Sunday Book Review – Tree Fairies and their Short Stories by D.L. Finn

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. I’m delighted to share my review for D.L. Finn’s middle-grade story – Tree Fairies. Truth be told, I ordered the paperback copy for my young niece, and of course I had to read it first! This is a wonderful book for any age to read this enchanting story with lessons learned through the wise trees and fairies.

 

 

 

Blurb:

When reality and magic meet in the forest

It’s 1969, and twelve-year-old Daniel Burns is camping in the redwood forest with his family. Danny wants to listen to his music and read, but his family has other plans. S’mores around the campfire and stories end their first day. The family is sleeping soundly in their secluded tent when Danny wakes up and finds his sister, Colette, is missing. Assuming she went to use the outhouse, he goes after her. When he finds his sister, they discover there is a thin veil between reality and fantasy. Two bonus short stories offer a glimpse into the magical world that finds Danny and Colette. These hidden beings not only share our world but have a role in protecting their forest.

 

 

My 5 Star Review:

Finn takes us into a fantasy world of fairies and humans working together to save the forest. Danny and and his sister Collette and his parents go camping 1969, one night while Colette sleepwalks into the forest, Danny noticed her gone and goes to find her. It’s outside at night they meet the fairies – the protectors of the forest. The fairies know Danny’s mother is a writer and ask if she could write a book to help save the forest. The Wise Old Trees offer help with their wisdom.

The book consists of 3 parts, 3 continuing stories. The next generation – Danny and Colette and their kids go camping in the same forest in 1990 and learn about some baddies dumping barrels of waste in the forest. Danny, now a writer with his kids Wren and Sierra, and Colette, now a movie director, come back to the forest to visit the fairies and wise trees and to take care of bad business happening to nature. Mom is still writing and dad is retired and they are both living off the grid.

The three stories are linked and all have the same characters as not to confuse young readers. It deals with different issues, from clear cutting, to stopping toxic waste dumping, to catching and sending away poachers, all while offering entertaining fantasy characters from the forest, yet teaching life lessons on the importance of working to keep the environment clean and sustainable, demonstrating the humans working together with the fairies to help save the forest.

The author has a wonderful way of weaving a magical story with real life issues and lessons the children learn about nature from the fairies and trees.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Sunday Book Review – Brody Cody and the Haunted House, #Children’s by Toni Pike

My Sunday Book Review for Toni Pike’s – Brody Cody and the Haunted House. I read the first book in this series and when Toni generously offered me an ARC to read for this next clever and engaging #Children’s book in the series, I happily accepted.

 

 

Blurb:

Brody Cody loves his new stepmother but is surprised to hear that she is expecting a baby. To celebrate, his parents take Brody and his friends away for a week to a very spooky house in the Blue Mountains, owned by the elderly and even spookier Mr Sludge.

Very strange things start to happen, and the friends soon become convinced that the house is haunted. They love scary stories and know all about ghosts, but will they be able to solve the mystery?

A hilarious adventure for children aged 6-9.

Book 2 in The Brody Cody Series.

It would be best to read the series in order. Book 1 is BRODY CODY AND THE STEPMOTHER FROM OUTER SPACE.

 

My 5 Star Review:

This is the second book in the Brody series where in book 1, Brody gets a new stepmom, and now she’s pregnant and Brody isn’t sure how he feels about a baby in the house after he’s been an only child all his young life.

To surprise Brody, his dad and stepmom, Pandora, decide to rent a holiday house for a family vacation and Brody is allowed to invite a few of his good friends to join in. When they arrive, the place looks nothing like it did in pictures, a rundown big old house that needs some TLC. But the family didn’t mind, they were there already so Pandora and the kids got cleaning up the place and the owner, old Mr. Sludge, gave them a tour of the property.

The kids were eager to go for a walk through the bush and were warned if they got lost to stay where they are. They were sure they wouldn’t be lost because smart Kyle left tape marks every few meters so they can find their way back.  But somehow the tape mysteriously disappeared. The kids continue to be spooked by weird happenings. They find open kitchen drawers in the middle of the night when they go down to grab a late snack. Another night they hear the front door slam, and Mr. Sludge introduces them to an air raid shelter from the long ago past that the kids are invited to play inside, and warned not to close the door.

