Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Source: Purchased
Audiobook, 8+ hrs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, narrated by Georgia Maguire, is about appearances, told in snatches between the past and present. Jack and Grace have the outwardly perfect marriage, even after a hasty courtship. Jack Angel is the perfect gentlemen, who moves easily within society and displays outward kindness toward even the disabled. Grace is an independent woman whose parents never wanted children, and after having two, they are ready to move to New Zealand and leave them behind. Even as Grace has had relationships in the past, she’s always put her sister, Millie, first because she knows that she will have to care for her in the absence of their parents.

Paris has created a fantastic, psychological thriller in which the reader is as terrified as the protagonist. Even before the conversation between Jack and Grace after their marriage, readers are fully aware that something in their relationship is not right. Jack hovers too much, he answers uncomfortable questions just a little too quickly, and he creates believable, yet oddball solutions to problems.

He is calculating and cold, and Grace is terrified with a perfect veneer of sereneness. She evolves from panicked to resigned and patient. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, narrated by Georgia Maguire, is narrated superbly and terrifyingly. Readers are likely to be hooked from the first page into the spiraling disaster of this “perfect” marriage. This one will keep you up at night.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

B. A. Paris grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher and has five daughters. Behind Closed Doors is her first novel.

Dodgers by Bill Beverly

Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Hardcover, 304 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Dodgers by Bill Beverly is not a feel-good coming-of-age story. East is 16 and has been standing watch outside drug houses in Los Angeles’ The Boxes neighborhood for two years. When the heat turns up, he finds himself adrift. But Fin, the big man, asks him to step in and do something he’s never trained for or even thought about — kill a key witness who’s hiding in Wisconsin. East is just one of four set out on the road in a minivan to get the job done and with little contact to the players-that-be at home. These boys will have to make grown-up decisions and decisions that they will have to live with forever.

“He had been at the old house before them, and he had seen things they had never seen. He had seen a reverend shot on the walk, a woman jump off a roof. He had seen a helicopter crash into trees and a man, out of his mind, pick up a downed power cable and stand, illuminated. He had seen the police come down, and still the house continued on.” (pg. 5 ARC)

“East looked up and tried to swallow the bad taste in his mouth. Above them, a big plastic dinosaur spun on a wire. Cars rushed by out on the highway, and East had to keep himself from staring down each one. Things moving. At first, the ride had felt like getting out, like being set free. Into nothing. But since Vegas, this felt like being stuck back in it. Like every headlight that rolled past was pointed at him.” (pg. 67 ARC)

East has been the big brother to half-brother Ty, but Ty has left home and disappeared into the network until this trip north. They don’t communicate at all, and when they do it’s strained at best. Their relationship is the backbone of the crew and how it operates. Will these four boys reach their destination in one piece, will they kill each other, and will the mission be accomplished? Beverly has created a tension-filled story that journeys across country, and readers are worried that the mission will be accomplished even as they want East to find peace and redeem himself.

Dodgers by Bill Beverly is a harsh look at gang life, but it also is a look at the boys caught up in it. The young men who feel trapped by their lives, who set boundaries for themselves, but then must break them or face harsh consequences. Even when they feel that they are free from it all, it comes back around, like shadows waiting behind the trees ready to snatch them back into the black hole.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

Bill Beverly grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and studied at Oberlin College and the University of Florida. His research on criminal fugitives and the stories surrounding them became the book On the Lam: Narratives of Flight in J. Edgar Hoover’s America. He teaches American literature and writing at Trinity University in Washington, D.C.

The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

Source: Public Library
Paperback, 240 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman, which was our October book club selection, contains eight comics that were issued once per month. Gaiman admits that the writing is not as good upon reading them long after they were issued, and on this readers might agree. The dialogue is often choppy and the comics feel as though they do not have a focus or story arc. In many ways they are vignettes.

