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Along with reviews of many well-known titles, this site also searches out unique books
from small, independent presses.
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Polar Bears and Penguins: A Compare and Contrast Book
By: Katharine Hall
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing
Publication Date: February 2014
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 6, 2014
It would seem very strange to compare a polar bear with a penguin, but you’d be surprised at how much there is to learn by comparing and contrasting them. For example, they both live in polar climates, but they are at opposite ends of the Earth. The polar bear lives in the “Arctic in the Northern Hemisphere ... but penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere.” They literally live in very cool climates! One fun fact to think about is that the Arctic, where the polar bear lives, is “surrounded by continents.” The penguin lives in Antarctica, a “continent surrounded by oceans.” If you think about it, and look closely, these are two very interesting animals to look at and compare.
Check out that awesome looking polar bear and then take a look at that rockhopper penguin. The bear is covered with fur and the penguin with feathers. The polar bear is a bear. No surprise there, but can you name some other types? Perhaps you’ve seen a picture of a grizzly bear, but you’ll also get to take a look at a black bear, giant panda bear, sloth bear, and a sun bear. There are many different types of penguins to check out including the African penguin, emperor penguin, Adelie penguin, the rockhopper penguin, the little penguin, and the yellow-eyed penguin. You’ll also learn many other interesting facts about the polar bear and the penguin, things you may not have even thought about!
This is a fun compare and contrast book about the polar bear and penguin children will be fascinated by. The layout is very vibrant with full-color, full-page photographs that often span two pages. When discussing the basic geographic locale there is a globe on the lower right hand corner of the two-page spread with an arrow pointing to the area. Additionally there are global inserts that look at the Arctic environs as well as the Antarctic one.
Newly independent readers can tackle this beginning nonfiction book with a bit of assistance with unusual words such as “hemisphere” or “rockhopper.” In the back of the book is an interesting comparative look at “A Year at the Poles” and several activities, including some that can be downloaded and printed from the publisher’s website. This would be an excellent book to read and discuss in the homeschool or classroom setting.
Quill says: If you have young, curious animal lovers they are sure to enjoy looking at and comparing the polar bear and the penguin!
Here We Go Again - Short Story Collection
By: Leigh Michaels, Sparkle Abbey, Kari Lee Townsend, Ann Reavis, Barbara Witek, Anita Clenney
Publisher: The Story Vault
Publication Date: February 2014
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 1, 2014
Ann Reavis claims that it is in poor taste to start a tale with such lines as "It was a dark and stormy night." Perhaps, but then again Edward Bulwer-Lytton was a successful novelist as is Ann and the other writers who have penned short stories in this anthology. Leigh Michaels, Sparkle Abbey, Kari Lee Townsend/Harmon, Barbara Witek, Ann Reavis, and Anita Clenney are hoping that you'll join them on a dark and stormy night when that rain falls in torrents to read their little snippets. Of course these little snippets could easily be expanded and in some instances, appear to let the reader in on what will happen next in series. Call them teasers as you will, but that's exactly what some of them appear to be.
It was a dark, but not so stormy couple of nights ago when I began to read these tales. Of course I was fascinated by the different styles and dearth of characters I either met for the first time or was going to revisit. There were familiar characters such as the cats Dante and Morty, but new critters like the "milksop heiress." No the heiress probably will never be a major character, but Dorinda did add a bit of spice to Leigh Michael's "Shadows of Love." Kari Lee Townsend's Morty was Mitch's nemesis and Reavis's Dante was off on yet another adventure. Then there was Barbara Witek's Maddie McClintock, a no nonsense veterinarian who was more into critters than relationships.
No anthology would be complete without a vampire and Anita Clenny obliges. Or was that a demon? You'll find out. Of course Sparkle Abbey, pet therapist cannot be left out of the mix. There's this little problem of "Phil's untimely death" and a missing dog named Shadow. A beagle to be exact. Well, this is the short of it and that's good enough for most people. I really enjoyed sitting up in bed on a dark and not stormy night to read the fabulous Here We go Again - Short Story Collection, a collection of short stories by all our favorite cozy mystery writers.
Quill says: If you love a good yarn (or six), you're sure to adore this marvelously delightful anthology from some of the best cozy mystery authors around!
By: Nick Cutter
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: February 2014
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: February 24, 2014
Nick Cutter delivers gripping, sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense in his latest thriller, The Troop.
It’s the perfect fall weekend for the annual camping excursion to Prince Edward Island. Scoutmaster Tim Riggs and his teen band of boy scouts, Kent (the most popular), Ephraim and Max (best buddies and well-liked by all), Newt (the dork), and (the oddball) Shelley are bound for an adventure and so much more in the great outdoors. How could they possibly know evil would join them due to the unexpected arrival of emaciated Thomas Henry Padgett? Why is he so incredibly thin and what is with his maniacal quest to quell his insatiable appetite? How could Scoutmaster Riggs have possibly known his hospitality and offering of shelter and food to the pitiful Thomas Padgett was a choice that would upend the lives and redirect the destiny of not only Riggs’ future, but the lives of the boys in his care.
To understand the connection between Thomas Henry Padgett and Scoutmaster Tim and his scouts, one needs to take a step back. Padgett spent the majority of his life combating weight issues. How fortunate (or not) for him when he met the likes of brilliant Dr. Edgerton and the doctor’s equally talented colleague, Dr. Nathan Erikson. Padgett finally had hope and the opportunity to shed many unwanted pounds. Padgett was the doctors’ ‘Patient Zero.’ Willingly, he surrendered himself to their adept knowledge and clinical trials as they applied their scientific research. The doctors’ had spent endless hours of modifications and experimentations to perfect the Hydatid worm. Their reward was to finally put it to human testing. Padgett was their conduit and their lab-modified worm was beyond ready to transcend from Petri dish to pill form suspension for human consumption. Indeed, the worm (beast, actually), would stop at nothing once it had infiltrated and infected its human host. In mere hours it would conquer and devour every fiber of life and form that had once been governed by its host. Unbeknownst to Scoutmaster Tim and his boys, when all paths converge, they were about to become the latest innocents of a scientific trial that had gone terribly wrong.
Nick Cutter has written a book worthy of placing himself in the same arena as some of the greatest writing thrill masters of our time. Cutter’s distinct and goose bump inducing writing ability consistently taunts and wills the reader to keep going forward into the abyss of evil and terror that unfolds in The Troop. As adept as he is at scaring the crap out of his audience, Mr. Cutter demonstrates amazing control of his pen as he tempers the reader’s fear with beautifully written and thought-provoking one-liners such as: ‘The past had a perfection that the future could never hold...’ I say bravo to Mr. Cutter for being the ‘real deal.’ The Troop is a sound example and testament to your gifted writing abilities.
Quill says: The Troop provides more than a hearty portion of “food for thought” when mapping out healthy lifestyle choices!