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Friday, February 5, 2016

Mini Reviews: The Dino Files #1, Cockatoo Too, and Little Bitty Friends

A Mysterious Egg
(The Dino Files #1)
by Stacy McAnulty
Jan. 19, 2016
Random House

Frank’s grandma is a famous paleontologist (that’s a dinosaur scientist). But she’s also an adult who makes up rules. Rules like: no digging for dinosaur bones when you have a sunburn. That means Frank is stuck playing inside with his annoying cousin, Samantha. But then Grandma finds a fossil of an egg! And when Frank and Sam sneak into the dino lab late at night, they find something even more amazing. . . .

The hilarious Dino Files chapter book series follows a nine-year-old dinosaur expert, his paleontologist grandparents, a cat named Saurus, and fossils that might not be so extinct!


While spending the summer with his paleontologists grandparents (and his annoying cousin, Samantha), nine-year old dinosaur expert, Frank, gets the surprise of a lifetime: a real live baby dinosaur. The little dino, named Peanut, is pretty amazing and cute, but Frank and Samantha quickly learn that a prehistoric pet is anything but easy.

A Mysterious Egg, the first book in Stacy McAnulty’s new chapter book series, The Dino Files, offers up T. Rex sized fun! McAnulty combines a pitch-perfect voice, fascinating science, exciting adventure, and laugh-out-loud humor, creating a wildly entertaining page-turner.

Young readers will be fascinated by the age-appropriate science, amused by Frank and Samantha’s misadventures in dino-sitting, and thrilled by all the imagination and adventure. Ready to work and learn Frank and wise-cracking, comedian in training Samantha, make for an endearing and entertaining pair. Readers will enjoy the fun banter between the two cousins. Saurus cat will charm you in the way only cats can and, of course, readers will fall in love with adorable Peanut.

The engaging illustrations throughout hilariously capture the story!

my final thoughts: The Dino Files #1: A Mysterious Egg is an exciting and funny first book in a series that is sure to delight dino-loving kids.

Cockatoo, Too
by Bethany Deeney Murguia

Jan. 25, 2016
Little Bee Books
Who can can-can? Find out in this hilarious book that features cockatoos, two more cockatoos, and tutued toucans too!
Cockatoo two?
Cockatoo, too?
Two cockatoos!
Two cockatoos, too?
Cockatoo tutus!

Two cockatoos meet two more cockatoos in tutus and two tutued toucans. And then two more! Can they all can-can? They can! The cockatoos and toucans join together for a dance.


Bethany Deeney Murguia’s Cockatoo, Too features a slew of cockatoos and toucans, in tutus, doing the can-can!

This hilarious and colorful picture book is a celebration of words. Little readers will erupt in giggles over the fantastically clever wordplay. Each page is bursting with vivid illustrations in lush tropical colors. The silly tutued cockatoos and toucans are simply irresistible.

Little readers (and parents) will be enchanted by all the over-the-top fun and charmed by the whimsical pictures.

Little Bitty Friends
by Elizabeth McPike
Feb. 2, 2016
GP Putnam’s Sons BFYR
A cuter-than-puppies companion to Little Sleepyhead
Little bitty chipmunks,
chattering all the day,
Little bitty ladybug
always comes to play.
Marching with ants, snuggling with baby rabbits, reaching for the sun with happy buttercups--young children form special bonds with nature's little creations.
Lyrical verse and charming scenes capture an enchanted world of little bitty friends.


In Elizabeth McPike’s darling Little Bitty Friends, toddlers explore the outside world around them and connect with the wonders of nature.

This book is simply delightful and too adorable for words! McPike’s lyrical, whimsical rhymes are soothing and sweet and so full of charm. And Patrice Barton’s illustrations are dazzling and have such a gorgeous softness to them. Each page features a diverse cutie-pie to fall in love with.

Little readers will love the fun rhymes and be captivated by the tender illustrations.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Review: Spirit Week Showdown (The Magnificent Mya Tibbs #1) by Crystal Allen

Spirit Week Showdown
(The Magnificent Mya Tibbs #1)
by Crystal Allen
Jan. 26, 2016
Harper Collins
Nine-year-old Mya Tibbs is boot-scootin’ excited for the best week of the whole school year—SPIRIT WEEK! She and her megapopular best friend, Naomi Jackson, even made a pinky promise to be Spirit Week partners so they can win the big prize: special VIP tickets to the Fall Festival!

