Review Cafe staff, I would just like to tell you to go f*ck your self. To disagree with a review is all well and good, but to make personal stabs at our staff is a whole other story.

Oh wow, you're a graphic designer! Let me worship the ground you walk on. Please! I'm a graphic designer, too. I'm also an editor, a web designer, web coder...shall I go on? The fact that you do graphic design doesn't impress me. Actually, I'd have to say that you're the only graphic designer that doesn't like the book cover reviews. That's not a matter of opinion. It's a matter of fact. The emails I receive is proof of that.

And as far as our staff is concerned, we have some of the best and brightest working for the Cafe! They are all dedicated and passionate at what they do best.

Cheers,
Marc Sadowski

He wrote back, but I deleted it.

That's all the mail for this week. I hope you enjoyed!
Marc Sadowski
Assistant Editor

 

A Brand New Editing Service:
The Book Review Cafe is proud to announce the launch of its sister web siteBookInk.com! Attention authors with finished manuscripts. Would you like a professional to proofread and evaluate your literary work before the dreaded submission process? Then give BookInk.com a try.

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Your Suggestions:
We here at the Book Review Cafe are dedicated to making you online reading experience the best it can be. That is why we would like to hear

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Quick Online Survey:
The Book Review Cafe has experienced tremendous growth. That means there are brand new readers. All we ask of you is to share a little bit about yourself in this very brief survey. We use our survey results to understand our readers. This helps us shape our free web site to suit your needs.

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Web Site of the Month:
HomeStar Runner is one of the funniest animation web sites on the web. The only way to describe these cartoons is that it's a PG-13 version of a children's book. Sure, Nickelodeon won't tough this, but it's well worth the visit...

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Advertise with Book Review Cafe:
Are you an author or publisher looking to promote your latest book? Try advertising with Book Review Cafe. We're proud to host some of the best and brightest readers on the Internet. If you're looking to promote your product to smart, avid readers, look no further...

 

 

 

 

 

Help for Authors:
There are hundreds of books out there on publishing, attracting literary agents and publishers. If you're an author, chances are, you have a number of these books...

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Sticky Fingers:

 

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"Sticky Fingers" by Alison Tyler
Published by Cheek Books
Copyright August 2004
Genre:erotic romance
ISBN:0352339012
Rating: 

Jodie Silver likes adventure, good times, and taking things that don't belong to her. It doesn't matter if the item she desires is a physical object or a person, she'll pay any price to obtain it.

Nick Hudson is a private detective hired by an unknown man wanting to tail a woman named Jodie. Following Jodie around, Nick took pleasure in all of her activities. Meeting Isabelle in her lingerie store, then Cameron joining in their fun; Lucus, her other playtoy; and the many other strangers she encounters along the way.

Nick has a feeling that Jodie is on to his spying, but even if she doesn't know that he is following her and her friends around, she puts on quite a show!

Sticky Fingers is not only hot and steamy, but romantic in a sexy way. Alison Tyler can mix business with pleasure and these characters are all about pleasing everyone.

by LISA

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In the Flesh:

by Emma Holly
Published by Cheek Books
Copyright August 2004
Genre:erotic romance
ISBN:0352339039
Rating: 

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David Imakita is a very wealthy man. Living in Vermont in a huge estate, he has time for work only and not pleasure. His assistant and bodyguard, Sato, is his faithful friend, always there for David, always protecting.

When David rescues a beautiful woman named Chloe Dubois, from her ransacked apartment, he immediately falls for her. Sato does not and tries to keep his distance, even though Chloe makes sexual advances toward him.

Chloe has a past as David and Sato soon find out. Her father, a high-profile judge, has a secret that only Chloe and her father know about. Chloe has kept this secret with her throughout her life as a reckless, institutionalized teenager, a stripper, and now, as owner and director of the Seven Veils, a sexy dinner theater that puts on very steamy acts.

Can David make Chloe see that he loves her despite her rocky past? And will Chloe let a handsome influential man love her?

