Great books for young readers


Summer is over. School is back in session. Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday families were celebrating graduations and prom. Now it’s a brand new school year. It’s back to reading, writing and arithmetic.

Is your child (or grandchild) a reader? Some kids LOVE to read. Other children, like my son, are considered “reluctant readers.” It’s not that they can’t read, or don’t want to read. It’s just that often titles presented to them to read of are no interest to them.

Our daughter would willingly read just about any book she had to for school. She also read A LOT just for the fun of it. Even now at 22 years old, she still reads books. Although I wish she’d utilize the library more and not buy brand new books. We have no room for them (she’s amassed quite a collection).

Our son has never been a fan of reading. When he was younger he was interested in Biscuit and Max and Ruby, so I picked up A LOT of books about them for him to read – which he would. There were other titles/book series he showed interest in, so I would borrow them from the library (or purchase them) just so he’d have something to read.

If you have a child that loves to read, or perhaps you are looking for titles to interest a child that may not be a big fan of reading, check out these great books from Silver Dolphin Books and Canterbury Classic Books.

The Big Book Adventure

Journey back through childhood classics like Peter Pan, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and more in this adorable picture book about the joys of reading!

There is nothing like a book to take you to places you’ve never been. Best friends Foxy and Piggy can’t wait to tell each other about all of their adventures in reading! Flying over Neverland, swimming with a mermaid, joining in a mad tea party, soaring on a magic carpet—old classics come to life in the eyes of two little readers who can’t believe what they’ve seen. Journey back to old favorites and experience the magic all over again in this adorable picture book about the joys of reading.

This is a super adorable book that is fun to read. It’s geared toward children in 1st – 3rd grade (6-8 years old). However, younger and older children can enjoy this magical story too.

The book is written by Emily Ford and illustrated by Tim Warnes.

The illustrations are charming. I adore the main characters in this story (Foxy and Piggy). They are absolutely adorable.

This is an easy reader, filled with creative and fun rhymes.

What I love about this book is that it “samples” various other well-known stories, as the friends travel through them on their many adventures. I think this is a fabulous way to encourage children to want to read these classic stories after they finish this book. I think this book is a great pre-cursor to enjoying those books as well. As a parent, anything that can stimulate a child and encourage them to read is wonderful in my book (no pun intended. OK… maybe a little).

If your child is interested in these classic titles (and more), then you should check out Canterbury Classic’s  illustrated classic series. This book series includes the titles;

I was sent a few of these titles to review. I was sent Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass, Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales, The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales, and Peter Pan. These are some of my most favorite classic stories. In fact, I have a HUGE framed poster of the entire Peter Pan story, made to look like Peter Pan and Tinker Bell. From a distance it looks like their likeness, but when you get up close you can see that it’s made out of the words from the entire story, from beginning to end.

PHOTO SOURCE: Spineless Classics

My framed artwork, leaning against the fridge. It now hangs in our dining room.

Needless to say I was excited to receive a copy of Peter Pan, as well as the other titles, to review from Canterbury Classics.

These are high quality, collectible, heirloom quality books that can be passed on from generation to generation. They are exceptionally well made, including detailed foil stamping and a full-color illustration on the covers (they feel really nice to the touch) and colored ends to the pages. The books are colorful too, so they stand out nicely in your home library or bookcase.

These books are written for ages 10+ (they are the original, unabridged stories).

Each book features gorgeous, colorful illustrations by acclaimed illustrators that really add to the story (I’m a big fan of books with images/photos in them).

I have saved books from my youth for my children to enjoy. I also saved some of their favorite books for their children (my grandchildren) to enjoy some day. I am saving these books to pass down to my grandchildren too. They are beautiful and you cannot beat the classics.

I’ve read Peter Pan already (I am very familiar with the story, of course, and have read it a few times in the past). I am currently working on the Brother’s Grimm book. I’ve already enjoyed their interesting tales.

It’s funny that I received a Hans Christian Anderson book to review. Recently I found a very old (antique) copy of his stories at an old bookstore. That book is old and delicate, so I won’t open it that often. I appreciate the copy I received from Canterbury Classics to review. I feel better opening and reading that book.

If you are interested in learning more about these books (or where to purchase them), you can click on the links from above. You can also find Silver Dolphin on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

Look for Canterbury Classic books on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

What do you think about these titles? Do you think your child or grandchild would be interested in them?

Which title most interests you, or you think would most interest your child/grandchild?


*I received free sample copies to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Fun new Halloween books from Simon & Schuster


I know that summer just ended (technically it ends on September 23, 2019), but it’s never too early to start planning for Halloween. I don’t know about where you live, but here they’ve had Halloween things in the stores since the beginning of August.

