Saturday, January 19, 2019

Review: Poseidon's Academy by Sarah A Vogler

Poseidon's Academy

Poseidon's Academy

Poseidon's Academy #1
by Sarah A Vogler
Upper MG/YA Fantasy/ Mythology

 Getting sucked into a whirlpool, sleeping in monster-infested woods, and battling psycho sea-nymphs was not how Hailey planned to spend her first year of high school. But when you’re the only Zeus in the world, life tends to get a bit complicated.

The Great Battle saw the world changed forever when humans killed the gods and absorbed their powers. One power was coveted above all others: Zeus’s. Thirteen-year-old Hailey Woods is the first Zeus in over a century. Unlike everyone else, she hates her powers because of an ancient prophecy that claims a Zeus will have to save the world someday.

Hailey doesn’t want to save the world. She wants to be a normal teenager, whose biggest dilemma in life is deciding what to eat for lunch, rather than training to become the ultimate weapon. Poseidon’s Academy, an underwater palace where her powers don’t work, was meant to give her that opportunity. But when she arrives, she discovers the sea-nymphs living there are plotting to resurrect the gods, and Hailey must find a way to stop them before they can enact the prophecy.

So much for normal!

You can find Poseidon's Academy on Goodreads

You can buy Poseidon's Academy here:
- Amazon
- B&N
- Bookdepository


Greek mythology takes an interesting twist into an entirely new world, while keeping excitement and the difficult life of being a teenager in high gear.

Hundreds of years before, the Greek gods were defeated during the Great Battle, and their powers showered on humans below. Since then, everyone has a power related to one of the earlier gods. Hailey is a Zeus and the only one on the entire planet. That also makes her the someday savior for the entire world according to a prophecy. But Hailey hates being stared at and pointed out. So, she enrolls into the Poseidon Academy. Since she requires the sky for her powers, no one will know her there. But excitement soon changes to tension and adventure as more awaits her there than she could have ever expected.

This was a refreshing twist on fantasy and Greek mythology. The characters and scenes hit the teenage group extremely well and bring across the fears, thoughts and expectations in a way readers can easily connect to. Hailey's desire to get away from the stress is completely understandable, and her friends and relationships with others at the academy are easy to relate to. She makes mistakes and isn't always spot on with her thoughts and decisions, and that's exactly the way it should be.

I enjoyed the world descriptions, and the author brought the beauty and fascination of the undersea world to life in a bright way which lets the imagination soar. Everything, especially at the beginning, is bold and sparkly hitting the atmosphere well. As the story goes on, the action and adventure takes over and pulls the reader in. It is a fun read and offers excitement until the last page.

My problem with this book, however, is the world building. While it's a lovely adventure with great characters, the background doesn't hold well. It's not clear what happened with the gods or how the entire powers thing works in daily life. Especially when it comes to Hailey, there was a huge vacuum. She's supposedly the only one with Zeus powers and the center of a very important prophecy, a fact which appears to be well known. If this was so, she wouldn't have the freedoms or the possibility to 'hide' under the water. Plus, it's never clear why she's the last one or how powers are passed down or anything in this direction. Unfortunately, this lack of information fogs a little into everything.

Still, anyone who simply wants an entertaining read with fun characters and a great adventure will enjoy Hailey and her friends, and wish they could attend Poseidon's Academy themselves.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Multicultural Children's Book Day with the review: All the Stars Denied by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

 January 25th is Multicultural Children's Book Day! To lead up to this wonderful celebration, many children book reviewers are joining with authors and publishers to bring to light the various multicultural books available. Bookworm for Kids is honored and excited to be a part of this important event!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 

Review of...

Shame the Stars Series
by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Lee & Low / Tu Books
YA Historical
400 pages

In a companion novel to her critically acclaimed Shame the Stars, Guadalupe Garcia McCall tackles the hidden history of the United States and its first mass deportation event that swept up hundreds of thousands of Mexican American citizens during the Great Depression.


I did not read the companion novel, Shame of Stars,  before reading this book. However, it was also not necessary, and I had no trouble diving into this story. In other words, it can be read as a stand alone.

