Book Review: The Bird Queen’s Book

Our external reviewer Bonnie Humber has sent in her first review for the book The Bird Queen’s Book by T.L Frances. Bonnie is new to the reviewing team. She runs paint nights in the North Bay area if anyone is interested.

Synopsis: What would you do if you found a mysterious book written in a secret language?

Thirteen-year-old Denny’s life is far from easy. He’s at the bottom of the food chain at school, he works a mind-numbingly boring student job at his uncle’s shredding store, and, on top it all, he has to try out for the school basketball team—and let’s just say basketball’s not his strong point.

But one day, he finds an ancient book in an indecipherable language. Could it be a secret code? Or maybe even… magic?
As Denny starts spinning a fantasy tale around the book, the real world begins to fade from view. It won’t be long before his problems catch up with him, crashing down one by one…

When Denny, a young lad trapped in the mundane rut of his middle school life, happens upon an old mysterious book in his uncle’s paper shredding shop, he is compelled to give the unreadable tome meaning. Inspired by the cover and beautiful, foreign script, Denny escapes his day to day problems by writing a history for the Bird Queen’s Book. His new obsession quickly starts to take over, and affect his relationships with the people closest to him. Is Denny able to keep his loved ones close, or will he risk everything that’s real for a fantasy?

Although the language and imagery were rather basic, I enjoyed the concept and the personality of a few main characters. Although this book is meant for children, I still found this story to be too simple. The story would have been better for me if the plot had more substance. There are so many intriguing areas in this story that could have been expanded upon. For instance:

  • A thirteen-year-old boy with an imaginary friend
  • The history or reasoning behind the outlawing of magic
  • The love and acceptance of Denny by his friend Max, despite Denny’s behavior

I feel that if the plot had more substance on a sociological level, the story would be more enjoyable and less flat.

I was captivated by the plot twist of the imaginary friend. I found this character to be one of
the most developed, and when I realized they were not real, I was truly surprised and I loved it! I really wanted to know and understand more about this character once this twist was revealed.

“Don’t be an idiot”, I scold myself. “It’s just a book.”

I love this quote because as any good reader can tell you, there’s no such thing as “just a book”. I really feel that this story needs some fleshing out. But once that is done, I would definitely recommend it to any young reader.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.

There is also a new giveaway being hosted by us! Enter to win some traveling bookmarks and a logo sticker pack!

Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5760930a4/?

Good luck and thanks for reading our reviews 🙂 Comment below if you have read this book and what your thoughts are about it!

How to Create the Purr-fect Writing Space — The Cat’s Write

Hey bookworms! Every once and a while, I like to share a fellow blogger’s post to highlight some of the amazing talents we have in our blogging community. I felt that this post was fun and could apply to reading spots as well as writing spots.

Check out Samantha Blann’s creative and fun post on creating the purr-fect writing space.

by Samantha Blann Ahh the writing space: that magical place where all your words fall onto the page. It might seem like a place that only exists in your dreams, but it’s real, I promise you. The purr-fect writing space is different for everyone: Some writers like loud, busy cafes, while others prefer quiet rooms […]

via How to Create the Purr-fect Writing Space — The Cat’s Write


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Giveaway Winner

So I wrote this whole post, saved it, scheduled it and then went back to it to find out that the entire thing had been erased. Here I am rewriting the giveaway winner post……fun. Anyways, The giveaway winner of Tiger in Trouble by Eric Walters and some fun cartoon stickers is…..

Jose Maria Hazan

Congratulations on winning your prize. I will be in touch to get mailing information. Stay tuned for more fun contests that will be happening this month.

If you haven’t checked out my review for Trailer Trash – an 80’s memoir by Angie Cavallari yet, go read that post. She was a really fun author to review for.

Talk soon bookworms.


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Book Review: Trailer Trash – An 80’s Memoir

New book review up on the blog. This one is called Trailer Trash – An 80’s Memoir by Angie Cavallari.

Synopsis: Trailer Trash tells the story of Angie Cavallari, your typical girl growing up in the 1980s who finds herself cradled in an arm of a society that would be considered anything but your paradigmatic suburban neighborhood.