I liked this book in the Cheek series by Emma Holly, but it wasn't as racy as her other books. This might be the book that you're looking for; just enough heat between the characters to make the story tantalizing.

by LISA

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Cooking Up a Storm:

 

by Emma Holly
Published by Cheek
Copyright August 2004
Genre:erotic romance
ISBN:0-352-33897-0
Rating: 

 


Want to devour something deliciously naughty, as far as words are concerned? Emma Holly's Cooking Up a Storm will have you steaming as your eyes rove each page.

Abby Coates owns the Coates Inn in Connecticut. She started caring for the Inn after her father couldn't do anything more with it. She was the manager, accountant, and chef. Cooking wonderful meals was her specialty and everyone noticed.

Abby decided that she needed a full-time chef to help out because she couldn't do everything. Storm Dupree, a reknowned chef, applies for the job and makes his steamy appearance. Abby quickly notices his great accent, his fantastic body, and handsome features. Oh yeah, and he also cooks amazingly, even getting the customers to act like horny teenagers again, just with his dishes!

Inevitably, Abby and Storm have many encounters in the kitchen, his room, anywhere their imaginations will take them. Storm opens up Abby to her sexual side that she didn't know she had. Storm shows Abby a whole new world of sex that she never knew existed. She even discovers her own sexual appetite with an old friend of her father's, a woman that has had a crush on her, and men that are swarming the place after she broke up with her boyfriend.

I thought Cooking Up a Storm had a great storyline and very steamy, erotic scenes. This will definitely get your palette wet for more than a taste of Emma Holly's novels. Check out her other titles.

by LISA

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The Rosedale Diet:

 

 by Ron Rosedale, M.D.
Published by HarperCollins
Copyright August 2004
Genre:health/diet
ISBN:0060565721
Rating: 


The Rosedale Diet is actually a very simple concept to follow, but it is very strict on food intake and choices. Dr. Rosedale has incorporated "good" foods into an "A" list; foods you can add in after the initial three-week program into a "B" list; and a "C" list of foods that you absoultely should not have. (All the good stuff!)

This diet will totally reconstruct your eating eating habits, especially how you cook and prepare meals. Dr. Rosedale has sample menus, recipes, and tons of information on how his plan will work for everyone, for any body type. He even claims people with diabetes, high cholesterol, even arthritis can benefit from the great "side effects" from this program, following it correctly, of course.

If you'd like to try a new way of eating, aside from just "all protein" or "no carbs," try The Rosedale Diet Plan. It could just work for you!

by LISA

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Live Bait:
by P.J. Tracy
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons
Copyright May 2004
ISBN:0399151478
Rating: 


In a quiet Minneapolis neighborhood, Lily Gilbert walks out to the small nursery she and her husband, Morey, ran to find her Morey dead on the ground. Morey Gilbert, the sweet old man that everyone in town loved like a father, was laying in the dirt as the rain splattered on his face, with a bullet in his head. Before the police arrived, Lily who was a tiny woman herself, managed to lift Morey back into the nursery and place him on a table and clean him up before even the funeral director got there.

Once again detectives Magozzi and Rolseth are assigned to the case. Little did they know it was to be the first of a string of murders that were to plague this small community over the days that followed. All with the same M.O., all friends of Morey's. Who is killing these old people and for what reason are the answers that the detectives are seeking, but all the clues lead them nowhere and not even Lily or her son are above suspicion.

