The New Book Review

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Showing posts sorted by date for query children. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query children. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Review of OF ASHES AND DUST, Finalist for the 2023 Chanticleer International Book Award (CIBA) for Global Thrillers

TITLE OF YOUR BOOK: OF ASHES AND DUST, Finalist for the 2023 Chanticleer International Book Award (CIBA) for Global Thrillers





 _X_ Yes, I have received permission from the reviewer to reprint their review in its entirety. 

REVIEWER: Meryl Danziger

Meryl Danziger

REVIEWER’S BYLINE: Meryl Danziger author of Sing It!  A Biography of Pete Singer (2016 Seven Stories Press).  Cf. Her website: www.meryldanziger 


Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2024

What a cool, wild adventure!

"This story, with its many moving parts, has an expertly-constructed arc that draws you in, holds you there and makes it easy to keep track of what’s what and who’s who. A gifted writer, the author uses his mastery of the language to make it seem as though he’s just chatting with the reader. I found myself quite liking the crusty, vulnerable, self-effacing protagonist. The author's hilarious, painfully accurate portrayal of stodgy college professors is just one of the many quirky side paths that keep this book highly entertaining."


Meryl Danziger, AKA “The Music Genie,” is the Founder and Director of Music House. A published author, Meryl’s book Sing It! A Biography of Pete Seeger (Seven Stories Press, 2016) is the first biography of Pete Seeger for young readers. Meryl’s career has reached into every corner of music from performance to education to writing. A published songwriter, her original songs, stories and plays are regularly performed by children of all ages, and her articles on education and music education have appeared in NEA Today as well as in Homeschooling journals nationwide.

 Her book, Music House: Liberating the Music Lesson, will be available shortly.


Ron Roman retired as Associate Professor from the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC-Asia) in 2020.  He has written extensive travel, academic, and political articles for regional, national, and international publications. He studied writing (both fiction and creative) for his third graduate degree (Humanities) from Wesleyan University/Connecticut.  Currently he resides in South Korea with his wife where he works on US military installations assisting US military retirees and dependents.  He continues to write and has acted in numerous Korean TV dramas and motion pictures like Operation Chromite portraying Admiral Forrest Sherman opposite Liam Neeson as General Douglas MacArthur.  His alternate-history apocalyptic doomsday thriller Of Ashes and Dust was a November 2022 release by Histria Books.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Book Review: WAITING FOR AEGINA by Effie Kammenou


AUTHOR OF BOOK's NAME: Effie Kammenou



Amazon author page  




X Yes, I have received permission from the reviewer to reprint their review in its entirety. I have a written email if needed.

REVIEWER’S BYLINE: Ekaterina Botziou - Author, writer, digital creator


 by Ekaterina Botziou

‘Waiting for Aegina‘ is the second book in Effie’s ‘The Gift Saga‘ following the immensely popular ‘Evanthia’s Gift‘. Influenced by Effie’s heritage, both books are set against a beautiful Greek backdrop and combine love and romance with the poignant emotions of a coming of age drama.
In this second outing, the story continues to follow the life of Sophia as she enters middle age and has to face certain demons from her past. Familiar faces (or imagined faces in a reader’s case!) from the first book return to bring colour and drama to each chapter and the story itself goes even deeper into the lives of its main characters.
‘Waiting for Aegina’ is far grittier than ‘Evanthia’s Gift’ but it is no less beautifully written and once again Effie’s amazing ability to bring the Greek setting to life with just a few carefully chosen words will have you wanting to dive straight into the page.
The inclusion of several secret recipes at the beginning of chapters is just another gem that Effie has thrown in.
Another great read from this wonderfully talented author."


Ekaterina Botziou is an author, writer and digital content creator. Her six-part Greek mythological children’s series 'The Adventures of Omicron' is available on Amazon worldwide and she also creates children's activity books under her planner brand 'Pandorus Publishing', as well as notebooks, diaries and journals and digital art. Ekaterina has written for British and European lifestyle magazines and is the founder of The Greek Wives Club - a group that promotes Hellenism and Greek brands. 


Effie Kammenou believes it's never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart, or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she'd hoped that by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. But instead, she worked in the optical field for forty years while raising her two daughters. 


In 2015, three years after her mother died from pancreatic cancer, she published her debut novel, Evanthia's Gift, the first book in a women's fiction, multigenerational love story, and family saga, inspired by her mother and her Greek heritage. Kammenou continued to pick her father's brain for stories of his family's life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America until his recent death in November 2022 at 100. Her interview with him was published in the nationally circulated magazine Reminisce. 


Evanthia's Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 finalist in the Readers Favorite Book Awards. Book two, Waiting for Aegina, was awarded finalist status in the 2019 International Book Awards. Chasing Petalouthes, the last book in the trilogy, also placed in the Readers Favorite Book Awards for the 2018 contest.

