Cap’n Rex – New picture book from Henry L. Herz

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I was excited to receive this glorious new picture book from Henry L. Herz. Henry’s books are always a delight and this one is no different. I mean it has dinosaurs and pirates – what’s not to love!

In fact the dinosaurs are pirates on a quest to find treasure (but of course) steered by the wily Cap’n Rex they overcome a host of almost disasters and each crew member has their own special skill that helps along the way. My favorite of the dinosaurs was Pat, a long-necked dino of the kind I’ve always loved.

The story is delightful with an important message about sharing and Benjamin Schipper’s illustrations are first rate. There’s even a little pirate glossary at the end. Highly recommended for young children and the parents and educators who enjoy reading to them. Aaarrrrrrr.

Pick up your copy of CAP’N REX today in hardback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local bookstore or request a copy at your local library.

I was privileged to get to ask Henry a few questions about this and some upcoming books in the pipeline:

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Tell me about your new book.

I’m very excited about my new picture book, CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW, coming out in August from Sterling (the publishing arm of Barnes & Noble). Captain Rex and his dinosaur pirates sail the seven seas in search of buried treasure. But whenever they hit an obstacle like a giant shark or pea-soup fog the crew members are quick to say they can’t overcome. To this, Captain Rex always glares with teeth bared and says, CAN’T YE?And, somehow, the crew always comes up with a clever solution. The book has already received positive reviews from Kirkus and Booklist.

Tell me about any future books in the pipeline.

Well, there are three picture books my agent is shopping around right now:

TOP OF THE HEAP – Barnyard animals debate who is the best animal on the farm. Each makes their claim, even Dung Beetle. In response to the others’ laughter, Dung Beetle takes a vacation. Eventually, they all recognize even tiny Dung Beetle’s important contribution. That’s how he rolls.

NEVER FEED A YETI SPAGHETTI – Two young goblin siblings throw their mom a monstrous birthday party. Despite their best efforts, things go further and further awry, thanks to the yetis. One should never feed them spaghetti.

(That one sounds oodles of noodly fun – DMK) 

ALLEN & ALIEN – Like many boys, Allen doesn’t like to eat his veggies, pick up his toys, or take baths. But he loves playing with his alien toys. When an indefatigably inquisitive alien drops in to study humans, the alien’s enthusiasm (even for the mundane) is infectious. Allen learns an important lesson about appreciating one’s blessings, while his parents are pleasantly surprised at their son’s new alien behavior.

And these three books are scheduled to be published next year:

HOW THE SQUID GOT TWO LONG ARMS (Pelican Publishing) – Ever wonder why two of a squid’s ten arms are longer than the others? A selfish squid is cold, so he swipes other animals’ clothing. Will he learn it’s wrong to steal in the end? This modern fable demonstrates you reap what you sow. It’s Kipling’s HOW THE RHINOCEROS GOT HIS SKIN meets Klassen’s THIS IS NOT MY HAT.

GOOD EGG & BAD APPLE (Schiffer Publishing) – Not all the foods in the refrigerator get along like peas in a pod. Bad Apple and Second Banana are at the root of the problem. The vegetables are steamed. Good Egg suggests his friends try different responses to the bullies, but his tactics don’t bear fruit, at first. Only by using his noodle does Good Egg save their bacon.

ALICE’S MAGIC GARDEN (Familius) – Alice lives in the dreariest boarding school in England. She pours her love and attention into caring for her little garden and its denizens. Unknown to her, these include a large caterpillar, gryphon, and a talking white rabbit. When Alice is in trouble, the magical creatures come to her aid. Love, it turns out, is magical. GARDEN FAE is A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE meets ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

(I look forward to this one. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was my favorite childhood read and I love any new spin on Alice. DMK)

Where can we learn more about your books?

At my website at www.henryherz.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/henry.herz/

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A Year of Books – 2016

And now we come to that time when I look back over my favorite books of 2016. To be clear this are novels that I read in 2016, but not all were published this year. I have a gazillion books on my tablet and it truly will take me many years to read them all, but I plan to (eventually).

Over at Goodreads I set myself a reading challenge of just 26 books. I’m a slow reader and two a month is a reasonable target for me. I’m pleased to say I ended the year on 28!

So here are the highlights of my year, the ones I recommend. There should be something for everyone and my choices this year are predominantly indie with a few old favorites thrown in for good measure. For each book I’ve linked the cover to my review on Goodreads if you want to check it out.

I started the year with a new release from one of my favorite authors Rick Riordan. Magnus Chase is the first of a new series and I’m in awe how Riordan can pull his world together.

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Next was a meeting with an old friend. One of my favorite books of 2015 was the awesomely quirky Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Bookstore. This year I reread the book with my son, Joey, who adored as much as I did (and now wants to work for Google!) And we were thrilled to find this little prequel.

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Next up Oathbound, by the ever awesome M.A. Ray. Last year I read the first two books in this series and this year I continued. Was so happy to spend more time with Dingus and Vandis, et. al.

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And now we continue with another series that I began last year, this one by kick-ass indie author, Jen Ponce. The Devany Miller series just gets better and better. The next one is on my reading list for 2017.

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Just take a moment to gaze at those covers! Aren’t they beyond awesome?

In the summer I visited Israel and England with my son Joey. During the trip we read The Paper Magician by Charlie N Holmberg. It’s a strange book in a lot of ways and delves into some very dark places. Still we enjoyed it and will some day get to the sequels.

