Thursday, October 29, 2009

Book Review for Aurora of the Northern Lights

Here is the book review for Aurora of the Northern Lights.


The story begins with a maid named Mistletoe who lived in the cold and ice. She meets a man and they fall in love. However, William could not live in the cold like Mistletoe, so they move away, which is hard for Mistletoe because she will be away from her family and the people who care about her, but she makes the sacrifice for love. As time passes, they have a child, Aurora, and she grows up with the comforting warmth of love surrounding her. But, her parents become ill and die, and it leaves Aurora with no one to take care of her or to even want to associate with her because she is different than everyone else. This of course saddens the little girl and causes her to roam the land looking for her own kind. Along the way Aurora meets friends who help her find her way home.

My Review:

Overall, I really enjoyed Aurora of the Northern Lights. The illustrations were whimsical and delightful, taking the reader to the world that reminds me of Candy Land. The words that were written in rhyme were fun to read and understand. The moral of acceptance and understanding regardless of where one comes from, is evident throughout the story. I love reading books that have a meaning to them, and this is a good one for children to be able to relate too. This is definetly going to be a christmas favorite for children.

The Interview:

Joining us today is Holly Hardin, author of Aurora of the Northern Lights. We’re going to talk to Holly about her new picture book.

Welcome, Holly. It’s great to have you with us.

How did your writing career begin?

I wrote my first play, Peter Rabbit and Missing Easter Egg Mystery, when I was nine and have been writing ever since.

Tell us about Aurora of the Northern Lights.

Aurora of the Northern Lights is a holiday story of adventure, sprites and magical charms with a subtle message of tolerance.

The book follows the journey of Aurora, who is left alone and friendless after losing her parents. But Aurora isn’t the same as everybody else, and as she sets out alone, she finds it hard to find anyone who cares about her story¾even at Christmastime¾because of her differences.

As her trek continues, Aurora receives three special gifts to keep her safe, along with important clues about her true home. Before it’s over, she’ll encounter a host of bizarre-looking creatures until she winds up at the location of the world’s most famous bearded man.

What age group is this book for?

This book is geared for kids aged 8-12

This is a beautiful picture book. What inspired you to write it?

Thank you. After 9/11, I wanted to write a story to teach my nieces to not judge people by their differences.

In what forms is your book available? Is it available in e-book, hard cover or traditional paperback, or all?

Aurora of the Northern Lights is available in e-book, soft cover and kindle.

Have you written other books? If so, tell us about them.

I have two other picture books coming out next year. Be on the look out for Wendy Wrydwitch and the Sunflower Pumpkin and The Smallest Kid in the Choir.

I have read that you have written various articles. What are those about?

Most of my articles deal with spirituality and meditation.

What kind of research did you have to do for this story, if any?

I researched the different legends of Santa Claus and his elves. I also studied various forms of poetry.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Readers and fans can learn more about me or contact me through my website.

Where can readers purchase your books and how much do they cost?

My book is available at, Barnes &, and Ripple Reader.

I have read that your story is compared to The Night Before Christmas. What lesson can children learn after reading it?

Hopefully, kids will learn perseverance and tolerance for other cultures.

What's next for you? Is there anything else that you are involved in or working on?

I have three adult novels, Clipped, Return to the Grove, and Truce, which will be out in 2011.

Has writing always been a passion for you?

Yes, I love creating other worlds for my readers.

Is there anything else that you would like to add or share?

I will be on book tour during this holiday season.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to our readers today. Good luck in all of your future endeavors. Please check out this picture book by Holly.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Book Review for the Chickadee Series

Today I am reviewing a delightful series by author Carol Zelaya called the Emily Chickadee Series. This is a three-part series written in easy-reading rhyme.

Book 1-Emily Waits for her Family- Follow this true story of the special bond between a tiny bird and a little girl, from first meeting to leaving, from new life to old friends.

