Prepublication Reviews and Expertly Selected Title Lists

Pig and Small by Alex Latimer

Pig and SmallPig and Small is a fun children’s book about the differences between friends.

The book starts because Pig has a squeak.  He can’t get rid of Bug.  Bug wants to be friends even though he and Pig are different.  At first it seems as though Bug and Pig may not overcome their differences, but there is always a way to find common ground.

With cute animals, fun illustrations, and a catchy story, this is a great addition to any children’s collection.  It will teach kids to look past their own differences and how no matter how different you think you are, you always have something in common with others.

- Becky

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The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

The Fourteenth GoldfishFrom the creator of The Babymouse Series comes a fun new perspective on finding the fountain of youth and possibilities.

In preschool, Ellie’s teacher gave all the children goldfish to teach them about the cycle of life.  Ellie thought her fish was special until one day the fish died and her mother finally tells her that she kept replacing the fish every time one died.

Her parents are divorced and Ellie lives with her mother, a high school drama teacher.  Ellie’s father travels for his career as an actor and her grandfather, Melvin, lives close by.

The babysitter informs Ellie that her mother is going to be late one night because she had to pick up Ellie’s grandfather from jail.

Her grandfather is a scientist and working with jellyfish, found a compound, using a new specimen of jellyfish.  He tested the compound on adult mice and found that it caused them to revert to their adolescent stage of life.  He injected it into himself, causing him to become a teenager again.  He tried to go back into the lab to retrieve the jellyfish but security had him arrested.

Ellie’s mom requires him to go back to school.  Under the alias of Melvin, Ellie’s “cousin”, he joins Ellie in middle school.

Throughout the book, Melvin tries to break into his lab.  Eventually, he succeeds, but Ellie gets upset with him and tries to teach him a lesson about the cycle of life.

I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book.  The characters were well developed and I loved them all.  The story had multiple wonderful messages, from new beginnings to endless possibilities.  I highly recommend it.

- Amanda

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August is National Golf Month

In honor of National Golf Month in August, I have the perfect list of books to help you learn everything you always wanted to know about golf! You can learn about the history of the sport, the greatest players, and how to improve your game with skills, tips, & tricks. There’s an encyclopedia of golf, dictionary of golf terms, rules of the game, and even the best courses to visit. And of course there are titles for kids who want to learn to play golf, as well as fiction involving the sport for all ages. I think Arnold Palmer said it best, “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.” View the entire list here.

Every Shot Counts by Mark Broadie Every Shot Counts

Readers can discover Mark Broadie’s revolutionary new approach to the game of golf. Broadie uses analytics from the financial world to uncover secrets to the game of golf and shows golfers how to make better decisions on the course. It’s a helpful guide for any player who wants to improve their golf skills and make every shot count. Learn more and order here.

Essential Guide for Young Golfers by Clive Gifford Essential Guide for Young Golfers

This essential guide shows young readers how to improve their golf game. They will learn how to develop their chipping and pitching play and how to properly deal with bunkers and traverse the green. A few of golf’s greatest players are highlighted, as well as key tournaments, famous holes, and history of the sport. Learn more and order here.

Loopers by John Dunn Loopers

Author John Dunn takes readers on his journey across the U.S. working as a caddy at various golf courses. It’s a story not only about the game of golf, but of the meaning of life and his encounters and experiences along the way. Learn more and order here.

On Par by Bill Pennington On Par

Bill Pennington writes from the perspective of the everyday golfer and provides an insightful guide to the game. Readers can learn the basic principles, tips, tricks, and quick fixes to help improve their golf skills.  Learn more and order here.

Mean Streak by Sandra Brown

Mean StreakWhen Dr. Emory Charbonneau, renowned pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears into thin air while training for a marathon in North Carolina, the local police fear the worst. Although her husband, Jeff, has not heard from her in 2 days, he writes it off as her trying to punish him for an argument they had before she left and spends the weekend with his lover.

