Sunday, October 20, 2019


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, 
Author Bio & Review~ 

ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:

What if hundreds of plastic toy dinosaurs suddenly came to life- Could you find a way to stop them...?

Iggy Risner is your typical wise-cracking twelve year old. When his younger brother, Oz, wakes him in the middle of the night claiming he heard a monster in the attic, Iggy takes him upstairs to prove him wrong. But instead of a flesh-eating beast, they discover hundreds of their toy plastic dinosaurs that have mysteriously come to life.

When the dinos escape the attic and start terrorizing young kids in the neighborhood, and trampling flower beds, somehow Iggy, Oz, and their friends must catch the plastic dinos of doom before the damage escalates. But what do you do when your parent's doubt your story, and a group of clueless neighborhood bullies stand in the way?

For Iggy & Oz- Catching the little beast may prove to be easier said, than done.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from & Goodreads}:
J.J. Johnson grew up in Pryor Creek Oklahoma. Attending Oklahoma Baptist Universtiy with a major in Student Ministry and a minor in Sociology. He currently resides in Edmond Oklahoma where he lives with his wife Ashley and children.

"Hi, my name is J.J. and I love to write, read, and drink coffee. As I write this I’m sitting in a local brewery sipping a espresso. There are few things in life that I feel need precise division with no room for error, coffee is one of them.

I love comic books, writing fun adventurous Science Fiction, and wasting countless hours on Social Media."

You can follow him on Facebook at:

On Twitter

Visit his website at

The author does a find job of introducing his characters and setting the scene for the story in the beginning of the book. Iggy, the main character and narrator, is a 12-year-old boy who likes to write stories in the journal/diary his mother gave to him. His younger brother, Oz, is nine years old and was adopted from China.

They live in Whispering Pines, "a sprawling gated community," where the majority of the action takes places. Neighborhood kids are introduced throughout the story. Some are friends, some are bullies, and some are just plain strange, according to Iggy.

Oz calls Iggy, 'Captain', so the chapter names in the book are entitled, 'Captain's Log 001', etc. Iggy calls Oz, 'Wizard', so when Oz takes over writing in Iggy's journal, the chapters are entitled, 'Wizard's Log 001', etc.

One night Oz hears scratching and other noises coming from the attic above their bedrooms. He enlists Iggy's help to figure out who or what is up there making all the ruckus. The wild adventure begins . . .

There are dozens of Oz's plastic dinosaurs stored in a chest that Iggy's father bought at the estate sale of a mysterious neighbor on their street, Mr. Chesterson. After a funny episode of how the boys climbed up into the attic, they discover that the dinosaurs have come to life and are marching around the attic. Oh, I forgot to mention the plastic two-foot tall T-Rex that is the leader of all of the little dinosaurs. He's not so nice.

Through trial and error, Iggy, Oz, and their friends Aaron and Jenn determine that the dinos only come to life when there are no adults around. With some clever problem-solving and good, old-fashioned team work, the group, along with the neighborhood bully and his gang, come together to ----------- enough said! You'll have to read this delightful book yourself to find out the rest of the story!

At one point, Iggy lies to his father about who destroyed their neighbor Mrs. McKenzie's flowers. Oz chastises his big brother for lying to their parents. I loved this element of the story because it was handled in a 'teaching a life lesson' sort of way that kids would be able to relate to and understand without being turned off by it. In the Acknowledgments at the end of the story, the author notes that he wanted to write a story for his own children.

Of course, the story includes a fair share of middle-grade gags with slime, mucous, vomit, worms, etc. There is some mention of blood when the dinos nip at fingers and toes. However, I feel the book is completely clean in language and content.

Highly-recommended! This is a fast-paced, fun story with lots of humor. It would make a great family or classroom read-aloud.

Disclosure from reviewer: I was given access to a digital copy of this book by JustRead Publicity Tours. I was not compensated in any way for posting my review on this site or any other site.


Learn about more great middle-grade reads by visiting Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' blog to find the links to other blog posts celebrating Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday!

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Sunday, October 13, 2019




Recently I was searching for some middle-grade historical fiction books I have not yet read. I began with Goodreads. After a brief search, I came up with this helpful list:

Goodreads Popular Middle Grade Historical Fiction Novels

I have reviewed several of these books on my blog, such as:

The best thing about this list is that a number of the other titles on the list caught my eye and are now on my own 'To Be Read' list. 