It's 1931, and Estrella is fifteen years old and the daughter of a Mexican/American rancher.  While the story begins with her irritation at having to help out around the ranch and take care of her younger brother more than she'd like to, it quickly shifts gears and rotates into a little known historical event: the repatriation, or large deportation of Mexicans, including American citizens with Mexican heritage, during the Great Depression. Determined to stand up to the unfair handlings of her neighbors and friends, Estrella finds herself captured in one of the 'round-ups' and deported to Mexico. Not only is she determined to survive and return to their home, but her entire family is caught up in the horrible battle.

History holds many 'secret' moments, which aren't spoken of or are played down. This is one, which although I'd briefly learned about during school, never heard or knew what was really behind it. Reality is often more powerful than fiction, and that is proven in these pages.

Estrella is a bright girl with tons of gusto. She tends to speak her mind very freely, one of the things which gets her into trouble, but it's also one of her more inspiring traits. The author allows her to gain a natural setting as a teen with usual struggles of independence before allowing the problems to unfold. This gives the reader a chance to get to know Estrella and connect with her, which makes the later events in the book hit that much harder. The characters and emotions are well done, and it's a message which hits home. The fear, struggles, desperation, and hope pull at the heart-strings and leave a vivid lasting impression...exactly that which is needed to make the reader breath it in and think.

Copies of Estrella's journal and news articles sprinkle the pages and give a more true feel to the happenings. It also allows  the reader to take a pause and consider the events up to those moments. I found this pacing well done and enjoyed the change from the same printed text.

While the story grabs and gives Estrella life, especially in the first pages, the dialogue and writing didn't hold the realistic atmosphere of the 1930's. I found myself checking several times to see if the characters were really placed in the 1930's or if it was a more modern version. This, however, didn't hurt the main tale and definitely was soon forgotten once the story got going. 

At the end of the book, the author leaves her thoughts and provides a glossary of many of the Spanish words and phrases sprinkled in the pages. It's a thought-evoking read and will touch the hearts of older readers as much as young adults.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!
*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here:
*View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here:
Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, RedfinAuthor Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan BernardoMilind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianLori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual @McChildsBookDay Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party ( a prize every 5 minutes!). GO HERE for more details.
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Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:
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Cover Reveal: The Hunting of Elmwood Manor by Pamela McCord

The Haunting of Elmwood Manor 

by Pamela McCord 

a Pekin Dewlap Mystery
Acorn Publishing
Middle-Grade Mystery

MAY 1st, 2019!!!

Pekin Dewlap hasn’t seen a ghost since she was twelve. But she’d do anything to get them back. Starting a ghostbusting business with her two best friends, Amber and Scout, seems like the perfect way to accomplish her goal. Of course, playing with ghosts isn’t high on their wish list, so Pekin has to do some arm-twisting to get them on board.
Once committed, Pekin and her friends find themselves in deep, trying to solve the disappearance of fourteen-year-old Miranda Talbert. Miranda went missing in 1918, and her spirit has wandered the halls of Elmwood Manor for the last hundred years.
In the midst of finding Miranda, discovering her budding feelings for Scout, and consoling a terrified Amber, Pekin is met by an angry ghost set on thwarting her plans. Will the Ghosties be able to help Miranda, or will Pekin’s business die before she solves the mystery?

And here she is...

Pam was born in Arkansas several decades ago. She’s not sure if that makes her a Southern Girl or if moving to Southern California when she was five revokes her Southern Girl card. She started writing later in life when she was challenged by a friend to create a book out of his story idea. Reaching the first 5,000 words was a milestone, but with time and hard work she managed to finish an entire book, much to her surprise. Since then, she’s written several novels, in several genres. Romance, middle grade and paranormal comprise most of her work. Pam has spent over 40 years working as a legal secretary at a law firm in Orange County, California. Aside from writing, she follows the stock market, buying, selling and trading stocks and options. In contrast to that, she loves trips to Las Vegas where she can spend many happy hours at the Pai Gow tables. She shares a condo with her very own My Cat From Hell TV star, Allie, who manages to exude just enough affection to make her scary feral ways tolerable. 