He finally decides that maybe he should be worried and packs up to go to the town where she was last seen. Upon arrival, he waits around impatiently for the police to do something to find her. When it’s discovered that he is having an affair, the police are determined to pin the blame on him even though they have not found Emory yet and still don’t know what has happened to her.

After missing for four days, and just as the police are about to bring Jeff in for questioning again, Emory shows up. Although she has a head wound and claims to not remember much of what happened, Jeff and the police suspect  there is more to her story. She claims to have been hit on the head while running on the trail and remembers nothing until she wakes up in a cabin with a stranger, who never tells her his name, but who takes care of her for days before letting her go.

What is Emory hiding and why is she keeping secrets for a stranger she barely knows?

Sandra Brown is the queen of romantic suspense and she always comes through with the usual twists and turns when you least expect them.

- Tina

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No Safe House by Linwood Barclay

No Safe HouseTerry Archer and his wife Cynthia are currently living apart due to tension and fights between her and their teenage daughter Grace. Cynthia was traumatized by something that happened to her as a teen and now is an overprotective parent with Grace fighting her every step of the way.

While Cynthia is taking a ‘break’, Terry receives a call from Grace who is supposed to be at the movies with a friend. He learns that Grace lied and what she was really out doing that night has put them all in so much danger that Terry fears for their lives. Terry must deal with the consequences of her actions and make decisions that he is unprepared to make. How far would you go to protect your children?

By the end of this book, I was left wondering about Cynthia’s backstory and if these were reoccurring characters from a previous novel. Throughout the book the couple alludes to something that happened to Cynthia’s parents and brother when she was young, but never reveals what that was. So I researched some of Barclay’s previous books and found these characters were from No Time for Goodbye which appears to have been published in 2008. Although this is a standalone and you don’t have to read the previous novel you may want to, as not knowing the backstory was kind of frustrating.

All in all this was a lengthy, but pretty good, suspense thriller. This author will continue to be on my must read list.

- Tina

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Don’t Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz

Don't Look BackEve Hardaway is a single divorced mother of a young son who suffers from celiac disease. Eve’s life revolves around taking care of her son and keeping him safe. So when Eve decides to take a hiking and rafting tour in Mexico it’s a huge decision for her. Unfortunately, what should be the trip of a lifetime ends up turning into a nightmare beyond her wildest dreams.

When Eve and the rest of the tour group are settled deep in the jungle, Eve wanders off the trail and discovers a small house in the woods. While hiding she sees a man throwing his machete at a human shaped target. The man gives Eve the creeps so she quietly goes back to her group. On her way back, she discovers a camera with the name Teresa Hamilton on it. When she looks at the pictures on the camera she sees some very disturbing pictures that involve the man in the woods. She also finds a prescription pill bottle with Teresa’s name on it she asks the tour guide about her. He says that Teresa left abruptly and went home, but Eve can tell he is lying.

When the man from the woods discovers that someone had been snooping outside his house he goes after the group to make sure none of them can talk about what they’ve seen. What happens after that is days of being on the run, people being murdered and, for Eve, not knowing if she will make it home to ever see her son again.

This is a terrifying fast-paced thriller that will keep you in suspense until the very last page. I could not put it down.

- Tina

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Dog and Bear: Tricks and Treats by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Dog and BearThis is the story of Dog and Bear. In the first part of the book, Dog and Bear are in a costume shop looking for their Halloween costumes. Bear is in the dressing room trying on a costume, when all of a sudden he calls out to Dog to come and see what he is seeing.  Dog comes into the dressing room and he finds a surprise…

The story then moves to Halloween night. Dog and Bear are home and the doorbell rings. Dog goes and answers the door to find trick-or-treaters. The trick-or-treaters say “Trick or Treat” and Dog says “Treat.”

As the night goes on, Dog and Bear continue to receive trick-or-treaters. All of a sudden Bear realizes that Dog forgot something every time the trick-or-treaters came to their door…

Dog and Bear are now going to do some trick or treating of their own. As the night goes on, they make their way to their final stop and ring the doorbell. A ghost answers, and Dog and Bear say “Trick or Treat.”  Ghost says “no treats for you, you are not wearing costumes”. “Yes we are” state Dog and Bear. Everyone’s in for a surprise!