“There was a definite effort on my part, in the stories in this volume, to explore genres available: “The Sleep of the Just” was intended to be a classical English horror story; “Imperfect Hosts” plays with some of the conventions of the old DC and E.C. horror comics (and the hosts thereof); “Dream a Little Dream of Me” is slightly more contemporary British horror story … ” (From Gaiman’s Afterword)

Having read other graphic novels by Gaiman, this seems like a freshman effort at comics. The drawings themselves are dark and haphazard at times, making it hard for readers to follow the story in a cohesive way. I had to re-read a few pages to fully capture what was happening. Even after doing so, it seemed as though I was missing some backstory and even some explanation as to why this “order” would trap Sandman if he was not the one they wanted in the first place. However, I did like Sandman’s cloak…the flames were a nice touch.

Even once that episode is done and Sandman is free, the attempts to take back his “tools” are so easily accomplished that they fell flat. It was more of a detective story in that way — follow the clues and obtain the objects. Even the major battle with the demon was only mildly entertaining, and forget the battle with Dr. Dee. Overall, The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman fell a little flat for me in terms of substance, even the interactions between Sandman and Death were less than stellar.

RATING: Couplet

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, and is the recipient of numerous literary honors. Originally from England, he now lives in America.

Find out more about Neil at his website, find all his books at his online bookstore, and follow him on Facebook, tumblr, and his blog.

I am NOT a Princess! by Bethany Burt, illustrated by Brenda McCallum

Source: Schiffer Publishing
I am an Amazon Affiliate

I am NOT a Princess! by Bethany Burt, illustrated by Brenda McCallum, follows Eliza, a little girl who gets the idea that she wants to be a princess. She has everything she needs from the frilly pink dress and glass slippers to the beaded purse and gloves. From what she knows of princesses, Eliza turns down bike riding with her friend and going to the store with her mother because princesses have carriages and servants. After spending much of her day alone twirling and turning down other fun things to do, Eliza begins to realize that being a princess is boring.

While I liked the idea of this book and Eliza does realize that her perception of being a princess leaves her with little to do, she doesn’t come to the realization that princesses are more than frilly dresses and looking pretty. The author could have taken a moment for the mother to point out some other real-life princesses who did more than just look nice and order people around (i.e. Princess Diana).

I am NOT a Princess! by Bethany Burt, illustrated by Brenda McCallum, includes some great illustrations of Eliza and her escapades, but I wanted a bigger message here. Rather than Eliza realizing she likes to ride bikes and play ball with her brother and bake cakes and make messes, I wanted her to see that being a princess could be much bigger than the stereotype.

RATING: Tercet

Mr. Darcy to the Rescue by Victoria Kincaid

Source: giveaway win
Paperback, 200 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Mr. Darcy to the Rescue by Victoria Kincaid is set after Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley leave Netherfield never to return and Mr. Bennet reveals to his favorite daughter, Elizabeth Bennet, that his doctor believes his heart is weaker than first thought and that he could die soon. With this knowledge, Lizzy must decide whether she can accept her lot and accept the proposal from Mr. Collins, even as he is utterly ridiculous and clearly is not in love with her. What choice does she have with the estate entailed away and her sister, Jane, still heartbroken over Bingley’s leaving? She accepts and tries to put aside all thoughts of her upcoming nuptials.

Although Mr. Darcy does act out of character in this novel, given the situation and his realization that Lizzy is the only woman for him, it makes perfect sense for him to find a way to covertly separate her from Mr. Collins. He abhors deceit, but he must do what he can to free her from the shackles of the parsonage and her irritating betrothed. Even though his aim is to improve himself in her fine eyes and win her hand, he is willing to let her go if only to see her away from Collins who cannot make her happy.

“‘I have heard that your estate at Pemberley is very grand. How many windows do you have at the front?'” (pg. 35)

Elizabeth might have encountered more awkward situations in her life before, but she would have been hard-pressed to think of one at the moment. Attempting to put some space between them, she took several steps backward until she bumped against the door. Undeterred, Mr. Collins shuffled forward on his knees until he was again crouched right at her feet.” (pg. 169)

Kincaid has taken the abrasive character of Lady Catherine and used her very well in this story, and Darcy is clearly a strategist, even if he prefers to do most things above board. When his plan backfires, he is perfectly contrite as he should be, and it is clear that his love of Lizzy has changed his views. He thinks beyond his own desires and determines how best to amend the wrongs he has wrought.

