Book Review – The Secret of the Sacred Scarab

October 14, 2009 at 3:00 pm (Book Reviews, Children, teen) (, , , )

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab
BY: Fiona Ingram
ISBN: 978-0-595-457168
Pages: 258
Ages: Teen & Up
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

In this first chapter of the Chronicles of the Stone, Adam and his cousin Justin are invited to go on a trip to Egypt by their Aunt Isabel and their Grandmother. The boys are excited about visiting another country. Their Aunt tells them that the archaeologist, James Kinnaird, has disappeared while looking for the tomb of the Scarab King. The tomb of the Scarab King is just a legend and has never been proven to exist by any archaeologist.

When they arrived in Cairo, they joined a tour group. A stranger gives three tiny scarabs to Adam. More odd things happen. Their aunt’s camera is switched with Dr. Khalid’s camera. Adam then discovers a fourth scarab in his back pocket. What are theses mysterious scarabs? Is someone one following them? Is the legend of the Scarab King real? Adam and Justin must try to solve the mystery.

Author Fiona Ingram mixes history and legends in this fast action adventure that keeps you reading till the very end. The characters are cleverly written. Young readers can easily step into the shoes of these two cousins and experienced this exciting adventure that takes you into the heart of Egypt. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.


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New Short Story Being Published

September 17, 2009 at 8:53 pm (Children, News, Short Stories) (, , , )

My short story for children, Cat Got Your Tongue?, will be published in the knowonder! Magazine October 2009 issue.  It will be my 13th published story!

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Writing News – The Pizza Party

September 10, 2009 at 1:22 pm (Children, News, Short Stories) (, , , )

My short story, The Pizza Party, is in the current issue of the Stories for Children Magazine.

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Great Finds Issue #4

August 22, 2009 at 2:06 pm (Children, Great Finds) (, , )

What to do when you don’t live close to a book store?  Two words – Thrift Shop!



MoonGobble And Me: The Dragon of Doom by Bruce Coville illustrated by Katherine Coville

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Book Review – Dark Destiny

August 20, 2009 at 3:08 am (Book Reviews, Children, teen) (, , , , , )

Dark Destiny: The Sleeping Beauty Story Your Mother Never Told You

BY: Kym Hackenberger & Melody Lowe

PUBLISHED BY: Wicked Witch Productions, LLC


ISBN: 978-1440412417

Pages: 158

Ages: Teen & Up

Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Do you remember the evil stepmothers and queens from the classic Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales? Did you every wonder how they became evil? Authors Kym Hackenberger & Melody Lowe gives us the dark and twisted tale of how an innocent young woman became the Queen of the Dark Realm.

Elspeth, the oldest princess of Rookskrieg, is soon to marry Malcolm, the prince of Talonsbay. It’s an arrange marriage set up by their fathers. Neither Elspeth or Malcolm want to get married. Malcolm is womanizer and Elspeth just doesn’t love him. She wants to fall in love like her newly married younger sister, Isabelle, did.

On the night of her sister’s wedding, she is embarrassed by Malcolm but is rescued by a dark and mysterious stranger, Jethart. She instantly falls in love him. They sneak around, but can only visit each other at night. Jethart isn’t like Malcolm or any normal man. He can turn himself into an owl and can cast magical spells.

During Elspeth’s wedding to Malcolm, Jethart appears and steals the bride-to-be. They elope, and, afterwards, Jethart takes Elspeth to his castle, Dubh Rathgart, aka the Black Fortress. She soon bares a son named Ossian.

Full of rage and lust for revenge, Malcolm starts a war with the Dubh Rathgart. He starts the chain of events that could destroy the kingdoms, and causes Elspeth to become the Queen of the Dark Realm.

Under 160 pages, this book is short and sweet, but at times the story feels rushed. Some of the dialogue feels a little flat. The characters are not developed enough. There was not one character I felt anything for. I did like that the chapters were short and kept your interest until the very end. Fans of fairy tales and pre-teens will enjoy reading this retelling.


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Great Finds Issue #2

August 12, 2009 at 4:34 pm (Adult, Children, Great Finds) (, , , )

What to do when you don’t live close to a book store?  Two words – Thrift Shop!



The Theif Lord by Cornelia Funke



Blitzcat by Robert Westall

The Kids in Ms. Colman’s Class #11 The Speilling Bee by Ann M. Martin

Taming A Sea-Horse by Robert B. Parker

A Savage Place by Robert B. Parker

In the Face of Danger by Joan Lowery Nixon

Where Two Ways Met by Grace Livingston Hill

Promising Angela by Kim Vogel Sawyer

More Tales to Give you Goosebumps Special Edition #2 by R.L. Stine

More & More Tales to Give you Goosebumps Special Edition #5 By R.L. Stine


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Book Review – Goosebumps: Night of the Living Dummy

August 10, 2009 at 9:48 pm (Book Reviews, Children) (, , , )

Goosebumps: Night of the Living Dummy

BY: R.L. Stine


COVER ART BY: Brandon Dorman

PUBLISHED BY: Scholastic Inc.

ISBN-13: 978-0-545-03517-0

ISBN-10: 0-545-03517-0

Ages: 9-12

Reviewed by: Billy Burgess


It’s been over fifteen years since R.L. Stine first introduced his readers to the evil ventriloquist’s dummy. Slappy is back in this re-release of the first book. It has brand new cover and extra bonus features that include: Q& A with R.L. Stine, Fright Gallery: Slappy the Dummy, A Dummy’s Guide to Ventriloquism and Slappy’s Greatest Wisecracks.