The first book begins in spring with the arrival of a Chickadee who is soon to become a mommy. The Chickadees name is Emily. The girl watches the changes the Chickadee goes through, from laying her eggs, to them hatching and watching the babies grow, all from her window. Then in her backyard these birds begin to make a home.

Book 2-Caring for Emily's Family-is a continuation of the Chickadee series.
Enjoy this tale of Emily and her new Chickadee family as they settle into their permanent home in the little girl’s yard.

The second book goes into summer, with the Chickadees returning to the little girls yard. The story then proceeds to inform the reader of all the things birds need in order to live in someone's backyard, which I thought was very interesting and informative.

Book 3-Emily's New Home-Is the final installment of the Emily Chickadee series, follow Emily as she travels to join her life-long friend at her new home. Emily’s New Home is a powerful tale of love, loyalty and the bond between a special bird and her little girl.

The third book begins in the fall when the little girl moves from her home into another far away. Worried that she will never see her Emily again, the little girl begins to become very sad. Then one day, she sees the building of a nest and realizes that her Chickadee Emily has found her and is prepared to begin another family, wanting to be with her again.

The Author:

Carol Zelaya lives and writes in the Portland, OR area. She has written Emily’s story in hope of educating children about nature’s precious gifts. The wonder of nature is all around us, even in our own backyard, when we take the time to notice.

Zelaya is touring the Pacific Northwest in 2008 and is donating signed copies of her book to several low-income neighborhood schools and libraries to share her love of reading and nature.

My Review:

Overall these books were very good. They are the perfect size for children. My boys were carrying them around and reading them everywhere. The story was well thought out being in three books. It was interesting to see the journey of Emily and the life of a Chickadee throughout the seasons, as well as the devotion of birds and the connection they have with people. I am a nature girl and I love learning about animals and nature. These books were informative and entertaining, really showing a child, as well as parents, how special the connection can be between nature and people. Please check out Carol's website for more information about the series as well as to learn more about Chickadees. Also, at the end of each book there is a Chickadee log. Children can record information they observe when they see a Chickadee. It is a great learning tool and gets kids excited about bird watching.

Published by Richlee Publishing
Children's book/Nature
Appropriate for ages 4 and up

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New interviews and/or Reviews

Please check out Froggie Review for reviews about book 2 and 3 in the series. They are wonderful reviews.

Also, Katie Hines has done a wonderful interview about me and my series. Check that out as well at

I will also be at Erie Apple Orchards in Michigan this weekend signing all three books in my series. Feel free to stop by and say hello. More info will be available on my blog.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Book Review for Travels To Fahdamin-Ra

Here is a new review for Travels To Fahdamin-Ra which is a fantasy story for children.

The lives of fourteen and twelve year old Celestine and Joel Bridges change forever when they uncover a family secret. They are descendants of “Creators” who were given a world to rule with superhuman powers. The siblings travel to the world of Fahdamin-Ra and use their newfound abilities. Making friends among the three tribes, the Harun, the Masamba, and the Jabulani, they joyfully use their powers to cure, fly, and create animals. However, their fun soon turns to serious work when the Fahdamins are threatened by the evil Shadow Men, who have unusual abilities of their own. Can they triumph over this group of brutal men, or will they be expelled from Fahdamin-Ra forever?

Travels to Fahdamin-Ra is a well developed and creative story that keeps the readers interest right to the very end. The suspense and the intensity of the story forces the reader into wanting to know every detail of what is going on so they can imagine themselves in the same world as the characters, wanting to do their good work. Celestine and Joel discover a secret stone necklace that was passed down from generation to generation. Though no family member knows exactly what it does, the curiosities of the children soon uncover the mystery. While reading a verse found with the necklace they are transported to a world that is quite different from their own where they discover many interesting things about what the necklace is and who they are. They go back and forth between the worlds to get their father and mother so they can also see the wondrous place.