Next I did a search on a certain well-known search engine and found this list of thirteen award-winning historical fiction novels for middle-grade readers:

Award-Winning Historical Fiction List

I read number 1, Johnny Tremain, in junior high.

I read number 2, Across Five Aprils, somewhere along the way, too.

Some of the books on this list overlap with the above Goodreads list, but some of these award-winners look promising, so I have added those titles to my ever-growing TBR list. 

I've also decided I need to reread Johnny Tremain and Across Five Aprils now that I'm an adult and have a greater background knowledge of the events and time periods these novels cover.


This final list is unique and meaningful. This blogger has posted a list of  'Ten Moving Historical Fiction Novels for Tweens'.

Connecting With the Past: Ten Moving Historical Fiction Novels for Tweens

In her post, the blogger writes:

"The ten books below are great examples of moving historical fiction for tweens that will connect them with the past and make them empathize with characters who aren’t so different from them after all."

Needless to say, these ten books are now all on my 'starred' TBR list!


Some other excellent middle-grade historical novels written in the past decade which I have reviewed on this blog which deserve 'honorable mentions' are:


What are some of your favorite historical fiction reads?  -or-  Who are some of your favorite historical fiction authors? Please leave a comment so we can share our love of middle-grade historical fiction with each other.

                 ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– ~ GIVEAWAY ~  ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– 
Dancing Lemur Publishing, LLC, has graciously offered to give away one print copy of Stone Man to one lucky US resident! Please complete the below Rafflecopter entry form shown below for your chance to win.


Learn about more great middle-grade reads by visiting Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' blog to find the links to other blog posts celebrating Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday!

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Friday, October 11, 2019




Join June to stitch up some colorful Halloween hand puppets for children!

To make these patterns user-friendly for seamstresses around the world, all of the patterns include the measurements in Imperial and Metric. Tips on how to work with felt are provided along with detailed cutting and sewing instructions.

Project One is a friendly monster named Malcolm. His neon green face, black hair, hand-embroidered face, button eyes, and metal button neck bolts will make any youngster smile.

Project Two is a colorful pumpkin hand puppet named Polly or Patrick. With black buttons added for eyes, nose, and a broad smile, this pumpkin becomes a jack-'o-lantern. Hand-embroidered vertical lines add texture to this Halloween friend. Two options are included to personalize the puppet even more.

Project Three is a sweet black cat named Casey. With three-dimensional ears and hand-embroidered whiskers and mouth, Casey will delight youngsters. As the perfect finishing touch, Casey's collar is made out of bright rickrack with a small bell attached.

These are the perfect beginning projects to get your child started on sewing their own crafts!

Stitch up a set or two and let the good, old-fashioned fun begin.


Over one hundred of June McCrary Jacobs's original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in books, magazines, and on sewing industry blogs in the United States and the United Kingdom in the past decade-plus. This is June's second pattern book available in the Kindle Store.



Sunday, October 6, 2019


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Author Bio,
Unique Author Interview & Giveaway~

Stone Man
And the Trail of Tears

By Charles Suddeth

Driven to Stone Man’s trail...

After U.S. soldiers attack twelve-year-old Tsatsi’s Cherokee village, his family flees to the Smokey Mountains. Facing storms, flood, and hunger, they’re forced to go where Stone Man, a monstrous giant, is rumored to live.

His family seeks shelter in an abandoned village, but soldiers hunt them down. Tsatsi and his sister Sali escape, but Sali falls ill and is kidnapped by Stone Man. Tsatsi gives chase and confronts the giant, only to learn this monster isn’t what he seems.

Their journey is a dangerous one. Will Tsatsi find the strength to become a Cherokee warrior? And will they ever find their family?

Release date – October 8, 2019
$12.95, 6x9 trade paperback, 162 pages
Print ISBN 9781939844620 / EBook ISBN 9781939844637
$3.99 EBook available in all formats

~ "I enjoyed how the story accurately conveyed the historical attacks against the Cherokee tribes, and this book could be a useful educational tool." {Goodreads Reviewer}

~ "I found this story enjoyable, educational, and inspiring. It made me want to learn more about the Trail of Tears (which I’ve read some books about in the past but not recently). . . . By the way, this book is nonstop action." {Goodreads Reviewer}

Amazon -
ITunes -
Kobo -
Barnes & Noble – 

Goodreads -


Charles Suddeth loves to tell stories of all sizes and shapes and flavors. He draws inspiration from hiking Tom Sawyer State Park. Of Cherokee heritage, the author teaches in Louisville, Kentucky. Charles has published poetry, picture books, middle reader’s books, young adult thrillers, and adult mysteries in English, Cherokee, and Turkish. He is active with Green River Writers and leads a monthly SCBWI Social.