I bought some Halloween decorations from AC Moore (craft store) around the first of August. I haven’t put them out yet. We plan on decorating for Halloween towards the end of September.

If your child/grandchild wants to get into the Halloween mood, there are plenty of fun books for all ages available from the publishing company, Simon & Schuster. They have plenty of new Halloween books for all ages, that are worth checking out.  I received a few of these books to review. I’ll comment about each one I reviewed below.

I also linked directly to the book on Simon & Shuster’s website so that you can learn more about it and where to purchase the book. Many of these books are found locally in bookstores, online book retailers and of course, Simon & Schuster.


By Doreen Cronin

Illustrated by Betsy Lewin

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534450127 | All Ages

New York Times bestselling duo Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin’s beloved Halloween story is now available as a Classic Board Book!


By Salina Yoon

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534443426 | All Ages

A cute kitten with a very twitchy tail is looking for a friend to trick-or-treat with in this purr-fect Halloween novelty book from award-winning creator Salina Yoon.

This book is super adorable! Throughout the story, you or your child can pull on the side tab to make the kitten’s tail wag back and forth.

I wish the book had “googly eyes” ‘instead of printed on eyes. I think that would have made the book even cuter.

The story is sweet, and the book is short enough to keep a young one’s attention.

The illustrations are adorable, and the images are bright and colorful.

This is such an adorable book.


By Tina Gallo

Illustrated by Mette Engell

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534440197 | Ages 2-5

Kids are sure to laugh out loud at this pumpkin-shaped board book celebrating Halloween.


By May Nakamura

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534440586 | Ages 3-7

The PJ Masks have to protect all the kids from Luna Girl, Night Ninja, and the Wolfy Kids who team up to steal everyone’s treat bags. It’s up to the PJ Masks to save the day—and Halloween! 

 Cast a spell on your curious child! Our Halloween picture books are both clever and cute:


By Muon Thi Van

Illustrated by Hyewon Yum

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781481481717 | Ages 4-6

Little Linh is the cleverest little witch on Mãi Mãi island. She has everything she could need: a trusty broomstick, a powerful spell book, and a magical pet mouse. She also has a new brother named Baby Phu, and she does not like him one bit. He crashes her broomstick, eats pages out of her spell book, and keeps her up all night. Little Linh tried giving Baby Phu away, but nobody will take him. So, she’ll just have to try something else…


By Muon Thi Van

Illustrated by Matt Myers

4/23/19 | ISBN 9781534417168 | Ages 4-8

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who’s the most terrible one of all? Every morning, Smugg’s magic mirror tells him that he’s the most terrible monster there is. Until one day, when the mirror tells him there’s an even worse monster, right next door!


By Blair Thornburgh

Illustrated by Scott Campbell

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534414006 | Ages 4-8

Debut picture book author Blair Thornburgh and award-winning illustrator Scott Campbell put their heads together to celebrate one of the most important bones in your body: the skull! This smart, skull-positive story cheerfully dispels any fears kids might have about their skeletons, flipping our view of skulls from a spooky symbol to a fascinating, cool, and crucial.



By Jessie Sima

8/27/19 | ISBN 9781534418776 | Ages 4-8

When Spencer gets a new pet, he’s excited to do all the things that pets do—taking walks in the park, going to the vet, and attending parties together. There’s just one hitch: Spencer’s new pet is a balloon. And that means No. Sharp. Objects. 

For Ages 5-7, a spooky sleepover Ready-to-Read:


By Ximena Hastings

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534440647 | Ages 5-7

Mavis is thrilled to be reunited with her friends Sophie and Charlotte, twin werewolves from her Ghoul Scout troop. But when Aunt Lydia smells humans on the premises, she orders a lockdown of the castle and a search of the entire hotel. Mavis’s sleepover goes awry in this hilarious Level 2 Ready-to-Read based on an episode of the hit Disney Channel show Hotel Transylvania: The Series. 

Calling all monster lovers! Junior Monster Scouts is a new series for ages 7-10 for fans of Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol and Hotel Transylvania!


9/3/19 | ISBN 9781534436770 | Ages 7-10

By Joe McGee

Illustrated by Ethan Long

Wolfy, Franky, and Vampyra—the children of the classic monsters—are Junior Monster Scouts. And even though ‘monster’ is their middle name, these funny fiends just want to help anybody in need, earn their Junior Monster Scout merit badges, and make friends. But, their good deeds are always foiled by Baron Von Grump, a cranky schemer who doesn’t like noise, doesn’t like kids, and most of all doesn’t like the Junior Monster Scouts.