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Review: The Emperor's Trap by R.A. Denny

Tales of Tzoladia, Book Two
by R.A. Denny
290 pages

My dreams have great meaning. A dream brought me to Baskrod when I was a small boy. A dream showed me the emperor’s mad ravings in his throne room. And a recurring dream reveals that I will someday ride a lion into the city of Tzoladia at the head of a grand procession.

But prophecies, dreams, and signs are easy to misinterpret. Why else would the wise men of the Society of the Word hide in caves, carry swords, and employ spies? I thought they would know where to find the other deliverers.

But I was wrong.

Nobody knows where they are. For all I know, the emperor may already have them in his trap.


After reading the first part of the series, I was looking forward to seeing what would happen to the characters next. This book met all hopes and then some.

Amanki has reached his destination and should now meet with Brina and Moshoi, the other holders of the three seals. Unfortunately, Moshoi is presumed dead after an avalanche, and Brina, while now in the city, has been captured and sold into slavery to one of the royals. Not only that, but war is about to begin and the emperor is determined...thanks to his find the mysterious man who should rise up and overthrow him. Everything seems impossible, but the three heroes must still try to prevail...even if they have no idea what they are really doing.

While I've enjoyed the characters and the story up until now, this book brought the entire tale a notch higher. The author lets the story switch between three points of view, each written in first person. While this style usually frustrates me, in this book, it works. The author manages to build each character up with such individuality that the switches between them are natural and extremely interesting. Each is wrapped up in their very own, grabbing predicament, but somehow, they should come together. It's a superb weave.

There is a lot going on in these pages, making for a very complex and intricate plot. The main evil appears to be clear enough, but there are so many paths branching toward the same direction that it's hard to guess what will come next. And it's a treat to follow every single one. Uncertainty and danger accompanies all three characters as they must overcome very different obstacles. Especially Brina's position demands sympathy, and it's hard not to fever for her as the situation thickens.

While this isn't action packed with fight scenes, there is never a dull moment. There is some violence, but this is not the dominate factor. The intrigue runs deep as as the mysteries. Each character and each thought adds to the complex puzzle. Mix this with the intriguing world descriptions, and the read is addicting.

I highly recommend this series for fantasy friends who do love some action but enjoy well woven story plots with lots of character depth. It's a world to get lost in and look forward to where things will be heading next.

And here she is...

R.A. Denny is an ancient history buff with a law degree from Duke University. While working as a criminal prosecutor by day, she escaped by night to create the fantasy world of her Mud, Rocks, and Trees series.

R.A. Denny loves adventure, animals, and history. She has traveled to the ancient rock city of Petra on horseback, flown through the jungles of Costa Rica on zip lines, and visited the Great Pyramid on a camel. She lives in Delaware. As a child, she had two pet flying squirrels.

Pre-Order Special - 4-Ever Cursed by Kasi Blake

Escape the Cliffhanger

Do you hate them as much as I do? Does it drive you crazy when an author leaves you biting your fingernails for months while waiting to see what happens to your beloved characters? 

If you pre-order 4-Ever Cursed, you won't have that problem. 

Chapter one of 4-Ever Hidden (book three) will be included at the end of book two. But only if you purchase it before the end of February. After that, you'll have to wait for book three to find out what happens to Trick Donovan. 


The king of faeries (Oberon) has designed a curse for each of the people responsible for his son's death. He delights in torturing them. After they suffer for an appropriate amount of time, he will kill them. Trick Donovan has just come off a big win. He managed to take out a Shadow Faerie, and he's on his way to becoming the greatest hunter ever. He's sure nothing can stop him. Then he meets Oberon. They are headed for a battle that may level them all.

Pre-order 4-Ever Cursed from Amazon now by clicking HERE.


Before he could think of something clever to say, something to lighten the mood, she spun around and darted out the back door. Left with nothing but the taste of her—coffee and spicy cinnamon from her favorite gum—he sank into the closest kitchen chair. He was in trouble now. As much as he’d like to deny it, his body had reacted to hers in a way that assured him it was stronger than pure lust.
Suddenly, he was caught between two girls.
He couldn’t possibly be in love with both of them.
The problem was, he didn’t know who had his heart.
He didn’t know which was real and which was fantasy.

