Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

Review: Monsters Do Ugly Things – Mark Adam Kaplan

Thursday, December 6th, 2012
Print Length: 42 pages
Publisher: BookBaby; 1 edition (October 25, 2011)
Language: English
Order e-book here:


Entertaining little story by Mark Adam Kaplan with kid friendly illustrations by Glenn Scano. Some of the ugly things monsters do: They pick their noses, they talk with their mouths full, they laugh when other monsters get hurt. But Monsters also do pretty things. Some take baths, have friends, help other monsters, and share.

As you can see, this children’s book teaches kids good and bad behavior through the illustration of monsters doing ugly and pretty things. Naturally the child will want to be a monster doing pretty things. I think it was a beautiful idea, and will bring these lessons to children without them knowing they are being taught. Sometimes, that’s the best way to teach them it seems.

The illustrations by Mr. Scano make some of the fun parts of the book, seeing the variety of monsters, doing both the good and bad things that Monster’s do.  I think a child would love the book simply for the illustrations.

I’d say this appropriate for the younger set, though it does feature monsters, none of the illustrations are set to frighten, but rather to cause fits of giggles. Pick this up for the child in your life, and take some time to read it with them. You’ll create a great memory that they’ll carry throughout their lifetime.

About the Author

Mark and Glenn both grew up in New York City and have known each other since 1976.

Mark is a writer, now living in California with his wife and two daughters.

Glenn is an artist, still living in New York with his wife, a bulldog, a pug and a cat.

The creative partnership works like this… Mark comes up with most of the ideas and Glenn has some kind of mystical power that he uses to take the pictures out of Mark’s head (even though they’re separated by the continent of North America). Sometimes Glenn comes up with an idea and just draws it, knowing full well that Mark will come up with a caption.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Mark Adam Kaplan for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: Safe Text: Protecting Your Teen – Diane Griffin

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
Ebook: 54 pages
Publisher: Smashwords, Amazon, B&N
Language: English
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Do you have a teenager?  Do they own a cell phone?  If the answer to both of these questions is Yes, then this book is for you.

Some statistics from the book:

1 in 5 teens have sent a nude or semi nude photo of themselves via their cell phone.

24% of all fatal car accidents of teens were due to cell phone usage.

42% of teens have been bullied while online, and 58% of those have not told their parents.

Not only this you can be held legally liable for your teens actions regarding texting. For example, if you know your teen is sexting, and don’t do anything to stop it, you could be charged with contributing to delinquency of a minor, negligent supervision, and be sued for monetary damages. Forwarding such images can result in child pornography charges, jail time, and registry as a sex offender.

Sexting is not the only area covered, it also covers bullying, and texting while driving.

Ms. Griffin gives a lot of internet links for more information, actual legal examples, some of the laws for your state, and advice to parents. There is also a family cell phoen use agreement for you and your teens to fill out and sign, and a long list of resources.

I’ve seen a lot on the dangers of these different aspects, and to have it all in a nice concise format I think is a great thing. All the information is useful, and for that I’d recommend it to any parents out there.

About the Author

Diane Griffin is the founder and President of Security First and Associates. Ms. Griffin works with a variety of clients throughout government and industry. Ms. Griffin has also worked in a wide array of fields to include training, facilitation, communications, human resources and industrial security management.

Diane is the author of Everything You Wanted to Know About the Security Clearance Process… but are afraid to ask, Get a Security Clearnace Job, How a Security Clearance Can Change Your Life, and Safe Texting.

Safe Texting is the first in a series of books about Internet and Technology safety for parents, teachers, and teens. Each book will have a hands on Internet Project to go with it for students both in the classroom and home schooled to explore these important topics. The projects will be based on the Webquest model and will include standards based, best practices in education. The projects are being developed by Janis Friesler, an educator with many national award winning projects under her belt. The launch of the project, Safe Texting will be announced by May, 2011 on Diane’s Facebook Page, Technology Safety for Teens.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Brandi at BK Walker books for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Interview: Kiki Howell – What are you afraid of?

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Today we are pleased to have visit with us Kiki Howell, author of What are you afraid of?

Rhodes Review: What inspired you to write What are you afraid of?