Upon talking with many people from the Harun tribe, they soon discover that they are almost like royalty. There was a prophecy many years ago, where a man and his two children would come and bring peace throughout the land. Celestine, Joel and their Father, are known as, “Creators” who supposedly created the world of Fahdamin-Ra. As the trio explore they soon come upon information that talks of past “Creators” and what they could do and what they believed. They learn that they have superhuman powers where they can heal the sick, fly, talk with animals, read minds, and so on. Determined to do what is right, they use their powers wisely, making lots of friends and in the process healing some of the problems between the tribes creating a peace that we wish our world could learn from. And yet with this new found friendship comes a problem that all the tribes seem to have—Shadow Men. These Shadow Men are run by the Sun Lord, who wants the power of the stone for himself. Because of his greed he hurts, deceives, and kills the people of Fahdamin-Ra, damaging everything in his path regardless of the consequences. This story is thick with compassion, understanding, friendship and love, and the knowledge that all things do not have to end in war and distrust. With a little bit of compromise and with the determination and strength to face the things we most fear, we can solve any problem. The ending also leads the reader into believing that there might be another adventure to Fahdamin-Ra coming soon, I hope I am correct. Overall, this story was well written and I hope that many people enjoy it as much as I have.

About the Author:
Chaz Young lives in Bath, Maine, with her husband Arnold and her two children, Callista and Toliver. Though born and raised in Maine, Chaz has lived in California, Virgina, and Puerto Rico.
Chaz wrote her book, "Travels to Fahdamin-Ra" for her children because they wanted a fantasy adventure story where brown kids like them were the heros. She is fascinated by Africa, especially West Africa and Nigeria in particular. She supports "Working Villages, International," donating part of the proceeds from her book sales to help them..

Hardcover: 264 pages
Publisher: Eloquent Books
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606933701
ISBN-13: 978-1606933701

Book can be bought through by the following link:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Book Review-A Horse Of Course by Shari Lyle-Soffe

Today I am reviewing a picture book by Shari Lyle-Soffe called A Horse Of Course.

The book is illustrated by Eugene Ruble
Publisher is Guardian Angel Publishing
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-935137-83-2
ISBN 10: 1-935137-83-2


A Horse Of Course is a delightful tale about a little boy named Aaron and his new pet. On Aaron’s birthday his Grandpa Roy, who lives on a farm, gives to him the very best gift ever— a horse. Aaron was more than happy to accept the gift because a horse is something he always wanted. However, Aaron didn’t realize how much of a responsibility Horace was going to be, especially when Aaron wanted Horace to live with him in his house. As you can imagine, a horse in a house can mean only one thing— a terrible mess. In fact, there are so many messes that Aaron’s mom refuses to clean up and makes Aaron do it. Aaron has a hard time adjusting with his new situation when Horace takes over the things that he enjoys. For example, when Horace eats his birthday cake, takes a bath in his tub, sits in his spot on the couch and sleeps in his bed while he is left sleeping on the floor. What a disaster! What will Aaron do to solve his new problem? Should he keep Horace and lay down some rules? Or should he think of a better place for Horace to stay where he will be happier? You will have to find out for yourself.

Overall my children and I liked the story. It was funny and well told. The illustrations are unique and full of character. They express to the reader exactly what is going on and portrays the story very well. The illustrations bring the story to life while causing the reader to laugh and share in the silliness of Horace and his actions. Shari and Eugene combine together to make a very cute tale and to teach children that before getting a pet, you must know how to take care of that pet so both owner and pet will be happy.


Joining us today is Shari Lyle-Soffe, author of A Horse Of Course. We’re going to talk to Shari about her new picture book.

Welcome, Shari. It’s great to have you with us.
Thank you, Renee. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Please tell our readers a bit about yourself.

I am a wife, mother, and grandmother. I have been writing for a little over ten years. I live in the woods of Southern Oregon with wildlife everywhere.

