Indie Books Read: YA & Children

4 & 5 Star Indie Books I’ve Read

YA:

Love, Lattes and Danger (Mutants #2)

by Sandra Cox

“Love, Lattes and Danger” is the second story in the Mutants series. Having read and enjoyed the first book, I was eager to continue the story. This one is told from Joel’s POV. He is a dolphin mutant with turquoise eyes, and along with his sister, was sold to a company to find underwater oil leaks. When Joel stumbles across a test-tube baby who is his, he promises to free her and find the girl he loves, or the mother. There’s a love triangle and a group that is determined to end Joel’s quest and life. The action starts immediately and doesn’t let up. This is a sweet YA sci-fi/fantasy that I easily read in two sittings. It brought a smile to my face each time they interacted with the dolphins. I look forward to reading the next book to see what happens.


Voice of Viracocha (TetraSphere Book 3)

by P.T.L. Perrin

I’ve read the first two books and enjoyed watching the four principal characters grow. Pax, Sky, Storm, and Jewel are tasked with saving the world with their healing powers. Heading to one site in South America, they soon find an evil alien is tracking Jewel. This puts not only her friends and family, but the world in danger. I love how the teens have matured through the books and the bond they share. Jewel and Pax have grown closer, and Sky pines away for someone who might not return those feelings. Like in the previous books, I appreciated the Native American lore and alien presence. The story is told from multiple points of view in the first person, which made me feel like I was there with them. Beautiful images and descriptions paint a world that’s easy to be a part of as a reader. Although this is for YA, if you love a good science fiction/fantasy with teen protagonists, you’ll enjoy this series. I can’t wait to read book four and see what happens next and recommend this series.


The Heart Stone Chronicles (The Swamp Fairy, #1)

by Colleen M. Chesebro

“The Heart Stone Chronicles” is a magical read for upper middle grade and the young at heart. Fourteen-year-old Abby is in the Chicago foster system after her drug-addicted father abandons her. She is sent to her only living relative, her father’s sister, who lived in rural Florida. The story began for me when she set foot in her new town. I fell in love with the area, wondering if I’d like to live there. I was glad her aunt turned out to be nice, and Abby made a friend right away. Then Abby finds out she’s inherited swamp land from her mother, who had died a few years before, and someone has put in an offer to buy it. The relationship between Abby and her aunt was heartwarming, and I liked her new best friend, Savannah. The local bullies seemed realistic, and Mr. Cobb, who had to have Abby’s swamp, no matter what it took. That was a bit terrifying how far he’d go. My favorite part of the story was Abby’s gift to communicate with animals. Never ridden a horse, Abby’s ability allowed her and the horse to bond, so she could easily ride him. I could almost feel the wind blowing my hair as Abby rode across the field on her horse. Meeting the swamp fairies was beautifully illustrated and captivating. This story was well-paced, with a gentle reminder about the importance of nature that I appreciated. I recommend this to all who love fairies, which I do. I’m hoping there will be another book to continue exploring with Abby and the fairies.


Terra’s Anthem: The TetraSpehere Series: Book 4 (TetraSphere)

by P.T.L. Perrin

I have thoroughly enjoyed this YA series. The fate of the world depends on four teenagers, and it’s been a pleasure watching them grow, and relationships develop. Told in the first person through the four teens gives a good insight into what they are going through. There are many twists and turns in this final book, and when I think they are safe, something happens. There’s plenty of action in this sci-fi tale with some romance mixed in, and I fell in love with the newest addition in their group. The alien community has good and bad, or the same as the humans, which deepened the storyline. One alien is particularly bad and extremely easy to root against. The detail in descriptions is amazing and makes it effortless to picture the surroundings. The ending was satisfying, with another twist weaved in. If you love a good sci-fi YA story, this is definitely for you. I highly recommend this series, but make sure you begin with the first book—you don’t want to miss anything.


Will O’ the Wisp

by C.S. Boyack

“Will O’ the Wisp” is a YA paranormal tale that focuses on fifteen-year-old Patty Hall. The Hall family seems to have been cursed, and Patty is determined to find out why. I love that this story is set in the 1970s. The high school dance and well-placed details of that era brought back some memories. The strained relationship between Patty and her mother is realistic, and Patty’s rebellious side is portrayed nicely, especially with wearing her leg braces. That side of her not only showed her determination, but her inner strength that’s needed to overcome evil. There were some truly terrifying parts, but there was also friendship, trust, and family. I could relate to Patty’s position that no one, other than her two friends, would believe her. If you like a teen protagonist with some horror and a strong female character, this book is for you. Five-Stars!


Triton’s Call (Tetrasphere #2)

by P.T.L. Perrin

I read and enjoyed the first YA book, “Terra’s Call.” I was eager to get back to the series and see what happened next. The story is told in the first person with multiple points of view, which painted together created a full picture. I love how Ms. Perrin draws the reader in with her vivid images and settings. The mixture of aliens, mythical creatures, and folklore are blended and weaved into reality. Each of the four teens has their charm and issues, but their devotion to each other is inspiring, even with the misunderstandings. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey to see where it takes the four next as they continue saving the world one artifact at a time. If you love YA fantasy mixed with sci-fi, you’ll want to read the Tertrasphere world. Five-Stars!


Ghost for Sale

by Sandra Cox

“Ghost for Sale” is a charming YA paranormal read. It was funny to think about ghosts being sold over eBay and Marcy wanting a refund when she was disappointed. When the order arrived, one tube was broken, and one appeared empty. My first thought was, ‘what were you thinking’, until the roommate, Caitlin, saw a ghost. It was a good-looking ghost from the late 1800s that Caitlin kept secret from her cousin, Marcy. It was fun seeing the ghost, Liam’s reactions to the modern woman and all the technology, and how well he adapted. The broken tube was his twin sister, and then Caitlin and Liam worked together in an attempt to reunite the sister with the man she loved. The ending surprised me because I expected this to go a different way, but I like how it ended. This is a sweet paranormal love story with a twist that I thoroughly enjoyed! Five-Stars!