In 1980, Angie and her two siblings are dropped into a world of the poorest tenements during a decade where material wealth was worshipped. But these are not your usual run-of-the-mill Florida retirement occupants—these are tenants with issues that Angie soon realizes are the same that can happen anywhere—even under her own roof.

Her place in society is further confused by the fact that she doesn’t live in a trailer but nonetheless, shares a postage-sized backyard with a less-desired community by societal standards and attends a prestigious private school more than 45 minutes from her cinderblock castle.

After spending a decade living in a world of indiscernible differences, Angie’s family decides it’s time to pull up stakes, sell the trailer park and buy a double-wide trailer of their own in the Carnie Capital of World, Gibsonton, Florida.

Funny at times, nostalgic throughout, Trailer Trash hits on some serious notes and undertones about societal differences and the trials of surviving childhood in any decade and any environment.

I really enjoyed this book. The writer tells the story of her life with such ease and humor. It was very easy to read and cool to see how she grew up. I never knew what it was like to live in a trailer park but now I have some insight into it.

The author seemed to have a lot of guilt pushed on her about her weight as a child and that saddens me to know that her mother would make her feel like she had to look a certain way. We all have those relationships with our parents that regardless of how they unfold, tend to mold us into who we are today. If you read my last review for Fat Girl on a Plane, I talk a bit more about body weight issues and how we need to make ourselves feel empowered in our own skin.

At one point she talks about wolf spiders and if I was in that trailer where they were, I would be sleeping in a sealed tent outside. No way in hell would I be anywhere near those things…

My favorite character would probably have to be her grandmother. She could be a hardass at times but she seemed like a very fun woman. I don’t want to give too much away so I will stop there.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants some light reading and to have a laugh. Angie will keep you smiling as you read how she took on life as a child and young adult in the world of trailer parks and all the fun/interesting people that come with them.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find this book on Amazon or Goodreads or connect with the author on Twitter 🙂

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format to read and give an honest review.

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Book Blogging for Beginners | Planning and Writing Posts — Adventures of a Bibliophile

Hey there Bookworms. I have been busy working away but I did stumble across this post which I found to be very helpful. I wish I had this when I was starting out. Take a read and follow this blogger 🙂

For me, at least, the most challenging part of blogging is actually writing blog posts. With a full-time job, it’s difficult to find the time and energy to blog (and still read enough to blog about). I’m sure most – if not all – of my fellow bloggers will agree: blogging takes so much more […]

via Book Blogging for Beginners | Planning and Writing Posts — Adventures of a Bibliophile


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What are you reading?

Hey bookworms.

I have been so busy lately that I haven’t made much progress in terms of reading books so I figured I would ask you all what you are up to! I want to know what you have been reading!


What are you currently reading? What have you recently finished reading? What do you think you will read next?

I want to know. Let us start a conversation and talk about it. I can tell you all the books I plan to read (better take a seat and grab a snack because it’s a long list) and you could tell me if you have read them or what you think of the book covers or whatever we decide to discuss about.

I’m going to get back to my current book Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos now and hopefully get a big chunk of it done. I’m excited to write a review for this one 🙂

Comment below and lets chat 🙂 Happy reading!


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Update: Teaching College

So as many of you know, I am now teaching at Canadore College as a professor for the Appreciation of Media Design course. I never thought way back when I was in the Graphic Design program that I would ever be up at the front doing the actual teaching. But alas, here I am.

It has been taking a lot of my time as I have to lesson plan for each week and my books are feeling lonely (at least I think they are). On top of this, I still have my full-time job as a web developer and decided to do indoor volleyball for the autumn and winter season.

I am still doing my best to read as much as possible so have faith book bloggers, I will be adding more reviews soon. I am currently reading Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos and am about half way through.

How do you get through week by week with so much to do? Comment below what helps you stay organized? Maybe I could pick up some tips or stargies from you!

Talk soon bookworms!

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Guest Post: How to Make Your Books Both Enjoyable and Educational

This is a guest post by author Fiona Ingram as part of her book blog tour.

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Teachers and parents welcome with open arms books that help kids enjoy reading, immerse them in a wonderful new world and encourage them to want to learn more about the subject or topics covered in the story. The hardest part of writing fiction that involves facts, history, mythology, geography and the details that my middle-grade adventures involve is knowing what to put in and what to leave out.