Mr. Darcy to the Rescue by Victoria Kincaid is a glimpse at what a more impulsive and head-over-heels in love Mr. Darcy would look like. He’s still awkward and he still bumbles about in his conversation with Elizabeth, unless they are matching wits, but he clearly values her and she is hard pressed to ignore his desire for her good opinion. Kincaid’s book is delightful and will have readers cheering Darcy on in his endeavors to win Lizzy’s hand.

***The action and tension in this one kept me reading into the wee hours, and I finished it in one day!***

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

The author of numerous best-selling Pride and Prejudice variations, historical romance writer Victoria Kincaid has a Ph.D. in English literature and runs a small business, er, household with two children, a hyperactive dog, an overly affectionate cat, and a husband who is not threatened by Mr. Darcy. They live near Washington DC, where the inhabitants occasionally stop talking about politics long enough to complain about the traffic.

On weekdays she is a freelance writer/editor who specializes in IT marketing (it’s more interesting than it sounds) and teaches business writing. A lifelong Austen fan, Victoria has read more Jane Austen variations and sequels than she can count – and confesses to an extreme partiality for the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. Visit her website. View her blog, visit her on Facebook, GoodReads, and on Amazon.

Mr. Darcy’s Journey: A Pride & Prejudice Variation by Abigail Reynolds

Source: the author
ebook, 293 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Mr. Darcy’s Journey: A Pride & Prejudice Variation by Abigail Reynolds is a wildly imaginative variation that takes place during the Sheffield food riot of 1812 when the Luddites begin to rail against those aristocrats in power, as their food sources and funds grew scarcer as machines began to show up in mills across the northern parts of Britain. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet become swept up in the chaos even as they struggle with their own feelings for one another and the multiple misunderstandings that happen between them.

“He crumpled up his first attempt and tossed it in the fireplace. He never had to rewrite letters; it was something he prided himself upon. But Elizabeth would hold this note, her elegant fingers touching the same paper he touched now, and she would think of him. It must be perfect.”

Unlike many other variations, the Fitzwilliam clan (Lord and Lady Matlock and their children) take center stage, and Colonel Fitzwilliam has a surprise in store for his parents that could rock the family to the core. His sister Frederica needs Darcy’s shielding as the ton has begun to shun her after being jilted, while Elizabeth tends to her sister at Gracechurch street following Bingley’s abandonment. These parallel story lines reinforce one another, showcasing how little recourse women had during that time should a man choose to abandon a lady without explanation, even if they are wealthy. In line with that, the cause for the Rights of Man taken up by Darcy’s friend from Cambridge, Sir Anthony Duxbury, who somehow knows Elizabeth — his Elizabeth.

Mr. Darcy’s Journey: A Pride & Prejudice Variation by Abigail Reynolds provides an excellent glimpse into the politics of the time, and it also exposes Darcy to concerns beyond Pemberley and how those concerns can impact the nation. While the journey North is dangerous, Elizabeth and Darcy prove to be strong enough to withstand the riots, but can they withstand the machinations of the Fitzwilliam clan and overcome their own prejudices to find their way into each other’s arms? Reynolds has taken on a lot in this variation, and readers may wish it had been longer.

RATING: Quatrain

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Abigail Reynolds has spent the last fifty years asking herself what she wants to be when she grows up. This month she is a writer, a mother and a physician in a part-time private practice. Next month is anybody’s guess. Originally from upstate New York, she indecisively studied Russian, theater, and marine biology before deciding to attend medical school, a choice which allowed her to avoid any decisions at all for four years.

She began writing Pride & Prejudice variations in 2001 to spend more time with her very favorite characters. Encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking ‘What if…?’, which led to seven other Pemberley Variations and two modern novels set on Cape Cod.

Good Taste: Simple, Delicious Recipes for Family and Friends by Jane Green

Source: Berkley
Hardcover, 192 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Good Taste: Simple, Delicious Recipes for Family and Friends by Jane Green is more than just a cookbook, it’s family dinner or a gathering of friends in which Green shares not only where her recipes come from, but some of the stories behind them or that churn up in her memory. The narrative accompanying each recipe is like sitting across the table from Green. Readers will picture her dinner parties and family gatherings happening in much the same way — Green mixing ingredients across the kitchen island while her guests munch, chat, and help out. These are the family and friend gatherings that are the most fun because everyone is not only enjoying the food but the company of one another.

