Book Review: Under Water, Under Earth

Under Water, Under Earth (2016, Big Picture Press, Non-Fiction Picture Book)

under water under earth

Journey deep beneath the sea or to the center of the world in this over-sized picture book. One side delves into the deep, dark waters of our world, while the other side looks at all that goes on just beneath the earth’s surface. From utilities to sink holes, and sharks to worms, this book covers everything on land and sea.

under water under earth inside page

Under Water, Under Earth written and illustrated by Aleksandra Mizielinksa and Daniel Mizielinski, is an incredible non-fiction journey through our world. Also, this book is big! The size and weight is a lot of fun, and makes it a great book for gifting. Children will love the over-sized format and feel like they are getting two books in one when they flip the book over to read each part.

I was not expecting the level of detail that is found within this book. This is definitely one that can be read again and again, and will take quite a while to get through. While I’m sometimes not a fan of illustrated non-fiction books, the style works for me in this one. With the landscape formatting and each page showing a dissection of the natural world, it offers an otherwise impossible glimpse into the world around us.

This book would be most fun for ages 6 and up as it does go into quite a bit of detail about different processes, both mechanical and natural. Younger children may become bored with all the facts, but older children and adults are sure to find this book fascinating and informational. A fun and educational read for all ages!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Rain by Sam Usher

What better day to share a book about rain than on this rainy Spring day? If it’s not raining where you are, you will surely feel like you’ve experienced a rainy day after reading this book (in the most magical way) 🙂


Rain (2017, Templar Books/Candlewick Press, Picture Book)

From the Publisher

Sam and Granddad brave the rain and floods and have the best adventure ever!

Sam wants to go out, but it’s pouring rain, so Granddad says they need to stay inside until the rain stops. Sam drinks hot chocolate and reads his books and dreams of adventures while Granddad does some paperwork. When Granddad needs to mail his letter, it’s time to go out—despite the rain and floods—and Sam and Granddad have a magical adventure. The follow-up to the acclaimed Snow, this is the second title in a four-book series based on the weather from creator Sam Usher.


Rain, written and illustrated by Sam Usher, is part of a picture book series based on weather elements. Having not read the other book, Snow, I can only imagine it is as charming as this book. The first thing that will catch the reader’s attention is the cover of this book. The design is beautiful and has been created with a three-dimensional element so that it appears to have raindrops on the cover. The illustrations throughout are absolutely lovely and bursting with emotion as Sam watches the rain and waits for his Granddad to finish his small tasks around the house.

The most surprising twist comes right at the beginning, when Sam is so excited to play outside in the rain. Many books often look at rain as something that ruins a child’s day, so it was refreshing and inspiring to see a book celebrating a rainy day and all the fun a child can have. In the age of electronics and indoor entertainment, letting a child play outside even if it means getting a bit wet is a wonderful concept.

Sam and his Granddad’s adventures in the rain are fun and imaginative and way over the top, but it is a picture book after all, so such craziness is allowed. I might have hoped for a bit more realistic adventures in the rain, but the illustrations made up for any fleeting disappointment I felt at the abrupt change in setting.

The change in mood and tempo from a dreary day spent indoors to an exuberant day in the wet weather was certainly refreshing.

Overall, a beautifully illustrated, adventurous text sure to have every child wanting to go out on a rainy day adventure. Highly recommended for children ages 3 and up.

5 stars to shine through rainy days and nights

Rain hits shelves March 28, 2017

You can pre-order Rain at Amazon

Thank you to Candlewick Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Green Pants – Book Review

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

This holiday is great for a lot of reasons, but most of all it’s just a fun holiday. No pressure to make a big meal for family, no pressure to buy gifts or go all out on decorations, just a day to celebrate Irish things and wear green.

So to celebrate this green day, I bring you a review of Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel.

Put on your green pants and have a green day!

green pants

Green Pants (2017, Candlewick Press, Picture Book)

Jameson loves his green pants. He can do anything when he wears his green pants! But if he wants to be in his cousin’s wedding, he’ll have to wear black pants. Jameson can’t imagine wearing anything but his green pants. He wants to be in the wedding but he wants to wear his green pants do. What’s he to do?

