Books

Books

Sat
25
Nov

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

Jumbies don't exist. At least that's what Corrine La Mer thinks. Jumbies are legend, trickster creatures used to scare children. But when Corinne runs into the forest and finds herself staring into a set of yellow eyes she's not so sure anymore. And when a mysterious, beautiful woman shows up at market, everyone is talking about her. Corinne doesnt know what to think. but when the beautiful woman shows up at her home and takes interest in her father, it sets Corinne on edge. And as the mysterious woman starts to take hold of Corrine's father, she must band together with her friends to save her father and her island from the Jumbies that most certainly are more than legend.

Mon
20
Nov

Why People Join Cults

Rhys Hagan

by Rhys Hagan

Isolation and dependence. Remember those words. They form the cornerstone of totalitarianism which is essential for cults to prosper. Being isolated from the outside world limits what can influence you while developing a sense of elitism due to access to, what members are led to believe is, an exclusive ‘truth’. Dependence ensures that members are convinced the knowledge and status that comes with it are only available to them through participation in group meetings. Denying the leader or doctrine often not only results in a loss of access to this ‘truth’, but also excommunication and punishment. Members end up dependent on the group for a sense of value, for socializing (as they are isolated from the rest of the world), and often for their very safety.

Sun
19
Nov

The Flash Gets His Own LEGO Activity Book, Faster Than Lightning!

Faster Than Lightning

Gorilla Grodd and Captain Cold have a lot to learn--and to teach, in this LEGO activity book built around DC Comics' "Fastest Man Alive."

With the CW series THE FLASH being better than ever, and the character's key role in the just-released JUSTICE LEAGUE movie, The Flash is getting hotter and hotter. What better way to introduce him into your LEGO collection than by picking up this fun, interactive book that shows you just what he can do using the trademarked LEGO humor. And to make it even more enticing, this book comes with a minifigure of the Scarlet Speedster himself!

Sat
11
Nov

Greatest Brick Builds Truly Highlights Amazing Creations in LEGO

Greatest Brick Builds

I live in a LEGO world. My son has thousands, separated into color-marked drawers. We made a plywood top overlay for one of his play tables and covered it with LEGO base plates. We've worked on some pretty intense kits.

Or so we thought.

Along comes THE GREATEST BRICK BUILDS: AMAZING CREATIONS IN LEGO. And not only do the contents live up to the title, they surpass it. These models aren't just creative -- they're enormous. The smallest of them begin at just over 10,000 bricks. The largest is two million! The level of detail in the model of Ohio Stadium (750,000 bricks) is astounding, and just needs the sounds of fans cheering to complete the illusion.

Fri
10
Nov

Thump: The Interview

Thump and Tweeter

A while back, we were privileged to review THUMP: THE FIRST BUNDRED DAYS, a novel concept that presents the 2016 campaign in a new setting. Rather than getting into the policy wonk details of how each campaign was run, Thump's creators -- Brett R. Smith, Timothy Lim, and Mark Pellegrini -- simplified the events to the traditional rhyming style of the children's picture book, complete with illustrations that draw from Peter Rabbit rather than from the editorial cartoon pages of your daily newspaper.

After reviewing the book, and seeing the reactions online of others once the book was released, we spoke with editor Brett R. Smith about some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of Thump -- where he came from, and where he's going from here.

What was the "secret origin" of THUMP: THE FIRST BUNDRED DAYS?

Thu
09
Nov

Overcoming Fear Focus of Andreae / Parker-Rees Children's Book, Be Brave, Little Penguin

Be Brave, Little Penguin

Little Pip-Pip is the smallest of the penguins on his corner of the Antarctic. But it's not his size that's a problem for him, but his intense fear of doing what all the other penguins are doing: getting into the water.

Pip-Pip is laughed at by his peers, but encouraged by his mother. We learn there are all sorts of very good reasons why Pip-Pip should be afraid of the water. It's cold. It's dark. And there are things that live beneath the water that might eat him. Sounds like good reasons to me for staying on the ice! But then, what kind of lesson would that be for young readers?

Told in an engaging rhyming meter and illustrated with edge-to-edge color illustrations, BE BRAVE, LITTLE PENGUIN is an adorable tale, designed in an easy-to-read fashion that encourages children to follow along and vocalize the verses.

