Wednesday, January 17, 2018

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Susanna Leonard Hill




 
 
Title: When Your Llama Needs A Haircut

Author: Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustrator: Daniel Wiseman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Publishers

Ages: 0-4 





Synopsis: 



Does your llama need a haircut? When your llama needs a haircut, you'll first need to pick the perfect style...


Why you should get it:


When I found out my friend, author Susanna Leonard Hill, was releasing a new series of board books, I offered to review one. My friends know I'm not likely to give a favorable BOOK NOOK REVIEW unless I sincerely like the book I've been given. 

The day WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT came in the mail, I was having a very rough time at work. I thought I would give Susanna's book a quick read and then delve deeper into it at a later time. I found myself actually chuckling out loud at some of the adorable illustrations Daniel Wiseman created to compliment Susanna's cute story, like this one...





It brougt me back to the days of my own youth when I tried wearing a perm myself, as well as those days of trying to tame my own son's curly locks. It is also written in a similar vein as author Laura Numeroff's "If You Give..." series which makes WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT a very enjoyable read. I can't wait to read other books in the series like WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH and WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES.
Young readers will laugh at the whimsical artwork and parents will find their own little ones asking to hear this delightful story "just one more time!" A great addition to any home library...


Like-O-Meter Rating:   5 out of 5...grab it.




**Rating scale**



 
 5 out of 5...grab it!
 4 out of 5...think about it.
 3 out of 5...take it or leave it.
 2 out of 5...maybe not for you.
 1 out of 5...forget about it!







 







ARE YOU THE MISSING PIECE? is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and other fine retailers. It was a #1 bestseller in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US earlier this month.

 







International best selling author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt Taekwondo Instructor by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host and past book reviewer for Harper Collins, She is also a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and Children's Book Insider. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, time at the beach, and well written stories.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Recycling Vacations...






To all my current and future #DCSPeeps (DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED), welcome to my new series in my continuing effort to inspire, amuse, and entertain you! Each Monday I will select a new word to analyze how it might apply to our writing lives and also give you a peek into my childhood growing up in the swamps of southern Louisiana, so kick back, put your feet up, and check out my story about TODAY'S WORD:

RECYCLE

Growing up, my mother was the queen of RECYCLE. It didn't matter if it was food, clothes, furniture, etc. With six in the family and one poor man's salary, my mother had to be extremely resourceful to keep all of us clothed and fed.

Being the youngest of four, I resigned myself to wearing the RECYLED hand me downs of my older siblings, but the ultimate humilation to living the poor life came when I was about nine years old. My mother was a proficient sewer so most of our school clothes were home made which stood out in a small town fueled by rich rice barons and the upper "nobility" who certainly didn't include any of my family. 

But the icing on the cake came on the day my mother thought the best way to get new material for dresses to start the new school year should come from the estate of a very elderly neighbor who had gone to meet her maker.

My mother carefully undid the seams of all those "old lady" dresses and RECYCLED them down to our size, but no amount of lacy trim could hide the fact I had to attend school in geriatric attire. Food for the bullies, but it was in my nature to simply endure what couldn't be changed and wait for the next growth spurt.

Writers RECYCLE all the time...in fact, some of us can consider ourselves the KINGS & QUEENS of RECYCLE. A revised manuscript until it rises like a pheonix from the ashes of multiple drafts...a hurridly scrawled story idea born of participating in Tara Lazar's Storystorm...or even reworking a plot written out during Julie Hedlund's 12X12. Look around in any serious writer's study and you will find snippets of ideas and partial manuscripts just waiting to be RECYCLED into that next treasure to share with their readers... 

On a funnier RECYCLE note...this past Christmas, I went on a writer's retreat to the beach where I hoped to get a lot of writing done while recharging my physical and emotional batteries. The day before I was scheduled to leave my home, someone decided to steal my trash can I had been assigned by the city.

It made no sense to me who would want my trash, but I gave it little thought while away. Unfortunately I became very ill during my vacation and was unable to participate in almost all of the activities I had planned. Upon returning home I got ready to return from work one day to discover what I thought was my replacement trash can sitting in my back yard. 

I was mistaken about my "new" RECYCLE bin.

The following day I received a call from the city. I thought they were following up to make sure I had received my new trash can, but they were actually calling me to say when they attempted to deliver the new trash can, they found my original RECYCLE bin waiting for them.