Most recently, Love is Worth Fighting for won silver, second place for contemporary romance, in The Readers Favorite Book Awards.

Kammenou's latest project is The Meraki Series. Love is What You Bake of it, Love by Design, andLove is Worth Fighting for are available. Book four: Love in Plain Sight, will finish the series. Each book focuses on a sibling and their quest for love and professional success despite their sometimes stifling and meddling family. But it would only be a Kammenou novel with delving into the past or references to mouth-watering foods. A mystery shadowed by a historical event in Greek history is slowly uncovered throughout the series.


As a bonus, each book contains traditional Greek recipes; many passed down from her Athenian mother.

Effie Kammenou is a first-generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island. When she's not writing or posting recipes on her food blog, aptly named Cheffie's Kitchen, you can find her entertaining family and friends or traveling for 'research.' She recently returned to her roots by occasionally working as a background actor in film and television productions.


She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.


For updates on promotions, events, and new releases, follow Effie on Social media. Sign up for her newsletter to receive a free copy of her novella Don’t Want to Leave Her Now.


Website -

Newsletter signup -


Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Book Review: RAIBOW PANDA by Lisa Muchnik


AUTHOR OF BOOK's NAME: Lisa Muchnik 



Amazon link: Rainbow Panda


 __x Yes, I have received permission from the reviewer to reprint their review in its entirety. - as per previous email, we discussed that it was ok to share 

REVIEWER’S BYLINE: Booklist, the official book review magazine of the American Library Association 


Little Panda loves doing yoga. Each day he takes class with the other jungle animals, stretching, posing, and balancing his body. But one day, Little Panda leaves class uncharacteristically sad. He realized that he didn’t have bright feathers like Peacock, yellow and brown patches like Giraffe, or colorful exteriors like Iguana and Flamingo. He is only black and white! Wise Mama Panda knows just what to say, reassuring him that he is colorful on the inside. She begins to tell him about his chakras, walking him (and readers) through the colors and meanings of an individual’s seven energy wheels. As each energy is introduced, the illustrations emphasize its representative hue, connecting Little Panda to his inner self as well as the world around him. By the end of this more spiritual exercise, Little Panda looks in the mirror and sees his colorful chakras shining bright inside of him. This positive story about self-acceptance will also work well for lessons on mindfulness.

— Rosie Camargo

@booklist_ala on Instagram 
@ALA_Booklist on twitter 


Lisa Muchnik is a children’s book author, nurse anesthetist, mother of two, and certified yoga instructor, with a specialty in aerial yoga. Having a lifelong desire to write books for kids and a love for yoga and the chakras, it was only natural she would bring these aspects together in her debut children’s book Rainbow Panda. She is a believer in the power of passion and dreams. She loves caring for and connecting with people in all aspects of her life - her children, her patients, her yoga students, and now her readers! Check out her website, and follow her on Instagram @lisamuchnik 

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Book Review: The Famous Phoebe of Long Isand


THE FAMOUS PHOEBE OF LONG ISLAND: Phoebe's Adventures at Sailors Haven


AUTHOR OF BOOK's NAME: Jean Derespina







 __Yes, I have received permission from the reviewer to reprint their review in its entirety. 


REVIEWER’S BYLINE: Rita Plush, Fire Island News Book Review Columnist



Long Islander Jean Derespina, a writer of marketing materials, has brought her affection for Fire Island and its seashore to the pages of a children’s book. 

This is a story about Phoebe, a puppy who is adopted from a shelter and has adventures on Sailors Haven with her new parents, Jeana and Frank. It is a warm and engaging story that will resonate with anyone who has a dog or is thinking of adopting one. But the book is more than that. It’s about feeling loved and protected, and though the tale is told from a puppy’s point of view, it could very well be a child who is telling the story. 

Phoebe is “the luckiest puppy in the world because out of all the puppies in the shelter, I got picked by the nicest family. They love me very much.” And off they motor in their boat into the Great South Bay, Phoebe “more than a little scared at first,” but Jeana held her close while Frank drove. 

Phoebe has many experiences at Sailors Haven. She makes friends as children do, and her excitement is palpable when she learns she can swim. In the forest she comes upon animals she has never seen before. “A long, skinny animal that didn’t have legs or paws wiggled right by us!” 

On the walk back to the beach, Phoebe notices three deer grazing and makes the connection that her parents are going to have their dinner too, linking humans to the animal world. 

Venturing out on her own, Phoebe dashes down the beach after a bird in flight. After the bird is out of sight she worries. “Where was everyone? Where was I? I was alone, and I was really scared,” her doggie brain thinks, but her fears could just as well be the fears of a child. 

I can see a parent reading this story and saying to their little one. “You must never run away or go where we can’t find you,” the child nodding solemnly. 