Tue
07
Nov

Kids Will Always Love "Ralphie"

Ralphie, Always Loved

If you're a dog lover (or know someone who is -- this is the Christmas season, after all), then you'll want to check out Andrea Yerramilli's

children's book, RALPHIE, ALWAYS LOVED from About Something Good press.

Ralphie is a pup who was persistently returned to the animal shelter for doing what comes naturally to puppies -- especially ones who don't get

trained.

When his fourth family picks him out, he finds himself in a whole new environment of love (and rules). He has his good moments and bad, but

experiences growth throughout his life. He learns how to behave around new children and how to take on the responsibilities of the older dog. The only thing he doesn't have to learn is how to return the love given to him -- that comes naturally.

Wed
25
Oct

THE LAST WITNESS returns in Shattered Prophecy

Last December, I talked a bit about THE LAST WITNESS.  As a big fan of THE DESTROYER, I was eager to read the spin-off series LEGACY by Warren Murphy and Gerald Welch.  While I was waiting for the next LEGACY book, Welch had mentioned to me that he had another series called THE LAST WITNESS.  I liked it so much, I ended up reading the first four books of the series over a long weekend. 

Thu
19
Oct

Thump: The First Bundred Days a Basket of Political Adorables

Thump The First Bundred Days

Since running for (and subsequently winning) the office of President, Donald Trump has been compared to many things and called many names. Most of them have not been very nice. And even the nice comparisons have never equated the man with a cuddly bunny.

Every administration spawns collections of political cartoons that critique the administration and the policies. But Timothy Lim, Mark Pellegrini, and Brett R. Smith have gone against that grain, and produced a collection of, quite frankly, adorable anthropomorphic cartoons documenting the Trump administration in three acts, beginning with the declaration, then the campaign, and finally the inauguration.

Wed
04
Oct

Martin Luther's Graphic Biography a Work of Art

Renegade: Martin Luther Graphic Biography

Darkness. Deep dark despair. Can you imagine not being surrounded by the light, truth, knowledge of the Gospel as we know it today?

I was enthralled by the vivid displays in words and art of the plight of Martin Luther. Truly this remarkable man suffered much for years before his mind was enlightened by ignoring the benighted teachers of his time. Showing boldness without regard for life, he desired to not just find fault with the misuse of power by the Church, but to declare a new interpretation of the scriptures based on his beliefs.

Tue
03
Oct

Freefall is a Fun New YA Sci-fi Adventure

Freefall

In Joshua David Bellin’s new YA sci-fi, FREEFALL, humanity has destroyed the earth and must seek a new home. A relatively small – and carefully selected – group are granted access to the mission, dooming those left behind to die. They will enter into cryogenic sleep for a thousand years, during which they’ll be transported to a brand new, habitable planet. While the wealthy Upperworlders take the best ship for themselves, the poor and marginalized Lowerworlders are stuck on the supply ship, the Freefall. Unfortunately, when all passengers awaken one thousand years in the future, they find themselves on a scary, uninhabitable planet full of monsters, where daylight temperatures are brutal enough to fry you in seconds. Something – or someone – sabotaged the ships so they wouldn’t reach their planned destinations.

Tue
19
Sep

The Belles - A Stunning New YA Fantasy by Dhonielle Clayton!

The Belles

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton is an un-put-down-able story of friendship and the price of success, set in a New Orleans inspired world where physical beauty is prized above all – and comes at a cost.

In the city of Orleans, every person is born with gray skin, red eyes, straw-like brittle hair, and “ugly” features. The wealthy receive regular beauty treatments, during which their skin color, hair color, facial features, and body structure are magically (and painfully) altered by Belles, young women born with the ability to change a person’s appearance through their Arcana. These treatments are pricey, but coveted (skin returns to gray after a month or so, requiring constant upkeep).

Wed
09
Aug

And Now For Something Completely Different: The Monty Python FAQ

The MONTY PYTHON FAQ: ALL THAT'S LEFT TO KNOW ABOUT SPAM, GRAILS, SPAM, NUDGING, BRUCES AND SPAM, written by Chris Barsanti, Brian Cogan, and Jeff Massey, is one of a series FAQ books from Applause Theater and Cinema Books.

When I first heard about the book, I thought, "Wow! A book that answers the most frequently asked questions about Monty Python!" After all, that is what the acronym “FAQ” stands for. But upon opening it to read, it is actually something completely different…in a good way!