9/3/19 | ISBN 9781534436800 | Ages 7-10

By Joe McGee

Illustrated by Ethan Long

It’s The Village’s 150th birthday celebration! And that means bright lights, popcorn machines, a marching band, and a musical merry-go-round. But not if Baron Von Grump can help it! 

I received both of these books to review. They are a fun read. I hope that the author, Joe McGee, plans on writing more books about these lovable characters.

These books are easy to read, and feature black and white illustrations sprinkled throughout the pages. I personally prefer reading books with interior pictures (I’ve always been that way). I find that illustrations keep my attention and add to the visualizations I have in my head about the content I am reading.

There is a third book coming out in April of 2020. I wouldn’t mind reading that book either.

I could see myself reading these books back in the day when I was in the 7-10 range (maybe even younger or older). I love monsters and scary things, so these books would have been perfect for me.

No worries, these books are NOT scary. They are just super fun books that really grab your attention (which is why I’d love to read the 3rd book in the series.

Check out these Halloween-themed tales from our other favorite chapter books series:


By Andres Miedoso

Illustrated by Victor Rivas

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534433519 | Ages 5-9

Camping with Desmond Cole is a lot of fun, until he starts telling ghost stories around the campfire. Most kids tell creepy stories that are totally fake, but Desmond tells totally true stories that will give you goosebumps.

This is another fun Halloween book.

Recently, the film Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark came out. That movie was not suitable for young views (in my opinion). This book would be a great alternative. It’s not scary at all.

I think most people share stories around a campfire (I used to when I went camping with my cousins). I could see someone reading this out loud to little ones around a campfire (or fire pit).

This book features different stories (each one is only a few pages long). Some are a bit more “spookier” than others, but nothing scary (in my opinion).


By Franklin W. Dixon

Illustrated by Santy Gutierrez

9/3/19 | ISBN 9781534431249 | Ages 6-9

Detective brothers Frank and Joe investigate a crime of smashin’ in the tenth book in the interactive Hardy Boys Clue Book series. Can Frank and Joe find out what happened before it’s too late? Or is this pumpkin crime unpatchable?


By P.J. Night

8/27/19 | ISBN 9781534445635 | Ages 8-12

Ashley is shocked to find out that her new friends in Heaton Corners are forbidden to go trick-or-treating, so she convinces them to sleep over at her house and go trick-or-treating anyway. But she soon discovers that Halloween in Heaton Corners isn’t like Halloween anywhere else. Halloween is more than haunted in this superspecial You’re Invited to a Creepover book, featuring a glow-in-the-dark cover.


By Natalie Shaw

9/17/19 | ISBN 9781481494878 | Ages 5-8

A sleepover at the Royal Castle has Mini, Taffy, Frosting, and even Gobo the little troll believing in marshmallow ghosts in this fourth super-sweet Aladdin QUIX story. Perfect for fans of Sofia the First. 



By Andres Miedoso

Illustrated by Victor Rivas

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534440456 | Ages 6-9

On Halloween, a curious Mavis and her friends break with tradition and do something every monster has been warned not to do: they go trick-or-treating. How much trouble can they cause? Plenty apparently.

Discover the wacky world of Franken-Sci High, the only school in the world for aspiring mad scientists! A new series created with the Jim Henson Company, perfect for ages 8-12.


8/27/19 | ISBN 9781481491310 | Ages 8-12

By Mark Young

Illustrated by Mariano Epelbaum

It takes a lot to stand out at a school for mad scientists—but Newton Warp is unlike anyone (or anything) else at Franken-Sci High. Newton Warp is a mystery, even to himself: He wakes up one day in the library with no idea of who he is, how he got there, or where he came from. He’s eager to find out who his family is, but this is high school after all, and he soon has other problems.


9/24/19 | ISBN 9781481491341 | Ages 8-12

By Mark Young

Illustrated by Mariano Epelbaum

In the second book in the Franken-Sci High series, Newton Warp’s friends notice he’s being followed around by a strange new professor, Dr. Flubitus, but have no idea why. Newton wonders if it has something to do with the barcode on his foot. He doesn’t have much time to dwell on it, though, because soon there are reports of a giant monster loose on campus!

Beware of these spooky middle-grade novels for ages 8-12, guaranteed to hook any young reader:

BUNNICULA: 40th Anniversary Edition

By James Howe

5/21/19 | ISBN 9781534435933 | Ages 8-12

Celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the fluffy and fearsome classic Bunnicula with this pocket-sized edition, perfect for accompanying readers on all their mischievous adventures. This special edition includes bonus content and a deluxe cover that looks and feels as eerily delightful as the story within!

