Hop and Chomp: A Caterpillar Story by Gita V. Reddy


Hop and Chomp: A Caterpillar Story by Gita V. Reddy
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Childrens, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (32 pages)
Age Recommendation: 3+
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Hop, a young grasshopper, makes a new friend. He is Chomp, the caterpillar. Chomp is not like Hop at all. While Hop likes to explore the world around him, and to play in the grass, Chomp only eats. But Hop doesn’t mind because Chomp is a good listener. He visits him often and tells him all about his day.

One day, Chomp stops eating. And then he disappears!

Hop and Chomp: A Caterpillar Story is a simple story children will relate to, while learning about the life cycle of a butterfly.

It is also about friendship, and about accepting differences.

Both boys and girls will enjoy the book.

The illustrations are hand drawn and will appeal to young readers.

You’re never too young to make a new friend.

I’d never thought about the idea of insects having personalities before, but Hop and Chomp changed my mind about this. They were both unique little bugs that had strong opinions about how they wanted to spend their time and who they wanted to spend it with. I’ve been a fan of Ms. Reddy’s stories for a while now, but getting to know these characters so well only made me more interested in seeing what she comes up with next. She had such a creative spin on what grasshoppers and caterpillars would be like if they could speak.

I would have liked to see Hop’s mother spend a little more time explaining what a pupa was and why Chomp was inside of it. Her explanation of it was so brief that I’m not sure it would make complete sense to preschoolers. With that being said, I still enjoyed this book quite a bit and wouldn’t hesitate to read it to my relatives who are in this age group.

The friendship between Chomp and Hop was adorable. Hop’s interest in spending time with his friend only seemed to grow stronger over time, and that made me smile. I also loved the fact that they were such good buddies even though a baby grasshopper’s idea of a good time often isn’t the same as what a caterpillar would want to do.

Hop and Chomp: A Caterpillar Story was a gentle tale that I’d recommend to anyone who is in the market for something new to read at bedtime.

The People That Fall Out of Pictures by Anne Wentworth


The People That Fall Out of Pictures by Anne Wentworth
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (171 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Every family has at least one secret, right? Jolene Poetic has just completed seventh grade and thanks to Billy Marsden, is now looking ahead to a rather lonely summer. Jolene has a couple of strikes against her when it comes to making friends. Her Aunt Agatha is mentally ill and her family are considered poor. What Jolene doesn’t know is that this is going to be the most amazing summer of her life and it has to do with the ancient painting on their wall. She is about to be told the family secret and meet The People That Fall Out Of Pictures. Her life and how she sees things will never be the same again.

If Jolene can somehow avoid being bullied again this summer, she just might have a nice vacation.

I loved the way the plot talked about mental illness. Aunt Agatha’s illness was part of who she was, but it wasn’t the biggest or even the most important part of her life. She also had many interests, habits, flaws, and quirks that made her feel well-rounded and like a real person to me. This is something that I’d specifically recommend to kids who have a personal connection to this topic because of how well it explains what it’s like to live with this sort of condition and well as what it’s like to care about someone who is dealing with it.

This book asked many questions about the identities and pasts of certain characters that it either never answered or only answered in part. I enjoyed all of clever hints about theses topics that other characters dropped in the beginning, but I would have liked to have much more information about them eventually. It was disappointing to have so many loose strings left hanging at the end.

The magic in this universe was unpredictable in a good way. It regularly moved back and forth between silly and serious topics. I especially enjoyed the scenes that showed how Jolene and her family lived ordinary lives that were occasionally interrupted by things that could never be explained by logic or science. This was a fantastic choice for a tale that would joke about eating lots of sugary snacks one minute and then switch to discussing something hard like grief the next.

Give The People That Fall Out of Pictures a try if you like magical stories that are set in the present day.

March Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Trouble Returns by Nancy Oswald


Trouble Returns by Nancy Oswald
Publisher: Filter Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full (207 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 8+
Rating: 5 stars
Review by: Aloe

BoM LASR YA copy

Trouble Returns is the third installment in the Ruby and Maude Adventure series.