What I thought was a NEW trash can was in fact my OLD trash can, all cleaned up and returned to me. All I want to know is, how can my RECYCLE bin end up taking a better vacation than ME???  




ARE YOU THE MISSING PIECE? is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and other fine retailers. It was a #1 bestseller in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US last fall.

 




International best selling author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt Taekwondo Instructor by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host and book reviewer for Harper Collins, She is also a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and Children's Book Insider. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, time at the beach, and well written stories.

Monday, January 8, 2018

A New Year's Blessings...



To all my current and future #DCSPeeps (DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED), welcome to my new series in my continuing effort to inspire, amuse, and entertain you! Each Monday I will select a new word to analyze how it might apply to our writing lives and also give you a peek into my childhood growing up in the swamps of southern Louisiana, so kick back, put your feet up, and check out my story about TODAY'S WORD:

BLESSINGS

When a new year rolls in, it can be a good time to look back on the BLESSINGS of the previous year...

All my Christmas' have always been spent at home. Growing up, it included things like decorating a real tree my father cut down from land we owned, baking cookies to send to my older brother and sister who were both serving in the Navy, and getting to choose one gift to open on Christmas Eve.

This year, I was given a chance to spend my holidays returning to a place I hadn't seen in over 25 years. I eagerly anticipated indulging in everything from whale watching and lighthouse climbing to seafood buffets. Instead, Mother Nature and Karma decided I was to spend my entire vacation struggling with everything from multiple illnesses which kept me in my room most of the time to buffeting winds and freezing temperatures to keep me away from my beautiful waters. 

Of course I could have sat around and moped, but instead I took that time to think about the year gone by and the BLESSINGS I had been given...

1. I started 2017 with both a home and a job. With so many homeless and jobless, how could I NOT be grateful for such gifts?

2. Despite my current illness, I have been able to look after my own health and well-being this past year without becoming bogged down in the complications of participating in a poorly executed health reform program. 

3. I've met and made many new friends over the past twelve months...each of them becoming a part of the fabric of my life and I cherish each new connection.

4. My third book, an inspirational anthology called Are YOU The Missing Piece?,was released in October last year and immediately became a #1 International Best Selling book and continued my streak of releasing a new book once every two years since 2013. It makes me wonder what will happen in 2019?

As a writer, we are all challenged to continually question the What If's of our world and use the answers we uncover to breathe life into our manuscripts. While reflecting on past accomplishments, don't forget to also look forward to this new year of possibilities. I'm currently participating in Tara Lazar's STORYSTORM where I will read inspiring posts to help me generate 30 story ideas in 30 days. I've already generated six promising ideas so this new year has already been a BLESSING to me!

And, I was BLESSED enough to get out of town before a winter storm rolled in...

 






ARE YOU THE MISSING PIECE? is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and other fine retailers. It was a #1 bestseller in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US last fall.

 




International best selling author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt Taekwondo Instructor by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host and book reviewer for Harper Collins, She is also a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and Children's Book Insider. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, time at the beach, and well written stories.





Monday, December 25, 2017

My Christmas Wish...







Just in case I hadn't mentioned it before, I'm officially on vacation this week for a much needed rest from the every day stresses of trying to juggle two full time careers at the same time. It's been a hectic and extremely busy year. Some of the things on my plate were good, others bad, and all dealt with in a timely manner.

Now it's time to stop, take a breath, and look around at all the blessing showered on me this year: My family is still intact and reasonably healthy. My newly married son sports a lovely wife who makes him very happy which in turn makes ME happy for him. My sister and I have enjoyed some quality time together lately and God willing, for many more years to come. My friends are still by my side and I've even managed to connect with some new friends. I look forward to getting to know them better in the coming year.

I was blessed this year with another book release, the reality that my mortgage will be paid off this time next year, and the encouragement to return to my sketching which brings me much joy.

All that is left is my Christmas Wish for you, my readers:

May your blessing be many,
May your worries be few,
May the true meaning of the season stay with you 
long after the decorations are put away,
And may all your heart's desires come your way 
in the New Year!

Take care,

Donna
 
 


ARE YOU THE MISSING PIECE? is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and other fine retailers. It was a #1 bestseller in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US earlier this month.