How did your writing career begin?
Like most writers my career began with a lot of rejection slips. In the beginning I wrote for children’s magazines. I started out with puzzles, games, crafts, poems, and eventually short stories. I have had the good fortune to be published in many of the better known children’s magazines.

Tell us about A Horse Of Course.
A Horse Of Course is my fifth book to be published. It is a humorous story of Aaron and the horse he receives for his birthday. Aaron thinks Horace, the horse, should live in the house with him. Father agrees but Mother isn’t so sure that is a good idea. Eventually Aaron begins to question the wisdom of this decision and must think of what is best for Horace.

What age group is this book for?
I think it would be good for children from 3 to age 9.

This is a very cute picture book. What inspired you to write it?
I was talking to a little boy once and he told me he wanted a horse. When I asked him where he would keep the horse he answered, “In my house.” The story grew out of that comment.

In what forms is your book available? Is it available in e-book, hard cover or traditional paperback, or all?
My book is available in e-book formats and paperback. They are available from ,, , Barnes and Noble, etc. and most brick and mortar book stores.

Have you written other books? If so, tell us about them.
I have a picture storybook series about brother raccoons: The Misadventures of Rooter and Snuffle, On the Go With Rooter and Snuffle, and Trouble Finds Rooter and Snuffle and I’m working on a new book for this series. Each book contains 3 independent stories.
I also have a picture book titled Nothing Stops Noah. A little boy is determined to earn money to buy a gift for his mother. He secures a job in a pet store owned by his grandfather. Before the store opens Grandpa leaves Noah in charge and asks him to feed the animals. Chaos prevails when all of the animals escape and Noah must find a way to return the unruly animals to their cages.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
To learn more about my books readers can go to

What kinds of activities will children find when visiting your website and blog?
On the left-hand side of my blog is a site directory with separate links for my series and each picture book. They will find book trailers, the Rooter and Snuffle theme song, games, puzzles, coloring pages, recipes, etc.

I have read that you have written for various magazines. Can you tell us a little more about that?
It was a great way to build up my confidence. I think you need to start with what you know. I loved crossword puzzles, poems, and crafts and I had been a professional crafter for four years. It was an easy way for me to get started, although it didn’t seem so easy at the time. All of my training to become a writer came from books. After I had some success I started writing short stories for children and writing articles for children’s writers.

I have heard that you live in the woods in Oregon. Does this help with developing your characters?
It gives me pleasure and often inspires my writing. Wildlife is such fun to watch. I have always loved animals. I think they have so much in common with children. They are mischievous yet innocent. Part of my youth was spent in the Redwoods of Northern California. My characters really come from my childhood and the lives of children I know.

Tell us about some of your favorite animals and why?
I love raccoons. I used to watch them when they visited our garbage cans on the back porch. I’m also fond of Stellars Jays because they are so sassy and bold. I enjoy the skunks, opossum, rabbits, deer, whatever we have I enjoy.

Where can readers purchase your books and how much do they cost?
The Rooter and Snuffle books are $9.95 each and the picture books are $10.95 each. They are available everywhere. If your store doesn’t have it in stock they can order it.

What's next for you? Is there anything else that you are involved in or working on?
I have a new picture book under contract called Shoo Cat! I am working on a new Rooter and Snuffle book, and I hope to write a tween novel soon.

Has writing always been a passion for you?
I have always written my thoughts and feelings down just for me not for anyone else to read. I have written poems just for fun and had a couple read on the weather report in San Diego years ago. I often thought of being a writer but didn’t feel qualified.

Is there anything else that you would like to add or share?
A while ago I came across my first book. It was a grade school assignment. It consisted of folded and stapled construction paper. The title was The Pink Pony. I wrote one sentence, “I have a pink pony”, and thought that was a book. I also illustrated that book. My father was a professional writer. He must have been mortified when he saw it. Hopefully my writing has improved.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to our readers today. Good luck in all of your future endeavors. Please check out this picture book by Shari Lyle-Soffe.