This is the second novel by this mother and daughter team and it is another great read. Suspense, mystery and a must for all who want to solve the crime. I enjoy P.J. Tracy's work and hope to see more of it!

by Louise Riveiro-Mitchell author of Autumn Sky

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Miracle Girl:

by Keith Scribner
Published by Riverhead Books
Copyright August 2004
ISBN:1594480133
Rating: 


Even though John Quinn works as a real estate agent for the diocese, he does not believe in miracles. Thousands of desperate pilgrims arrive in Hudson City where an extraodinary Vietnamese American girl, Sue Phong, is believed to be healing people throughout the city. With his relationship with Rita, his live-in girlfriend, becoming increasingly distant, and his friend pushing him toward a shady deal between the Archdiocese, John's life is spinning out of control. As Sue Phong gains media attention and thousands flock to Hudson looking for a miracle, the church has to take a stand. Is it an elaborate scam or the mysterious works of God? Quinn has to take stand; is she a hoax or the real thing? As Quinn gets closer to Sue Phong, he is forced to take a look at his own life as his best friend has reported him to the IRS and his life partner, Rita, is carrying on an e-mail affair with another man.

In the beginning this story held some promise. The characters' interaction with each other was not developed though. The ending was not an ending at all and left more questions than answers. HOST PFCL Stormy Community Leader

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Old Songs:

by Sharanya Naik
Published by eBookstand Books
Copyright May 2004
Genre:poetry
ISBN:1589092031
Rating: 


This collection of twenty-five poems, short stories, and a short novella, tells the story of seeking, loss, and finding love. This book contains the retelling of the story "the Ramayana," an ancient Indian saga of the battle between good and evil as told by the story's female protagonist.

Heartfelt poems and an interesting read of the story of The Ramayana.

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The Secrets of Time:

by Gary Sturm
Published by Xlibris Corporation
Copyright May 2004
Genre:thriller
ISBN:1413424570
Rating: 


During construction, a copper chest is found purely by accident. A codex, written in a form of ancient Hebrew, which dates back to Before Christ, is discovered in the box. The codex is a hoax, but there is something strange about it.

This "what if" thriller explores the questions: What if it was true, how would the government react, how would the people react if every belief they held in God and science was not true. The Secrets of Time examines the actions and reactions of God, priests, rabbis, ministers, and the government.

Well written and thought provoking until the last chapter. Then the book falls apart leaving more unanswered questions.

HOST PFCL Stormy Community Leader

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Hepatitis & Liver Disease:

by Melissa Palmer, M.D.
Published by Avery
Copyright June 2004
Genre:health
ISBN:1583331883
Rating: 


With the outbreak of Hepatitis C in 1989, one was lead to believe this was a disease only limited to drug addicts. When my mother contracted it in the later part of 1998 it was hard to imagine my surprise as I couldn't understand how my mother could have gotten this disease.

After reading Dr. Palmer's book I see that so many symptoms were there, only we were looking in all the wrong places. Chapter 16 explains a disease known as Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in which fat is stored on the liver. This happens to individuals who are obese, but if found early can be stopped before it leads to cirrhosis, liver trouble, or cancer of the liver. Dr. Palmer has given us easy to read dialogue and not only the western medication approach to this disease, but also the use of herbs, and as a last resort, surgery.

A great reference or reference book as well as helpful to those who are suffering from liver disease.

by Louise Riveiro-Mitchell author of Autumn Sky

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Lupus Q&A; Everything You Need To Know:

by Robert G. Lahita M.D., Ph.D & Robert H. Phillips, Ph.D
Published by Avery
Copyright June 2004
Genre:health
ISBN:1583351964
Rating: 


Even though as estimated 1.5 million Americans suffer from this disease, it still remains difficult to diagnosis. The authors have presented us with a complete question and answer series on this disease. Not only is there the physical damage to the patient, but the effects are psychological also.

Yes, there are certain times when Lupus can go into remission, but it can flare up again without warning. As of now there really is no cure for this disease, but there is research and hope for one.

This is a wonderful guide for patient's with this as well as explanations for the families who also suffer along with the patient.

by Louise Riveiro-Mitchell author of Autumn Sky

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Sandcastle Memories:

by Bob Paul and Susan Tracy
Published by Gardenia Press
Copyright February 2004
Genre:terrorist fiction
ISBN:0974493899
Rating: 


In times of stress and uncertainty we tend to recall memories of calm and peaceful times, this was the case of David Warren.