Seriously? Is Bunnicula FORTY years old already? Sheesh… I feel old. Very old!

This book has a velvet-like cover, which kids are going to love to “pet” and stroke.

This is a classic story that I read many times over the past few decades. This book is so funny! It contains a plethora of crazy characters that you are sure to love.

I know this story is geared more towards younger children (8-12), I think older children and even us “big children” (adults) will enjoy reading this. I’ve read this book numerous times and I still find myself laughing at certain parts.

Cute! Cute! Cute! You really should read this book at least once in your life.


By Alexander William

Illustrated by Kelly Murphy

5/21/19 | ISBN 9781481469197 | Ages 8-12

Rosa Diaz saved the town of Ingot by unleashing all the ghosts who were previously banished. Now, like the rest of the world, Ingot is filled with spirits and poltergeists. But unlike the rest of the world, the town’s residents have no idea how to cope, and some of the ghosts are holding century-old grudges. National Book Award winner William Alexander conjures up a spooky adventure full of excitement in this entertaining sequel to A Properly Unhaunted Place.

This book is actually a series of sorts, There is another book that preceeds this book. I haven’t read that one, but I’d be interested in reading it because there were some parts in this book where I feel there is a backstory and I’d love to learn more about it.

This book, in a way, reminds me of Mean Girls in that Rosa (the main character) has to attend middle school after being at home for many years. She needs to find a way of navigating middle school, which i s a lot scarier than the ghosts she’s experienced. She’s also seeing as the “weird” kids at school, which honestly doesn’t bother her.

Even though the lead character is a girl, I think boys would enjoy this book just as much as girls would.

I enjoyed reading this book. I don’t think it’s necessarily scary. But there is a bit of a creepiness factor too it, which is cool.



3/5/19 | ISBN 9781534430884 | Ages 8-12

By Heather Shumaker

A charming, adventure-filled debut novel that’s perfect for fans of The Penderwicks series. The Griffin siblings can’t wait to spend a week visiting their eccentric aunt in England. But when they finally arrive, they’re faced with a few local secrets that stir up more than a little trouble. Apparently this town has a ghost problem and the three children must race to solve the mystery before the ghosts take something that doesn’t belong to them. 

Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind Sabrina the Teenage Witch meets Roller Girl graphic novel for ages 8-12:


9/3/19 | ISBN 9781534431461 | Ages 8-12

By Emma Steinkellner

Thirteen-year-old Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she’s about to discover that witches aren’t just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories. It turns out that Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, has a centuries-old history of witch drama. And, surprise: Moth’s family is at the center of it all! 

For readers 14 and up, a plague called “Wickedness” is pulses through the world in this dystopian YA:


By Alexander Yates

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781481419840 | Ages 14 and up

When an insect-borne plague begins to envelop the world, three sixteen-year-olds struggle to survive amongst the healthy “trues” and the infected “wickeds” in this gripping dystopian tale from the author of The Winter Place.

What book (or books) stood out to you the most? What book (or books) do you think your child/grandchild would love to have? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.


*I received free book samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too


Not my dog or cat. This is a stock photo.

I am the proud “mom” to five adopted shelter cats. Over the years we have had many cats and dogs (even a hamster!) that we adopted from our local shelter. One of our cats was a feral kitten we took in and raised.

I can understand why people want pure bred animals, but for me, personally, I would much rather “adopt than shop.” There are literally millions of dogs, cats and other animals looking for their “fur-ever” homes in shelters and at pet rescue facilities around the globe.

Homeless animals are not just an issue here in the United States. It’s an issue in every country.

There is a local rescue group where I live that rescues dogs and puppies from the Caribbean countries, flies them to New York, and send them out to rescue groups and foster homes, in hopes for finding these beautiful creatures a home.

If you read my blog frequently, you might recall that we had five cats and a dog. Sadly, our dog passed away two years ago and our two boys (cats) last summer. We had just our three girls, but recently adopted two more kittens (two more girls). I haven’t posted about them as of yet. Let me introduce you to Emma and Loca.


This is Emma. She’s 11 months old. She’s a big goof ball! We has so much personality.

Emma is a Polydactyl. She has extra toes. Cats normally have five toes on their front feet, and four toes on their back feet. Emma has extra toes on her back feet (five instead of the normal four). Her front feet look like she has extra toes, but actually, she doesn’t. She has five toes on her front feet. Her front feet are actually a deformity (possibly from inbreeding as she was a feral kitten). As a result, she’s a little klutzy and she tends to get caught on things.