The soft watercolor drawings by Amelina Jones play on the easy narrative. Jones uses blues, blue/greens for water, and browns for the puppy and vegetation in many of the illustrations, but she is not confined to a limited palette. Variations of yellow and yellow/greens come up in a spread where the family is walking through Sunken Forest, the prose set on the page as if illuminated by the sun. On the other end of the spectrum is black, used lavishly in a dramatic nighttime scene. The pages come to life with little pinpoints of white like “millions of stars lighting up the sky.” The boat’s “gentle rocking kept [Phoebe] asleep all night,” as the family headed back to shore. 

And that’s what this book is: a gentle story about family, with little Phoebe its centerpiece.

Link to the review:



MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER: Rita Plush has been the book reviewer for The Fire Island News since 2015. Learn more at her website, or at



Jean is a member of the SCBWI and is on the Board of Directors of the Long Island Author Group. 


For years, Jean held positions as a corporate content developer. During her marketing career, she always made timeto indulge in her passion for writing children's stories. In 2014, Jean left the corporate world to start my own company, The Marketing Gig, LLC. After an encouraging start, she was seriously injured in an accident that required over a year’s recovery. Writing played an instrumental role in her healing process.


Post rehabilitation, Jean released two self-published two picture books, which have sold over 1,500 copies. They are in circulation at approximately six libraries and on the shelves at Barnes & Noble. Learn more about Jean and The Famous Phoebe of Long Island at 

Twitter @JeandAuthor

Monday, June 12, 2023


Please help me celebrate the release of the 3rd edition of the Winningest Book in Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s “HowToDoItFrugally” Series of books,  “The Frugal Editor”! 

SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2023

Dawn Colclasure Lauds Carolyn Howard-Johnson's "The Frugal Editor"

I love author-edited newsletters like the one below from Dawn Colclasure below for information, yes, but especially for networking and building a loyal base.  You'll see from the "More About the Author" that Dawn is not only a prolific author, but among her books are career-boosting how-tos for writers--and you (my SharingwithWriters and TheNewBookReview subscribers and visitors) know how I am about books being the most frugal way (and often the most credible way!) to build writing careers. Today's post was a surprise from Dawn, perhaps my first quite like this. It is what I will call and "editorial review" or recommendation.  It will become a vital part of my celebration of the release of the 3rd edition of my #TheFrugalEditor. Here it is! Along with a sample of her newsletter!  

Welcome to the latest issue (the of the 

Thirteenth!) of the SPARREW Newsletter!

An Assortment of Dawn Colclasure's Poetry, Fiction, and About Anything
and Everything Else! 

The free monthly newsletter for self-publishers, authors, readers, reviewers, editors and writers! I am happy to have you aboard! Thank you for subscribing! And welcome to new subscribers!

Thanks to her lovely contributions to this newsletter, Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s newest release, the third edition of The Frugal Editor: Do-It-Yourself Editing Secrets-From Your Query Letters to Final Manuscript to the Marketing of Your New Bestseller is not an unknown book to me. If you’d like to read about Carolyn’s thoughts on why the update of this book was necessary, you can check it out in my article in First Chapter Plus here: pages 16-17


But aside from getting new nuggets of editorial wisdom from this book, I was surprised by how Carolyn’s reminder to edit query letters really hits home. I have reviewed many rejected query letters and realized that, after some thought, they definitely could use some editing. Carolyn’s book can help whip those query letters into shape! It’s definitely a must-have book for every writer serious about making their work shine.


We got a great issue put together for you this month.


In a recent issue of The Wordling newsletter, I learned about self-publisher Paul Millerd. After reading about his success as a self-publisher, I knew I had to interview him for my own newsletter! Despite his VERY busy schedule, Paul was able to find some time to answer my questions. Check out his sage advice about self-publishing below!


The author interview is with an author I have know for some time: William Meikle. I met William decades ago, through the Absolute Write Water Cooler. Even though it’s been many years since I’ve participated at the Water Cooler, I kept track of William through other online platforms – mainly, social media. When I learned he had books coming out this month, I wanted to interview him so he could share all about them! Don’t miss my interview with William and learn all about his journey in becoming an author.


And finally, the writer interview is with another fellow scribe I have known for many years: Shanta Everington. I met Shanta when I was writing for a parent publication based in England, and we kept in touch on and off ever since. Shanta graciously took some time to answer questions for the writer interview and to share her wisdom about all things writing.


This month’s feature article is from a fellow author who I recently crossed paths with. After I won a book drawing through Jessica McCann’s newsletter, I wanted to return the nice gesture and asked her if she would like to contribute a guest post to this newsletter. Thankfully, Jessica agreed to do so, and I loved how her ideas for writing puts a nice spin on the process! Please check out her article to find out just how she does it!