 Kiki Howell: Actually, it was a lot of little things that came together from the need to write a book dealing with kids fears (having been a fearful child myself), to research my husband was doing finding a link between creativity and compassion (knowing we often damage the creative mind when dealing with fears), to  noticing my hundred pound dog was afraid of children in costumes…it just all came together finally to form my story.

 Rhodes Review:When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

 Kiki Howell:Not sure really, but I was really young. I realized early on that when I didn’t like a story that I re-wrote it in my head the way I wanted it to go. LOL

 Rhodes Review:How did you start writing?

 Kiki Howell:I have written since I could put pen to paper really, but off and on as life allowed.

 Rhodes Review:What would your ideal career be, if you couldn’t be a writer?

 Kiki Howell:Hmmm, not sure really. I have often joked about not knowing what I want to be when I grow up. I have a degree to teach Secondary English Education, but can’t imagine going back into a classroom now. I am crafty and I love helping others, but not sure what career would let me do both!

 Rhodes Review:How long does it take you to write a book?

 Kiki Howell:A few months usually at novel length, but only because I become obsessed until it is done ;) 

 Rhodes Review:What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

 Kiki Howell:I write from the time my kids get on the bus till the time they get off the bus, roughly seven to three each day. I always say I am going to take an hour to exercise, but often write right through it :(

 Rhodes Review:What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Kiki Howell:I spend way too much time staring at a sentence sometimes just playing with the words until I think they fall together just right. 

Rhodes Review:What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Kiki Howell:Spend time with my family, knitting, drawing, etc.

Rhodes Review:What are your favorite authors/books?

Kiki Howell:Wow, couldn’t possibly say. I read in as many, if not more genres than I write in *giggles*

Rhodes Review:If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Kiki Howell:Jane Austen. Preferably, I would like to go back in a time machine and have that meal in Regency England as well! 

Rhodes Review:Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

 Kiki Howell:Only to stay true to your story. Don’t question it. Don’t write it wondering what others will think.

Review: The Snowman’s Revenge – Mark Smythe

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 44 pages
Publisher: Mark Smythe (May 2, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982270402
ISBN-13: 978-0982270400
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On a cold snowy day, the kids are out of school. They decide to build a snowman. But what happens when they build him, and then abandon him and he gets tired of being in the cold and watching them all cozy and warm. He plots his revenge.

And so is the story of The Snowman’s Revenge. It’s a short children’s story by Mark Smythe, told in a rhyming fashion. There are illustrations throughout the book by Mike Motz.

I thought the story was a cute one, but for young kids might be a little scary. I know when I was little, I was freaked out by the flying monkeys, so I figure a snowman set on revenge might be frightening to some children.

I’d recommend it, but with a warning for parents to read it first and determine if they think their child will be bothered by it. With that in mind, pick it up and at least take a look at it.

About the Author

Mark Smythe resides in a small, rural town located in the beautiful southern geography of western New York state. It is a lovely and quaint agricultural community, just south of Buffalo, New York.

He and his two children, Cassandra and Alexander, live on a picturesque, turn-of-the-century farm complete with a charming old white farmhouse, quaint red barns and wooden pasture fences.

Mark is an interior structural fire fighter with a local Volunteer Fire Department, as well as the Chief Operating Officer of a unique corporation: With Love From Above, LLC.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Rebecca at Cadence Marketing Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Santa Club – Kelly Moss

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Palmary Press (July 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982134010
ISBN-13: 978-0982134016
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If you have children, one of these day’s you have to face that one question that’s hard to answer. No, it’s not “Where do babies come from?” but “Is there a Santa Clause?” It’s such a large question that it even prompted an Editorial in the September 21, 1897 edition of The New York Sun, entitled “Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Clause!”

In Kelly Moss’ delightful book she covers how to tell this story. It begins by making the child promise that they won’t read it without mom and dad, and that they’ll never tell another child about it. This makes them part of The Santa Club.

Throughout the book, it’s interspersed with some biblical verses on giving, as well as a light history of Saint Nicholas. At the end is a certificate inducting the child into The Santa’s Club.

I like that it explains the whole idea of Christmas and Santa is about giving and sacrifice. I also like that it brings the child into a secret club. I remember when I was young, and didn’t we all enjoy being part of a secret group.

