Thursday, 30 January 2014

Review - The Money Tree by LaDonna Smith

Review - The Money Tree by LaDonna Smith
Genre: Children's

Follow Tyler on his adventure to get enough money for a cool new toy, without the help of his parents. A witty and fun story with upbeat text for your young child with a valuable lesson about working hard and saving money to get something they really want! The clear text and playful illustrations aim to simplify financial concepts like earning, saving, interest, the difference between needs and wants, and the joy of running one’s own business. To make the otherwise boring topic interesting, the concepts have been explained through small anecdotes accompanied with colorful illustrations to stimulate children and ignite a love of saving.

Purchase Links:    Amazon    FYD Publishing    Createspace

About the Author: LaDonna N. Smith is a certified financial educator whose goal is to educate youth from all walks of life on how to find their path to financial empowerment. LaDonna draws inspiration for her book ideas from several typical parenting routines; watching her children play or argue, overhearing them sing or talk, and listening to all the amazing ideas, concerns, & request that they come up with. The Money Tree, is the first, but her children have inspired many more literary surprises already in the works! LaDonna and her husband reside in New York and have four wonderful children, all with intriguing and different personalities, like the characters she creates in her storybooks.

FYD Publishing    Facebook

Giveaway: Author LaDonna is giving away a copy of the book!


    Goodreads Book Giveaway  

        The Money Tree by Ladonna N Smith    

          The Money Tree      


          by Ladonna N Smith      

            Giveaway ends February 17, 2014.          
            See the giveaway details             at Goodreads.          
      Enter to win

This review by: Jaslyn, age 11 (see all Jaslyn's reviews)

This is a book which teaches kids about money. It's got a funny story in it as well and colourful pictures. In the story Tyler is a spoilt brat who wants a really expensive toy and his parents say no. So he tries different ways to get the money himself. 

At first I didn't like Tyler because he was like my brother and always greedy for more things. But maybe he just didn't understand about money because at the end he wasn't greedy anymore. He made me laugh when he did silly things. I was really happy with him at the end when he did the nice thing for his parents. His parents were very smart to make him earn the money himself because now he knows how to save money in the bank.

At the end there's a chart with coins on it which we don't use here because we don't have dollars. But I guess kids could use it for an idea to make their own chart. I give the book four stars because I thought it was great!

No payment was received for this review.
 I hope you win! 

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Review: - Big Honey Dog Mysteries #1: Curse of the Scarab - H. Y. Hanna

Review - H. Y. Hanna - Big Honey Dog Mysteries #1: Curse of the Scarab
Genre: Children's mystery

Blurb: Missing puppies. Deadly secrets. Serious slobber.

Honey the Great Dane enjoyed a pretty peaceful life: walking her human, checking Peemail at the park… until the arrival of a puppy named Bean turns her life upside down. But when Bean goes missing – together with other neighbourhood pups – Honey sets out on a dangerous quest to find them. Joined by her canine friends, Honey tackles mysterious paw prints and sinister hieroglyphics as clues lead them to a deserted cemetery. But an ancient Egyptian curse has awakened and time is running out. Can Honey solve a cryptic riddle in time to save the puppies? And should she trust Max, a Pit Bull with a murky past, who is hiding secrets of his own?

Middle-grade readers and young teens will love this thrilling tale filled with suspense and humour - and adult dog lovers are sure to enjoy it to. An exciting new mystery series full of action and adventure, for dog lovers of all ages!

Excerpt: Tyson gave a grunt, then jumped up onto the ledge outside the kitchen window. He stuck his head into the gap and wriggled forwards. The others held their breath as he was wedged tight for a moment, his body half in and half out of the kitchen. Then, with another wriggle, he was through. He landed on the kitchen counter which ran under the window. Everybody breathed again.

Tyson paused, his ears pricked, listening. They all listened. There were some muffled sounds coming from the second storey but no footsteps on the stairs. So far, so good. Tyson began inching his way along the counter.

“Careful you don’t fall in that sink, mate,” Ruffster hissed.

“Can you pick up Bean’s scent?” Honey called.

“Do you see any food?” Biscuit asked, jumping onto the outside window ledge himself and sticking his nose through the gap. “I think I can smell bread. Maybe they’ve left some on the counter?”

“Biscuit!” Ruffster growled.

“What?” Biscuit flicked his ears. “He’s in there! He might as well have a look!”

Tyson tiptoed carefully around the kettle and big jars labelled COFFEE and SUGAR, hopped over the toaster, then made his way cautiously down the last stretch of counter, towards the kitchen doorway. He paused as he reached the end, his eyes fixed on something. Honey craned her neck to see what he was looking at: a bag of dog food on the floor, by the doorway. Her heartbeat quickened as she read the label. Puppy food.

Tyson gathered himself to jump off the counter. Then froze.

They all froze.

Footsteps. Coming quickly down the stairs.

Author Bio and links: H.Y. Hanna is Taiwanese by birth, British by education, pseudo-American by accent and currently Australian by residence! After graduating from Oxford University, she tried a variety of jobs, from advertising in London to English Language teaching in Sydney, before returning to her first love: writing. Always fascinated by dogs, she specialised as a pet writer for magazines in the UK, Australia and NZ, and has been heavily involved in training, behaviour, dog sports and photography. When she's not working on her next novel, she's usually found watching repeats of her favourite TV show, Fringe or wiping Dane slobber off the walls.