Loca asleep on my husbands leg.

This is Loca. Loca means “crazy” in Spanish. This little muchkin is NUTS! But we love her.

We adopted Loca as a friend for Emma. Our older cats – Kitty (18), Padmé (16) and Bella (9) wouldn’t play with Emma. Bella has on occasion, but Bella has severe asthma and can’t run around enough to keep up with an active kitten. So we went back to the shelter and adopted Loca.

They look like sisters, but they are not. They are also 7 month apart in age. They are BEST friends. They are always together. They even sleep together. Adopting both of them was a great decision. They have already provided us with so much love and entertainment (kittens are fun to watch).

If I had the money I would open my own rescue facility. There are still so many beautiful animals out there who are in dire need of homes. Shelters are busting at the seams and it’s not easy for them to take in all the animals. It’s so bad that locally they trap feral cats, neuter/spay them and release them back into the wild. They don’t have the homes they deserve, but at least they can’t have more kittens. The kittens are taken in by fosters until they can find them homes. Sometimes that takes many months, and longer.

It breaks my heart. I believe that ALL of God’s creatures deserve love, respect, and appreciation and those considered pets deserve a loving home to care for them until their time is up on this Earth.

There is a book that reflects how I feel about animals. It’s called Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too. It’s written by Carol Novello. 

It’s a wonderful thing for people to rescue animals. Finding a forever home can change an animals life for the better. But what about the person rescuing the animal? How does it change THEIR life?

Mutual Rescue explores how much WE get from the animals we rescue. We not only recuse animals, but sometimes, animals in return rescue humans.

It’s true! All of the animals I’ve ever had have always given me unconditional love. After a rough day at work, or a devastating loss, the knowing look form your dog, or your cat purring as it rubs up against you, does more for you than anything else.

I have always referred to being with my pets as “fuzz therapy.” And I’m not alone – science has even proven that animals have a profound effect on us – in a positive way.

Mutual Rescue explores not only how people rescued animals, but how animals in return rescued them, through a series of true stories. Have some tissues handy because some of them will really tug at your heart strings.

Mutual Rescue was inspired by Carol’s own personal experience and years in the animal-welfare industry. Carol is also the founder of Mutual Rescue™, a national initiative that highlights the connection between people and pets in order to inspire and support life-saving efforts in communities across the nation and world.

“In a recent survey,” Carol writes, “60 percent of doctors said they prescribe pet adoption, and a staggering 97 percent believe pet ownership provides health benefits.”

Isn’t that amazing? I would love for a doctor to “prescribe” me to adopt a pet to help with whatever is bothering me. I’d take adopting an animal over medication any day.

Watching Emma (L) and Loca (R), makes my heart smile. They are such little goof balls, but at the same time, they are so loving toward each other, as well as my “human” family – including me. The same applies to our other cats, as well as our Goldfish, Fishy.

Some of the stories from Mutual Rescue have been turned into short films. You can find them on the Mutual Rescue YouTube page.

The short films are around 5 minutes each (give or take).

The book is available on Amazon, as well as other book retailers.

Whether you are an animal lover, or just curious, Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too. is an interesting read, especially the parts about scientific research. It’s truly very interesting. 

If you are interested in learning more about Mutual Rescue, visit MutualRescue.org. They are also found on social media.

Have you ever rescued a pet? Do you think they rescued YOU in some way? Feel free to explain your story. I always love to hear from readers.

Author Carol Novello. PHOTO SOURCE Amazon author’s page.


*I received a free sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Check Out the Latest Book in the Fire & Ice Book Series


Believe it or not, summer is right around the corner. In just a few weeks we’ll be celebrating the long Memorial Day weekend – the kick off to the summer season (and also my birthday weekend).

Most kids are looking forward to the end of the school year. When I was younger, I couldn’t wait for school to end. I had plenty of “adventures” I wanted to go on, and a lot of fun things to do with my cousins. I also loved to read, so I knew I had plenty of time to catch up on all the books I wanted to read. Reading is another way of going on an adventure.

If you have a child that loves to read, or perhaps your child needs to read some books as part of their school’s summer reading requirements, you might want to check out the Fire & Ice book series.

Fire & Ice books are written by internationally acclaimed teen author, Erin Forbes. Her books are so popular that the third book installment came out on May 1, 2019.

Author Erin Forbes meeting fans at a book signing.

Erin self-published her first book when she was only 16 years old. That is amazing! She’s also a strikingly beautiful young lady.