“I realized quickly that for me, having people over is less about the food, and more about comfort, warmth, nurture. It is about creating the kind of welcoming environment that instantly makes people feel relaxed and cared for, that truly brings meaning to the concept of food being love.” (pg. ix)

I particularly loved her early advice about putting out nuts and cheese and fruit, rather than hors d’oeuvres that can make people full before the meal is even served. Many of my own family gatherings were this way, and we were all very hungry when the meal was served. And who doesn’t like the smell of fresh baked bread — Potato, Gorgonzola, and Sage Bread is one recipe I’ll be trying when I have more time.

What I did make from the cookbook was dessert — you knew it had to be dessert, didn’t you? Warm chocolate and Banana Cake, a recipe that was her mother’s special dessert, and like her mother, my grandmother kept many of her recipes in her head and what was written down is in some kind of code that needs a key to unlock. Despite these encryption techniques, Green has recreated a delicious and moist dessert that people will want seconds and thirds of! I know I did, even though our Confectioners’ sugar has somehow vanished!

Good Taste: Simple, Delicious Recipes for Family and Friends by Jane Green is a wonderful cookbook and my family enjoyed the chocolate cake. My daughter gobbled it up every chance she got, which is unusual as she generally doesn’t prefer sweets. For this cake, she made an exception.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

Jane Green is the author of seventeen novels, including sixteen New York Times bestsellers. She has over ten million books in print, and is published in over 25 languages. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Sunshine Beach by Wendy Wax

Source: Penguin Random House
Paperback, 420 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Sunshine Beach by Wendy Wax is the fourth in a series of books in which ladies taken for all their worth in a Ponzi scheme work together to renovate homes on reality TV. I would recommend reading these books in order because there are some spoilers in this one for previous books.

Maddie, Avery, and Nikki are struggling after the end of their last Do Over season ended with the renovation at Mermaid Point in the Florida Keys. Maddie is still seeing former rocker William Hightower, and she’s trying to reconcile her former wife and homemaker status with that of groupie turned girlfriend of a rockstar who is regaining his footing in the music business. Meanwhile, Avery is struggling to regain her confidence as the skilled contractor everyone knows her to be, and Nikki continues to deal with trust issues and learning to lean on others for support.

“But there was far more wishful thinking wrapped up in her pronouncement than she wanted to examine. The last time they’d had this conversation she’d insisted the future looked so bright it would require sunglasses. But at that moment she’d settle for a flashlight and a really good road map.” (pg. 32 ARC)

“‘It’s not a matter of trying, Avery. You believe or you don’t.’ Chase slung an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. ‘You need to get all the way on board, or I’m going to have to give you some serious noogies.’ He knuckled his fist in her hair.” (pg. 247 ARC)

After quitting at the end of the last season on camera, the ladies are determined to find their own renovation project and re-create their show from scratch. There’s a little bit of sun on the horizon when Maddie’s daughter, Kyra, stumbles upon a forgotten hotel in the dunes. Lucky for the team, they just happen to know the owners, and all they need to do is convince them that even the darkest memories can be shined up.

Wax has become a go-to author for me for summer reads and for read that help me escape when I need it. Her female characters are strong, but they also need support to — from one another and from the men in their lives. This series of books also combines these wonderful elements with beaches and renovation shows — my secret addiction (looks like the secret is out)! Sunshine Beach by Wendy Wax was a wonderful read and it was like a visit with old friends. I can’t wait to catch up with them again on the beach!

RATING: Quatrain

Also Reviewed:

About the Author:

Award-winning author Wendy Wax has written eight novels, including Ocean Beach, Ten Beach Road, Magnolia Wednesdays, the Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist The Accidental Bestseller, Leave It to Cleavage, Single in Suburbia and 7 Days and 7 Nights, which was honored with the Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion Award. Her work has sold to publishers in ten countries and to the Rhapsody Book Club, and her novel, Hostile Makeover, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.