Brody is convinced there’s a ghost – or ghosts in the house and has nightmares of ghosts. The children decide collectively to stay on guard the next night to try and capture the ‘ghost’. They decide to all wake at midnight to wait for the ghostly shadows to appear out in the backyard and listen for the rustling noise they’ve been hearing nightly in the kitchen. And their plan worked! They followed the noises leading down to the kitchen. And what they found? I cannot tell you this. You will have to read the book!

This book was an entertaining read. Although the story centers around the ‘ghostly’ findings, it’s not a scary book for children, rather a mini mystery for kids, and quite enjoyable for adults too.

 

©DGKaye2021

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Sunday Book Review – Amazing Matilda – A Monarch’s Tale by Bette Stevens

Welcome to the Sunday Book Review. In between reading my current read, I had to give this book a quick read before I gifted it to my young grandniece. The book is Amazing Matilda – A Monarch’s Tale by Bette Stevens. A short and beautiful tale about Matilda the caterpillar, eagerly awaiting her transformation and wings so she could fly.

 

 

Blurb:

Inspire the Kids with an Award-winning (Excellence in Children’s Literature) Monarch Butterfly Tale. In this age of instant gratification, there’s an award-winning children’s picture book out that teaches kids that patience and hard work really do pay off.

‘AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale’ is a timely tale that follows MATILDA, a tiny monarch caterpillar, from the time she hatches from her egg on a giant milkweed leaf until she realizes her dream to fly. The story provides challenges and adventure at every turn.

Grandparents, parents and teachers will find that AMAZING MATILDA is a book that kids will want to read themselves and hear read to them again and again.

 

My 5 Star Review:

What a beautiful book this is – both in story and illustration. Stevens has written a clever story about Matilda the caterpillar who is anxiously awaiting her transformation into a butterfly. The story is engaging and educational. Besides evoking the transformational process from caterpillar to butterly in a clever and conversational manner between Matilda and her friends Sparrow and Rabbit, there are lessons in the story to be taken.

As Matilda laments on about her excitement waiting to transform, her friends give her friendly reminders to both – have patience, and to trust her instincts. Worthy advice in life. And as Matilda finally begins growing her first pair of wings and attempts to fly, but not quite ready yet, her friends advise – “If you try long and hard enough, you can accomplish anything.” Alas Matilda could fly!

This is a wonderful book to teach children about the butterfly transformation. I’d say from six or seven on, children can enjoy this book reading by themselves, but also a great book for parents to read to their younger children, accompanied by beautiful pictures. A sweet story for the young ones.

 

Before I sign off, I wanted to share a link to Diana Peach’s blog MythsoftheMirror where she shared a great list of reviews for books she read in November. And I was thrilled to find one of my books included on her read list. Diana is a wonderful reviewer and her monthly reviews are partially responsible for my bursting at the seams Kindle. 🙂

 

©DGKaye2020

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Sunday Book Review: Something a Little Different-Reviews by Sally Cronin and MJ Mallon

Welcome to Sunday Book Review. Although it’s me who usually reviews a book here on Sundays, once again, I haven’t finished one of the two almost 400 page books I’m reading so I’m going to share a couple of book reviews today by other authors for two of my own books – Twenty Years: After “I Do” and P.S. I Forgive you, plus reviews for Robbie and Michael Cheadle’s – Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees, and Frank Prem’s – Small Town Kid. Thank you to Sally Cronin and to Marjorie Mallon for reading and reviewing and for sharing on your blogs 💕

 

First up are Sally Cronin’s reviews for both, P.S. I Forgive You and Sir Chocolate, followed by her review for Twenty Years and Small Town Kid, shared from Sally’s Smorgasbord Book Reviews.

 

Welcome to a new series where I will be sharing book reviews I have posted in the last few years. I would like to take the opportunity to showcase books that I have enjoyed and their authors and if you have not read the books, I hope it will encourage you to check them out.

 

 

P.S. I Forgive You - D.G. Kaye

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Blurb:

“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”

Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.

After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.

 

By Sally Cronin

The first author today is D. G. Kaye and I was honoured to be asked to write the editorial review in 2016 for P.S. I Forgive You.

 

My Five star review for the book in 2016

It is challenging to write about emotional pain and to revisit events, times when you felt powerless. Not everyone is courageous enough to undertake such a task. D.G. Kaye bravely faces her childhood and her relationship with her mother, sharing this complex experience with us in her memoir P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy. Kaye writes from a place of maturity and strength, bringing hope to others who need to find forgiveness to heal.