Green Pants, written and illustrated by Kenneth Kraegel, is a fun new picture book about making choices, family, and the power of green pants. Young readers will enjoy spunky Jameson in his green pants, and will feel his pain when he must choose between being in a wedding and wearing his green pants. Parents will enjoy reading this cute story aloud with their children, and they will likely relate to the frustrations Jameson’s parents must face by having a child that only wants to wear one thing. Highly recommended for children ages 5 to 8 whether they are just learning to read or strong readers.

Green Pants hits shelves March 21, 2017

Thank you to Candlewick Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday Special

Kids Study Bible – Airship Genesis: Legendary Bible Adventure NKJV

David Jeremiah

Tommy Nelson Publishing

airship genesis study bible

Go on a legendary adventure with this new study bible for kids from Thomas Nelson Publishers. David Jeremiah has created the bonus content for this exciting edition of the New King James Version of the Bible.

This edition has an obvious theme of going on a space adventure. There are pages throughout the Bible with special messages from the team and before each book, there is a “Mission Overview” which gives insight into the book. There are full page illustrations generously placed throughout the text and full color maps of several regions as they appeared in biblical times.

The book is well-made and the cover is padded and brightly colored. It is a lovely edition that would make a great gift.

Highly recommended as a study Bible for Sunday school groups or as a useful tool during Vacation Bible schools. This would be a great stepping stone Bible as a child graduates from a beginning Bible to something more advanced. Overall, this would be a fantastic book for pre-teens or young teens, and is sure to get them excited about reading the Bible, as well as providing unique insights geared toward young readers.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers and Book Look Bloggers for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Bone Witch ~ Book Review

When I finish a book and review it, I also post on sites such as Amazon and GoodReads which gives me a chance to see what other people are thinking about the book too.

If I really love a book, I’m always eager to check out reviews and see if everyone else loved it as much as I did.

So after reading Bone Witch, I rushed over to GoodReads only to discover most reviewers did not enjoy this book. I was so confused, how could someone not love this book?

It’s beautiful and sweeping and wonderfully told, but many thought it was too slow and that nothing really happens.


I still think it’s fantastic! I was a little disappointed in the ending but it’s part of a new series so that will likely be cleared up in the sequel, and I don’t like to give spoilers in my reviews so I can’t really explain why the ending was disappointing. Sorry, guess you’ll have to read the book 😉

And now, my review…

bone witch

Bone Witch (2017, Sourcebooks Fire, Young Adult Fantasy)

From the publisher:

“Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.”

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.


Bone Witch, written by Rin Chupeco, is the first book in what promises to be a brilliant new fantasy series. The world-building is exceptional as the reader is immersed in Tea’s world where asha’s wield extraordinary powers and are both revered and feared. As Tea evolves from a simple, country girl to a powerful asha, the story introduces a cast of unique and entertaining characters. The descriptions of the asha’s outfits can sometimes be a bit drawn out, but overall the detailed descriptions only serve to make the world more real.

The story is told from the perspective of Tea and from the perspective of a Bard who has sought out Tea to hear her story. The story unfolds as Tea recounts her rise as an asha to the Bard. The story goes from present day to the past as the two storylines build and the reader begins to anticipate that Tea will reveal what happened in her past to bring her to where she is now. This gives the story a page-turning quality and even though the plot is somewhat slow, the writing and characters are sure to keep the reader engaged.

A beautiful, epic tale with strong female characters that will be enjoyed by teens and adults who love fantasy stories.

Thank you to Net Galley and Sourcebooks Fire for a reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Who Run the World?

Happy International Women’s Day!

It’s been far too long since I last posted. While I have been keeping up each week with my newspaper column and sharing lots of reviews there, I have not been keeping up with my blog. Sad day.

To make up for my absence, I am sharing THREE book reviews with you today!

Get excited.

And as a bonus, and in honor of International Women’s Day, these books all feature strong female protagonists!

Happy Reading and Happy International Women’s Day! 🙂

carolines comets

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story (2017, Holiday House, Picture Book Non-Fiction)

Caroline Herschel made history in 1786 when she became the first woman to discover a comet. But her journey began long before that, and it was not an easy road to becoming a highly respected scientist and astronomer. Caroline’s journey is inspiring and incredible, as she worked hard to achieve her goals at a time when women were afforded few opportunities.