A St. Pete Beach, Florida native, Wendy has lived in Atlanta for fifteen years. A voracious reader, her enjoyment of language and storytelling led her to study journalism at the University of Georgia. She also studied in Italy through Florida State University, is a graduate of the University of South Florida, and worked at WEDU-TV and WDAE-Radio in Tampa.

Mabel and the Queen of Dreams by Henry, Joshua, & Harrison Herz, illustrated by Lisa Woods

Source: Schiffer Publishing
Hardcover, 32 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Mabel and the Queen of Dreams by Henry, Joshua, and Harrison Herz, illustrated by Lisa Woods, is an adorable picture book that will help parents get their little ones to sleep. Parents know that children try their hardest to stay up the minute they are told it is time for bed. It’s as if they fear they are missing out on the fun, when in reality, their parents are merely sitting like zombies in front of the television.

In this book, Mabel is introduced as an expert on not going to sleep — something most children are at her age. As Mabel thinks up one more excuse — tell me a story — the mother replies that she cannot because the “Queen” will not visit until she’s closed her eyes. Her mother only begins the story about the fairy queen when Mabel has lied down and closed her eyes. Mabel begins to drift away with the sound of her mother’s voice, and by the end of the book, your children may be asleep as well — so long as they follow Mabel’s example.

The illustrations in Mabel and the Queen of Dreams are simple pencil drawings that are lightly colored, providing them a dreamlike quality. Mabel and the Queen of Dreams by Henry, Joshua, and Harrison Herz, illustrated by Lisa Woods, is a wonderful bedtime story to add to any collection.

Our daughter really liked this one and we’ve probably read it a few times since it arrived.

RATING: Quatrain

Chimera by Mira Grant (audio)

Source: Purchased from Audible
Audiobook, 16+ hours
I am an Amazon Affiliate

***If you haven’t read book 1, read my review for book 1, Parasite, and if you want to, read my review of book 2, Symbiont.***

Chimera by Mira Grant — this is book 3 in the Parasitology series — narrated by Christine Lakin, is an excellent conclusion to the series, in which Sal Mitchell matures and chooses the side she was always on — evolution and peace. She wants humans and chimera to live together, and while that may not be the ultimate conclusion of this trilogy, it seems as though it might be possible. Lakin does an excellent job of narrating the characters, including the subordinate military personnel, and it’s clear she spent enough time with the book to learn how to nuance them and make them different.

What’s fantastic about this series is its uniqueness, it’s nuanced characters who are both good and bad, as well as the evil masterminds — and yes, there are more than one. Another great part of the series is that it brings to light a number of ethical questions about experimentation, human trials, and corporate greed. It would make an excellent series for discussion, though you may only need the first book for that.

Chimera by Mira Grant — this is book 3 in the Parasitology series — narrated by Christine Lakin, is thrilling, dramatic, and thought-provoking. Grant is a master in this genre, and her plots are twisted and suspenseful. There may be moments where the plots are predictable, but overall, readers will just enjoy the ride.

Other Reviews:

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

Born and raised in Northern California, Mira Grant has made a lifelong study of horror movies, horrible viruses, and the inevitable threat of the living dead. In college, she was voted Most Likely to Summon Something Horrible in the Cornfield, and was a founding member of the Horror Movie Sleep-Away Survival Camp, where her record for time survived in the Swamp Cannibals scenario remains unchallenged.

Mira lives in a crumbling farmhouse with an assortment of cats, horror movies, comics, and books about horrible diseases. When not writing, she splits her time between travel, auditing college virology courses, and watching more horror movies than is strictly good for you. Favorite vacation spots include Seattle, London, and a large haunted corn maze just outside of Huntsville, Alabama.

Mira sleeps with a machete under her bed, and highly suggests that you do the same.