The year was 1995 and Bosnia was in the stages of war. David was worrying for NATO. His job was to bring supplies and aid to the people of this country. His truck was seized and he was captured and held as a spy. In the dark and gloomy cell he was to call home for an undisclosed period of time. David began to hold his sanity and his life together as he thought about the times he spent all those summers so long ago building sandcastles with Anna McBride. During his stay in prison his only thoughts were of those days he spent on the shore. Anna and he had become such close friends and that bond was there even after all these years. They still kept in touch and he had written her that he was leaving Bosnia so she would think he was safe.

Back state side, Anna McBride, a reporter, saw the headline in the paper of a NATO agent who was missing. Though she had the letter from David saying he was gone she still had the feeling he was the missing agent. Unable to shake this feeling Anna heads on a plane and goes to Bosnia to find David and to bring him home.

A great story of not only friendship, but of love and a look at how war affects the innocent ones.

by Louise Riveiro-Mitchell author of Autumn Sky

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The Edge Chronicles: Beyond the Deepwoods:

by Paul Stewart
Illustrated by Chris Riddell
Published by Random House Children's Books
Copyright June 2004
Genre:children's fantasy ages 10-12
ISBN:0385750684
Rating: 


The Edge Chronicles is a story about an exotic world so different from our own. You follow young Twig through this perilous journey through the treacherous deep woods to find his way back to the path. Shortly after birth, Twig was adopted by a loving and nuturing family of woodtrolls. During his adventures you come across frogs, goblins, banderbears, and tress that want you for lunch!

All Twig wants is to find out who he is and where he belongs. Along with having to adapt in order to survive he makes friends that last and that you'll remember for a long time!

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of fantasy novels, but I found Beyond the Deep Woods to be thoroughly entertaining and a great book for young adults. This book will excite and make you smile; at other times it will make you sad because you feel for the characters. It only makes the story more memorable.

Reviewed by Jess

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The Edge Chronicles: Stormchaser:

by Paul Stewart
Illustrated by Chris Riddell
Published by Random House Children's Books
Copyright June 2004
Genre:children's fantasy ages 10-12
ISBN:0385750706
Rating: 

 

In the sequel to Beyond the Deepwoods, as the second installment of The Edge Chronicles, it lived up to and surpassed its predecessor! You read along, in this adventure with the lovable Twig, as he grows up and begins living his new life with his father and the Sky Pirates. The Storm Chaser is a skyship famous for hunting down the precious substance, stormphrax, which can save the floating city of Santaphrax from drifting away in the sky. Cloud Wolf, Twig's father, is the city's only hope, but are he and Twig and the other roughneck and sky pirate crewmates up to the task?

Fighting through the enchanting twilight woods, which can let your body slowly die, but leave you slowly drifting into insanity, along with the Murderous Mike where the worst threat may come from your only hope for survival, and the familiar yet haunting Deepwoods. Enjoy your adventure with Twig on the high skies and share his pride and sense of meaning and belonging.

I continued to feel that these books will help motivate young adults to read more, and more importantly, help develop, in kids, a passion for reading. These books are the perfect opportunity for parents and kids to bond with the cleverly written word and skillfully and whimsically drawn pictures.

Reviewed by Jess

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Strange Encounters: Oh No! UFO:

by Linda Joy Singleton
Published by Llewellyn Publications
Copyright August 2004
Genre:middle grade mystery
ISBN:0738705799
Rating: 


Cassie Strange, her brother Lucas, her sister Amber, and her parents were on a camping trip. Her mom boasted about how this was supposed to be a family trip, but when Cassie came across her dad's important papers, she knew better. Her dad was the host of a TV show called I Don't Believe It. He was actually on an assignment, but used the family trip as a cover.

Looking for alien life was not only Cassie's dad's job, but also Cassie's. After bringing Amber to the outhouse one night, Cassie stumbled upon a spaceship, but no aliens. The alien, Vee, would actually be in the form of her own sister, taking over Amber's body so she could find some missing papers in a case she dropped on Earth.