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story, written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully, is a fascinating account of Caroline Hershel, who not only discovered comets, but became the first female professional scientist, earning a salary from the King of England. Filled with interesting facts, detailed illustrations, and even excerpts from Caroline’s own journals, this is a beautiful book to share with young readers. Caroline’s journey is inspiring as she overcame many obstacles in her life before she even dreamed of becoming an astronomer. Young readers will look up to Caroline and all she accomplished as a woman and a scientist.

Highly recommended for ages 6 and up.

5 stars shooting across the sky!

runs with courage

Runs With Courage (2016, Sleeping Bear Press, Middle Grade Historical Fiction)

When ten-year-old Four Winds is taken from her Lakota tribe and sent to a white boarding school, she doesn’t understand the new world that surrounds her. She imagines she might be a bridge for her people and learn the ways of the white people, but as she learns more, she realizes the white ways are meant to replace all the things she’s ever known. Four Winds wants to run. She wants to run away from the white school and home to her people, but there are bigger things at stake than just what she wants.

Runs With Courage, written by Joan M. Wolf, is a touching, and heart-wrenching portrayal of life for Native Americans in the late 1800’s. This book is written with care and thoughtful consideration of all that was done during this period. Though the story is fiction, readers will gain knowledge of the how the Lakota tribes lived, as well as the actions of the U.S. Government during this time.

The story is written in first person, and delivered in a straightforward manner as fits the main character’s personality. Four Winds is strong and brave, and young readers will look up to her and root for her. The fictional life of Four Winds represents so many young girls who did face her harsh reality. While the girls might starve with their tribes, boarding schools offered food if only they would give up all they had ever known.

Thought-provoking and extraordinary, the story of Four Winds will stay with the reader long after her book has ended. Highly recommended for children ages 10 and up.

5 stars to guide Four Winds

future threat

Future Threat (2017, Albert Whitman & Company, Young Adult Science Fiction)

From the publisher:

The second book in the New York Times bestselling Future Shock trilogy!

Six months ago Aether Corporation sent Elena, Adam, and three other recruits on a trip to the future where they brought back secret information–but not everyone made it back to the present alive. Now Elena’s dealing with her survivor’s guilt and trying to make her relationship with Adam work. All she knows for sure is that she’s done with time travel and Aether Corporation.

But Aether’s not done with her–or Adam, or fellow survivor Chris. The travelers on Aether’s latest mission to the future have gone missing, and Elena and her friends are drafted into the rescue effort. They arrive in a future that’s amazingly advanced, thanks to Aether Corporation’s reverse-engineered technology. The mission has deadly consequences, though, and they return to the future to try to alter the course of events.

But the future is different yet again. Now every trip through time reveals new complications, and more lives lost–or never born. Elena and Adam must risk everything–including their relationship–to save their friends.


Future Threat, written by Elizabeth Briggs, is the second book in the Future Shock trilogy. Last year, I had the pleasure of reviewing Future Shock and so I was eager to review this book at well. As with the first book, the pace is quick and the plot moves right along as Elena and the others zip back and forth through time once more. As with the first book, the fast pace makes both character and relationship development difficult, but at the same time, the characters don’t feel exceptionally flat. Elena is still an interesting, engaging and daring main character, while other characters fill their roles and provide support to the plot.

This science fiction adventure is lots of fun to read, and once again, the time travel aspect is very well written. This is a sequel that definitely builds off the first book, and keeps the twists and energy going. I enjoyed this book just as much, if not more, than the first, and I look forward to the third installment in this trilogy.

This book is a fast read, and written in a straightforward style that will appeal to many readers. Readers who enjoyed Future Shock are likely to enjoy Future Threat, as well as fans of science fiction, action, and teenage angst. This would be a good one to add to the summer reading list!

Best for ages 13 and up due to some scenes of violence and adult situations.

4 stars for Elena traveling through time.

Thank you to Holiday House, Sleeping Bear Press, and Albert Whitman & Co. for copies of these books in exchange for my honest review.

You can find each of these books at your local book retailer or online.

At Amazon:

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story

Runs With Courage

Future Threat