The book also has nice illustrations by Jim Keserich. I think it’s a book that any parent might want to consider buying, however for some I think maybe the religious aspects might turn them off. But even with that, I’d recommend the book.

About the Author

Kelly Moss is the CEO of JoeBro Records and JonJam Productions, small independent entertainment based companies located in Henderson, NV. When not working she donates her time speaking to or helping young artists navigate the entertainment industry without getting swindled. The Santa Club, Kelly’s First book, came out of a need to help other parents deal with the age old question, Is Santa Real. The Santa Club answers the question truthfully without diminishing the celebration of Christmas. Kelly has three children, two sons who are professional actors in Los Angeles and a lovely daughter who was adopted from Kazakhstan at the age of fourteen. Kelly is in the process of writing her second book on how to be a Stageparent your children can be proud of.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Rebecca at Cadence Marketing Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: A Matter of Justice – Steve Alcorn

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011


 Paperback: 164 pages
Publisher: Mundania Press LLC; 1st Hardcover Ed edition (July 14, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1594260036
ISBN-13: 978-1594260032
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Order E-book here:


Dani Deucer
Mott Simon

An abusive man in a small town is murdered. 12 year old Dani Deucer and her family are spending their time their on vacation. she becomes convinced that Mott, the man accused, is innocent. She has always been fascinated with the novel To Kill a Mockingbird and the way it deals with justice. She fancies herself a detective, and even orders a book in the mail on how to be a detective.

The story follows her around as she questions people, looks at the scene, and ultimately determines whether Mott truly killed the man. Along the way she and the reader learns a lesson in not judging others based on outward appearances.

I liked the story. It reminded me in a lot of ways of the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew mysteries from my youth. I was able to be taught a bit by Mr. Acorn in a class he wrote on mysteries, and it was interesting to see how the stuff he taught was played out in practice.

I think this book would be appropriate for almost any age group. While the subject matter might be a little strong for pre-teen readers, there’s nothing very graphic about the murder itself, or the abuse. If you want to introduce your young ones to mysteries, then I think this would be a good choice.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Interview – C. D. Shelton – A Kid’s Guide to being a Winner

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

This is C.D. Shelton.

I’ll be answering your proposed questions in the order you wrote them.

I see you’ve asked thirteen lucky questions:

Rhodes Review: How did you get interested in writing?

C. D. Shelton: We were caring for an invalid father in-law who lived in Palm Springs. We were traveling every weekend for our turn in caring for him. So we had plenty of time on the road. We discovered Earl Nightingales inspirational CD’s. While listening on the way to P. S., I can still remember his words regarding time and creation. Basically he said, “You can choose to do nothing and at the conclusion of doing nothing you still have nothing. Or you can choose to follow a more rewarding path and think of something you want to create. A creative person can by brain power alone, create something from nothing.” To me, that had a certain appeal, the concept of creating something from nothing, an idea translated into a novel. The year was 2008. I am currently working on my tenth book, five have been published. One of those was a nonfiction volume, called “A Kid’s Guide to being a Winner” which also includes an accompanying workbook.

Rhodes Review: What are some of your favorite books/authors.

C. D. Shelton: Years ago, I liked to read Science Fiction, Heimlein’s (Spelling?) “Stranger in a Strange Land” was his best. Later, I evolved into reading action/adventure novels by Louis L’Amour. I have read all of his work, which was prodigious. I discovered Lee Child at the beginning of his “Jack Reacher” series. He is the ultimate action/adventure novelist on the current scene, In my opinion. I liked some of the earlier Steve Martini books, they were great courtroom dramas. Herman Melville and his “Moby Dick” was bit too tedious for my taste. J. D. Salinger’s (Spelling?) “Catcher in the Rye” and all that teenage angst was never my genre of literature. There have been so many authors I have read and admired, it is difficult to remember them all. Mention one and we can talk.

Rhodes Review: Which of your characters is most/least like you, and in what way(s)?