My Mechanical Angel

by Harmony Lawson

“My Mechanical Angel” is a YA fantasy with Christian overtones and my favorite, angels. This book was recommended to me, and I’m glad it was. I enjoyed the uniquely written story told through the eyes of eighteen-year-old, Emmaline. She lived in a small rural town where their leader, Reverend Archibald, warned of the evil in the forbidden city, Seraphton. The city intrigued Emmaline and made her feel like an outcast in her community. Then she meets a resident from Seraphton, Aleksander, during a storm one night. The meeting is the start of a change of events for her. I loved the instant connection between Emmaline and Aleksander, which brought about her softer and braver side. Her relationship with her family, especially her grandfather, felt real to me, including their push for something she didn’t want. Her journey, along with a few surprises, held my interest the entire way. This is not only a love story, but how people are capable of change — or not. I will definitely be reading more from this author! Four-Stars


The Green Door (The Eternal Artifacts #1)

by Heather Kindt

“The Green Door” is a YA fantasy that focuses on the lives of two teens in their last year of high school. Meg works at a record store to make ends meet at home, while her best friend, Brek, is preparing for college. They find a flyer about a game, and the two teens try it. The first step is to choose a door that is based on the money awarded if they complete the task. The action starts the moment they open the door. I enjoyed what was behind the entrance and the unknown world’s storyline that included magic. I liked the friendship between Meg and Brek and how protective they were of each other. Then enters someone from their school, and it sets up a romantic triangle. There are a couple of adult scenes in this story; otherwise, this would be an enjoyable read for younger readers too. The story is a quest with some moral decisions. The book ends at a place where some questions were answered, but others were left unanswered for the next book — which I will be reading. Four-Stars.


MINDER

by Sandra Cox

“Minder” is an exciting paranormal shapeshifter YA read! Aurora goes out to dinner with her aunt on her eighteen birthday and is told a strange Indian Legend about a princess being a minder or shapeshifter. When Aurora is out with her best friend, she finds the legend is more than just a myth.  I love the attraction between Aurora and Kylar and how that progresses. I could easily see the world through the black panther’s eyes and was intrigued by the puma.  This moves at a fast pace, and I read it in two sittings. A fun read for YA and adults if you love the paranormal with some sweet romance sprinkled into the action. Five-Stars


Love, Lattes and Mutants (Mutants #1)

by Sandra Cox

“Love, Lattes and Mutants was a fun YA Sci-Fi story. Eighteen-year-old Piper was living with her grandfather and a senior in high school. She did all she could to blend into the background so no one would find out her secret that she had dolphin DNA. Two new popular students, Holly and her twin brother Tyler, befriended Piper while the school bully targeted her. Until then, she’d maneuvered through school in her baggy clothes and big sunglasses, avoiding getting close to anyone. I enjoyed watching Piper unwillingly become friends with Holly and falling for Tyler, but I have to say it was her relationship with her grandfather I loved the best. Relationships aside, the most significant pull on Piper’s attention was the ocean. This is when she could ultimately be herself swimming with the dolphins. Although her secret was catching up to her which took the story from how she was dealing with high school to saving dolphins and herself. This is the first book of the series, and I can’t wait to see what happens next! An excellent quick read for YA and adults, especially if you love dolphins like I do! Five-Star


Terra’s Call (Tetrasphere #1)

by P.T.L. Perrin

“Terra’s Call” is a YA science fiction book that can easily be read by younger readers and adults. The story is told through four POVs or the teenagers who had extra gifts and unusual eyes. I loved their community and the relationship between the teen’s three families. The combination of Cherokee, Aliens and the Bible was the right blend for me. Showing a world’s weather out of balance with Jewel, Sky, Pax, and Storm figuring out how they were supposed to save the world had me all in. Jewel was my favorite of the four, and I adored her abilities.  There were a few times I lost track of whose POV I was in since the four teen’s personalities were similar, but that didn’t matter as my interest held. Ms. Perrin takes questions we all ponder and creates a world in which we get some answers. There was a cliff-hanger ending, but I was satisfied with what had been resolved. I will definitely be reading the second book to see what happens next, especially after the teaser at the end! Four-Stars


Through the Nethergate

by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

In this YA paranormal story, Margret moves into an inn her grandfather runs after her parents die. She has a unique gift of seeing the ghosts that live there. My favorite part of this book is the ghosts and their stories, which are taken from history. The attention to detail drew me into the story and tugged at my heart. I loved it when Margret interacted with them, but I couldn’t bond with her at first in everyday life. Yet, the rest of the story was so intriguing and held my attention to the very end. Not only does Margret deal with ghosts, but there are also evil entities involved. The description of hell and bringing in current events was clever. The rich history shared through the ghosts and the good vs. evil theme made this a page-turning read. Four-Stars


Strawberry Moon

by Joy M. Lilley

Sixteen-year-old Maisie and her family move from the U.K. to France for her father’s work. I loved where they lived, the culture, and the countryside surrounding their community. It drew me into that part of the book. The house they move into is run down with part of the roof missing. The family makes the best of it, but tragedy strikes when her brother disappears. The story moved at a faster pace after Maisie’s brother went missing. Although there was a mystery, I found the aftermath of that event more dominate for Maisie and her family. Maisie seemed rather mature for her age, but she was strong-willed and as confused as a teenager would be. I rooted for her but didn’t fully connect with her until halfway through. I liked some subjects covered, including alcoholism and drinking and driving. “Strawberry Moon” crossed the line once, at least for me as a YA read, along with a reaction that I wished had more reflection on Maisie’s part. Still, this story held my interest until the last page. I’m hoping there’s a second book to resolve all those unanswered questions. Four-Stars


