Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Review for Liam the Leprechaun by Charles A. Wilkinson

Liam the Leprechaun by Charles A. Wilkinson

Liam the Leprechaun is an interesting Irish tale full of meaning and self worth

Liam is a leprechaun that is much tinier than the rest of the leprechauns which live in Shillelagh. He gets bumped and ignored because of his size. He is poor and feels worthless. Tired of feeling and being this way, Liam visits the wisest of all leprechauns. His name is O’ Hoolihan. After spending some time with O’ Hoolihan, Liam learns a lot of lessons about many things, and he starts to feel better about himself. Opportunities start coming his way, and he sees how his size can be useful. He gets a job as a Special Investigator for lost and found things, which leads him to deal with a certain Gloccamoora McShaughnessy. A woman, who is loud and very difficult to deal with, yet is kind to Liam because he tries his best to help her. Needless to say, Liam begins to have confidence and has many successes from there, surprising the reader with what happens next.

Liam the Leprechaun is an interesting way to show children that size doesn’t matter. It reminds this reviewer of Thomas the Tank Engine; even if you are small you can be really useful. This book is filled with lots of good meaning that children and parents will enjoy. It is written in English but has many Irish names and lore that will entertain the reader. Overall, a good story.

Reviewer Renee Hand is the award-winning author of The Crypto-Capers series and the Joe-Joe Nut Series for children. Look for her new release The Crypto-Capers in: The Chest of Mystery in September 2010.

Book Review for Ice is Nice by Bonnie Worth for the The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library Series

Ice is Nice by Bonnie Worth

(Random House, August 10th, 2010)

The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library shows young readers that books can be entertaining and educational at the same time.

Ice is Nice is the latest book in this wonderful series, which talks to readers about the North and South Poles. The Cat in the Hat travels first to the North Pole then to the South, both of which are similar, yet are two very different places. On this journey, the reader will learn about many things, like why the North and South poles are so cold. As well as about the many people and wildlife that thrive in such frosty and unpredictable weather and how they are able to do so. The story has a bit of rhyme to it that will delight readers and is common to The Cat in The Hat books. The information provided is excellent for teachers and parents to help supplement what a child may already know about the North and South poles and about the environment.

Overall, this book was an enjoyable read and holds up to the educational value The Cat in the Hat Learning Library Series' instills.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Book by Paula Deen titled, Paula Deen's Savannah Style

Her latest book is Paula Deen’s Savannah Style. Being a fan of Paula Deen's cookbooks, this reviewer was very excited to take a look at her new release. It is filled with amazing ideas on how to turn an ordinary space into something beautiful with just a little effort. Paula's charm, elegance and style consume the pages to the point where the reader will want to read it to the very end. For more information about Paula Deen, visit her website at where readers will find recipes and lots more information.

More about Paula Deen’s Savannah Style:

With its lush gardens, stately town houses, and sprawling plantations, Savannah is the epitome of old Southern style, and who better to give you the grand tour than Paula Deen, the city’s most famous resident and anointed Queen of Southern Cuisine?

In this gorgeous, richly illustrated book, Paula Deen shares a full year of Southern living. Whether it’s time to put out your best china and make a real fuss, or you’re just gathering for some sweet tea on the porch at dusk, Savannah style is about making folks feel welcome in your home. With the help of decorator and stylist Brandon Branch, you’ll learn how to bring a bit of Southern charm into homes from Minnesota to Mississippi. For each season, there are tips on decorating and entertaining. In the spring, you’ll learn how to make the most of your outdoor spaces, spruce up your porch, and make your garden inviting. In the summer, things get more casual with a dock party. Sleeping spaces, including, of course, the sleeping porch, are the focal point of this chapter. In the fall, cooler weather brings a return to more formal entertaining in the dining room, and in the winter, attention returns to the hearth, as Paula and her neighbors put out their best silver and show you how they celebrate the holidays.

Paula loves getting a peek at her neighbors’ parlors, so she’s included photographs of some of Savannah’s grandest homes. From the vast grounds of Lebanon Plantation to the whimsically restored cottages on Tybee Island, you’ll see the unique blend of old-world elegance and laid-back hospitality that charmed Paula the moment she arrived from Albany, Georgia, with nothing but two hundred dollars and a pair of mouths to feed. And she isn’t shy about giving you a window into her own world, either. From her farmhouse kitchen to her luxurious powder room, you’ll see how Paula lives when she’s not in front of the camera.

Packed with advice and nostalgia, Paula Deen’s Savannah Style makes it easy to bring gracious Southern living to homes north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

About Paula Deen

She is the quintessential American success story, a best-selling author and a television show host, a tastemaker to the stars and to the everyday housewife and family. She is Paula Deen, a down-home, strong willed mom who overcame personal tragedy, long odds, financial and physical challenges to carve one of the most effective and wide ranging entertainment brands that exists today. A brand that is idyllic, inspiring, fun and very much American.

For all her success, the Albany, Georgia native has remained very grounded, in part due to her down home Southern upbringing. She married her high school sweetheart, became a young mom to two sons, and appeared to be living the life she desired, before a series of tragedies, from the death of her parents and the failure of her marriage to a prolonged battle with agoraphobia changed the course of her life forever.

However out of those changes came the success that laid the foundation for the Paula Deen of today, someone who inspires millions through her regular appearances on Oprah, cooks for world leaders, is a best-selling author, and is seen concurrently on three shows running on The Food Network.

