Book Review: ‘Blue Light Christmas 2: A Cry for Elf’ by Tobey Alexander

‘A Cry for Elf’ is a fun read for kids and grownups alike. 

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Tobey Alexander Blue Light Christmas 2‘A Cry for Elf’ is a fun read for kids and grownups alike.  Set one year after the first book in the series, Alexander takes readers of all ages on a romp through the North Pole in which Constable Tim Tinsel and his daughter, Eve, are challenged with the task of rescuing Santa and reclaiming Christmas from key occupants of the Naughty list.

The story is delightful, full of action and humour that will entertain and amuse independent readers and provide meaningful family time for those who read the story together. The story delivers clear moral messages about choosing to do what is right and putting others before ourselves, without being either preachy or self-righteous.

There’s no reason at all why reading this book should be limited to the Christmas season. It’s perfectly entertaining and valuable reading for any day of the year.

Golden Acorns
This was Book Squirrel’s featured book in the Bookish Advent Event on December 9th, so it’s delightful to be able to give it a Golden Acorn in recognition of its excellence.
Find it on Amazon.

Dec 22 ~ Featured Book: ‘Goldmayne’ by Kate Stradling.

This is a blend and retelling of two quite obscure fairy tales from French-Canadian folklore. As Quebec is one of Book Squirrel’s favourite places in the whole world, this was a “must” for Christmas reading. 

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 22 is ‘Goldmayne’ by Kate Stradling.

This is a blend and retelling of two quite obscure fairy tales from French-Canadian folklore. As Quebec is one of Book Squirrel’s favourite places in the whole world, this was a “must” for Christmas reading. Kate Stradling Goldmayne

Evil witches, cursed royalty, heroes by happenstance, and happily ever after: Duncan does not believe in fairy tales, but when he runs away from his father’s farm, he tumbles headlong into one. Old Dame Groach recruits him as caretaker of her crumbling estate, where he must tend her poisonous garden, beat her white horse daily, and keep far away from the mysterious closet beneath the stairs… and that’s only the start of his fantastical troubles! A retelling and shameless embellishment of the French-Canadian folk tales, “Scurvyhead” and “Sir Goldenhair.”

‘Goldmayne’ is available on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘A Christmas Tail’ by E.M. Swift-Hook and Jane Jago

This is a gorgeous children’s story in rhyme that delivers the lesson of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ in a simple and effective way for children and adults alike. 

EM Swift Hook Jane Jago A Christmas Tail
This is a gorgeous children’s story in rhyme that delivers the lesson of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ in a simple and effective way for children and adults alike.
The layout and illustrations are charming, and the story is heartwarming.
This would be a great story for families to read together leading up to Christmas.

Silver Acorns

‘A Christmas Tail’ gets a lovely Silver Acorn.

 

‘A Christmas Tail’ is available on Amazon.

Dec 19 ~ Featured Book: ‘A Christmas Tail’.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 19 is ‘A Christmas Tail’ by E.M. Swift-Hook and Jane Jago. 

In this charming story, a mouse teaches a spoilt little girl the true meaning of Christmas.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 19 is ‘A Christmas Tail’ by E.M. Swift-Hook and Jane Jago. EM Swift Hook Jane Jago A Christmas Tail

In this charming story, a mouse teaches a spoilt little girl the true meaning of Christmas.

Newly released on December 12, it received its first review on December 14: 
“A charming short read, and an ideal gift for Christmas. The words flow in a lovely fashion, and it was enjoyed by both adults and children.” 

‘A Christmas Tail’ is available on Amazon.

Dec 17 ~ Featured Book: ‘Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat From The Past’ by Paul Cude.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 17 is ‘Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat From The Past’ by Paul Cude. 

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 17 is ‘Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat From The Past’ by Paul Cude.

Paul Cude Bentwhistle the Dragon A Threat From The Past

Can you be heroic and naive? 
For Peter Bentwhistle, the answer would most certainly have to be YES!
Blissfully unaware of what’s going on around him, for the most part he remains fully focused on blending in and keeping a low profile.
But fate and just plain bad luck have other designs on him.

Not so bad, you might think. Until you discover the TRUTH! Just like his friends, Tank and Richie, he is a…..DRAGON!

Thrust into a life away from the underground dragon domain, disguised in an awkward human form in an effort to guide and protect humanity, all he has to do is stay out of trouble, learn how to play hockey and piece together all the parts of the puzzle continually playing out around him.

With the help of his two young friends, a master mantra maker and a complete dragon stranger with more than a little history attached to him, will Peter manage to thwart the dark, devious scheme long in the planning?

Ever wondered how dragons travel below ground at almost the speed of sound?
Want to know how they use magical mantras to transform their giant bodies into convincing human shapes?