Wanting her sister back, Cassie told Vee that she would help her find her missing case. The two set off to Mr. Lester's trailer home, where he supposedly found the case, and Cassie's dad was going to interview him for his show. They needed to get Vee's case back before her ship took off with Amber still onboard.

See what crazy capers Cassie gets herself into just by being friends with an alien!

The Strange family is part of the Strange Encounters series so you don't want to miss out by not reading the first book. Cassie and her family are a little different than most families. Find out just exactly what they are up to in the Strange Encounters series. Enjoyable for any age!

by Lisa

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The Big Ocean: An Underwater Naptime Adventure:
Another Naptime Adventure, this time underwater! Sally-Ann and her mother and father went to the beach one sunny day. After making a sandcastle, Sally-Ann and her mom took a nap. When they woke up, both girls were mermaids...

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Nursing Baby:
Benjamin was worried when his mom brought his new baby sister home from the hospital. She told him not to give her any food because she was only going to nurse her. Benjamin was even more worried now because his sister wasn't going to eat any food and there wasn't a nurse at his house either...

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An African Princess:
Young Lyra is an african princess. Her mother told her the story of how a long time ago, in Africa, a princess was captured and taken to another place to live. That princess had children and their children had children, and her family was part of that family...

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Old Coyote:

by Nancy Wood
Illustrated by Max Grafe
Published by Published by Candlewick Press
Copyright August 2004
Genre:children's picture book ages 4-8
ISBN:0763615447
Rating: 


A moving tale about an old coyote who travels down a path that he once walked upon as a young coyote. He looks at his reflection in a stream and thinks how old he's gotten, visits the rabbit den where he used to chase them down, and thanks Father Sun for all the days he's seen him.

After taking a nap with Mrs. Coyote, Old Coyote lay down on a rock and watched the moon and the stars as his eyes drifted close.

This book was perfect and a little sad. I admit that I got a little teary-eyed at the end! Great illustrations by Max Grafe!

by LISA

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Sand Sister:

By Amanda White
Illustrated by Yuyi Morales
Published by Barefoot Books
Copyright March 2004
Genre:children's picture book ages 4-8
ISBN:1841486175
Rating: 


Paloma wishes for someone to play with when she goes to the beach with her mom and dad. After talking to Old Daddy Rock about wanting a sister, Paloma's drawing of a girl in the sand comes to life. Old Daddy Rock tells Paloma that her sand sister, Sandy, will have to leave once the tide comes in. Paloma makes the most of her time playing on the beach with Sandy.

A very sweet book of a little girl who wants a sister so badly. At the end, Paloma gets a surprise from her mom and dad that makes her very happy!

by LISA

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Secret Seahorse:

By Stella Blackstone
Illustrated by Clare Beaton
Published by Barefoot Books
Copyright March 2004
Genre:children's picture book preschool
ISBN:184148704X
Rating: 


In this hide-and-seek book, Seahorse is waiting for you to find him. In and out of secret caves, past the coral reefs, and an ancient shipwreck, Seahorse swims until he shows you something in a dark cave! Do you know what's there? Do you want to find out?

Secret Seahorse is an adorable story with cut-out patterns of sea-life that looks like you can reach in and touch them. A wonderful book for all ages.

by LISA

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I Took the Moon for a Walk:

I Took the Moon for a Walk" by Carolyn Curtis
Illustrated by Alison Jay
Published by Barefoot Books
Copyright March 2004
Genre:children's picture book ages 4-8
ISBN:1841486116
Rating: 


Carolyn Curtis writes and exceptionally cute book about a boy walking with the Moon. Taking a walk through the neighborhood, the boy and the Moon discover lots of things about the night. They hear the dogs howling, see their reflections in the water, and the starry night sky.

I Took the Moon for a Walk is a tale in rhyme. Easy-to-read and imaginative illustrations makes this book a winner for children of all ages.

by LISA


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