The book will resonate with those who have experienced a childhood marred by a narcissistic parent with its long term repercussions on self-esteem and the ability to develop a trust in relationships.

It is also a testament to the strength of character of the author to distance herself from this harmful relationship and thrive on her own terms.

 

The next review was for  Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook by Robbie and Michael Cheadle.

 

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Blurb:

A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.

 

My review for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook. 2017

This book will be a delightful read for a child, and their adult companions for that matter. A brightly coloured cast of characters, with Sir Chocolate himself created from one of the most favourite treats of all time.  Ten year old Michael Cheadle came up with the idea of this charasmatic character and also his lovely Lady Sweet. Robbie not only creates these characters from fondant icing, but composes the story in verse that takes us on this current adventure.

From a conservation perspective it is wonderful to see a children’s story that gently introduces the subject of creatures who are at risk, and whilst the villain of this piece is a greedy snail, there are parallels with our own encroachment into nature. However, the colourful fondant snail with long fangs is monster enough for this fairy story.  The other characters include sweet pink and apricot sugar mice, a cluster of endearing yellow and black sugar dough bees and very elegant fruit drop fairies.

In between the verses and illustrations are other gems in the form of recipes which are easy for both children (and some of us less proficient bakers) to make. Terrific Cheese Bread, Delightful Butter Biscuits, Jammy Scones, Rainbow Cupcakes, and one that will be made very shortly Bold Banana Bread.

This book may do little to reduce your waistline, but for children it will stimulate their imaginations and lead to some wonderful baking sessions with parents and grandparents.

Source and complete post: Originally posted on Sally’s Smorgasbord Invitation

 

 

If you are a frequent visitor to the blog you will have seen D.G. Kaye… Debby Gies here many times as a contributor, and supporter. It is no secret that we are friends. This however, does not influence my views on her books, and this applies to her memoir. Twenty Years: After “I Do” : Reflections on Love and Changes Through Aging.

Twenty Years After I Do - D.G. Kaye

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Blurb:

May/December memoirs.

In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.

 

My review for Twenty Years After “I Do”

The emphasis on partnership is present throughout D.G. Kaye’s story of her 20 year marriage to Gordon. Whilst it is clear, that theirs was a wonderful love affair from the beginning, she does not flinch from describing the various aspects of their relationship in a very forthright and honest way.

Their relationship is a May/September love affair that was put to the test from very shortly after their marriage. Despite the nearly 20 years age difference, it was Kaye who suffered a near fatal medical emergency, which brought home the fact, it is not necessarily the older partner, who will be the first to suffer ill health.

The book does highlight that in a relationship where there is a significant age difference, issues arise that might not for a couple the same age. Having children for example, or the dynamics in a relationship after retirement  and natural aging; reversing the traditional roles, as one becomes more dependent on the other.

D.G. Kaye allows us an intimate view into her marriage, encouraging us to look at our own relationships, appreciate how they have triumphed over challenges over the years, and to celebrate the love that endures.

I certainly recommend the book for those who are about to embark on a relationship, whatever the age difference. In this modern day and age, when the pressures on couples and families are ever present, it is very useful to be offered the experience and guidance from someone who has successfully navigated their way through those same obstacles.

 

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Blurb:

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

 

My review for the collection

I have read many poetry collections over the years, but Small Town Kid is unusual and intriguingly different. It flows through the different ages of the author from a very small boy to fatherhood, sharing the highs and lows of childhood and the coming of age years.

You are invited in by ‘I can Hardly Wait to Show You‘… that sets the scene of this town where singing waters and scrubby creeks beckon and land supported sheep and gold prospectors tried their luck.

Having accepted that invitation you become a spectator as Oma rocks the cradle of the young child whilst his mother works and makes poppy cakes, and Opa comforts a crying toddler as he contemplates the labour that has gone into cultivating the land around them. We are introduced to other members of this extended family and share in their celebrations, including a wedding in the fire house. This background is important as it highlights the sense of disconnection felt by many immigrant families who settle in a new land and are torn between adapting and still holding on to their old traditions and customs.

We enjoy picnics, and a detailed description of the view from the inside of the outhouse, and its maintenance by the stoic Nightman, and the profitable recycling of newspapers to the butcher. We join in rabbit hunts, school days, drag races, anti-tourist activities, and miscalculations when dispatching rubbish. Easter and the annual fete offer entertainment as does a rather interesting firework distribution method. The teen years bring jostling for status and the discovery that girls have some interesting attributes.

