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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Review & Giveaway: The Star Dunes (Explorer Academy #4) by Trudi Trueit



The Star Dunes 
(Explorer Academy #4) 
By Trudi Trueit 
March 17, 2020 
Under the Stars 

Cruz, Sailor, Emmett, and the gang are on their way to Africa when Nebula misses their intended target and someone close to Cruz ends up on the brink of death. Secrets creep out from the shadows and leave Cruz with more questions than answers in this fourth title in the hit series. 

A major discovery forces the Explorer Academy into the limelight in The Star Dunes, but Cruz has much more on his mind than 15 minutes of fame. A new face on board the ship brings Cruz's worlds colliding, just as a major close call tears them apart. En route to Africa, Team Cousteau is now down a major player, and Cruz can't help but be preoccupied by the hole in his life. The discovery of his mom's next clue leads him to the most exotic location yet--a vast desert--with no other information to lead the way, while an unlikely ally helps Cruz pursue another piece of the puzzle. Just as things seem like they might turn out alright, Dr. Fanchon Quills has a technological breakthrough which gives Cruz a glimpse into the past and reveals more about his future than he may really want to know. 


Click on each cover to read my reviews of books one, two, and three 

Watch the Series Trailer



Cruz, Emmett, Sailor, Bryndis, Dugan, and the other Explorers on The Orion are headed to Africa, where they’ll help save gorillas, visit a cheetah sanctuary, and embark on a sandy adventure to find Cruz’s mom’s next puzzle piece. But new found fame, a poisonous encounter, and problems at home get in the Explorers’ way. Will Cruz ever uncover all his mother’s secrets, especially when every answer brings more questions? 

Trudi Trueit returns to her enthralling middle-grade the Explorer Academy series with book four, The Star Dunes. I absolutely love this cinematic series and was so excited to dive right into The Star Dunes...and I’m happy report that it does not disappoint one bit. 

Fast-paced and full of fun adventure, exciting mysteries, intriguing science, likable characters, and captivating storytelling, this series always offers readers an edge-of-your-seat-up-all-night reading experience. Combining expertly researched real life science, wild imagination, and plenty of thrills, this series educates as much as it entertains. In The Star Dunes, readers join Cruz and his friends on an unforgettable journey in the fascinating landscapes of Africa. Book four is full of cool twists, awesome surprises, and new challenging puzzles and mysteries to solve. I’ve so enjoyed getting to know the smart, capable young heroes and heroines in this series and they all really get a chance to shine in book four.  

The Star Dunes is another enthralling and unputdownable book in this wonderfully immersive, educational, and engaging series! 

MY RATING 



Trudi's love of writing began in fourth grade when she wrote, directed, and starred in her first play. She went on to become a TV news reporter and weather forecaster, but she knew her calling was in writing. Trueit is a gifted storyteller for middle-grade audiences, and her fiction novels include The Sister Solution, Stealing Popular, and the Secrets of a Lab Rat series. Her expertise in nonfiction for kids comes through in books on history, weather, wildlife, and Earth science. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Trueit lives in Everett, Washington. Website Facebook  * Twitter * Explorer Academy


Win all four books in 
the Explorer Academy series!

One lucky winner will get all four books from the generous Under The Stars.
-US only
-ends 4/15/20
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, stolen, damaged prizes
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Monday, March 30, 2020

Review & Giveaway-- Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (Movie Tie-In Edition) by Stephan Pastis



Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (Movie Tie-in Edition) 
(Timmy Failure #1) 
By Stephan Pastis 
March 3, 2020 
Candlewick Press 

Meet "detective" Timmy Failure, star of the kids’ comedy of the year. Created by New York Times best-selling cartoonist Stephan Pastis. 

Take eleven-year-old Timmy Failure — the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of the best detective agency in town, perhaps even the nation. Add his impressively lazy business partner, a very large polar bear named Total. Throw in the Failuremobile — Timmy’s mom’s Segway — and what you have is Total Failure, Inc., a global enterprise destined to make Timmy so rich his mother won’t have to stress out about the bills anymore. Of course, Timmy’s plan does not include the four-foot-tall female whose name shall not be uttered. And it doesn’t include Rollo Tookus, who is so obsessed with getting into "Stanfurd" that he can’t carry out a no-brainer spy mission. From the offbeat creator of Pearls Before Swine comes an endearingly bumbling hero in a caper whose peerless hilarity is accompanied by a whodunit twist. With perfectly paced visual humor, Stephan Pastis gets you snorting with laughter, then slyly carries the joke a beat further — or sweetens it with an unexpected poignant moment — making this a comics-inspired story (the first in a new series) that truly stands apart from the pack. 

Now a Disney+ original movie. 


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Timmy Failure is the best detective you’ve probably never heard of. Founder, president, and CEO of Failure Inc, Timmy and his partner, a polar bear named Total, are destined for detective fame...ask anybody! When the Failuremobile, aka Timmy’s mom’s Segway that he’s absolutely not supposed to use, goes missing Timmy and Total must solve their own case before she finds out. But unhelpful friends, a nagging teacher, a-not-so-nice-mom's-boyfriend, and she-who-must-not-be-named, stand in Timmy and Total’s way and change everything for this dynamic detective duo. 

Stephan Pastis’ Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made is a laugh-out-loud romp about a charmingly awkward anti-hero who, despite his habit of failing spectacularly, is impossible to not root for! 

Young readers will have a blast joining Timmy and Total in their wild, quirky antics. Timmy’s deadpan honesty and admirable overconfidence lead to pages of amusing storytelling and unforgettable outcomes. Readers will enjoy Timmy’s exaggerated imagination, endearingly odd way with words, and his never-ending gumption. And while the story is full of humor and adventure, Pastis delivers a great heaping of heart as well, offering readers a gentle message about family, friendship, kindness, and believing in oneself. 

With giggle-inducing funnies, a heartwarming core, and an unforgettable main character, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made is a delightful and entertaining read.

And now, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made is a Disney+ Original Movie. This family friendly movie is a lot of fun to watch. I think they did a wonderful job of adapting the story to the screen, capturing the heart and spirit of Timmy, Total, and company. I recommend reading the book first then watching the movie. 

MY RATING


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this title from Candlewick Press for review/feature purposes. All thoughts, opinions, and reviews are my own. 


Stephan Pastis is the creator of the New York Times bestseller Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made and its three sequels, as well as the acclaimed comic strip Pearls Before Swine. He lives in northern California. 



Win a copy of Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (movie tie-in edition)
Candlewick Press has generously offered one copy for two winners.
-US only (no PO boxes)
-ends 4/5/20
-there will be two winners who will get one copy each
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, stolen damaged prizes in the mail

a Rafflecopter giveaway