United States of Books: The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Source: Public Library
eBook and audiobook, 211 pgs.; 4+ hrs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

For Louisiana, Entertainment Weekly says, “Chopin’s early feminist work, which presents a woman carving an identity for herself that has nothing to do with wifedom or motherhood, also serves as an engrossing immersion in the historical worlds of New Orleans and the Louisiana Gulf Coast.”

awakeningThe Awakening by Kate Chopin is considered by many to be a work of Feminism, published in the early 1900s. Mrs. and Mr. Pontellier appear to have a mutual respect for one another and the relationship many married couples fall into, such as nods and certain looks that are read easily by one another. He is a broker and has very specific ideas about how much attention his wife should pay to the children. But despite their easy way with one another, there is something distant in their relationship, as he feels she does not value his conversation and she tries to tamp down her anguish about only being a mother and a wife.

While summering at Grand Isle, she comes to view their relationship much differently and that of her place in the world. Mrs. Pontellier can see from the actions of other mothers vacationing there that she is much different. She does not worship her children and she does not have all the sophistication of a societal wife. As she becomes aware of these differences, Robert Lebrun begins to pay her special attention, which recalls for her many youthful infatuations. However, when Alcee Arobin crosses her path, things begin to change dramatically for the reborn painter, Mrs. Pontellier.

Edna Pontellier returns to the city and begins to break with tradition, which raises her husband’s eyebrows. Chopin’s work is not so much about the liberation of a woman from societal expectations. It is an introspective look at how we present ourselves to our husbands, children, friends, and greater society. Our inner selves, our true selves — if they ever emerge — are buried deep within our private worlds. For many of us, our true self is only known by us and, in some cases, not even then. Edna has been awakened to her true self and she embarks on a journey to realize it fully.

“She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”

In terms of the setting, it’s clear that they live in Louisiana and music and art are strong cultural elements. The roots of French colonization remain in the area, and many of the people Edna interacts with speak French. Many of these people are definitely from the upper crust as they do little more than socialize, entertain one another, and gossip. The Awakening by Kate Chopin explores the consequences of becoming independent and stripping all pretension, leaving Edna in a solitary world (which mirrors the one she held close prior to her awakening). However, it seems as though Edna fails to evolve, merely bringing her inner world to the surface to find that she cannot survive, rather than exploring what that means and how she should move forward.

RATING: Tercet

chopinAbout the Author:

Kate Chopin was an American novelist and short-story writer best known for her startling 1899 novel, The Awakening. Born in St. Louis, she moved to New Orleans after marrying Oscar Chopin in 1870. Less than a decade later Oscar’s cotton business fell on hard times and they moved to his family’s plantation in the Natchitoches Parish of northwestern Louisiana. Oscar died in 1882 and Kate was suddenly a young widow with six children. She turned to writing and published her first poem in 1889. The Awakening, considered Chopin’s masterpiece, was subject to harsh criticism at the time for its frank approach to sexual themes. It was rediscovered in the 1960s and has since become a standard of American literature, appreciated for its sophistication and artistry. Chopin’s short stories of Cajun and Creole life are collected in Bayou Folk (1894) and A Night in Acadie (1897), and include “Desiree’s Baby,” “The Story of an Hour” and “The Storm.”


Raccoon on the Moon and Other Tales illustrated by David Semple

img_3746Source: Purchased from Usborne Books
Hardcover, 144 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Raccoon on the Moon and Other Tales, illustrated by David Semple, is a set of stories in the Phonics Stories series for young readers.  With my daughter beginning Kindergarten this year, I wanted to get some more books focused on phonics, and this one looked cute, especially since my daughter loves animals and outer space.  Since this book arrived in the house, it has been part of the evening reading ritual before bed.

Each night she picks a story from the list, and we read it.  If we have time, she begs for a second story. The illustrations are clear, brightly colored, and fun!  Kids will love these stories and, after several readings, they will be reading along with you.  In the final pages of this collection of stories, there are puzzles for kids to complete — from finding which words rhyme or which words in the sentence are the wrong one given the context and image.

Our favorites in this collection are Raccoon on the Moon, Llamas in Pajamas, and Mole in a HoleRaccoon on the Moon and Other Tales, illustrated by David Semple, is a fun collection to help young readers learn new words, take adventures with fun animal characters, and read long with their parents.

RATING: Cinquain

***For those on Facebook, I’ll be having a book party for Usborne on Oct. 21. I can invite you if you are interested, though we have to be friends on Facebook***