But when the partner picking goes horribly wrong, Mya gets paired with Mean Connie Tate—the biggest bully in school. And she can’t get out of it. 

Good gravy.

Now Naomi is friend-ending mad at Mya for breaking a promise—even though Mya couldn’t help it—and everyone at school is calling Mya names. Can Mya work with Mean Connie to win the VIP tickets and get her best friend back?


Spirit Week is the best week at school and 9 year old Mya Tibbs is excited to be Spirit Week partners with her very popular BFF, Naomi Jackson. If the two girls win, they get coveted VIP tickets to the Fall Festival. But then things don’t go as planned and Mya ends up with Mean Connie Tate as a partner, and Naomi is furious. So furious, that other kids are calling Mya names and she has to think of a way to win back her BFF and survive being Connie’s partner. Good gravy!

Crystal Allen’s The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Spirit Week Showdown is truly that, a magnificent middle-grade read! This book is simply bursting with heart, funnies, and lovable characters. Allen’s pitch-perfect voice and wonderful storytelling will delight, amuse, and captivate. Mya’s story of mean girls, friendship woes, and being a good kid in a sometimes confusing world, is painted with age appropriate authenticity. Young readers will surely relate to the characters’ mishaps, struggles, and triumphs, and will greatly enjoy the Spirit Week activities.

The vibrant, quaint, yet larger than life, Bluebonnet, Texas makes for a fun setting. And Allen has filled this vivid town with an awesome assortment of diverse characters. From Mya’s clever brother Nugget to a brave boy named Fish, Starr and Skye (twins who may be aliens), fabulous but maybe-not-so-nice Naomi, wacky Mr. Winky, supportive Mr. and Mrs. Tibbs, and surprising Connie, there are so many engaging and memorable characters to love...but I love Mya the most. This plucky, endearing, kind, heartfelt, cowgirl-loving gal, with her pink lucky boots and favorite vest, is sure to dazzle readers.

my final thoughts: With an irresistible heroine, sparkling storytelling, warm heart, and laugh-out-loud humor, The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Spirit Week Showdown is utterly charming and entertaining!

5/5 cupcakes

Crystal Allen is the author of How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy, which received a Florida Sunshine State Award Master List nomination and was a Junior Library Guild selection. The Laura Line is her second novel. She currently lives in Sugar Land, Texas, with her husband, Reggie, and two sons, Phillip and Joshua.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Starflight Launch Blitz and Giveaway!

Hey there, booklovers!

I’m author Melissa Landers, and I’m thrilled to announce the release of STARFLIGHT, the first in a brand new sci-fi series from Disney-Hyperion. I originally pitched this story to my editor as “Overboard” (one of my favorite romantic comedies) meets “Firefly” (an amazing show that was tragically cancelled after one season). STARFLIGHT follows the misadventures of Solara Brooks, a penniless felon who indentures herself to her high school nemesis, Doran Spaulding, in exchange for passage to a new world. But when Doran’s memory is temporarily erased, Solara convinces him their roles are reversed—that she’s the master and he’s the servant—and leads him onto a renegade spaceship, where intergalactic shenanigans ensue. STARFLIGHT is very different in tone from the Alienated trilogy, but the story is still filled with all the things I love: humor, heart, and adventure.

What do reviewers have to say?

“Get ready for blast-off! Action-packed and utterly addictive, nobody writes like Melissa Landers. A smart, satisfying romance set in a vividly detailed world, Starflight was just plain fun!” –New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman

Teens will be bracing themselves during the swashbuckling action scenes. A great choice for fans of raw sci-fi action, reminiscent of the lawlessness presented in the television series Firefly.” –School Library Journal

“A lively tale of romance, space pirates, conspiracy, and made (as opposed to genetic) families.” –Booklist

If you like your sci-fi adventure served with a side of romance, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of STARFLIGHT today. It’s now available in stores and online.

To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a STARFLIGHT swag pack, complete with custom nail wraps, bookmarks, and a mini poster! The giveaway is open internationally. Due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate.

Best of luck, and happy reading!
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Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi
geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.” For more information or just to say hello, visit