You can find out more about her (and the 'real-life Honey' who inspired the series) at:, where you'll also find book discussion questions and other parent/teacher resources, plus fun activity sheets and interactive puzzles.

If you'd like to be notified when the next book is released and get sneak previews, please visit to sign up for the Big Honey Dog Mysteries newsletter. Your email address will never be shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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This review by: Elisa T (see all Elisa T's reviews)

This is a well-written story about a Great Dane and her friends who go searching for a missing puppy and discover there's more to this than a playmate who wandered off. Something sinister is going on in their neighbourhood, and the dogs realise they must solve it before more puppies disappear.

The characters are engaging and the author has a great voice with a wonderful sense of humour. Despite this being a children's book I quickly became engrossed in the mystery and rather enjoyed the riddles as the dogs investigated the case.

The storyline itself is warm and funny, and I felt real empathy for the dogs' challenges as various obstacles came up before them. Their friendships and interactions were well-written and engaging. The jokes throughout the text are clever and left me smiling many times.

My initial reaction to the opening chapters was that the vocabulary is well-suited to a nine-year-old, the age at which the book is aimed. But, in the second half of the book the storylines involved violence and themes that, in my opinion, could be very upsetting to children this young. However for teens and older the mystery has earned its stars and is an enjoyable read in its own right.

This book is recommended for teens and up and I give it 4/5 stars.

No payment was received for this review.

eBook Purchase Links:
Amazon (Kindle): Big Honey Dog Mysteries #1: Curse of the Scarab (Kindle): Big Honey Dog Mysteries #1: Curse of the Scarab
Barnes and Noble (Nook):

Paperback Purchase Links:
Amazon: Big Honey Dog Mysteries #1: Curse of the Scarab (Volume 1) Big Honey Dog Mysteries #1: Curse of the Scarab (Volume 1)

Giveaway: The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon Gift Card and a signed copy of Curse of the Scarab to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US only).a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please make your replies meaningful. Comments like "this is a comment" or "thanks for the giveaway" or "I have no opinion" will be removed as they are not valid entries into the competition, they are just spam. Thank you. :)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Review - Cupcakes At Carringtons by Alexandra Brown

Cupcakes At Carringtons by Alexandra Brown
Genre: Women's Fiction / Chick-lit

I tell you the truth bloggers, in the first page I thought maybe I wouldn't want to read it, because it seemed like it'd be just a fluffy gossip read. But I decided to give it a go and five pages later I had completely forgotten my first thought, and I really got into it.

This book is about Georgie, who loves her job as a sales clerk in a department store. But Georgie is stressed about money, and then it gets worse as she gets stressed about her job, stressed about her co-workers and stressed about her boss - not to mention her love life and that wealthy socialite who keeps leering at her.

I really found myself liking Georgie more and more the further I got into the book. Despite being a luxury handbag saleswoman, Georgie is not shallow or stupid and that appealed to me. Even though she makes some stupid decisions, it just makes her more human. She is a kind and caring friend who wants to do what's right by the people she knows.

The title is a bit out of place because the book's main theme is not really cakes or caf├ęs. The ending was very satisfying because the pace sped up, there was suspense, and there were several huge twists I never expected.

I would recommend this book with 4/5 stars.

No payment was received for this review.

Review - Susanna Kearsley - The Firebird

Susanna Kearsley - The Firebird
Genres: historical fiction, fantasy

I originally picked this book up while I was working at my local library. It was a new addition to the collection and had some good ratings, so why not? I admit that I didn't pay much attention to the exact genres, which is lucky, or I might not have wanted to read it and I would have missed out on a great book. It is #2 of a series, which I didn't know until it was time to review, so it can certainly be read without having read the first. Here's my take on the book.

It tells the story of Nicola, a woman with psychic gifts - gifts that she doesn't want to embrace or use. When she touches things she will sometimes be shown flashes of information about the object's past. Through her work with art and antiques, she meets an older woman whose very future depends on the sale of a valuable antique - a carved wooden bird that she says came from Russia's Empress Catherine. The only problem is, there's no paperwork or proof that the relic is genuine. Nicola has handled the small wooden bird and seen visions, so she knows it's for real, and takes pity on the woman. She sets out to see if she can use her abilities to find real-world proof which would make the bird valuable in the art world.

More than anything else this is a deep and heartfelt look into Nicola's belief in herself. It is the parallel story of Nicola's journey and also of that of a small girl growing up in the 18th century, told with a beauty and tenderness which had me weeping at times. You know a book is well-written when you're can't even close it despite the tears running onto your pillow. The author has done a tremendous job of building the two main female characters, and they are incredibly deep and three-dimensional, leading to great empathy for their difficulties during the book.

And it is rare that a work of fiction can bring the learning of history into the plot without distracting the reader or overloading with historical facts. The only negative, from my perspective, is that I felt the book began a little too slowly. Stick with it, you will really begin to enjoy it once Nicola and her companion begin on their travels and the young girl begins to take centre stage.

This book is highly recommended and I give it 9/10.

Purchase on Amazon: Susanna Kearsley - The Firebird

No payment was received for this review.