This fantasy fiction book series is filled with adventure, mystery, and fascinating characters. While the series is targeted at teens, it has received rave reviews from young and old alike.

I reviewed the first book in the series, Fire & Ice: The Elementals. You can read my review here – Fire & Ice Book Series by an Up and Coming New Author. There was a giveaway with that post. That giveaway is long over.

Here are the current books in the series. I’m sure new books will be added over the next few years.

This is the new/updated cover.

Fire & Ice: The Elementals 

Welcome to Aisling, an enchanted realm where each individual is born with a unique and magical Gift. For centuries, this realm has been slowly crumbling due to an ancient curse set on the land. However, the moment when Alice and Emery Hanley step into the Academy for Gifted Youth, their lives are forever changed. Amidst the disappearance of a fellow student, the twin sisters discover a prophecy that could save the realm of Aisling from destruction.

Fire & Ice: The Lost Dreamer

The Four Elementals have vanquished the creatures of the Night Oak Forest; however, a new darkness lurks in the realm of Aisling. As their family moves into the manor that once belonged to their late grandmother, the Hanley sisters must adjust to life in the enchanted countryside. Between the extravagant galas, beautiful gardens, and elegant wardrobes, the new lifestyle begs for the title of perfection.

It is not long before the twin sisters are greeted by the peculiar memories that dwell in the old house. A forgotten mystery beckons for attention, and the truth threatens to reveal a series of ancient secrets. The simple answers of the previous year are countered by the complicated history of the Gifted society.

Fire & Ice: The Kindred Woods

The return of the Lost Dreamer brings change to the lives of the Elementals. His reappearance sends a shockwave across the Gifted realm. How can a child vanish without a trace, and return after the passing of a decade?

The Hanley twins are crowned with the full attention of their peers. The end of summer brings the beginning of their second year at the Academy for Gifted Youth. Nothing remains simple; life will never be the same.  Mysteries unfold and questions are answered. The Lennox clan must conceal the dark truth of their past. Alice soon discovers a secret. Her knowledge holds power—and danger, too.

These books might look like they are geared only towards ‘tween/teen girls. That is not the case. There are male characters in the book. Just like boys and girls enjoy Harry Potter books (where the main character is a boy), boys can enjoy the Fire & Ice book series just as much as girls.

Here is a little more information about the gifted young author.

Erin Forbes discovered her passion for literature at a very early age. Since the date of her first publication, her work has spread to readers across the globe, and her books have developed an international fan base. She is known for her vivid descriptions and fantastical fiction. When she is not reading and writing, Erin enjoys art, nature, music, dance, and riding her horse. She lives on a small farm in the Hudson Valley of New York.

If you happen to live in New York, Erin has some upcoming events you might want to check out.

May 26th, 2019, 1pm-3pm

  • Barnes & Noble, Kingston, New York

May 31st, 2019, 7pm

  • Staatsburg Public Library, Staatsburg, New York

June 16th, 2019, 12n-2pm

  • Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market, Rhinebeck, NY

You can purchase the Fire & Ice book series at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and by request at your local book store. The Amazon link linked in this post is to the author’s page. It’s not an affiliate link.

For more information about Erin and her books, visit her official website FireandIceBookSeries.com.

You can also follow the series on social media. All of the links are found on the top left of the website.

Author Erin Forbes


*I was not compensated for sharing this information. Erin is a relative and I wanted to share news of her amazing accomplishments as well as information about her newly released book. 

30 Days to Happiness


Are you a happy person? I’d like to think that most people are happy. We might not be happy 24/7, but I’d like to think that people are generally happy most of the day.

Genuine happiness comes from within. It’s a state of mind, a way of looking at the world, a commitment to improving ourselves and authentically enjoying life.

I do know that “life happens,” and sometimes we find ourselves struggling to smile. Been there, done that.

Last year (2017), was a really bad year for me. We had to put down two of our cats. One cat we knew had limited time with us (he was very old and suffering from diabetes for many years). That still didn’t make it any easier to loose him. Our other cat having to be put down we never saw coming. We brought him to the vet thinking he was constipated. It turns out that he had an incurable liver disease, something our dog had to be put down for a year earlier.

In addition to losing two of our beloved pets, I had gone to school to get certified as a Teacher’s Assistant for the State of New York. The job I had was ending, and I needed to find another job. I wanted to get a job in the school system. I applied to a few jobs, but never got them. I had such high hopes for a school job. I felt like I wasted the time and money it took to get certified.