Eleven-year-old Ruby is in an unbelievable amount of trouble. Trouble in school, trouble with the Sisters of Mercy, trouble with her cat named Trouble, and trouble with Pa after he proposes to the school principal. In 1896 Cripple Creek, Colorado, Ruby narrowly escapes death, and her donkey, Maude, steals the story with an unexpected surprise.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

December Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Gargoyle Redemption by Isabel Castruita

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Gargoyle Redemption by Isabel Castruita
Gargoyle Redemption Trilogy – Book 1
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (163 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 4 stars
Review by: Orchid

BoM LASR YA copy

18 year old, Shinka Fox moved to California to pursue her music career, her mother Bru Fox is a famous artist traveling the world. Infatuated with a boy named Abel Lapis at her new school Shinka is surprised when the young man always seems to be around when she’s in trouble. A group called the Hunters is out to kill Shinka. But Abel has a secret, he’s a gargoyle. Will Abel rescue Shinka in time or will the Hunters reach her first?

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

October Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Reunion by JS Frankel

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Reunion by J.S. Frankel
Catnip, Book 5
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (201 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

BoM LASR YA copy

Harry Goldman, teenage DNA researcher, genius, and total nerd, is thrown into jail for illegal transgenic research. Freed by the FBI on the condition he works under their aegis, Harry is taken to New York where he meets Anastasia, a cat-girl and the product of transgenic engineering. No sooner do they get acquainted then they are attacked by another creature, a bear which is more than a bear, and are forced to flee for their lives. Along the way, they encounter furries, Doug the Dog, find out that they are more into each other emotionally than they’re willing to admit, and end up in the Catskill Mountains where Harry finds out the shocking truth about how Anastasia was created…and what she was created for.

September Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Law & Order by JS Frankel

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Law & Order by J.S. Frankel
Publisher: Finch Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (177 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

BoM LASR YA copy

Book 2 in The Nightmare Crew series

The Nightmare Crew is on the hunt for their evil genius creator, but they find trouble that could spell the end of them all.

Paul Wiseman and his crew return to battle their greatest opponents yet—versions of themselves.

Paul has been transformed into a werewolf, and along with his girlfriend and the rest of the crew—a vampire, a sentient water being and a resurrected zombie—he moves out to the west coast to set up shop in the Sierra Madre mountain area in order to fight crime.

They also seek more information on Andres Peterson, a ruthless and clever industrialist scientist, whose company made them.

Peterson has fashioned his own version of the crew, but their methods of fighting crime are heavy-handed, cruel and unjust.

Things are never as they seem, and it will take a death and a winner-takes-all fight to settle it. Will evil triumph?

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

August Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Beginnings by J.S. Frankel

Beginnings by J.S. Frankel
Beginnings by J.S. Frankel
Publisher: Finch Books
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (187 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

BoM LASR YA copy

Paul Wiseman, orphan and runaway, was looking for a family. He found one—and got a little more than he bargained for in the process.

Being an orphan is no fun. Having no friends isn’t much fun, either. When Paul Wiseman, seventeen, runs away from an orphanage to try his luck on the mean streets of New York, he finds himself trapped and almost beaten to death one night.

Rescued by a vampire named Angela, Paul goes to her small house in upstate New York where he meets her friends—Ooze, a sentient water being, Sandstorm, who uses his sandy body to blind his opponents, and CF—short for Cannon Fodder—a zombie.

The four of them become the Nightmare Crew—beings created by a scientist to fight against the lawless elements of the city. In joining them, Paul finds a family, friendship and maybe even love.

However, the company that allowed the creation of these beings wants them back, and they’ll stop at nothing to retrieve what they believe to be their property. It soon comes down to a battle between those born and those created…and it’s up to Paul to fight for the only family he’s ever known.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

July Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Rising Tides by Katy Haye

Rising Tides by Katy Haye
Rising Tides by Katy Haye
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full (579 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by Orchid

BoM LASR YA copy

The truth won’t stay submerged forever

City is the last civilised place left on a drowned Earth, a floating town built from metal and plastic from the Time Before. It’s the only home doctor’s daughter Libby Marchmont has ever known or wanted – until her father helps the wrong patient and she’s forced to flee.