Trick scowled at the wall. He’d rather fight another Shadow Faerie than deal with this. 

If you haven't read 4-Ever Hunted yet, here is your chance. For a limited time it is on sale for less than a dollar. Grab your copy now. Click HERE.

Learn more about Kasi Blake's books on her website.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Interview with Jill Apperson Manly, author of Ahmed's Journey

I'm excited today to have Jill Apperson Manly, who stopped by and answered a few questions for us!
She's the author of...

A Story of Self-Discovery
by Jill Apperson Manly
Jabu Books Publishing
Picture Book
ages 4 to 8

Be Still. Journey Inward. Know Yourself.
We are emotions, feelings, and sensations.
Breathe into All of you, ride along with Ahmed,
and discover the most exciting journey in the world! You!

Ahmed's Journey: A Story of Self-Discovery unfolds through the eyes of a young boy named Ahmed. The book tells of the Camel Races, a tradition in Ahmed's country and in much of the Middle East.
While traveling to the Camel Races with his family and favorite camel, Jamal, Ahmed faces his fear of riding in the upcoming race. Watching Jamal calmly breathe, Ahmed finds his own breath, and in doing so he discovers he has a colorful array of emotions and feelings. By the end of the book, the reader learns that Ahmed is “grateful to be Ahmed.”


First off, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by Bookworm for Kids and share a few thoughts with us. Since time is short, let's dive right into it. 

Ahmed's Journey is a tale about a journey where Ahmed discovers himself. How important is it for kids to explore and know their own emotions? 

There is nothing more important. It is essential to learn and value who you are.

Do you think that emotional lessons can be integrated into school studies? 

Yes, Absolutely! Globally and in the U.S. we are seeing this done right now. My first book, Nothando’s Journey, is part of part of a SEL curricula created by Think Equal ( currently in 147 schools across 15 countries. The pilot program is being evaluated by Yale Center for Emotional Learning. Kids live in present. There is no better time to discuss how a child is feeling then when it is occurring. Of course, you cannot disrupt the class to deal with each emotion so therefore, it is better to have a set time within a lesson, for example in social science, to include a SEL lesson.

How did your experience teaching and studying in Saudi Arabia affect the writing of Ahmed’s Journey? 

My overseas teaching experiences with children gave me great joy. Picking stories from “far-away places” gives a different perspective and we all benefit by learning about others. It’s fun to think about riding a camel. Kids in America don’t get to do that. It is even more fun to think about racing one!

What aspects of yoga do you bring to writing children’s books? 

Yoga is seen in mainstream America as primarily a form of exercise, in my books, some of the deeper benefits of yoga or any mindful (peaceful) practice are explored.

Why is it important for kids to experience cultures different from their own? 

We are more alike than different. As we see others, we see ourselves.

What is some advice you can give to parents who have children experiencing fear and anxiety like Ahmed?

The Best advice is to have the conversation around these topics. Our children have lots of anxiety and being able to help them address their anxiety around their fears is very empowering. My website has additional resources both for the child and adult on this topic.

If you'd like to learn more about Jill Apperson Manly, you can find her...

And here she is...

Award winning Author of Nothando’s Journey, Jill Apperson Manly, releases her second book deepening the themes of exploring thoughts, emotions and sensations. Manly uses international cultural festivals to educate the reader and teach the importance of self-love. Jill is a certified iRest® teacher and Somatic Yoga Therapist. She loves sharing yoga and meditation with children and adults, coaching girls' high school basketball, and being a mom to her four children. She lives with her husband and children in Newport Beach, CA.