Welcome to 'Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic', Charles. I'm delighted to have you as my special guest for Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday today. Congratulations on your newest release, 'Stone Man: And the Trail of Tears', officially releasing tomorrow, October 8th, 2019!

June: Please tell us how you created your setting and developed the characters for this novel. Are any of the characters or their personality traits or physical descriptions based on people you've come across in your own life? If yes, what prompted you to include them in 'Stone Man'?

The setting:
Over the years I have hiked, ridden horseback, and driven in the Smokey Mountains and Snowbird Mountains. I also used a detailed North Carolina map/atlas. Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee, North Carolina introduced me to the types of dwellings Cherokees used. The Museum of the Cherokee, also in Cherokee, North Carolina, has a 200-year-old dugout canoe that could have been in the story. For the Nantahala and other rivers, I relied on Google Images.

People: I did not consciously model any of the characters after anyone. I do meditate and let my inner self decide and develop characters. I generally try to avoid using characters too close to my life.

June: Who is your favorite character in this story? Why is this person your favorite? Without spoiling the story, is there anyone in the story who you do not like? Why not? Do you plan a follow-up or is this book a stand-alone?

Charles: My favorite character is the Main Character, Tsatsi, twelve-year-old Cherokee boy. His sister, Sali, is my favorite female character. I usually have male and female favorite characters. (it is not always that way. I have a manuscript where the leading lady is not my favorite female character) There is a person in this story that I definitely don’t like, but again, saying more would spoil the story. This plot has lots of twists and turns, so I do not want to say too much.

Follow up novel? At the present, no. But my devious mind might just surprise me.

June: This book is historical fiction based upon a Native American legend. What inspired or prompted you to write about this legend?

Charles: Stone Man and the Trail of Tears is based upon the 1838 Trail of Tears which is not a legend. Yes, Stone Man, Nunyunuwi, is an ancient legend, but I don’t want to spoil the story and comment further.

What inspired me to write this story is another matter. My great-great grandfather, Bill Pennington was born in a Cherokee mountain village, possibly in Kentucky. He was born about 1830, and the family moved north of the Ohio River around the time of the Trail of Tears. I believe most of the village moved with them to a rural area north of Charlestown, Indiana, 30 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky. A mixture of whites and Meti (French/Shawnee mixed-bloods) lived there. Many of the Cherokees in eastern Kentucky were chased out by whites. Since they were not officially involved with the Trail of Tears, they lost their Cherokee citizenship.

June: What types of research did you perform before or while writing this book? Did you visit any historical sites, museums, or archives in the course of your research? Did you speak with any experts about the subject matter?

Charles: I visited Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee, North Carolina several times. Many times, I visited the Museum of the Cherokee, also in Cherokee, North Carolina. I used a long list of books, museum journals, tapes, and some You-Tube for the Cherokee language. While I did not speak directly with any experts, I subscribed to the museum’s journal, which published extracts of 1838 documents.

June: When you write a book, do you outline the entire story, or do you have a different way of organizing your plot, characters, etc.? Do you always know the ending of your story before you begin putting things down on paper, or into your computer? Do you have any particular organizational tips that you'd like to pass along to other authors and aspiring authors?

Charles: I do not outline, though I knew where I wanted the story to go. I like to be surprised—I write using the old saying: Take your reader where they are not expecting to go. I like to write in a linear fashion so that each chapter ends with a bang, compelling the reader to keep going.

June: Are there any hobbies or interests you would like to pursue in the future?

Charles: I found out a couple years ago that I have Shawnee blood on my mother’s side and possibly my father’s side, too. I would like to write a book about the Shawnee.

I am very interested in DNA, and I have enough education to read some technical papers and not get too lost. I want to keep abreast of developments. DNA research has made great leaps in the last 20 years. In the next 15 years, I expect dinosaurs to come back to life. (they have found dinosaur fossils with intact tissue trapped inside, so….)