Ace Carroway and the Great War (The Adventures of Ace Carroway #1)

by Guy Worthey

Cecilia “Ace” Carroway is a 16-year-old pilot during World War One.  Her story starts quickly with a thrilling air-battle, but Ace ends up a prisoner when her plane is shot down. That minor detail doesn’t seem to bother Ace, which is why I came to appreciate this character’s spunk. Ace is not only likable but way ahead of her male counterparts. Leadership seems natural to Ace and her much older POWs put their trust in her. This is an exciting read full of vivid details and humor meant for young adults, but I equally enjoyed it. I will definitely be reading the rest of this series! Five-Stars


Moon Watchers (Hunters Book 2)

by  Sandra Cox

“Moon Watchers” is the second in the Hunters series. The story veers from hunting “vamps” with Zoe on Vampire Island to “weres” with Zoe’s cousin, Jolene, in the snowy forest of Minnesota. It starts with an immediate encounter with both werewolves–and Braden who just shows up to help out. This sweet and exciting YA book has a couple of twists along the way. I love Jolene’s no-nonsense, fearless personality and how it interacts with the mysterious handsome Braden who seems to be hiding a secret. I could easily picture myself in the cabin she’d just inherited. I adored the quaint town she ventured into to get her cup of coffee and supplies. I found this an enjoyable adventure that kept me reading late into the night like the first book did. If you’re a fan of vampires, werewolves and their hunters, along with a sweet romance, I recommend this series for both adults and younger readers. Five-Stars


Vampire Bay (Hunters #3)

By Sandra Cox

This is the third book in the Hunters Series and revisits Zoe and her Uncle Kilmer, after book two visits Zoe’s cousin, Jolene the “weres” hunter.  Zoe and her uncle go to a small town to hunt vampires. They stay in a house that used to belong to a vampire Zoe had killed and immediately have a run-in with “vamps”. I enjoyed the relationship between Zoe and her protective uncle, as well as her boyfriend Sam.  While Zoe appears to be a fashion-conscious teen, she’s also an intelligent hunter. I’ve loved all three of the books in this YA series and hope there are future books about Zoe. I recommend this for not only YA readers, but adults who enjoy a story through a teenager’s point of view. Five-Stars


Pandora Reborn

By John Coon

This is Mr. Coon’s debut YA novel. There were many things I loved about this story. I enjoyed a boy’s viewpoint, since I usually read YA’s through a girl’s perspective. The characters were strong, flaws and all, while the story line was unique. Ron moves to a small town, after his parent’s divorce, with his mother and little brother. He leaves his friends and soccer team behind. The first day at his new school, he ends up in detention. Ron’s introduced to some new friends, and a strange “town lore” that he brushes aside. But, things begin to happen, and people are disappearing. Ron seems to be in the middle of it all.  Ron’s only goal up to this point had been to play soccer, but now he must pull himself out of that comfort zone. I recommend “Pandora Reborn” if you love a well-told paranormal YA with a bit of gore and romance thrown in. Five-Stars


Hexborn (The Hexborn Chronicles Book 1)

by A.M. Manay

I loved Ms. Manay’s November Snow Series. I wondered if a new story line could rival that…yes it could. In fact, it could even surpass it. I found myself drawn deep into “Hexborn”. Shiloh grew up considered unclean by the population even though the laws against her kind had disappeared. Shunned, she was being educated to use her strong magic. Dealing with illness and deformity she develops an inner grace and strength. Suddenly when her teacher dies Silas arrives to bring her to the King’s court. Silas seems the perfect villain and I love the relationships she builds in court. Then there were surprises along Shiloh’s journey that she answered with her heart. I admired that about her. The flashbacks were skillfully used so the reader could understand how things developed. What her body lacked, her fortitude made up for.  I’m hooked on the magical girl with pink hair and eyes. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.  If I could give this more than five stars I would. It may be a YA, but it’s for adults, too.  I highly recommend this book! Five-Stars


Lodestone: (Witch-Hunt) 

by Wendy Scott

Ms. Scott wrote an entertaining story told from two different time-lines. Sabrina the healer-witch lived in times when magic had been removed, while Lauren lived in the past when there was magic. How their lives intersected I found fascinating. As Sabrina sets out to right the wrongs of the past she develops a relationship with an apprentice monk Micah, that was one of my favorite parts of the story. Getting the history through Lauren’s journal though showed that even with good intentions and a mother’s love things can go very wrong– was the strength of the story. It was a long process to get Sabrina to the place she needed to be, and many people suffered along the way– and after. If you like a story with a quest, magic, forbidden love, fantasy with dark undertones, you will enjoy this book! Four-Stars


Retaking Pervaiske (The Army of Orphans #2

by F.B. Veneziano

I loved the first YA book in the “Army of Orphans” series and “The Retaking Pervaiske” takes over where it ended. It follows the plight of the Krisko siblings Alex, Anton, Irina and their army of orphans living in an abandoned underground shelter. It’s eastern Europe and thirty years into the future. The country is at war with itself and they are part of the rebel rebellion. There’s plenty of action with the small band being sent on missions with very real consequences–as the government repression strengthens. More relationships are developed as well as revisiting characters from the first book. My heart can’t help but go out to these brave young adults and children fighting for what they believe in. Although, you could read this as a stand-alone, with the very detailed recap at the beginning, I suggest you read the books in order. I liked how the story starts off with a glimpse into what was coming and then going back to find out how they got there. This kept me reading late into the night, with the only thing slightly slowing me down was the recap of the last book. The ending was sudden, and my first thought was: “no, it can’t end like this!” I eagerly await the third book to find out what happens next to this army of amazing orphans, because I can’t help but love them! I recommend this for young adults and adults, too. Four-Stars