The one constant in Deen’s life has always been cooking. It was a staple of her young upbringing, and when times became difficult it was what she knew and could turn back to. In June of 1989, with a $200 budget and the help of sons Jamie and Bobby, she became “The Bag Lady,” creating a home-based meal delivery service in Savannah, Georgia that started the rise. From there, Deen moved to preparing meals at a Savannah Best Western, and followed that five years later by opening her first restaurant, The Lady and Sons, in Savannah.

The popularity of the restaurant led Deen into publishing. Her 1997 cookbook, The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook, gave her growing fan base the opportunity to try Deen’s recipes at home for the first time, and led to her first appearance on QVC, which took the brand from regional to national and began a stretch of consecutive New York Times best selling cookbooks. The growth continued unabated, and in 1999 USA Today food critic Jerry Shriver named The Lady and Sons International Meal of the year.

Deen’s success in publishing, where she has sold over eight million books, then translated into the magazine world, and Cooking with Paula Deen, her bi-monthly title, launched shortly thereafter, growing to a circulation of over one million.

Not to be outdone with print and restaurant success, the Deen brand then moved to television. “Paula’s Home Cooking” premiered on The Food Network in November of 2002, to huge audience success, and spawned her second show, “Paula’s Party” in 2006. Today Deen has four shows running concurrently on the Food Network, including the latest, “Paula’s Best Dishes“, which launched in 2008.

The next evolution of the brand took place in March of 2008, when Meyer Corp launched the line of Paula Deen signature cookware, bakeware, kitchen tools and accessories both online and at retail, continuing the immersion experience for the brand with consumers.

In 2009, the Deen brand underwent further expansion with an added group of quality strategic partners. Wal-mart launched a new, exclusive line of affordable baked goods, while Smithfield, Kaleen, Nitches, Meyer, Universal, B. Lloyd’s, GOBO, Harrah’s, Quality foods, International Greeting and also began new or expanded partnerships in a host of categories. A compete digital relaunch, the expansion of special edition publications featuring both herself and her brand partners also came into play, making sure the Paula Deen name stayed fresh, relevant, and timely with a growing and more diverse consumer.

Even with the continued expansion, and more planned on a global level in 2010, Paula Deen has remained true to her fans, viewers and readers that look to her name for style, taste and inspiration in the kitchen and the home, all reflective of a climate where quality does not have to be sacrificed due to a challenging economy.

Join Paula Deen, author of the home and garden decorating book, Paula Deen’s Savannah Style (Simon & Schuster), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in August ‘10 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Book Review for You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

(Razorbill, August 5, 2010)

You Wish is a whimsical twist on the movie Sixteen Candles with the hilarity of Liar Liar in this birthday wish scenario.

Kayla McHenry has a typical high-school life full of stress and many misunderstandings. She is in love with Ben, who is the boyfriend of her best friend, Nicole. For years she has loved Ben but has never shared her feelings for him with anyone, including Nicole. Having to be around Nicole and the boy she loves gets to be unbearable, but the promise of Nicole spending more time with her brings Kayla hope. Nicole is her best friend, her other half that makes her life a little more bearable, and she does not want a boy to come between their friendship.

But Kayla soon realizes that everyone changes; even Nicole is beginning to go her own way, leaving Kayla in the dust. At her sweet 16 party, Kayla is left with much disappointment: not only does Nicole show up way late because of her date with Ben, but her mother throws her a party she doesn’t really want so she can impress some clients. It is a total disaster. It is then, in front of a bunch of strangers, that she makes a birthday wish; she wishes that all her birthday wishes actually came true.

The following day strange things begin to happen. She finds a large, bright pink My Little Pony walking around in her backyard. For the next fifteen days more wishes seem to spring up, all causing problems in her life, especially on the certain occasions when she actually gets to spend time with Ben. Her wishes range from her Raggedy Ann doll coming to life and becoming her new best friend, to an enhancement in her body structure. Think of what one wishes for as a child. If all of those wishes came true, disaster would surely ensue.

Kayla cannot remember all of her wishes, but does recall the wish for Ben to kiss her. Not so good when Kayla’s friendship with Nicole is already teetering on collapse. Each day becomes a new adventure; waiting to see what wish is going to come true next. Kayla tries many things to reverse her birthday wishes, but will she be able to stop her wishes from unfolding before the one where Ben kisses her comes true?

Mandy Hubbard definitely has a knack for these “what if” scenarios. The story is filled with typical high-school drama, problems, and feelings, yet mixed with hilarity. Fans of Ms. Hubbard’s Prada and Prejudice will enjoy You Wish. She does not disappoint. Teenagers will be able to relate to Kayla’s plight and possibly learn from her experiences.

The one thing that readers should get out of this story is that what we do in our lives is a choice. We are not forced to go down the wrong or right path; we choose that path and as often, as a result, cause our own strife. Kayla chooses to be a loner. She chooses to not talk to her father after he deserts her family. She chooses not to tell Ben of her true feelings—all of which lead to many stressful moments. In being a teenager and wanting to be older, more beautiful, and accepted by her peers, she loses herself. This is typical of many teenagers in their journey through high school. They feel immense pressure to be what they perceive as better. Readers, especially girls, will enjoy this 284-page young adult novel.

Reviewer Renee Hand is the award-winning author of The Crypto-Capers series and the Joe-Joe Nut Series for children. Look for her new release The Crypto-Capers in: The Chest of Mystery in September 2010.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Reading Rocks in Rockford Event with Renee Hand

I am going to be at a Reading Rocks in Rockford Author Event on Saturday August 7th from 10-4pm signing all of my books in the Crypto-Capers Series and Joe-Joe Nut Series. This is a great event which is set in downtown Rockford, Michigan. Come join the fun.

Renee Hand