C. D. Shelton: I drew heavily on my own belief system to create the character, Jon Anderson, in the novel “Raider of the Primal Forest.” He was a “Can do” kind of a guy. He had honor and integrity and was a “romantic at heart,” which I like to believe, is much like myself. The character I created in the novel, “I’ll take the Fat One”, at least in the beginning of the story, was a juxtaposition to my own values. Nori Fugita is his name and in at least the first part of the story, he is the complete “Jerk.” An opportunist, a manipulator, a user, all of the things I like to think I am not.Later in the story he goes through an evolution in his character.

Rhodes Review: Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?

C. D. Shelton: Jon Anderson from “Raiders of the Primal Forest” would be my first choice as a dinner guest. I like his background and the way he thinks. Nori Fugita, from a yet to be published book, “I’ll take the Fat One”. He is a “user” one of my least favorite human characteristics.

Rhodes Review: What would your ideal career be, if you couldn’t be an author?

C. D. Shelton: A college professor, I love to talk about ideas that interest me.

Rhodes Review: If you were to do your career as an author again, what would you do differently, and why?

C. D. Shelton: From a strictly monetary point of view, I think I would have tried to get on board with some of the “Big” publishers, rather than go with a small publishing house. It all deals with exposure.

Rhodes Review: How long does it take you to write a book?

C. D. Shelton: My initial pace, in writing a book was torrid. I wrote three books the first year I started writing. My pace has slowed recently. I think this is because of the amount of research I do and the books are getting longer. My average length of time is about four to five months.

Rhodes Review: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

C. D. Shelton: When there are no other demands for my time, I like to work at writing in the morning hours. I feel more alert and get fresher ideas during the morning hours. However, if an inspiration strikes me any hour of the day will do, seven days a week.

Rhodes Review: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

C. D. Shelton: I like this question, because I do have quirks. First of all, lets identify a couple personality traits. I like “Happy Endings” and I Like “Winners not Losers”. Those two personality traits translates into characters that manifests those characteristics. The first, “Happy Endings”, all of the leading characters will ending up getting married at the end of the novel. The second, “Winners not Losers”, I strive to create a character that is able to cope with the curve balls life can throw at a person. In a yet to be published book, “Tenderfoot Rider”, I create a character that should not have been able to cope with the many alien conditions he faced as an easterner, forced by circumstance to live in a western world, but he is adaptable and grows to appreciate and love the western culture. In other words, a “Winner”.

Rhodes Review: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

C. D. Shelton: I do read the reviews with great interest. Most have been complimentary. Some, such as the review on “Raiders of the Primal Forest” have been questionable. I think the reviewer had an unhappy childhood and wanted more trauma and loss to occur.

Rhodes Review: Do you have any suggestions to help my readers become a better writer? If so, what are they?

C. D. Shelton: Ernest Hemmingway said, “Any topic is interesting, if the author delivers a true and accurate picture of that topic.” I like that quote and it should be every author’s mantra for whatever he’s creating. The other small piece of advice is to create time for you to be creative. For instance, pick a time and place you feel is best for you to work, and put yourself there, frequently. Eventually, the creative juices began to flow and a book is the results.

Rhodes Review: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

C. D. Shelton: Reader of the trilogy, (Mostly college students) have been very complimentary. Saying things like, “Very innovative,” or “I didn’t know people lived like that,” All very positive to read.

Rhodes Review: Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?

C. D. Shelton: Do you mean oral or written interviews? To be candid, I’m not “Sick” of any question an interviewer asks. I feel complimented by the interest of that person to ask a question.

About the Author:

Texan born, C.D. Shelton grew up in Los Angeles California. He served two years in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

He holds two Masters, one in Administration and the other in Biology.

He taught at Hollywood High School and was assistant Vice-Principal during his first ten years as an Educator.

He has taught Biology for the Los Angeles Community College District for over four decades. As a Biology Professor, he wrote and developed the Biology Curriculum for the Los Angeles Community Colleges for all the pre-med majors and non majors. He co-authored two laboratory manuals for the life science department on Physiology and for Anatomy.

C.D. Shelton’s interest have included aviation, tennis and golf to name just a few. He has a private pilots license, he was a certified tennis instructor for eight years. He is a father of three, grandfather of four, he lives in Orange County California with his wife and niece. He is currently writing his tenth novel.