The Army of Orphans: The Beginning 

by F.B. Veneziano

“The Army of Orphans” is a YA book that follows the lives of three siblings.  Although, it’s set 30 years in the future in Eastern Europe, it could be now and that makes it very relevant to read. After their mother dies, their father falls into drinking and rage. This eventually leads to the two boys Alex and Anton being sent to an orphanage, while the oldest Irina finds her own way. Alex discovers the stories he’s heard about the orphanage to be true. At the same time a revolution is happening outside the walls of this institution that pulls him and others into it. The characters are so well-written I felt every emotion reading this story. The strength of Alex is what makes this book hard to put down. He’s a young adult who has to leave his childhood behind as he survives in a world that is changing daily. I found myself falling in love with these children and then admiring their bravery. I’m looking forward to reading the next book “Retaking Pervaiske” and more from this author. I highly recommend this book not only for young adults, but for adults, too. Five-Stars


The One Revealed (Chronicles of the Diasodz #4)

by Yvette M. Calleiro
This fourth book in the “Chronicles of the Diasodz” series continues with the story of Sophia, Rafe and more of my favorite characters. Relationships are being formed along with plotting and intrigue. There’s an in-depth look into the search for the truth and what is right and wrong– as reality is explored. As the characters grow and learn, the mysterious prophesies remain. Ms. Calleiro has combined a story with love of either self or another so beautifully, that I have been hooked from the very first book I read. Plus, the added bonus of the paranormal and adventure make this a must-read series! I cannot wait to see how it all ties together and ends in the next book, “The One Awakened” Five-Stars


The One Awakened (Chronicles of the Diasodz #5)

by Yvette M. Calleiro 
Although I am sad to see the “Chronicles of the Diasodz” end—it was a completely satisfying conclusion! With war coming: sides are chosen, and relationships are tested. I loved the growth of the characters especially: Rafe, Angel, Ar’ch and Sofia. The difference between corruption and hate versus understanding and love becomes very clear. I was extremely invested with the outcome of characters that I had grown to love over the series and wasn’t disappointed. I don’t want to say more and spoil the ending, but this is a fantasy YA series I highly recommend! Start from the beginning and take the journey with Sofia. I look forward to the upcoming prequels! Five-Stars


The One Betrayed (Chronicles of the Diasodz Book 3) 

by Yvette M Calleiro

Book three of the YA “Chronicles of the Diasodz” series does not begin where the last book ended–and that is a good thing! Ms. Calleiro takes us back to an event and shows us another perspective of it. With both sides being so sure they are right–I loved seeing the story from the “bad” side. We are introduced to new characters and some familiar ones from the first book. This insight is told through Rafe, Mel, and other viewpoints in this new world. I appreciated how past events from book two were blended in. The characters are so strong that you care deeply what happens to them. I’m already reading the fourth book in this amazing series and highly recommend it for all fantasy, love, and paranormal fans! Five-Stars


The One Discovered (Chronicles of the Diasodz Book 1) 

by Yvette M Calleiro

I admit to having read (and loved) the second book of the Diasodz series “The Enlightened One”—first. My plan was to read the first book before continuing with book three. Part of me wondered if doing so would rehash everything I knew, but I found that wasn’t an issue. I was quickly lost in “The One Discovered”. The depth and creativity to which Ms. Calleiro takes her story and characters pulled me in as I learned more about my favorites like: Sophia, Ar’ch, and Angel! Watching Sophia discover things aren’t what they seem, and the developing love triangle was fascinating. I don’t want to give too much away in this amazing YA story, but if you love a skillfully blended mix of romance, adventure, fantasy, magic and other worldly beings– along with a mix of new age and earth lore–you will love this. I eagerly dove into book 3 “The One Betrayed” and cannot wait to see where Ms. Calleiro takes us next. I highly recommend this book! Five-Stars


The One Enlightened: Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 2 

by Yvette M Calleiro

I admit I haven’t read the first book of the series, and was worried I would be lost—I was not. Ms. Calleiro wrote a wonderful book filled with fantasy, romance and adventure. It drew me right in. I spent many late nights reading (just one more chapter) to find out what was going to happen to Sophia next. I loved learning about the Diasodz culture along with Sophia. There was a lot of new age and Biblical references, that were blended together, and made a nice addition to the story. I am always excited to find a book that completely immerses me in the story with good writing– and this was one of those books. I cannot wait to go back and read the first book, and then continue the journey with Sophia in books #3 and #4.​ Five-Stars


Vampire Island (Hunter Series Book 1) 
by Sandra Cox

Vampire Island is an action- packed YA book. I could easily relate to Zoe who is a girly- girl who hid her intelligence under her fashion statement. Ms. Cox quickly lets you know Zoe suffered a huge loss with her parents’ sudden death. Zoe’s adventure begins with her going to live with her uncle, who immediately tells this seventeen-year-old not to go out into the dark. Of course, she questions this and the mystery begins. I couldn’t put the book down after that. I look forward to the next book in the series. I recommend this for anyone who loves a good supernatural mystery from a teenager’s point of view, or just loves a good action adventure– on a tropical island.​ Five-Stars


Makai Queen (Makai #1)

By Tara Fairfield

Ms. Fairfield gives us an interesting YA Christian fantasy– under the sea.  Tessa’s life changes when she is taken to this new world. She accepts this all easily, and only wants to reassure her family she is OK. There are interactions with sharks, squid, dolphins, sea lion, sea horses and more. There is, also, Hawaiian lore and language which add depth to the story. Descriptions take the reader into the story along with the budding new relationships, as Tessa grows and learns


CHILDREN:

Mrs. Murray’s Ghost (Piccadilly Street #1)

by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

“Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” is a paranormal middle-grade story that is set in 1967, Canada. Mary and her family move into a large house. The action starts when her family spends their first night in the new residence. They soon find out the house is haunted, but Mary finds additional residents, two Brownies. Those small, magical men from Scotland quickly became the characters I enjoyed the most. I appreciated their backstory and humor. The Brownies need Mary to help them get back home. While Mary struggles in a new school and deals with a bully, she gets very sick. What the Brownies do next was my favorite part of the story. This is a fun read those middle-grade readers and young at heart will enjoy. Four-Stars


Tina Lost in a Crowd

by Miriam Hurdle(Author), Victoria Skakandi (Illustrator) 

“Tina Lost in a Crowd” is a sweet children’s book for beginning readers and parents reading to them. I loved the beautiful illustrations that enriched the story and the fact this was based on an actual event. Tina, who just finished 3rd grade, invited a friend to go on a family excursion to see a symphony and fireworks. Everything was going perfectly until intermission, and the girls needed to use the restroom. I loved how Tina and her friend handled being lost. It was a good lesson on how to handle a situation like this. As a parent, I know the fear of not finding a child, and reading this story with children allows talking about what to do if it happens. I’ll be adding the paperback to my collection for my grandchildren, and we’ll be reading it together—a wonderful debut children’s book by Ms. Hurdle.