 




International best selling author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt Taekwondo Instructor by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host and book reviewer for Harper Collins, She is also a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and Children's Book Insider. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, time at the beach, and well written stories.
 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Donna Gibbs


















Title: When The Cat’s Away
Author: Donna Gibbs
Illustrator: Lionel King
Publisher: Moshpit Publishing
Ages: 4-8 


Synopsis: 

When The Cat's Away, a picture book for young children, is set in Paris. A family of mice move into their new home beneath the CafE des Chats. Gussie and her twin brother, Pierre, are keen to explore their new surroundings. It is not long before Pierre's nose for adventure puts his life at risk and takes them far away. It takes some luck and all of Gussie's bravery and ingenuity to stage his rescue. Their triumphant journey through the streets of Paris back to their home almost comes unstuck. And then at the very last minute they realise they have another problem - the resident cat is not quite as far away as they had hoped! 

What I Think About It:

I was given a copy of this children’s book in exchange for my honest review.

I grew up devouring picture books…ones read to me until I could read them on my own. Then I dove into the written word and beauty of the illustrations to help take me on an adventure of the spirit.

Children’s author Donna Gibbs has published more than 35 books which is a testament to her devotion to children's book. Lionel King’s illustrations support the plot and the concept of two mice, new to Paris, going on a grand adventure is a good one.

Unfortunately, I felt the execution of the story line hit some bumps along the way. Today’s picture books should be full of the art of “showing”, while I found When The Cat’s Away is heavier on the “telling”. I was also a bit confused how easily Pierre and Gussie were able to find their way home when earlier in the story we discover they’ve just recently moved into their new home which implies the two main characters would not be familiar with their surroundings. Especially if viewed from a mouse's eye on top of a van speeding away from their doorstep.

Despite my struggle with the execution and flow of the story itself, I feel there is still an audience of young readers out there who might find this particular  picture book a delightful read.

Like-O-Meter Rating:   3 out of 5...take it or leave it.


**Rating scale**

 
 5 out of 5...grab it!
 4 out of 5...think about it.
 3 out of 5...take it or leave it.
 2 out of 5...maybe not for you.
 1 out of 5...forget about it!


 



ARE YOU THE MISSING PIECE? is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and other fine retailers. It was a #1 bestseller in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US earlier this month.

 




International best selling author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt Taekwondo Instructor by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host and book reviewer for Harper Collins, She is also a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and Children's Book Insider. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, time at the beach, and well written stories.
 


Monday, December 11, 2017

A Time For Celebrating...







To all my current and future #DCSPeeps (DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED), welcome to my new series in my continuing effort to inspire, amuse, and entertain you! Each Monday I will select a new word to analyze how it might apply to our writing lives and also give you a peek into my childhood growing up in the swamps of southern Louisiana, so kick back, put your feet up, and check out my story about TODAY'S WORD:

CELEBRATING

Growing up, there were some things I could always count on during Christmas. Traditions carried over from year to year...like strings of popcorn and hollyberry draped around the live Christmas tree. Or Mother's wintery scenes stuck into a styrofoam base. But what I remember the most is how we CELEBRATED the holiday season with the music from a family heirloom.

The wind up church would play Silent Night as the doors slowly opened to reveal the illuminated Virgin Mary and baby Jesus waiting inside. Every night I would beg my mother permission to wind up the church. Carefully I would set the church down on the floor and lie down in front of it...nearly holding my breath in anticipation of catching a glimpse of what lay in wait behind those doors.

Even though the doors no longer move on their own, I still CELEBRATE each holiday season by listening to the beautiful, tinkling sounds of that Christmas carol and I'm transported back to my childhood where, for a moment in time, all is right with the world.

As a writer, I'm CELEBRATING my seventh year blogging. Back in Decemberr 2010, I decided to start sharing a part of myself with the rest of the world, and THE STORY CATCHER blog was born. I've met many wonderful people over the years that I'm proud to call my friends and have CELEBRATED many writerly victories with different authors from all around the world.

I've written more than one thousand posts and almost three quarters of a million visitors have stopped by to say hello and stay a spell. I'm proud of what I have accomplished, with the help and loving support from this writer community, and can't wait to CELEBRATE another year of sharing some words with all of you!






ARE YOU THE MISSING PIECE? is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and other fine retailers. It was a #1 bestseller in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US earlier this month.

 




International best selling author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt Taekwondo Instructor by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host and book reviewer for Harper Collins, She is also a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and Children's Book Insider. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, time at the beach, and well written stories.