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While Joey and I read The Paper Magician together my reading matter during the trip was this historical science fiction novel by L. Woodswalker, Tesla’s Signal. This is super book, completely immersive. I truly felt I was living with the characters.

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Next up probably my favorite books of the year. RR Virdi’s Grave Report books are oodles and oodles of fun!

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And now we come to the end of the year and I’m ending it by delving into a wonderful series by indie author Robert Franks. The Glass Apple series is a wonderful romp that has kept me enthralled over the last few months. I’m currently on book 3, which is turning out to be my favorite yet. Do check them out (but start at the beginning!)

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So there we have it – my favorite books of 2016. What were your favorites?

Happy New Year everyone and Happy Reading. May your 2017 be filled with stories!

 

Meet the Little Red Cuttlefish

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I was privileged to receive an advanced reader copy of Henry, Josh & Harrison Herz’s delightful new picture book, Little Red Cuttlefish.

This is a quirky new take on the Red Riding Hood story and is beautifully illustrated by Kate Gotfredson. Little ones and their parents will enjoy reading this one over and over.

Pick up your copy today!

She may be spineless, but this invertebrate has a lot of backbone!

Little Red jets off to take fresh crab cakes to her grandmother. Everything goes swimmingly—until a big, bad tiger shark attacks! Little Red has to use her cuttlefish defenses—camouflage, quick reflexes, and squirting an ink cloud—to outwit the shark, combining science and spunk. Gorgeous illustrations depict the reef and its adorable main character with lively detail. The authors include information about cuttlefish and tiger sharks, addressing Common Core standards, as well as resources for further reading. This aquatically fractured fairy tale will tickle your cuttlebone and spark your curiosity. After reading, remember to sleep tight—and don’t let the copepods bite!

 

When You Give an Imp a Penny – Review

FIVE STARS!

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Henry, Josh and Harrison Herz have done it again. A wonderful parody of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie that will leave both parents and kids giggling and reading over and over again.

Abigail Larson’s illustrations are all but perfect, rich drawings that capture the essence of the imp and it’s companions. I particularly loved the scene with the outraged cat getting a bath. Captured its indignation perfectly.

My favorite part however was the Note at the very end – and I’ve been searching for the Imp in my household ever since. I’m sure it’s somewhere around here!

Pick up your copy today and check out my interview with Henry.

My Year in Books

It’s that time again, when with the help of Goodreads I can look over my favorite books of the last year.

At the end of 2014 the 8 books I chose as my favorites were a 50/50 split between traditionally published and indie published authors. You can read last year’s selections here. This year there are more indies than trad published titles.

Now according to Goodreads I read 34 books in 2015. Here is a summary of my favorites in no particular order. Click on the covers to read my original reviews on Goodreads. All the books I’m highlighting here I gave either 4 or 5 stars to.

I began the year with a wonderful book I received for my birthday from my good friend, Larry.

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I adored this book and have since shared it with my husband and my son and would really love some day to have a chance to meet James and Bob. Look out for the movie that should be coming out sometime in the next year and read the book, seriously guys read the book!

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I began and ended the year with Michelle Proulx’s wonderful Imminent Danger series. As an avid Douglas Adams fan I adore Proulx’s fast paced and funny space opera and anxiously await book 3.

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Next on the list is a joyous quirky fantasy by indie author, M.A. Ray. I read books one and two this year along with a number of M.A. Ray’s companion short stories. The third book and M.A. Ray’s new book, The High King’s Will are on my reading list for 2016.

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I cannot go a year without reading a Neil Gaiman book, and this year it was it the delightful tale of Nobody Owens and how “it takes a graveyard to raise a child.” One of Gaiman’s best.

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Just look at that cover folks! Voodoo Butterfly is the only book I have ever bought on the strength of its cover. It’s mesmerizing. As is the story that immerses you into the world of Voodoo in New Orleans.

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I read quite a few books during my annual summer trip to visit my mother in Israel, but this was the one that stood out the most. Jen Ponce creates a kick-ass heroine in Devany Miller and I look forward to continuing the series in 2016.

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Talking of series – this year Misha Burnett bid farewell to James and Catskinner in the final book of the The Book of Lost Doors, Gingerbread Wolves. For those of you who like speculative fiction that doesn’t quite fit into anyone pigeonhole, I encourage you to check out Misha’s books.

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Bigfoot, check. Unicorn, check. Vampire, check. What if all those myths and many more were true, and what if they’re kind of getting out of control. Mike Wolff’s Guiding Council was a fun romp that reminded me a fair bit of a Pratchett tale (a huge compliment as I love Pratchett). I’m looking forward to book 2 which I recently downloaded for my tablet.

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Sometimes when you read a book, you know it’s going to take off and you’re excited about being one of the first to discover the next big thing! That’s how I felt reading Christopher Mannino’s School of Deaths. A must for lovers of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, or might I say, P.A.W.S.!

So that’s it – my favorite books of those I read in 2015. So Happy New Year folks and Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Sins of the Past – a review from the Bookie Monster

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Anthologies are a wonderful way to get to know authors you’ve never read. The very nature of anthologies means that you’ll find some stories that leave you shivering, some that are just fine, and a few that just aren’t for you. Sins of the Past is an anthology that focuses on the horrors of the past, and the hidden forces that didn’t make the history books.

Read the rest of the review here and enter the giveaway for a chance to win an ebook of Sins of the Past.

Or pick up your copy today from Amazon or a signed copy directly from me.