Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact by A. J. Hartley

✰✰✰✰½ Soon after the death of his parents, young Darwen Arkwright finds himself transplanted from northern England to Atlanta, GA. As if that's not enough, his well-intentioned aunt enrolls him in Hillside Academy, an expensive private school that's unlike any other.

When Darwen receives a mysterious antique mirror on loan from the equally mysterious shop owner, Mr. Peregrine, the adventure begins. After sun down that night Darwen is stunned to discover a secret forest accessible through the mirror. Soon Darwen learns that this other world named Silbrica is quickly being demolished at an alarming rate by creatures called Scrobblers. When Darwen learns that his own world is at risk, it's up to him and his new friends Alexandra and Rich to save both worlds before it's too late.

The Bottom Line: A. J. Hartley's new YA book is a highly entertaining and quick read with plenty of action. The themes of friendship and the power of love shine through this fantastical story. There is plenty of middle school angst to keep the dialogue interesting and the characters are fun as well. I hope there are more books to come; I look forward to seeing the characters grow.

If you enjoyed reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, give this one a try. Enthusiastically recommended for kids in grades 4 - 8. Also, recommended for both public and school libraries. While the target audience is boys, this will appeal to girls as well.

Details: Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact by A. J. Hartley. ARC published by
Razorbill (Penguin Group) in 2011. 448 p. ISBN: 978-1-59514-409-6 Note: I received a complimentary Advance Readers Copy from Penguin Group for review purposes. This was made possible by the Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Book Review: The Body in the Gazebo by Katherine Hall Page

✰✰✰✰ Amateur sleuth Faith Fairchild is back with not just one, but two mysteries to solve. Faith is a busy minister's wife and mom of two who runs a catering business on the side. However, when her best friend must leave her elderly mother's bedside to meet her future in-laws, Faith agrees to check in on her. Ursula Rowe takes advantage of her daughter's absence by sharing a story with Faith that is full of mystery and intrigue. Faith has no idea that the seemingly innocent trip down memory lane will involve an unsolved murder and threats of blackmail.

Meanwhile, the disappearance of $10,000 from the church discretionary fund that only Faith's husband, the Reverend Thomas Fairchild, has access to leaves him in a pickle. Thus, Faith must solve both a mystery from the past and one from the present. Is she up to the double challenge? We'll find out in this entertaining read full of secrets.

The Bottom Line: This is the first book that I have read in the series. Page does a great job of filling in the back stories of the characters, so I was able to pick it up without missing a beat. While The Body in the Gazebo gets off to a slow start, it is a quick weekend read that's perfect for the beach. Besides the two main mysteries there are lots of secrets and several subplots to keep the reader interested. While the ending was a bit predictable, this book was so much fun that I definitely plan to read the series from the beginning. Highly recommended for mystery fans who love cozies. Also, several appetizing recipes are included.

Details: The Body in the Gazebo: A Faith Fairchild Mystery by Katherine Hall Page. Hardcover published by William Morrow in 2011. 272 p. ISBN: 978-0-06-147426-2 Note: I received a complimentary copy from
William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers) in exchange for a review. This was made possible by the Early Reviewer program at LibraryThing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cookbook Review: Ice Pop Joy by Anni Daulter

✰✰✰✰ Frozen treats are a summertime staple, and there's still plenty of time to whip up a few of these healthy and tasty pops. This cookbook highlights treats that are "organic, healthy, fresh, and delicious." Each recipe features ingredients that are natural including the sweeteners. With just a few ingredients and a few simple steps, your kids can assist in making their very own icy treats. Choose from fruit, veggie, yogurt, tofu, herbal tea, chocolate, and specialty pops in a variety of flavors. With clever names like Blackberry Swirl, Bing Cherry Tofu Pop, and Lavender Flower Power you'll have fun just deciding which one to try. Each pop recipe also features a full-color photo. Additionally, the book is full of clever tips and facts.

The Bottom Line: Author Anni Daulter proves that healthy can also be cool and yummy. This collection of recipes is the perfect way to get your little ones, tweens, and teens to eat fruit, veggies, and even a little protein. Highly recommended for tasty summertime fun.

Details: Ice Pop Joy by Anni Daulter. Hardcover published by Sellers Publishing in 2011. 128 p. ISBN: 978-1-4162-0625-5