Sat
22
Jul

8 Simple Questions for Finding an Author's Purpose with W. Bruce Cameron

W Bruce Cameron, with Tucker (photo: Ute Ville

One might say that writer W. Bruce Cameron has gone to the dogs -- and the author probably couldn't be happier. The writer of several best-selling novels such as 8 SIMPLE RULES FOR DATING MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER and A DOG'S PURPOSE has recently released a new touching novel about canines and the people they care about with A DOG'S JOURNEY.

We were fortunate to have a few moments to sit down with Cameron to discuss the titles he writes, the movies that have been made, and even some of the unexpected controversy thrown his way.

1. Looking at your title history, things seem to fall into either of two categories: "Dads" and "Dogs." What's the connection there?

Well, you know, if you're the father to some children, and you're the father to some dogs, there's a very clear emotional connection between the two.

Sat
22
Jul

Walter and the Wallet - A Fun New Rhyming Book with a Great Message

Walter and the Wallet

In this fun new rhyming picture book, Walter and the Wallet by Billy Bloom (illustrated by Tanya Leonello), 9-year-old Walter Collingsworth is having an awful day – until he finds a wallet on the ground, filled with cash. Walter’s day goes from gloomy to great when he starts picturing all the fun things he could buy with his new money. But when he overhears a devastated old man who is the wallet’s rightful owner, will Walter keep the cash or turn it in?

Wed
19
Jul

Game Fanatics and Budding Developers - Here are the Best Books about Gaming

Oliver Twins

Image: The Oliver Twins via Facebook

Mon
17
Jul

The Witch Boy an Unsubtle Parable on Gender Roles in Youth

The Witch Boy

Molly Ostertag's THE WITCH BOY is a less-than-subtle parable on gender and the accepted roles that go along with it.

The titular witch boy is Aster, who lives in a secluded village of magic users behind an enchanted barrier. The men grow up to become shape changers, guided by their spirit animals, who go out and hunt demons. The women learn magic spells for protection and healing. Aster has not been contacted by any spirit animals yet, and it's far past time for most boys to have had that experience. What's more, he perpetually hides where he can overhear the lessons taught to the girls so he can learn magic, even though this is knowledge that is forbidden to him.

Mon
17
Jul

Star Wars (Even More) Crochet: Get Your Geekcraft On!

Even More Star Wars Crochet

As we count down the days to “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” perhaps you’re itching for something to help fill the void. Never fear - cue up “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and pull out this Star Wars Even More Crochet kit, by Lucy Collin.

The kit is a “sequel” to Collin’s Star Wars Crochet, and comes with nearly everything you need to create two projects – a Jawa and BB-8:

  • yarn
  • size 3.5mm/E-4 metal crochet hook
  • plastic safety eyes
  • fiberfill stuffing
  • a tapestry needle
  • instruction book

I say “nearly everything” because you also need a stitch marker to keep your place between rounds. A regular safety pin works well for this purpose.

Wed
12
Jul

R.L. Stine's Mary McScary Analyzed Too Deeply

Mary McScary by R.L. Stine and Marc Brown

The chillmeister behind the insanely successful GOOSEBUMPS franchise adds another entry to the kid lit shelves next August, and while it's not superficially scary, one might be horrified if one reads it too often and tries to make it political. Which is exactly what I'm going to attempt to do, so be prepared to be "woke" as the hip kids are saying these days.

MARY MCSCARY, illustrated by Marc Brown, is all about the titular little girl who lives to scare. Well, if your name was Mary McScary, wouldn't you? She scares her parents. She scares her pets. And she has access to the most amazing things to use for scaring, including (apparently) an entire zoo of wild animals at her disposal.

Thu
06
Jul

Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Race to Stop a German Spy Plot in REMEMBER, REMEMBER

Remember Remember by Anna Elliott and Charles Veley

The game is afoot in the latest entry into post-Doyle Holmesiana. Daughter/father team Anna Elliott and Charles Veley migrate Veley's former Sherlock Holmes endeavors, expanding the Holmes and Watson force by one -- American-born actress Lucy James. And before you get all in a huff about how Sherlock would never let a young lady work with him on important cases, let me assure you he has a good reason for keeping Lucy close, and it's not a romantic one.

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