Learn the true story of George and the Dragon, get a dragon-like perspective on human social issues and gain insight into what to do if you encounter a giant spider grinning at you when you’re wearing nothing but your smile.

‘Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat From The Past’ is available on Amazon.

Book Review: Waking The Dragon by Susan Day

A delightful and fun read for kids and families.

‘Waking the Dragon’ is a fun and exciting adventure story for kids, revolving around a group of dogs who work undercover as dog rescuers in an organization that is the kid-friendly canine equivalent of CSI. 

The story is written with good humour that kids will enjoy, and a plot that will keep them guessing. The characters are engaging and likeable — even the cats, who harbour less-than-honourable intentions! 

One aspect of this book that I really appreciated is the Australian element that appears in both the settings and the storyline. In a world full of books set in America or major world cities, it’s very refreshing to find a kids’ book set in one of my favorite regional Australian cities. This is great for Australian kids, but should also add interest for readers from other countries in which Australia is a source of interest and fascination. 

Waking The Dragon is Book 10 in theAstro’s Adventures series by Susan Day.  This book – in fact, this series of books – would make a great addition to any school or local library, and would be a wonderful choice for both individual and family reading at home.

Find ‘Waking The Dragon’ on Amazon.

Author Interview: Catherine Weaver

Book Squirrel meets Catherine Weaver, the author of the Island of California fantasy books for kids of all ages.

Interview Orange

Welcome to another Book Squirrel Author Interview, in which Book Squirrel meets Catherine Weaver, the author of the Island of California books, which are fantasy books set in the present day Silicon Valley area and the magical Island of California.

Welcome, Catherine!

Thank you, Book Squirrel. It’s lovely to meet you!

Tell us, Catherine, what kind of audience you write for.

My books were written for middle-grade readers and have absolutely nothing in them that is not family-friendly. Kids who have read the books so far really like them, and most adults who have read them like them, too.

That’s great! It’s true that the best kids’ books are loved by adults as well.

Yes, there’s a child in all of us.

Or, at least, a very cute little squirrel. 

Yes, of course!

Are your books all in a series, or are they single titles?

The novels, Gold Dust and Phoenix Down, and I am currently working on the third in the series, Dragon Oil.

I also have two books of short stories: Tales From the Island of California, and More Tales From the Island of California.

What inspired you to write?

I come from a family of writers. My mother, Jane Blue, is a poet, and her mother wrote articles for newspapers in San Francisco, so I grew up with the idea that writing was something people do. But what really inspired me to actually start writing books was my huge love of reading, plus my love of the San Francisco Bay Area. I read lots and lots of books that I loved, but noticed there was a distinct lack of fantasy books set in the SF Bay Area and Silicon Valley, which I feel are among the most magical places on Earth, and I wished I could read a book like that. Since I couldn’t find them, I decided to write them.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I like them all, but have a special place in my heart for my first book, Gold Dust.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

Ask me this on a different day and I will give you a different answer. I am a voracious reader and I have a lot of favorites. Right now I’m reading Ready Player One, which I am enjoying very much. I just finished Anansi Boys, which I feel is a perfect book. I also think most of the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett are perfect. I completely loved The Martian and can’t wait for the sequel. The Thin Man is one of the best books ever written. The Harry Potter books are likewise amazing. When I was a kid, I read and re-read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy to a point where I had them memorized, and the same goes for the Chronicles of Narnia. There are many more.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

Today I have to say Ready Player One.

What are you working on writing now?

The third book in my series, which is called Dragon Oil.

Do you have any books planned that feature… you know… squirrels?

Uh… no. Sorry.

It’s okay. It’s never too late, you know.

I’ll keep that in mind.

Thanks.
What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

When I went to Switzerland and stayed with friends in Yverdon near Lausanne, rented an Alpha Romeo, and drove all over the french part of Switzerland, then down the Rhone Valley in France to Marseille, staying in Valence on the way.

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

I really hate prejudice, greed and the way artists are devoured by the machine. I also hate religious, cultural and gender discrimination. These things are addressed in my writing, in a way that is palatable for kids. My books are full of humor, so the things I hate are not hit over anyone’s head.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An architect.

Cool!
What’s your favourite season? Why?

I like autumn the best because it’s sunny but not too hot, the air smells of wood fires, and the low sunlight slanting through the turning leaves is beautiful.
And all those lovely nuts!
Absolutely!

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Terry Pratchett, Dashiell Hammet, JRR Tolkien

Great choices! 

Thanks!

Where can we follow you on social media?I’m on Facebook and Twitter and I also have a webpage.

You’re also welcome to check out my Amazon author page, which has all of my books on it.

Just click through on the links.

Thanks for being here today, Catherine. 

Thank you for having me!