Sneak Peek: Wicked Origins by Paula Black

Wicked Origins
by Paula Black
YA Reverse Harem Fantasy
Cover Designer: Logan Keys of Cover of Darkness
December 10th, 2018

Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

I have no idea what’s happening to me.
When a tornado dropped my car in a land of short, wild people, I was shocked. With no way to get home, no idea where I was and no clue how to communicate with the muchkins, I was completely out of luck. Then I found out that my car had landed on someone and killed them. Supposedly she was the Wicked Witch of the East.
If that wasn’t bad enough, now her ruby slippers magically appear on my feet, and slowly, I’m becoming her.
Now I need to get to Emerald City and see the Wizard if I want to stop the transformation and return home. But the yellow brick road is no cake-walk, and I don’t know what I’ll find at the end of this journey. Luckily, I have three brothers I meet along the way to help me on my journey. Each of them is vying for my affection, as if it doesn’t matter that my skin is turning green.
Wicked Origins is a modern YA Reverse-Harem Fantasy Retelling of L. Frank Baum’s original Oz tales. 
Buy Link:

 Paula Black is a USA Today Bestselling Author who wears many hats - and none of them is a night cap. Running on tea, Kpop, and sheer adrenaline, she battles monsters and witches with little to no sleep. She is the sleepy panda who loves to cuddle with boys, dogs, cats, and other pets.

Author Links:
Buy Link:
There are days when I feel like the whole world is pressing down on me, keeping me pinned where I am. But right now, it’s a man’s weight that pins me to the bed of his pick-up truck while I search the night sky, looking for a way out of this emptiness in my chest. He’s kissing my neck, and his hands are inching up my waist, pulling my shirt up, exposing my hot skin to the cool night air. Finally, his thumbs play along the bottom edge of my bra and he hesitates, wondering if I’ll stop him. I consider it. I’m really not feeling anything for him. I’ve let him kiss me until my lips are sore and swollen. We’ve swapped saliva, and he’s trailed more of his own down my neck as his fingers explored my waist and lower back. It’s been a great escape. It’s made me feel something… but barely anything more than soreness and pressure and heat. At least his body is keeping me warm on this chilly night in April. And my mind wanders again.
“Will you go to prom with me?” Charlie lifts his brown eyes, and they meet mine in the pale light of the silvery moon.
I blink at him. I’d almost forgotten he was there. I’d hardly noticed that he’d stopped at my bra without me even telling him to. Slowly I push myself up to a sitting position and pull my shirt back down. I meet eyes with the boy I’ve been making out with for the past half-hour. He’d asked me out and I’d accepted, but when he said he’d wanted to go to a movie and get dinner, I suggested we come out to the cow fields and make out instead. Of course, he’d agreed. Boys always did. The cows have begun mooing in the distance. The wind picks up and brings with it the scent of the cattle from several hundred yards away. Unpleasant. But again. At least it gave me a feeling, even if it was a bit of revulsion.
I’d played this dangerous game of inviting dates to the cow pasture to make out four times and hadn’t been burned yet. I still managed to stop them from moving past second base. But this was the first time I’d come alone. Usually it was a double date or a group thing. At least Charlie was gentlemanly enough to stop himself. I blink at him. I should reward him for being gentlemanly. “Sure. We can do prom.”
A smile spreads across his lips, and he moves in for an awkward kiss. Our teeth clack together, and he stops, a blush filling his cheeks. I have geometry with Charlie. I don’t even think I know his last name. It’s my senior year, and I’d had yet to go to a homecoming or any dance for that matter. I guess I should at least try to go to the prom.
“Do you want to continue what we started?” Charlie asked, gesturing toward the blanket.
I frown. “It’s getting late. I really ought to head home.”
His brow scrunches. “It’s only nine-thirty.”
“I forgot I have homework. I need to read Beowulf.” I stand and dust off the back of my black, slim-fit jeans. The cows have drawn closer, and the smell becomes more pungent. And the starry sky darkens in the west where storm clouds gather.
He nods and gathers up the blanket he had spread out in the bed of the truck. His shoulders are drooping a bit, and I know I’ve disappointed him.
I grab hold of the side of the truck and leap over, sticking the landing on my feet after the vault, like I used to do in gymnastics as a child. That was back when my adoptive father abused me. Back when I hadn’t yet shut off my feelings toward men, school, even most of life in general. I step up to the passenger side door just as Charlie gets there and opens it for me. I lean in and kiss him on the cheek. His eyes light up in the glow from the interior of the car. At least I’m able to boost his spirits somehow. He deserves it. He’s super sweet.