Cosimo came to City for one reason. Then he should have vanished back to his people on the Wastes. But what about his promise to Libby’s father?

Stranded in the middle of the sea, can the two enemies learn to trust each other? And can they survive long enough to uncover the truth: City isn’t the safe haven Libby always believed it to be …

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

May Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Hint of Hot Pink by Cheryl Oblon

Hints of Pink DIY Dolls Book 2

Hints of Hot Pink by Cheryl Oblon
DIY Dolls Book 2
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (211 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 5 Stars
Review by: Orchid

BoM LASR YA copy

When two worlds collide, there will always be fallout. Blending two families with cultural and economic differences is a headache.

We moved to a nicer town, and some of the people from my old neighborhood don’t like that. Then again, I’d prefer distance from a few in my past. A criminal ex of my cousin made a lot of trouble for me and one of my stepsisters.

That was all I needed while I was getting used to my new stepdad and sisters. But, Chloe and I were off to a good start. We were actually friends and starting to make plans for our senior year of high school.

Then life comes and tosses crap in my face.

The death of my favorite uncle is bad enough. He was the only stable man in my life before my stepdad. Now, that criminal, or one of his minions, is cyber stalking me. The whole thing is way beyond awkward.

But, the worst is my real Dad turning up and unleashing nearly seventeen years’ worth of my pain and pent up rage during my sisters’ quinceañera. My bio dad wasn’t reliable or secure like my stepdad. Bio dad stopped coming around when I was seven. Is he after money, attention, or something genuine?

Whatever it is—he’ll have to go through me before he hurts my mom or sisters, again. Good guys are few and far between, but I’d rather wait forever than settle!

Read the full review here!

Hints of Hot Pink – DIY Dolls Book 2 by Cheryl Oblon

Hints of Pink DIY Dolls Book 2

Hints of Hot Pink by Cheryl Oblon
DIY Dolls Book 2
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (211 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 5 Stars
Review by: Orchid

BoM LASR YA copy

When two worlds collide, there will always be fallout. Blending two families with cultural and economic differences is a headache.

We moved to a nicer town, and some of the people from my old neighborhood don’t like that. Then again, I’d prefer distance from a few in my past. A criminal ex of my cousin made a lot of trouble for me and one of my stepsisters.

That was all I needed while I was getting used to my new stepdad and sisters. But, Chloe and I were off to a good start. We were actually friends and starting to make plans for our senior year of high school.

Then life comes and tosses crap in my face.

The death of my favorite uncle is bad enough. He was the only stable man in my life before my stepdad. Now, that criminal, or one of his minions, is cyber stalking me. The whole thing is way beyond awkward.

But, the worst is my real Dad turning up and unleashing nearly seventeen years’ worth of my pain and pent up rage during my sisters’ quinceañera. My bio dad wasn’t reliable or secure like my stepdad. Bio dad stopped coming around when I was seven. Is he after money, attention, or something genuine?

Whatever it is—he’ll have to go through me before he hurts my mom or sisters, again. Good guys are few and far between, but I’d rather wait forever than settle!

Catalina’s mother marries a wealthy man who has three daughters. Cat also has two younger sisters and this makes six teenage girls in one house. Cat’s twin sisters are about to have their fifteenth birthday quinceañera but tragedy strikes when their beloved uncle is killed in action. Then the three girls biological father sends a birthday card. Put this with a problem carried on from the first book in the series and what should have been a wonderful time, starts to become an time fraught with danger and unhappiness.

Cat has spent so long looking out for her sisters, she finds it difficult to acknowledge her oldest stepsister Chloe might be able to cope with the “bad boy” at school. Chloe who has mothered her own younger sisters, takes exception to being looked after. When Cat’s biological father makes contact, it’s Chloe who helps Cat come to terms with the situation.

I found the way the girls sorted things out, only to disagree again within days, to be perfectly natural. In fact they were acting like actual sisters instead of stepsisters.

Again the author has produced a wonderful story of the problems affecting a blended family, and how difficult it is for teenagers to adjust not only to the change in their family circumstances, but also the changes they have to manage in the growing up part of their social lives.

I found this second book in the series is as good as the first one. In fact I read this one first and enjoyed it so much I bought book one.