I have also become very interested in astronomy and physics, though my education in them is at the undergraduate level. They just obtained the first photo of a Black Hole. And they just synthesized Negative Matter—it does not obey Newton’s Laws of Physics. Writer fodder.

June: Thank you for sharing with us today, Charles. I appreciate your taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us about your writing journey and other topics! Best wishes for you continued success in your writing endeavors.

 ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– ~ GIVEAWAY ~  ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– ๐Ÿ“– 
NOW CLOSED -------- Dancing Lemur Publishing, LLC, has graciously offered to give away one print copy of Stone Man to one lucky US resident! Please complete the below Rafflecopter entry form shown below for your chance to win.


Learn about more great middle-grade reads by visiting Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' blog to find the links to other blog posts celebrating Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday!
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Sunday, September 29, 2019



ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:

Discover the seriously impressive science that goes on every time you cook or eat. This children's book explores the science of food by asking questions you're hungry to know the answers to, and putting them to the test through fun experiments.

Science You Can Eat will transform your kitchen into a lab through fun food experiments. Cooking is chemistry, and the fun science experiments - such as tricking your taste buds, making slime taste delicious, and investigating some of the strangest flavours around will prove it. This exciting kid's book tackles all the tasty science questions you have about food, plus plenty more that you hadn't thought of! Once you understand science, you understand food, so find out why popcorn go "pop" as you test it out for yourself, explore how taste is affected by smell, then discover whether eating insects is the future of food.

Examining interesting ingredients and exciting eating, as well as peeking into the future of food, Science You Can Eat helps you understand what's happening with our food and why. Each page is guaranteed to leave you hungry for more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from the Publisher's website}:
Stefan Gates AKA “The Gastronaut” is an author, presenter, and self-professed “Food Adventurer” with the mission to make food fascinating. The author of seven books on food and science, including Incredible Edibles and Gastronaut, Stefan has also produced and appeared in more than a dozen TV shows including Food Factory, Gastronuts, Newsnight, and This Morning, as well as the documentary Can Eating Insects Save the World?.
This is an awesome science book written in an entertaining tone. The book is colorful, well-formatted, and kid-friendly. What more can a parent or teacher ask for from a middle-grade S.T.E.A.M. book?

I was amazed at how much information this author packed into each and every chapter of his book. He begins with an introduction to food and moves through taste and taste buds, smell, why we love food, ways of cooking, unusual foods, vitamins and minerals, on through some fascinating and fun food experiments. The author closes the book with three timely subjects--fake meats, foods of the future, and eating bugs. 

The meaning of the color of various foods is covered along with a head-on discussion about artificial colors. Did you know that "Artificial colors are mostly made from a coal extract"? {page 23}. I was shocked to read this.

The section on vitamins and minerals includes some easy-to-read tables listing important vitamins and minerals, their function, and sources.  Here I learned that the function of phosphorous is to aid in bone and cell health and that good sources of this mineral include diary, chicken, oats, rice, and red meat.

Fun topics covered in this volume include:  'What is Gum Made Of?' - 'Why Does Popcorn Pop?' - 'Drinks That Glow!' - 'Exploding Food!' - 'What Makes Bread Rise?' - and 'Why Do Onions Make Us Cry?'. Serious topics such as food allergies and bad mold are covered here too. 

Highly recommended! This is an excellent resource for children and adults interested in learning more about the chemistry of food and who are willing to try some of the author's unique and interesting experiments in the kitchen.

I borrowed this book from the children's collection in the local public library.

๐Ÿ“• ๐Ÿ“— ๐Ÿ“˜ ๐Ÿ“™ ๐Ÿ“š ๐Ÿ“• ๐Ÿ“— ๐Ÿ“˜ ๐Ÿ“™ ๐Ÿ“š ๐Ÿ“• ๐Ÿ“— ๐Ÿ“˜ ๐Ÿ“™ ๐Ÿ“š ๐Ÿ“• ๐Ÿ“— ๐Ÿ“˜ ๐Ÿ“™ ๐Ÿ“š ๐Ÿ“• ๐Ÿ“— ๐Ÿ“˜ ๐Ÿ“™ ๐Ÿ“š ๐Ÿ“• 

Learn about more great middle-grade reads by visiting Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' blog to find the links to other blog posts celebrating Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday!
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