The ending of this book was very funny.  My daughter loves Halloween so we will definitely be adding this one to our family library.

- Jodi

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August is Get Ready for Kindergarten Month

The countdown to Kindergarten is on!  Excitement and nervousness is building in anticipation of that bittersweet day when parents will send their little ones to school for the first day.  They still look so little.  How will they manage on their own?  So many thoughts go through each parents mind.  We have something to help!  These titles are perfect for parents who are preparing to send their child to kindergarten.  You can learn ways to prepare and also what your little one needs to know.  There are also plenty of picture books and easy readers geared towards the child who’s getting ready for their big kindergarten debut.  View the entire list here.

Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt Planet Kindergarten

A young astronaut prepares for his mission to Planet Kindergarten.  He is nervous as he blasts off to explore the unknown.  He meets the aliens who call Planet Kindergarten home, adjusts to his new setting, and discovers things he likes.  Youngsters can prepare for kindergarten with this fun, exciting title.  Learn more and order here.

What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know, Rev. and Updated Ed. by E.D. Hirsch  What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know

This first volume in the Core Knowledge Series is designed for use by parents and educators to help kindergartners learn the fundamental skills they need for school.  Introduces activities to help with the first stages of learning to read and write.  It also provides tips on what to look for in a good kindergarten program.  Learn more and order here.

Ready and Waiting for You by Judi Moreillon  Ready and Waiting for You

Readers are welcomed to their first day of school by a variety of people.  They can lift the flaps to meet the bus driver, teachers, and other school faculty.  Learn more and order here.

Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come! by Nancy L. Carlson        Look Out Kindergarten Here I Come

Henry is excited and raring to go on the first day of kindergarten but when he gets there it looks scary and he’s not so sure anymore.  He soon discovers that he is in fact ready for school but wasn’t ready for how much fun it’s going to be!   Learn more and order here.

Kate the Great, Except When She’s Not by Suzy Becker

Kate the Great, Except When She's Not Kate Gellar is the main character. She has a dog named Rocky and three siblings that she really loves. She has a friend Brooke that she does a lot with. She talks to her sister, Robin, about everything in her social life.

She has a busy life with such things as band practice, a school project for Columbus Day, soccer practice and her birthday slumber party she has to plan.

Kate also has an acquaintance named Nora. In the beginning, Nora was just lonely and would always pass on fun activities. When Nora, Kate and Brooke started talking, they started to develop a friendship. Things happen and their friendship is questioned.

Kate and Nora’s moms pushed them to sing a duet in the V.I.P lounge at their local mall. Will they mend their friendship and make it through the duet or will they be enemies forever?

This is an amazing book about friendship and acquaintances that I recommend to children ages eight to twelve.

- Rose

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Ark Storm by Linda Davies

Ark StormGwen Boudain is a meteorologist working on a program she calls Oracle.  She’s hoping she can predict catastrophic storms earlier than any other models to potentially save lives. In order to complete her project she needs funding.

Billionaire Gabriel Messenger offers to fund Oracle in return for her expertise and help building a project that his company is working on. Gwen is initially skeptical of this program that they call Zeus until she witnesses it in person. Gabriel and his employees have discovered a way to create rain by ionizing water molecules in the atmosphere. Gabriel is intent on profiting from this system whereas Gwen wants to use it to help people.

As their work starts to attract unwanted attention, Gwen meets Dan, a journalist and former Navy SEAL. Gwen and Dan soon find themselves in grave danger as they figure out that there’s another person who is interested in Zeus and wants to use it to create an Ark Storm which would devastate and destroy most of California.

Racing against time and running for their lives, Gwen and Dan must discover who is behind this sinister plot before it’s too late.

This ecothriller was fast moving and filled with great characters. I very much enjoyed this book.

- Tina

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