Kris and Lindy Powell are twins that share everything. Lindy finds a ventriloquist’s dummy in a dumpster near their house. She takes it home and plans on making money with it by performing at birthday parties. Her sister doesn’t like Slappy because he’s always starring at her with an evil grin.

Thinking that she is jealous of Lindy’s dummy, her father buys her a dummy at a second hand store. Kris loves the dummy and names him Mr. Woods. She finds a piece of paper in the dummy’s pocket and reads the strange words out loud: “Karru marri odonna loma molonu karrano.”

After a few strange events, Kris believes that Mr. Woods is alive and no one believes her. How will she defeat Mr. Woods?

It was fun reading about Slappy again. He’s one of my favorite Goosebumps characters and I think you will enjoy reading about him too.

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Book Review – Garfield and the Mysterious Mummy

August 10, 2009 at 9:15 pm (Book Reviews, Children) (, , , , , , )



Garfield and the Mysterious Mummy

BY: Jim Kraft


Designed and Illustrated by Mike Fentz

PUBLISHED BY: Troll Communications, L.L.C

ISBN: 0-8167-4438-6

Ages: 4-8

Reviewed by: Billy Burgess

While visiting the museum with their owner, Jon, Garfield and Odie accidentally get locked in the museum after closing. Strange things start happening in the Egyptian department that displays the nose of Ahomose.

Garfield and Odie are caught by the security guard and his cat, Cleo. She believes the rumors that the spirit of the Ahomose wants his nose back. She has heard weird sounds at night and one of the mummy coffins has went missing.

After a strange noise is heard near the Egyptian department, the security guard investigates it. When he didn’t return, Garfield, Odie and their new friend go to find him. They can’t find the security guard but they found something else, a living mummy!

All the doors are locked, so there is no way out till morning. Garfield and Odie must either hide or solve the mystery of the mysterious mummy.

The book is currently out of print but if you are lucky enough to find it, buy it. This is a cute book that your children would love to read.

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Book Review – Goosebumps Horrorland: #2 Creep From the Deep

August 9, 2009 at 2:41 pm (Book Reviews, Children) (, , , , )

Goosebumps: Horrorland

#2 Creep From the Deep

BY: R.L. Stine


COVER ART BY: Brandon Dorman

PUBLISHED BY: Scholastic Inc.

ISBN-13: 978-0-439-91870-1

ISBN-10: 0-439-91870-7

Ages: 9-12

Reviewed by Billy Burgess

In this second installment of the new series, R.L. Stine brings back three characters from the original Goosebumps series. Billy and his sister Sheena are on a adventure with their uncle, Dr. Deep, on the hi-tech ship, the Cassandra. They are searching for the pirate ship called the Scarlet Skull that sank to the bottom of the sea in the late 1780’s, and carried millions of dollars’ worth of gold and jewels. After they find the ship, Dr. Deep disappears. When Billy and Sheena go looking for their uncle on a nearby island, they discover that the pirates of Scarlet Skull are still alive and they want their treasure back.

I enjoyed returning to the characters from the books “Deep Trouble” and “Deep Trouble II” that were written in the 90’s.

The second story picks up in “Horrorland” from the previous book. Billy and Sheena have won a free trip to the theme park. Their parents have also gone missing . While searching for them they run into Britney and Molly from the first book, who are also looking for Britney’s parents. When they go on the Quicksand Beach ride, Britney and Molly disappear. Now Billy and Shenna must search for their new friends and their parents, but the pirates of the Scarlet Skull may still be after them.

I enjoyed the continuation of the Horrorland. Once again the second story is only 30 pages and ends in a cliffhanger. If you are like me and countless other R.L. Stine Fans, you can’t wait to read more!

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Book Review – Goosebumps Horrorland: #1 Revenge of the Living Dummy

August 9, 2009 at 2:39 pm (Book Reviews, Children) (, , , , , )

Goosebumps: Horror Land

#1 Revenge of the Living Dummy

BY: R.L. Stine


COVER ART BY: Brandon Dorman

PUBLISHED BY: Scholastic Inc.

ISBN-13: 978-0-439-91869-5

ISBN-10: 0-439-91869-3

Ages: 9-12

Reviewed by: Billy Burgess

After an eight year hiatus from his Goosebumps books, R.L. Stine is back in a new series. In the new series there are two stories in each book – a 100 -page story and then a 30-page story — which will be continued in each book.

Britney Crosby is going out of her mind when her cousin, Ethan, comes to visit with his ventriloquist’s dummy, Slappy. Slappy is a character from some of the original Goosebumps books . Britney and her best friend, Molly Molloy, are being tormented by Ethan and Slappy. At first they think Ethan is just playing jokes on them, but then they start to believe that Slappy is actually real. The book goes the normal route of a Goosebumps book, but with a different twist at the end.

The second story has Britney and Molly being invited to a theme park called “Horrorland.” But things become weird when Britney’s parents disappear and the girls start to see their old friend, Slappy, around the park.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I grew up reading R.L. Stine, so this brought back memories for me. I would recommend this book to other R.L. Stine fans and to new readers.

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