My first middle-grade book, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, is set in Egypt. Although I actually went to Egypt with my mom and my two nephews (who later became the templates for my young heroes), going to a place and writing about it are very different. I think Egypt was even more daunting than I imagined because so much has been written about the country, its history, and its culture that I felt under enormous pressure to check, double check, and check again (just in case) all my facts. There are also conflicting opinions of experts so one must be careful whose opinion one chooses.

I confess I overwrote the rough drafts of the first manuscript. There was so much information that I ended up almost drowning in it. It seems a shame that hours of research goes into looking up facts that will make perhaps only a brief mention in the chapter concerned. However, there is no point in inundating readers with lots of information. After careful thought, I realized that all I should include was what the young heroes needed to know as the plot unfolded. Details should be carefully and subtly woven into the story, always being an integral part of what the heroes need to know to move along in their adventure.

So, after the excitement of Egypt, what came next? The next book in my adventure series The Chronicles of the Stone takes place in Scotland, where the heroes are in search of the Second Stone of Power. The title is The Search for the Stone of Excalibur and that should be enough of a clue for fans to see where the story is heading. I had already spent a few amazing weeks in Scotland, researching old castles. Ask me anything about castles … with or without drawbridges, moats, portcullises, battlements … you name it, I visited it.

Finally, I settled upon the fabulous, fairytale setting of Dunrobin Castle, for me
an exquisite vision, as the setting for Book Two. Interviews with experts are a real boon. Leila, our fantastic guide in Egypt, was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge on the country. Contrary to what one might think, travel guides (the official ones) in any country, have a vast amount of knowledge on their subject. It came as no surprise to find that Leila had a university degree!

In Book 3: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, set in Mexico, the young heroes must play an ancient form of a ball game, the Mesoamerican ball game, to survive. I was fortunate enough to find an expert on the subject whose advice and book were invaluable. Again, so much has been written on this topic, as well as the ancient cultures of the Maya and the Aztecs—that feature in the story—that I really had to pare down the details to just what was integral to the plot and to the young heroes’ survival. Dialogue is a great way to include details that are necessary and having characters exchange information makes the detail realistic and interesting. I try to include storytelling by characters to share information. In all my books there are old stories or legends that make an appearance and add to the mystery. Told as a story within the main story makes it interesting for young readers. This could also lead on to further activities—for example, the students might enjoy acting out scenes from the stories, or even undertake their own research to find out if and how the fictional version deviates from the known facts.

Stories within the main story are a must. This gives an added depth and introduces cultural elements that are so unusual for young readers in a modern, media-driven and technologically saturated world. Within each of my books, the young heroes are told old stories, either legends or myths or in the case of Book 2: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, the old ghost stories surrounding the castle. What a lovely experience, with delicious shivers going up and down their spines! In Book 3: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, the young heroes hear some important stories about the ancient Aztec and Maya gods, and when their adventures are finally over, they tell the story of their exploits to the villagers seated around the campfire, perhaps creating their own legends in a way.

Another excellent idea for authors whose books contain facts and relevant information is to include an appendix, either a young readers’ guide (which I do) or even just a glossary of unfamiliar words. Parents can then encourage their kids to read this to enhance their enjoyment of the story, achieve a greater understanding of the environment and atmosphere of the events, and teachers can use it to inspire further research. Contrary to popular opinion, kids love to learn, be it new words or new facts and/or details. Books that inspire the desire in kids to learn more deserve a top place on every bookshelf.

You can find Fiona at –
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/secretofthesacredscarab/
Website: www.chroniclesofthestone.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FionaRobyn
Author Site: http://www.FionaIngram.com
Blog: http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2868182.Fiona_Ingram


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Book Review: The Occupation of Joe

Book review alert (insert alarm noise and picture a siren flashing)! This one was called The Occupation of Joe by Bill Baynes. It was a short book at only around 115 pages. and I flew through it (read it in one day :)).