Pink and Purple Bob

by Crystal Napolitano

I bought this book for my grandkids. I had planned to read the book before sharing it, but they found it first and insisted it be read to them. My son was visiting and volunteered, so I got the story read to me, which was a treat! Bob loves pink and purple so much that he’s sad if he doesn’t have it. His friend, the mouse, makes sure Bob has plenty of pink and purple, but it never seems to be enough. Then comes the lesson where Bob learns friends are much more important than things. The illustrations are colorful and inviting, and the words flowed nicely through rhyming. The pictures of the real Bob at the end caught my grandkid’s attention and mine. Bob has fans at our house, and I can easily recommend this book.


Sleighed: A Children’s Christmas Tale
by WJ Scott

“Sleighed” is a sweet children’s tale about an elf whose first day at work takes an unusual turn. I loved what happened next and appreciate the magic of Christmas. Although this is a short story for children, adults can enjoy it too. I know I did. I’ll be sharing this with my grandchildren and highly recommend it.


Mrs. Murray’s Ghost (Piccadilly Street #1)

by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

“Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” is a paranormal middle-grade story that is set in 1967, Canada. Mary and her family move into a large house. The action starts when her family spends their first night in the new residence. They soon find out the house is haunted, but Mary finds additional residents, two Brownies. Those small, magical men from Scotland quickly became the characters I enjoyed the most. I appreciated their backstory and humor. The Brownies need Mary to help them get back home. While Mary struggles in a new school and deals with a bully, she gets very sick. What the Brownies do next was my favorite part of the story. This is a fun read those middle-grade readers and young at heart will enjoy. Four-Stars!


The Adventures of Ollie Orangutan

by Larry Landgraf

“The Adventures of Ollie Orangutan” is a charming story for middle-grade readers about an orangutan named Ollie. Young Ollie was being transported by train to a new zoo when the train crashed. He was able to escape into a swamp area, tasting freedom for the first time. Thrown into something he’s never had to deal with before captured my heart. I didn’t want to put it down and needed to know what was going to happen next. He learned who to trust, including himself. There is a lot of detail Mr. Landgraf brought into the story adding more depth to the dangers that lurk in a swamp for Ollie. I bought this book for my ten-year-old granddaughter for Christmas. I make it a point to read children’s books before gifting them. The story pulled me right in, and I know my granddaughter will love it as much as I did. Five-Stars

Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies Story and Cookbook

by Robbie Cheadle

I love seeing Ms. Cheadle’s cooking creations on social media. They are always fun and creative. When it was time to buy my granddaughters a gift, I knew a book about fairies and cooking would be the perfect fit for my four- and five-year-old grandkids. Before wrapping the book up, I read it. I was charmed with the story, loved the recipes, and impressed mother and son wrote it. I look forward to reading this with my youngest grandchildren and then picking a recipe to make together. This is a great combination book to give as a present!


Myrtle the Purple Turtle
by Cynthia Reyes

I bought this for my youngest granddaughter for Christmas. I knew she’d love the bright illustrations and a story that involved a turtle. Before wrapping and placing it under the tree, I read it. I loved the message behind this story. A purple turtle wanted to be green like the rest of the turtles. This is an excellent lesson to accept yourself and others for who they are. I can’t wait to watch her open her gift so we can enjoy this wonderful story together. I highly recommend this young children’s book.

The Cheetah and the Dog

by Patricia Furstenberg

I bought “The Cheetah and the Dog” for my granddaughter’s birthday. She loves books, and I knew the subject of a dog and cheetah, and the colorful pictures would appeal to her. I read it after it arrived and loved the flow of the rhyming words. A sweet tale that’s based on a real dog’s relationship with a cheetah with a lesson in friendship, no matter what your differences are. Then, after the story, there are facts and photos of cheetahs, which is a wonderful bonus. I can’t wait to share it with my four-year-old grandchild. I’ll be buying more of Ms. Furstenberg’s children’s books as gifts. Five-Stars!

Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam

by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I’m already a fan of Ms. Geneviene, so I was excited to learn that “Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam” was about faeries. Thistledown is a place where faeries live, including Bedlam Thunder. It’s full of color, magic, and beauty. Bedlam has dark visions that not only get her kicked out of school but also affect her health and well-being. I love the little details not only in the scenery, but I can imagine how painful a wing injury would be.  The faery names always brought a smile to my face, and at the end of the story, you can create your faery name. The only downside was that there was repeat information that I found distracting while I was reading. Still, this story was a lot of fun, and it would be great to sit down and read with a child—or alone.