The biggest event that happened last year was that I lost my brother. It took me nearly 30 years to find him. I had him in my life (FINALLY!) for a year and a half when him and his wife (along with another family member) were killed in a horrific car accident. That REALLY got to me. My heart felt like it exploded into a million little pieces. I searched for him almost all my life, only to find him and have him taken away from me before we had a chance to make up for lost time. Even typing this is making the tears well up in my eyes.

Even though I consider myself a happy person, there are times when I get into a deep, dark “funk” and I find it hard to smile and find joy in things (it’s not depression, but rather based on life’s situations).

I recently finished reading a book called 30 Days to Happiness: Daily Meditations and Actions for Finding True Joy Within Yourself.

I had mentioned in a recent post that I am not one to read “self help” books, but the human mind fascinates me, so sometimes I read self help books more so out of curiosity than for my own personal needs. Having recently found myself very unhappy (2017), I figured I had nothing to lose reading this book.

30 Days to Happiness is written by Rhonda Sciortino and it’s published by Hatherleigh.

Here is a brief synopsis of the book.

Everybody wants to be happy, yet few people know how to get there. We think we will be happy if we get the right job, meet the right people, get a new car. But there will always be something else we want – genuine happiness comes from within. It’s a state of mind, a way of looking at the world, a commitment to improving ourselves and authentically enjoying life.

30 Days to Happiness is an honest assessment of the 30 key life inventory items that have the biggest influence on your happiness. By examining ourselves and finding room for improvement, we learn to treat each new day as an opportunity to live our best possible life, finding new solutions to challenges and we take another step down the path to true happiness.

Make the most of your life by committing and becoming truly happy.

The description mentions “30 key life inventory items.” What exactly are those 30 items?

The book is broken up into chapters, which each section/chapter revolving around a specific “happiness item.” The book is written this way so that you can tackle one “item” (or area of your life) each day. You can follow the book as far as the sequence of the items is concerned, or jump around to the topics that you feel you need the most help with first and foremost.

Here are the 30 key life inventory items the book focuses on.

  1. Love
  2. Relationships
  3. Laughter
  4. Peace
  5. Trust
  6. Patience
  7. Self-Control
  8. Perseverance
  9. Generosity
  10. Consideration of Others
  11. Kindness
  12. Listening
  13. Learning
  14. Strength
  15. Courage
  16. Honestly
  17. Positive Attitude
  18. Organization
  19. Frugality
  20. Humility
  21. Be a Good Example
  22. Reliability
  23. Self-Respect
  24. Faith
  25. Cooperation
  26. Forgiveness
  27. Creativity
  28. Be Purposeful
  29. Fairness
  30. Sobriety

Some of these topics are logical (Love, Peace, Kindness…). Other topics I was surprised to see on this list (Sobriety, Frugality).

Each chapter starts off with a quote that pertains to the topic of the day. Each chapter discusses the topic and why it’s important to our happiness. The chapter concludes with a meditation and some easy activities/actions you can do that pertain to the topic. Most of the activities involve being mindful of the actions you take in various situations. For example, find funny videos that make you laugh and bookmark them so that you can go to them whenever you feel like screaming or crying. Other examples are smiling at everyone you encounter that day, and say a positive thing about everyone you interact with that day.

The activities suggested in each chapter don’t cost money or take up much of a time investment. ANYONE can accomplish them.

The books is 170 pages, and it’s easy to read. The best part is that you don’t necessarily have to read a chapter/section each day for 30 days. You can simply read the sections you feel you would benefit the most from, or ones that seem to be in the way of YOUR happiness. There is no right/wrong way to use this book. You don’t have to mediate or do the activities. It’s totally up to you (although I’m sure you’d get the most out of this book if you take everything into consideration).

Overall I found the book to be very interesting and easy to implement. Some areas I don’t really think applied to me. I skimmed over those areas. I can always go back to them later on if I feel I need to.

The information in the book is practical and most of it is common sense, however, sometimes common sense eludes us and we need to have someone (or something, such as this book) to bring it back in front of us so that we can understand and appreciate it again.

I found the book on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I’m sure it must be available at other book retailers as well.

What do you think of this book? Does it sound like something you might be interested in reading?

In what ways do YOU find joy and happiness?

This is a “happiness” sign I keep in our kitchen to remind us to always find ways to be happy.


*I received a free copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Activities designed to engage and inspire young minds


If you are a frequent reader of She Scribes, you’ll probably recall that I work with children. I used to work with Kindergartners during the day, then K-3rd graders in the afternoon. This school year I was transferred to a different school. Now I work with 4th – 6th graders. They are much different than the little ones. It hasn’t always been easy, but I enjoy working with this age group too.

