The Reviews Are In: How Many Book Reviews Did I Post in 2021?

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and looks forward to a new year with new hopes, fresh possibilities, and maybe a book contract? If the contract seems a bit too far away, there is still hope that whatever books we have out in the world will find new audiences.

With that in mind, I am sharing my third New Year Book Review Post letting you know the books I wrote reviews for on Amazon and Goodreads in 2021. The best way to spread the word about great books and unknown authors is to WRITE A REVIEWIt only takes a few minutes to write a couple sentences telling the reading world what you like about a book. As a children’s book author, I can tell you how much it means to see some kind words about a book and sharing it on your solcial media.

Here are the books I enjoyed and posted reviews for in 2021:

  1. A HORN IS BORN (PB) by Bill Borders
  2. CODE BREAKER, SPY CATCHER (PB) by Laurie Wallmark
  3. WORDS COMPOSED OF SEA AND SKY (YA) by Erica George
  4. FROM HERE TO THERE (PB) by Vivian Kirkfield
  5. RISSY NO KISSIES (PB) by Katey Howes
  6. LITTLE EWE (PB) by Laura Sassi
  7. DON’T CALL ME FUZZYBUTT (PB) by Robin Newman
  8. STEPSISTER (YA) by Jennifer Donnelly
  9. STARFISH (MG) by Lisa Fipps
  10. BOARDWALK BABIES (PB) by Marissa Moss
  11. WE BELIEVE IN YOU (PB) by Beth Ferry
  12. THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM (MG) Holly Goldberg Sloan
  13. SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE (PB) by Cathy Ballou Mealy
  14. STOMP, WIGGLE, CLAP, and TAP (PB) by Rachelle Burk
  15. ORANGE FOR THE SUNSETS (MG) by Tina Athaide
  16. WISHES (PB)  by Moun Thai Van
  17. ISABEL AND HER COLORS GO TO SCHOOL (PB) by Alexandra Alessandro
  18. WALKING WITH MISS MILLIE (MG) Tamara Bundy
  19. PIXIE PUSHES ON (MG) by Tamara Bundy
  20. WOOF: THE TRUTH ABOUT DOGS (PB) by Annette Whipple
  21. BEACH TOYS vs SCHOOL SUPPLIES (PB) by Mike Ciccotello
  22. DINO PAJAMA PARTY (PB) by Laurie Wallmark
  23. SCURRY: THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIDERS (PB) by Annette Whipple
  24. A BRIEF HISTORY OF UNDERPANTS (PB) by Christine Van Zandt
  25. LILLIAN LOVECRAFT AND THE HARMLESS HORRORS (MG) by David Neilsen
  26. A QUEEN TO THE RESCUE (PB) by Nancy Churnin
  27. DEAR MR. DICKENS (PB) by Nancy Churnin
  28. SWEET BLISS/GOOD CATCH (an adult series about Harper Landing) by Jennifer Bardsley
  29. 101 PRANKS AND PRACTICAL JOKES (MG) by Theresa Julian
  30. A HOME AGAIN (PB) by Colleen Kosinski

Were there some books you enjoyed in 2021? I’ll bet there will be some more amazing stories in 2022. Why not make a resolution to post reviews for some of your favorites. I guarantee you will make an author’s day!

Happy Reading!

Two Books That Celebrate Girl Power and Who Gets to Define Beauty.

I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading two books that might seem different since one is a historical YA fantasy and the other a contemporary MG novel-in-verse. While each has a unique story to tell, both resonated with me because of the underlying message:

Who gets to decide what beauty is and what are acceptable ways for females to look and act?

stepsister STEPSISTER by Jennifer Donnelly is a re-telling of the Cinderella story from the point of view of one of her stepsisters. Here’s the blurb:

Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe . . . which is now filling with her blood.

When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she’s turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she’s a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a bold girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. She cut away pieces of herself in order to become pretty. Sweet. More like Cinderella. But that only made her mean, jealous, and hollow. Now she has a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

Evoking the original version of the Cinderella story, bestselling author Jennifer Donnelly uses her trademark wit and wisdom to send an overlooked character on a journey toward empowerment, redemption . . . and a new definition of beauty.

STARFISH cover

STARFISH by Lisa Fipps is an MG novel in verse that is told from the point of view of Ellie. Here is the blurb:

Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules–like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.” And she’s found her safe space–her swimming pool–where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life–by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.