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Synopsis: Tokyo, 1945. A Japanese boy too old for his years, a survivor of the American firebombing, dares to cross the wasteland where he saw thousands burn to death, and approach the occupying forces to get food for his family. A young Navy lieutenant, proud of the Allied victory but appalled by the devastation he sees across the city, cares enough to help. As post-war pressures mount between the two cultures, he becomes entangled in the lives of the boy, his infant sister, and his beautiful mother.

I actually read this book in one sitting. The story was very fluent and would switch between the two main characters, Joe and Isamu.

Isamu is a young boy of 12 and he is trying to help his family survive after the Americans firebombed his village by foraging for food and materials to trade. He uses his skills as an actor to fool Joe into giving him some money in exchange for his expertise with the locals in the area.

Joe is the Communication Officer on his ship and his job is to decode messages in Morse code. He takes a liking to the boy and brings him sandwiches to eat each day when he visits inland.

The characters are well rounded and the author makes it very easy to understand the language barrier between the Joe and the boy. They use a lot of hand signals and motions to try and make sense of each other and the author gives a detailed description of what the hand motions are. This really helps the reader picture how they surpass their differences to work together.

It was easy to read and the author kept me entertained enough to finish it on the same day I started it.

SPOILER (Skip this part if you intend to read it)

I can’t believe he just dies in the end. He tries to protect the boy by roughing up the gang that bullied him and gets stabbed so much that he doesn’t even make it back to the ship and ends up dying in the snow. The people even start ransacking his body before he is even dead. And then it is just over. The ending really took me by surprise.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Wars or historical fiction. The author definitely did their research on the subject before writing a story about it.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads! Or if you want to talk to the author, check out his website!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format to read and give an honest review.


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Book Review: Constable Outreach 35

Book reviews galore! I have been flying through books lately whether it be paperback, hardcover, or kindle; they are all being read :). This one is called Constable Outreach 35 by Jay Cadmus. You might remember Jay from an Author Interview I did with him a while back. Well here is the review of his book that I promised.

Constable Outreach 35 book by Jay Cadmus lying on a coffee table

Synopsis: Insurgency forces build against the Sandinista Government of Nicaragua. The story opens in Tegucigalpa during Contra War in 1985. A covert airdrop malfunction leaves C-123 Loadmaster in Sandinista territory. Troop supply by air delivery the next phase in this operation. Agency Operations Manager uses all available resources in locating…setting scenes of interaction between unlikely partners. Opposition forces appear as foreign ideologues and members within the U. S. Administration they serve. A little-used document is constructed to reset international and regional diplomacy. The downed American flyer – and other human assets – become pawns in a war of ideology. Some characters find themselves imprisoned within the ideology they serve. Personalities fall and rise. Knights surface in seeking to serve the White House. Others fall as a normal course by their purging. Quote: “In honor or disgrace, the death of my adversary is with me forever.”

Calling all history buffs and army veterans. This book is right up your alley. It isn’t typically the type of book I enjoy but I made my way through it and liked how it turned out. There was a lot of technical army terminology that I didn’t understand at times but I bet an army vet/history buff that enjoys planes would love to read this.

There are multiple characters that develop as the story unfolds. I’m not sure who the main character was because it keeps switching scenes between Lester Russell and Tom McKay (so I guess these two are the main characters).

The one critique I have is that the author tends to write in fragmented sentences. For example, “The plane was ready for take-off. Standard issue bolt wings. Landing strip ready for take-off” (this is just an example that I made up). I feel like some of these sentences could have been put together to form one descriptive sentence but that is just my personal opinion on the matter. I guess it is better than run on sentences :P. Also, there were quite a few spelling mistakes that bugged my inner grammar nazi and I had to move past it.

The book was mainly set in Nicaragua which was so cool because I have been to Nicaragua on a missions trip and it helped me picture the scenes in my head as if I was there. Managua is the capital of Nicaragua and there are multiple scenes in Managua. When I was in Managua, our bus driver ran through all the traffic lights because they said that if they stopped, we would be robbed. Nicaragua was a very hot place with really beautiful landscapes. It is rare that a book is set here so this was definitely a plus for me.

If you get a chance, reach out to the author! He is a very nice welcoming person and I’m sure you would have a great conversation with him.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format to read and give an honest review.


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