The little ones are easily entertained by toys and games, and they are eager to learn. The upper elementary kids tend to get bored more easily (they rather be on their smartphones, sigh…) and they often see learning as a “chore” rather than something that is fun.

For a while now I have been entertaining the idea of doing STEM activities with the kids. If you are unfamiliar with the term STEM is stands for;

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Math

There is an after school club for STEM activities at the school I work at.

Some of the kids I work with participated in the STEM club. Others I think secretly wanted to join, but felt like it was “uncool” to join an after school club.

I think there is a lot that can be learned by STEM activities. I’m not in any way a teacher, but I do think that anyone can learn from these types of activities. I’m college educated and I find STEM activities very interesting. As someone who works with children, I find that these types of activities lead to great teachable moments.

I am always searching the Internet for easy to do activities I can do with my “work kids.” I am also always on Pinterest looking for ideas.

The Catapult Challenge teachers kids how catapults were used by ancient and medieval militaries. Kids also love to shoot things through the air. LOL!

I was recently sent to review a book filled with easy to do STEM activities. The book is called 15 Minute STEM. It’s written by Emily Hunt.

This book features STEM activities geared towards 5-11 year olds, which is great for me since I have worked with the little ones, and now I work with the older elementary kids (the oldest is 12).

Here is a brief synopsis of the book from the publisher;

This innovative resource has been designed to reassure parents and teachers that they don’t need to be experts to deliver high-quality STEM education. Each of the 40 activities includes step-by-step instructions, takes just 15 minutes to complete and can be resourced from everyday materials found at home or in the classroom. This means that, with minimal preparation, parents and teachers can slot these cross-curricular activities into an otherwise busy day.

The activities make connections to real-world scenarios, helping children to understand how their learning is relevant to their future, and have been linked to conceptually similar STEM-related careers – all of which are individually profiled in a glossary at the back of the book. The practical, problem-solving element of each activity offers a great way for children to develop important soft skills such as creativity, critical thinking and spatial awareness.

I was impressed that this book has forty activities in it. At first glance the book is rather unassuming. It’s thin and only has 60 pages. Once I opened the book, I knew immediately that this was going to be my “go to” book for many great activities to do with my “work kids.”

This is just one of the activities found in this book.

Many of the STEM activities that I have pinned on Pinterest or bookmarked on my computer require a lot of materials to accomplish. Our organization does have a budget it needs to stick to, and I honestly don’t have the time to drive all over town looking for the materials to complete an activity. I was super pleased to see that the activities in this book don’t require a lot of fancy materials, and many of the items needed we already have, I have at home, or I can easily get locally.

Take for example the Tinfoil Cargo Boats activity. It requires tinfoil, coins, water, a bowl or sink and a scale (optional). Who doesn’t already have these things around their home?

In the Water Color Carnival activity you need large clear bowls, beakers, a spoon, food coloring, water and a mirror (optional). The beakers might not be as readily available, but I’m sure you can substitute them with measuring cups or something similar.

If you don’t have the items needed for each activity, I”m sure you can find almost all of what you need at your local dollar store.

Each activity includes the necessary equipment (as explained above), easy to follow step-by-step instructions, what exactly the activity is going to accomplish (this information is found in the “Investigate” box) and an brief explanation for WHY things happen in the activity.

I am a firm believer that children learn better when learning is fun. With these activities, children are definitely learning, even if it doesn’t look that way. Not only that, these activities are fun and would work just as well as a “rainy day” activity for children, without any emphasis on the “why” and “how” of the activity. They don’t have to be done to learn something. They can be done just for the fun of it.

Here is a photo of the table of contents so you can see for yourself the types of activities/lessons found in the pages of this book.

As far as the 15 minutes aspect is concerned, yes, these activities don’t take that long to set up and implement. I guess it all depends on the children you are working with. Younger children might take a wee bit longer than older children.

I have “dog earred” several pages in this book of activities I want to do with my “work kids.” I am finishing up taking inventory of what we have at school and what I need to pick up from the dollar store (or take in from home). I’ve been a bit busy lately, and we’re currently on winter break, so I haven’t had the chance to try any of activities – yet. Even if I did, it’s not easy to take photos at school. I don’t want to get any of the children in the photos for safety reasons (plus they are not my children, so I am not allowed to distribute their images).

Whether you are a parent, educator, scout leader or even a babysitter, there are plenty of fun activities in this book that make it worth checking it out for yourself.

If you are interested in the book, or would like to learn more about it, I found the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other book retailers.

Check out this brief video (below) of the author, Emily Hunt, talking about the book. She is from the United Kingdom, which explains her accent.



*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.