Review: A Kid’s Guide to being a Winner – C.D. Shelton

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011


Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 50 pages
Publisher: Choice PH (June 25, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984191046
ISBN-13: 978-0984191048
Order book here:




What does it take to be a winner. How do you depart this knowledge to your child. C. D. Shelton in his book Kid’s Guide to being a Winner breaks it down into 6 easy lessons.

Each lesson is prefaced by a clear easy to understand definition of tha t concept. Some of the insights presented:

Thoughtful is not teasing someone you know is sensitive to being teased.

Other lessons cover respect to teachers, the elderly, parents, etc
At about 36 pages, it’s a relatively thin book and can be read with a child in a short amount of time.

If you have a young child and want to help them understand the things it takes to become a positive member of society, then I think this book would help. I think it would be good for parents or teachers.

The one thing that I thought was probably negative was breaking things down to Winner and Loser. Loser is such a negative term, and seems to defeat the purpose of sections of this book.

However, that point aside I would recommend it.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Rebecca at Cadence Marketing Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Growing up green – Dr. Charles E. Majuri, PhD.

Monday, June 6th, 2011


Paperback: 73 Pages 
Publisher: PSIpress; 1ST edition (2011)
ISBN-10: 1935638076
ISBN-13: 978-1935638070
Order book here:



Order E-book here:

This book is a great tool for parents and children to work together to learn about gardening. The author outlines 4 important aspects to our lives that Gardening can improve, these are:

    Physical – It’s good Exercise, encouraging walking, bending, stretching, and it stimulates the various senses.

    Cognitive – It works the brain through memory, logic, safety, and judgement.

    Social – Promotes interaction with others, and helps develop leadership skills.

    Psychological – Raises self esteem and releases stress and tension.

Through the course of the book he outlines how to plan your garden, a month by month gardening guide (which includes suggestions on what to plant), and how to use the book to help with children.

Througout the different chapters, he also has some togetherness activities for parent and child to do. He also includes a lot of the charts, etc. that are used in the book, which could be easily copied. In fact, there’s an electronic copy of this for both the Kindle and the nook. That’s the one issue, I’m not sure it lends itself well since parts of it are a workbook. However, I think you could print the charts and diagrams directly from the electronic book in addition to xeroxing.

Having grown up around gardening, I think this would be a very rewarding book to introduce your children to the concept, and to do so in a fun way. And the author also shows how you don’t need a large space to have a garden, so just about anyone can adapt it to their specific circumstances.

If you want your child to learn some skills that could always be useful skills to have, then I’d say pick this book up. It’s a rather thin book, but I think the content is worthwhile, and I think your children would probably enjoy it.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Rebecca at Cadence Marketing Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Titan’s Curse – Rick Riordan

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (April 8, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1423101480
ISBN-13: 978-1423101482
Order book here:
Order E-book here:


Perseus Jackson – Demigod son of Poseidon
Thalia Grace – Demigod Daughter of Zeus
Nico Di Angelo – Newly discovered demigod
Bianca Di Angelo – Newly discovered demogod
Grover Underwood – Sartyr – Best Friend of Perseus
Annabeth Chase – Demigod daughter of Athena


Poor Percy Jackson. Just when life seems to have calmed down, he gets a message from his friend Grover. The message sends him, Annabeth, and Thalia to find two new demigod children. Just as they get to the children, Annabeth is kidnapped. Artemis, goddess of War goes off after her. Percy and friends are left with Artemis’ head hunter Zoe and the other hunters. Traveling back to camp Half-Blood, they are soon presented with a prophecy detailing a quest they need to go on. They must rescue Artemis.


Thes Percy Jackson books are always an enjoyable reading experience for me. Though they are meant for a younger audience, I just love reconnecting, and seeing what the author will do next, or what mythological charactrers we’ll meet next.

This book was no exception to that, it left me eager to read book #4 and I’m currently trying to find the time to do so. I can see it leading up to an ultimate battle between Gods and Titans. There are charcters, as in real life, who don’t make it through this book. There are other characters who make very dramatic turns, and leave me excited to see what becomes of them next.

So if you’ve got young kids, or are young at heart, pick up The Titan’s Curse and enjoy the ride with Percy Jackson. There’s no objectionable language, but they might be a little scary ala’ Alice in Wonderland, so discretion is advised for very young readers.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.