I hope you enjoy this issue! Feel free to drop me a note or connect with me on social media! I'd love to connect with you!

Enjoy this issue!

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Great Reviews For Tales2Inspire ~ The Ruby Collection


Tales2Inspire ~ The Ruby Collection (Gifts of Compassion)

  ISBN-10: 149594008X

  ISBN-13: 978-1495940088








 X Yes, I have received permission from each reviewer to reprint their review in its entirety. 




By Gail Sobotkin 

I have read each story and can honestly say I don't have a favorite. Each and every story touched my heart deeply. If you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a world where people and animals are treated with compassion, kindness and love, where the human spirit rises up again and again to meet seemingly impossible challenges, where faith triumphs over despair, where young children and abused animals teach adult humans life lessons, where the homeless are treated with respect and compassion, you must read The Ruby Collection, an amazing anthology of 14 true stories that will inspire you to live your own life with an open heart--- despite, or perhaps because of, whatever difficulties you may face.

Compassion is a gift that keeps on giving; it changes the giver, recipient, and all those who witness the compassionate act. It makes the world a better, kinder place and when delivered with love, has the power to transform the globe one person, one animal at a time.

The Ruby Collection makes a great gift for children and adults. Treat yourself to a copy and buy one for your friends, colleagues and relatives. Ask them to read the book then pass it on to an institution such as a library, hospital or school so that the stories will be spread far and wide, planting seeds of inspiration, compassion and love.


By Shauna L Bowling

Freelance Writer/Copy Editor

. . . a book of inspiration that uplifts the reader with each story. From human/animal spiritual connections to human/human connections, these true stories of courage, love, and strength are proof that good exists in the world. We can and do overcome the odds each and every day. If you have any doubts about the power of love, read this book. All it takes is one person to reach out to make positive changes in someone's life.

I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages. It just may change your life!


By Bani Sodermark

Reviewer for Book Pleasures and Amazon Vine Voice Reviewer

This is a feel good book documenting a collection of true stories that involve genuine empathy and kindness to other living beings including oneself. It arose out of a writing contest by an organization called "Authors Helping Author" and includes the best contributions that were submitted. The result is a very readable and well written book enshrined in the symbol of the ruby which stands for kindness and compassion.

That which is most appealing about this collection of stories is that the kindness shown at one instance of time is nearly always repaid in some way or other, forging deep and lasting bonds as the protagonists walk their life paths in tandem with one another. In some cases, they may experience a total reversal of a bodily malfunction as in the case of the first story, in which a man took care of a wounded eagle, unable to fly and nursed it to wellness. Later on, he was afflicted with cancer and he is convinced that dream conversations with his pet eagle, supplemented with chemo, was the cause of his total recovery.

A second story documents the success of a program called "Labs`n Life" in which dysfunctional children with learning and other problems are made to train Labradors. The interaction with these intelligent and loving animals, miraculously opens up these children and helps them integrate into the mainstream.

The theme of working with animals continues with the rehabilitation stories of Dusty the horse and Rae the dog who are restored to their playful selves and fulfil memorable relationships with their caregivers.

A few of the stories will touch you deep down inside. There is the erstwhile convict, Ray, who after years of confrontation with the bullying and sadistic warden of the penitentiary that he had occupied since his late teens, helped set fire to it. The warden was changed to one who had a record of successfully rehabilitating dreaded inmates and the whole atmosphere of the place changed as the convicts applied their energies to study and vocational training. There were no more incidents of arson or otherwise and our friend, Ray, after he was released was able to successfully land a job, get married and raise a family.

There is the holocaust survivor, who neutralized the actions of local politicians by going out with his own message of peaceful coexistence, ultimately reaching out to millions.

Another story that I will find difficult to forget is the story of a young African American black belt karate champion on the karate circuit, who it seems always acted rough if he or his team lost. It turned out that he had dedicated his life to saving children in the roughest quarters of Miami from a life of crime, by loading as many as possible into a van that was to take them to the tournament. If he did not win, he would have to borrow the money for the gas home.

There is the story of a former citizen of Rwanda, who returned to his homeland after the genocide and helped many people work their way out of poverty using his engineering skills and thus finding the way to his true calling. . . . 

Other inspiring stories include that of a young woman who appeared in the Guinness Book of Records after running seven marathons in seven continents. There is also the unusual story of window cleaners outside a hospital dressing up as children's heroes, e.g. Batman to cheer up children suffering from debilitating diseases.

The length of the manuscript is optimal, not too long, not too short.

This book, in my opinion, the best so far, in the Tales 2 Inspire series, created by Editor, Lois W. Stern. The storytelling is chiseled and evocative. . . .  One can never read too many of such stories, of seeing the way love and spirit redefine priorities and guide the human race out of black holes of its own making.