These are two books that celebrate GIRL POWER. They emphasize the idea that no one has a right to label you, define you, tell you what strength and beauty are. “You would be pretty if…you followed these rules…”

No one has the right to bully you, make you feel small or less than, or put conditions on what behavior or desire is acceptable.

These stories let you know that you are already strong. You are already beautiful. You are already worthy. Just the way you are.

Positive and important messages for every girl.

Give Something Away Day Winners

Today I am happy to announce  the winners to two recent give-a ways. The first was for a copy of Robin Newman’s picture book NO MORE PEACOCKS:  Mike Allegra

The next is for # separate prizes from the Give Something Away Day post of Kim Pfennigwerth. The winners are:

Donna Taylor receives a set of picture book by Annie Silvestro titled  Bunny”s Book Club and Bunny’s Book Club Goes to School.

Robin Newman wins a pair of MIA MAYHEM chapter books illustrated by Leeza Hernandez.

Evelyn Krieger wins the historical fiction YA book THE SHALLOW GRAVES by Jennifer Donnelly + a 30 page critique of a novel-in-progress.

CONGRATULATIONS to the winners and a HUGE thanks to all who participated in the give-away. Please contact me with your address, so we can send you your goodies.

GIVE SOMETHING AWAY DAY 4.0 with Kim Pfennigwerth and Darlene Beck Jacobson.

Hooray for July 15th! It is our fourth annual GSA Day or Give Something Away Day.

I am packing up a house and doing some serious pondering over which items stay and which go. It isn’t easy shedding 39 years of collecting …stuff. And while we have moved quite a few times, we’ve never gone through such a drastic cleaning out.

Children’s elementary school pottery – staying. Grandmother’s heirlooms some going to family members and a few staying.

Far too many kitchen items, going. Beloved knickknacks from over the years – a very good many are going. May the joy they brought me – go to others.

With so many items in every room – this move shows it is time to be practical. Time to simplify. We will appreciate the end result. So I am choosing what will still bring joy when I see it each day while at the same time looking for places that accept donations for many things that may help others.

But the absolute best thing about Give Something Away Day is something I talk about each year – something that cannot be measured. Giving something away is a kindness and kindness is a magical element. It is an action with absolutely no expectation for anything in return. What ‘something’ have you given away lately? What magic was gained from your kindness? Spending time with a friend? Holding the door for a parent with a load of groceries who is also holding a child’s hand? Reading to a child? Go ahead and plan on giving something away. It is guaranteed to lighten your mood and heart.

Hopefully, you will make Give Something Away Day fun too. Darlene and I would love to read your comments or plans.

KimNov2016

P.S. I have two pair of ‘somethings’ that I am giving away this year that feature two friends’ work. The two Bunny Book Club picture books (Bunny’s Book Club & Bunny’s Book Club Goes To School) written by Annie Silvestro and the first two Mia Mayhem paperback chapter books (Mia Mayhem Is a Superhero & Mia Mayhem Learns To Fly) illustrated by Leeza Hernandez.

Buuny book                      bunnybook2

Take a bunny who loves the library and sharing bookish adventures with his animal pals then add a friend who is a bit fearful of her first day of school and this same bunny and pals come to support her and make many new friends. That is the fun you will find in Bunny’s Book Club and Bunny’s Book Club GOES TO SCHOOL!

MiaMayhem1                                                                        MiaMayhem2

Mia Mayhem is a new chapter book series starring Mia Macarooney. Mia is known for leaving mayhem behind her wherever she goes. To her surprise she receives a letter inviting her to a very special after school program. Even more exciting, Mia learnsshe is a superhero and that her parents are too. These first two books introduce adorable Mia and start her on the path to learning her superpowers.

Darlene Here: I also have TWO items to give away in a drawing. A paperback copy of YA historical novel THESE SHALLOW GRAVES by NY Times Bestselling author Jennifer Donnelly and a 30 page critique of an MG or YA novel in progress. Share your give-away experiences and be entered to win.  If there is something specific you’d like to be considered for, please let us know so we can make the give-away more meaningful to all.

Here’s a description of THESE SHALLOW GRAVES:  Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.
Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.
The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.
The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

donnelly cover

When you give something away…you get back much more in return.