Molly Finds Her Purr

by Pamela S Wight

Shelley A. Steinle (Illustrator)

I bought this book for my youngest granddaughter’s third birthday. I read it before giving it to her and thoroughly enjoyed it. Molly, the feral cat, was searching for friendship and her purr. She ran into animals who rejected her, but she kept looking until she found her circle. This has a wonderful message of friendship and finding that inner purr or what I thought of as the inner spark. The illustrations are charming and brought the characters to life. Locating the dragonfly on each page added to my delight.  Adults will enjoy reading this to their children almost as much as I know the children will love having it read to them–or reading it themselves. I’m looking forward to sharing this with my granddaughter. I highly recommend this well-written and beautifully illustrated book. Five-Stars


Fairy Dust (Bedtime Tale #1)

by W.J. Scott

A young girl named, Evelyn, didn’t believe in the unseen or magic. Evelyn finds out whether it is real or not in this sweet story. I found the characters charming, full of wonder, and uncertainty. The last line summed up my personal belief, which I won’t share here and ruin the ending. I will definitely be reading this with my grandchildren! Five-Stars


While the Bombs Fell

by Robbie CheadleElsie Hancy Eaton

“While the Bombs Fell” is told through the eyes of a young girl in England during WWII. From food rations to bombs falling, it was a fascinating look into war from a child’s eyes. It was written much like a journal or someone retelling their memories—which it was. I was drawn into what it would be like to live through this period via Elise’s descriptions. Between supplementing their food with a garden, going into the bomb shelter during raids, or the children finding ways to entertain themselves, I felt like I understood what she went through. I loved the addition of recipes at the end. This is a great peek into what it was like to survive in wartime, especially for children. Four-Stars


Trails and Trials: An African Adventure – Fauna Park Tales 

by Maretha Botha

Trails and Trials is the fourth book in the Fauna Park Tales and so far, my favorite. It’s told through four different stories of animals and humans all headed in the same direction with three of the groups trying to save the orphans from book three. I loved the themes of: family, loyalty, bravery and hope. Crossing a desert is dangerous, but something all four groups set out to do despite the danger. The little details brought this part to life and I could easily imagine crossing the hot sand, with no water, under the blaring sun. This is intended for middle grade readers, but adults can enjoy it, too. I can’t wait for book five to come out to see where the story takes the reader next. All four Fauna Park Tales sit in my grandchildren’s bookcase and are highly recommended. Five-Stars


The Orphans’ Plight: An African Adventure – Fauna Park Tales The Orphans’ Plight: An African Adventure – Fauna Park Tales 

by Maretha Botha

This is the third book in the Fauna Park Tales and I enjoyed it as much as the first two. It’s still being told through Hope the owl, there’s the charming illustrations, and animals with their humans. I loved the setting and learning new information about the animals that lived there. The story-line showed how dangerous life can be in Molodi Valley, including theft and kidnapping. This was a one night read, that gave good examples of bravery and family. I’ll be reading the next book in the series to see how it all works out. Although this is a great story for middle grade readers, adults can enjoy it, too. I recommend this series but start it from the beginning, so you don’t miss out on anything. Five-Stars


Shadow and Friends Spend Christmas in New York (Shadow Series Book 5)

by A. Raymond, S. Jackson

This is part of a series for children 4-11 about a squirrel named Stubby. He travels to New York to see his twin, Shorty, for Christmas who lives in Central Park. I loved the setting in New York during the holidays. The pictures were small on my Kindle, but charming. I think this would be a great book to add to my paperback collection for my grand-kids. That way I can read it to them, or maybe they can read it to me, and fully enjoy the artwork. I smiled seeing the squirrel at the top of the Empire State Building waving in his guests like King Kong. I liked that they shopped, skated, and went to Church. Then the group gathers for the special day after their Santa paid a visit. A cute story to read to the kids during the Holiday Season. I’ll be reading this to my grand-kids this year. Five-Stars


Mylee in the Mirror (Greek Mythology Fantasy Series Book 2) Kindle Edition

by Ellie Collins

This is another great book in the Greek Mythology Fantasy Series. While the first book dealt with sixth grader D.J., Persephone and a move including a new school, “Mylee in the Mirror” takes on high school, Aphrodite, dating, change and expectations. The opening of the book drew me right in with a surprise and I was hooked. Mylee is moving her beloved grandmother into assisted living; her parents are fighting, and the most popular guy in school asks her out–making life confusing for her. But even with all that was going on at least Mylee had her best friends and trampoline and tumbling. The characters are well-written and the relationships realistic. Mylee’s home life felt genuine, and the connection between her and her grammy was sweet. I loved the life lessons about being true to yourself, that applied to the adults in the story, too. Adding in the magic of a Greek Goddess and her interactions with Mylee made this story a lot of fun and exciting to read. I’m looking forward to the next book and highly recommend this imaginative book and amazing young author. Five-Stars


Friends: An African Adventure Fauna Park Tales 

“Friends: An African Adventure” is the second book in the Fauna Park Tale series I have bought for my grand-kids. It’s an exotic tale set in an African desert and told through a bird’s perspective, Hope. The characters are fully developed and engaging, while the artwork provided by Ms. Botha is heartfelt. Flame the dog gives the reader an example of protecting those who can’t protect themselves– and what friendship and bravery are. He keeps his promise to be a hero. Another Fauna Park Tale I will enjoy reading with my grand-kids! Five-Stars


Daisy, Bold & Beautiful 

by Ellie Collins

“Daisy, Bold & Beautiful” is a sweet story geared for 9 to 12-year-old readers.  Ms. Collins tells the story of a young girl D.J. who moves to a new town with her father, after her mother’s death. She has to start a new school and make new friends.  It’s well-written and I could sympathize with her getting onto the bus knowing no one and heading for a new sixth grade experience. D.J. quickly makes friends and learns about herself along the way. I loved the relationship between father and daughter as well as her new friends.   What makes this story so interesting is what happens when she goes to bed and her experiences in another realm. This book for middle grade readers drew me in, but the amazing part was it was written by a middle grade writer!  This is a children’s book I highly recommend and a new author I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! Five-Stars


Tails (Silver Wishes Book 1)

by WJ Scott  (Author), John Helle Nielsen (Illustrator), Belinda Mellor (Editor)