We also share in the lives of members of the group that the author grew up with, including its tragedies. It serves to remind us that however idyllic it might seem to be part of a small town community, it cannot protect you from all of life’s dangers.

I enjoyed all the memories and felt engaged with the young Frank as he navigated through these years. It was brought to life by the storytelling and there was a smooth flow from one story to the next.  One of the many personal favourites is ‘Mcalpine’s Cherries’ which mirrored my experience with picking strawberries.

Overall a delightful read that will resonate with readers whose childhood and teen years were considerably simpler than today. I can highly recommend.

Source and complete post: Originally posted reviews at Sally’s Smorgasbord

 

Marjorie Mallon’s review for my book P.S. I Forgive You

This is a very personal account of the author’s experiences of coping and coming to terms with the emotions experienced after the death of a narcissistic mother. D. G Kaye’s mother is herself a product of the terrible parenting she experienced as a child. My own mother struggled with many heartbreaking problems as she grew up. She overcame these and was and continues to be a wonderfully caring mother. I have a deep, unbreakable bond with her which I also have with my daughters.

As I continued to read further into this memoir I kept on comparing our circumstances. How sad and damaging such an uncaring, selfish parent is to her children. How can a mother behave in such a way? P.S. I Forgive You is an important read for all of us. This memoir is about letting go, releasing the emotional turmoil which began in childhood.

It is a compelling read. It courageously deals with the extremes of family relationships. Relationships are complex and difficult, even in what I would deem to be ‘normal’ families. There are many who struggle to understand or relate to their son or daughter, sister, brother, wife or husband.

But this memoir takes those problems to a whole new level that no one should have to experience. After such a damaging upbringing, D. G. Kaye has suffered but has learnt to forgive. She lives a happy, fulfilled life. That is a wonderful testament to her strength of character and her can do attitude.

My recommendation: Read this. 5 stars. I’d highly recommend this memoir to us all whatever our circumstances. Also read the first book in the series: Conflicted Hearts.

 

P.S. I Forgive You

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Original Post and review: Book Review: P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy by D. G Kaye #Memoir #Family #Mother #Daughter – M J Mallon YA Author and Poet

 

©DGKaye2020

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Sunday Book Review – Brody Cody and the Stepmother from Outer Space by Toni Pike – #Children’sbook

My Sunday Book Review is for a book not in my usual genre of reading – Brody Cody and the Stepmother from Outer Space is a children’s book written by my friend and multi-genre author, Toni Pike. I’m more used to reading Toni’s thrillers but couldn’t resist checking out this book when she gifted me with a copy. Wonderfully relatable book for children with clever lessons entwined in the story.

 

 

 

Blurb:

Brody Cody is almost eight years old and definitely, absolutely, positively does NOT want a mother. His mother died when he was a baby but life with his dad is just perfect.

Brody is horrified when his father goes away to a publishing conference and returns with a wife, Pandora Smith, who is a children’s author. His life spirals out of control as he is forced to eat healthy food, do his homework and help with some chores.

Even worse, he and his friends suspect that his new stepmother might be an alien from outer space.

A hilarious adventure for children aged 6-9.

 

My 5 Star Review:

This was a pleasant diversion in the children’s genre from this author whose books I’m used to reading in the mystery/thriller genre, but was delighted to read how the author crossed genres. Pike did a wonderful job with this story about a little boy growing up with his dad, just the two of them after Brody’s mom died in an accident when he was a baby, living like boys with no rules. That was until Brody’s dad falls in love with a new woman while out at a business conference and marries her, and Brody’s life of  lounging, junk-food eating and lack of household rules are forever changed.

When Brody proceeds to tell his best friend Kyle about his new stepmother, he also mentioned that Pandora had two different colored eyes. The boys were convinced she was an alien from outer space, especially since Kyle is convinced he saw a UFO while star-gazing. Between her two different colored eyes, her healthy cooking and creating new house chores, the two boys are convinced Pandora is from outer space.

I found this book a delightful read. Reading a children’s book through adult eyes, we can see how cleverly the author has woven in the good changes Pandora has brought to Brody’s life, despite the fact that some of these changes were so foreign to Brody, and how he eventually learns to happily adapt and realize how wonderful it really is to have a new mom.

 

©DGKaye2020