“Tails” is a children’s fantasy book for the 9-12 age group, but is for adults, too. I’m already of fan of Ms. Scott, so I went into reading this with high expectations. I wasn’t disappointed!  “Tails” takes us to a place where magic is hard to come by, and the wizards have lost their power. That all changes when a hunter, Samsa captures Kywah, a silvertail and cuts his tail off which has magic in it. The silvertails were thought to be extinct and this renews the interest in ‘harvesting’ them. The hunters set out to find the pack, so they can sell the tails and fur to the wizards who want to recapture their powers. Kywah, who is considered handicapped among his pack, leaves on a journey to find the ‘Wise One’ to prevent the killing for greed and power. He does this without the senses his tail provided. I loved the relationships Kywah made along the way, especially with the dog Buster-Boy.  This is the first of the series–I can’t wait for the second book! If you love a story with magic, adventure, wizards, hunters, fairies, bravery, friendship and a journey you’ll love this book!  I highly recommend “Tails” and would give it six stars if I could. Five-Stars


June the Prune and Lady Bird: Cancer Stinks! Kids and Pets Cracking the Power Code 

by Gracie Bradford

This is a children’s book that tells the story of ten-year-old June who lives with her brother and dysfunctional mother. She finds a puppy, Lady Bird, and the children take care of it until it finally becomes a part of their family–and her best friend. June is an A student who is thrust into the role of caretaker more often than she should be. Luckily, her grandma is involved, or G-Mom, and that helps the children to have more stability and love. Her mother marries and brings an uncaring stepfather and four unfriendly steps siblings into the house. But, June gets an amazing trip with her grandmother and brother across Europe–where the kids bring joy to the tour group. Unfortunately, right after is when June gets sick and ends up fighting cancer in the hospital. This part of the book is very emotional and drew me deep into the story. I was extremely invested into June’s outcome and her bravery through an unthinkable situation for any child going through cancer treatments. This is a book I’d recommend for kids and adults to read—and to understand. Four-Stars


Amazing Matilda: The Tale of A Monarch Butterfly 

by Bette A. Stevens

This is a sweet story about a caterpillar named Matilda and her friends. She immediately wants to fly, but is given the advice to be patient and keep trying– when she can’t. The book is illustrated by the author and that adds another level of depth to the book. The story has a lesson that not only kids can learn from, but also the adults who read the book with them. I can’t wait to give this to my grandchildren and will enjoy our reading time together with this delightful tale! Five-Stars


Wish Fish 1: Discovering the Secret

ByLynn Miclea

This is a sweet children’s story about two fish, Ray and Roxy, who live in the ocean. The fish duo who go too far into the ocean, get caught in a fisherman’s net, and almost get eaten by a bigger fish find they need to depend on their friendship and love to survive. They learn some important lessons on their adventures—including believing in yourself. It is a good message for children and the adults reading along with them. I bought this for my grand-kids and can’t wait to read it with them! Five-Stars


Halloween Writing Prompts: 13 Spooky Activities For Kids (Aspiring Author Series)

by WJ Scott

This is an interactive book for kids who want to be writers or love to create. It opens with some writing suggestions, then has 13 pictures with a tagline to provide a starting point. I love the Halloween theme that includes a black cat, a witch and other “spooky” prompts. This would be good in a classroom or at home. I bought this for my grand-kids and plan to enjoy it with them. Great idea! Five-Stars


Friends: An African Adventure (Fauna Park Tales #2)

by Maretha Botha

“Friends: An African Adventure” is the second book in the Fauna Park Tale series I have bought for my grand-kids. It’s an exotic tale set in an African desert and told through a bird’s perspective, Hope. The characters are fully developed and engaging, while the artwork provided by Ms. Botha is heartfelt. Flame the dog gives the reader an example of protecting those who can’t protect themselves– and what friendship and bravery are. He keeps his promise to be a hero. Another Fauna Park Tale I will enjoy reading with my grand-kids! Five-Stars


The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! 

by Bette A. Stevens

I bought this book to give as a gift to my grandchildren. Reading through the book before giving it to them, I found it taught me a few things, too. First, I had no idea a tangram is a seven-piece puzzle with specific shapes. A pattern is provided to cut out and get started along with the history of it. There are many ways to put the pieces together, but the book supplies shapes to make– with clues or riddles as to what they are.  Although, this is a very clever and educational book for children, I appreciated the added bonus that an adult can sit down and enjoy it with the kids! Five-Stars


Suzy Has A Secret

by S. Jackson and  A. Raymond

“Suzy Has A Secret” deals with a subject that we (as parents, grandparents and caretakers) do not like to think about—but we must.  The subject matter is about inappropriate touching of children by trusted adults. The text is handled delicately and assures the child it is safe to speak up. The pictures are cute and welcoming making it feel like any other children’s book. “Suzy Has A Secret” is a book you can sit with a young child and read about a threatening situation, in a non-threatening manner. It will open the door for more communication. I like the note to the adults after the story with more detailed information. I highly recommend this for those with young children. Although, I purchased this for my Kindle, I’m adding the paperback to my book collection– for my grand-kids.


 Shadow and Friends Celebrate Ellsworth, KS 150th Birthday (Book Seven of Shadow and Friends Series 7) 
by S Jackson, A Raymond, M Schmidt

This is a book that you can read with your child – and both enjoy it. I first read it alone and found I enjoyed learning about Ellsworth’s history. Then, I read it to my seven-year-old granddaughter. She loved the animal illustrations and the party they threw to celebrate the town’s birthday. She particularly liked the dog illustrations, but laughed out loud at the squirrel at the end. “Shadow and Friends Celebrate Ellsworth, KS 150th Birthday” is educational and entertaining. My granddaughter and I appreciated the history, story and animals. Although, I have the Kindle copy, I’m going to add the paperback to my grandchildren’s book collection. I recommend this book.

by S. Jackson, A. Raymond​

“The Big Cheese Festival” is a sweet children’s book–with a lesson to teach. Stubby Mouse has a smaller tail than the other mice. He’s excited about attending a dance with his friends, but his brother’s friend makes fun of his tail size. Although, his brother defends him, Stubby feels like no one likes him. Enter a new friend, and Stubbys’s response to the bully. It’s filled with charming illustrations that make it come to life. “The Big Cheese Festival” is a book I’ll be reading to my grandchildren – the old-fashioned way – with the paperback in hand. It is a subject that needs to be brought up to children. This book is a way to do it and get the conversation going about bullying!​ Five-Stars


Mr. Grumpy Lizard meets the Giggling Girls

by Joyce Shaughnessy​

I love the fact “Mr. Grumpy Lizard Meets the Giggling Girls” was inspired by the author’s four granddaughters, and illustrated by her husband—it was a family effort. Great details of the characters which included: Mr. Grumpy Lizard’s “black and white polka-dot bow tie”, and his monocle – or Little Miss Hattie Human whose “frilly pink dress flew up almost over her head, showing a great many pink and white lacy petticoats.” brought this story to life. It is an endearing story of Queen Craggy Crocodile summoning the four giggling human girls to tea– via Mr. Grumpy Lizard. They quickly accepted. Soon, they left to find out what was behind the request. Ms. Shaughnessy wrote a wonderful children’s book that promotes happiness and joy. This is a book I will enjoy reading to my own grandchildren!Five-Stars


Sammy Meets Grandma ( Sammy the dog book 3)

by Lynn Miclea​

“Sammy Meets Grandma” is a sweet tale, told through a rescue dog named Sammy’s point of view. It is a short chapter book with black and white illustrations that bring Sammy to life. I loved seeing a car ride through the innocence of a dog. I always thought dogs believed slobbering on the windows looked good—Sammy confirmed that! The end of this drive was a visit to see Grandma. Sammy’s intention was always to do good and bring joy. Although, like the car windows, opinions of what brings happiness—varies sometimes. The most important thing in this book is the happiness this dog brings to people who need it. How simply sitting next to someone is all they need. I was touched how much a dog’s visit can uplift someone’s day. Ms. Miclea wrote a book that I will be sharing with my grandchildren. I can read it to them or it is a book they can read to themselves. It’s a feel-good book with an important message of kindness and love for kids, but adults can appreciate that, too!​ Five-Stars


Flame and Hope: An African Adventure (Fauna Park Tales Book 1) 

by Maretha Botha​

Flame and Hope is a children’s book set in South Africa. Ms. Botha tells this story through Flame the dog and Hope the bird’s prospective. Although it is intended for children, (and I will be buying a book for my grandchildren) adults can enjoy it, too. It is a world seen through animal’s eyes. I was struck by their commitment to get along, follow rules, honor their word, and take care of each other. There are beautiful illustrations throughout and descriptions of the landscape. It is deep and thoughtful with the realities of life, but there is hope, too. I look forward to reading more from this author and other books in this series.​ Five-Stars


Hieroglyph (TC’s Adventures Book 1)

WJ Scott​

“Hieroglyph” is an award-winning action-filled YA book and I can see why. Thirteen-year-old T.C. flawlessly takes us between modern Australia and Ancient Egypt with her special talent. Both ongoing stories are compelling. The attention to detail, imagery, and history make this a very special story. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Scott’s books, especially the next book in this series! I highly recommend!​ Five-Stars


The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman

by Robin Gregory​

Although the book title hasn’t been easy for me to remember, “The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman”, I won’t forget this incredible story anytime soon. The characters were beautifully written and I grew to love Moojie Littleman more with each page I read. The use of metaphors was unique as well as the beautifully written prose. This tale was set in the past, but it had a new age wisdom that worked well with an unwilling hero who had so many things working against him from the day he was born. I am usually in a hurry when reading to see what happens next. This story, though, had me slowing down to re-read what I just read and appreciate it. I recommend this well-written, magical, coming of age book– not only for children, but adults, too!​ Five-Stars


The Cat who wanted a Dog

by Micki Peluso​

This is a children’s book based on a true story about a cat named Toby. What is unique about this book is you can color in it, too–so it is worth buying in print form just for that. I got this to read to my grandchildren ages ranging from: eight to one and a half years old. I sat down individually with each of them starting with my six-year-old granddaughter, who is just starting to read and loves cats and dogs. This was the perfect story for her, plus the bonus she could color in it after! She had the crayons out the minute we finished reading. Everyone else got to enjoy her coloring, including her eight-year-old brother. He listened quietly and asked a lot of questions about the animals. He was very engaged in the tale of Toby. Although, he passed on the coloring portion he liked the story. The youngest, at one in a half, could not sit through the story, but was more than ready to color and loved the pictures of the cat and dog. She is usually being told not to color in books, so a nice addition for her! What an endearing story, that we could all relate to no matter what our age! I will be reading this many times to my grand-kids, and it will be a little different each time as the coloring continues.​ Five-Stars


Walker the Goose: The Search for a Family

Suzanne Blumer​

This is a heartwarming tale for young children based on a real goose. I bought it to read to my grand-kids who range in ages from: eight to one in a half years old. The six-year-old, who is just starting to read, sat quietly through the whole story. She was completely engaged in the beautiful artwork and the rhyming words weaved into the story. She was pleased with the outcome of the story. The eight-year-old (who can read and I wasn’t sure if he would be “too old” for it) insisted I read it to him. He declared at the end how much he liked it. The youngest grandchild loved the pictures, but was too young to sit through the story. It is a book I will be pulling out to read to them again. This was enthusiastically given approval by not only the children, but grandma, too. Beautifully done!Five-Stars


Wizard of Dreams

by Robin Chambers

I didn’t know what to expect when I first started reading “Wizard of Dreams”.  I thought it might be another typical children’s fantasy, but boy was I wrong! Half way through the book I found myself completely drawn into the story– to the point I didn’t want to put it down! The story line focuses on a young boy, Gordon and his “Imaginary” friend, Zack. From a typical school day where Gordon finds ways to calm the class bully, to wild adventures in his dreams, this book combines whimsical fantasy with some rather harsh realities of life. I love how Mr. Chambers blends together history, magic, and reality to create an incredible story. I can’t wait to see what is next for Gordon and his side kick, Zack. I highly recommend this book for not only children, but adults too. Five-Stars