Friday, September 27, 2013

Review: Kellie and the Come-alive Cottage by Wendy Unsworth

I just loved this book by Wendy Unsworth! Kellie at Come-alive Cottage tells the story of Kellie, a curious girl who probably has the coolest family in the world. Her parents are explorers, and are set to fly off to Africa to discover a new river...but Kellie has no one to stay with while her parents are gone....well, she'll have to stay with aunt Kitty, an aunt she didn't even know she had! And, there is a good reason for that...

This is a fun, smart book that I'm sure will delight young readers. It's full of oddities, silly illustrations and fun fonts. It plays with the absurd but in a way that doesn't feel forced. I would recommend this book for second and third graders, even fourth graders. It is equally enjoyable for older readers, that, like me, still believe in magic.

This is Mrs. Unsworth's first book for children but I have a feeling that we'll be hearing a lot more of Kellie and her fantastic adventures.
Mariana Llanos

Wendy Unsworth lives in England. She has spent many years in Africa,

and a great deal of her inspiration comes from her experiences there. She has written a grown-up novel called The Palaver Tree. "Kellie..." will be out on October 1st, available in paperback an eBook.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Review: My Keyboard Was Hi-Jacked by Mammy Oaklee

My Keyboard Was Hi-Jacked is another story in the fun and simple storytelling style of author Mammy Oaklee. She writes from The Heart of the Bottoms Up 2/3 Acre and tells us what happened when her keyboard gets hijacked by non-other than a…creeper! You know, for a writer is a very big thing if you are unable to use your keyboard and Mammy tells us with innocence and humor how she felt in her moment of fright.

Well, we all have our fears and in my case I can relate to her phobia or every-bug-phobia perfectly! I think this story opens a door to talk about our particular fears, and how we can overcome them or at least live with them. This tale also show us the other side of the story. I always tell my children how horrific must’ve felt for the cricket that saw their shoes coming at it; he had no other choice than hopping high!

My Keyboard… made me double check my shoes this morning! Other than that it’s a story than I’m sure will be a delight to read with the family. Like in the previous book of these series, "Mailbox Kitten", the illustrations are beautifully done. And just so you know, Mammy Oakley, there are touch-screen keyboards now-a-days…and I’m writing this post in one of those.
Mariana Llanos

Author Mammy Oaklee is a city chick who always long to lived in the country side. Now she writes from where her heart always wanted to be.

This blog is part on the Amazon Affiliate Program
*A free review copy was given in exchange for my honest opinion.

Where to find My Keyboard was Hi-Jacked beside Amazon:



Thursday, September 5, 2013

At the Candy Shop with Author Aviva Gittle

On this edition of Candy Shop we have a special promotion (Only today 9-5-2013)!! FREE EBOOKS! Make sure to check out the links at the end of the interview!

Tristan Wolf, our imaginative hero is eight years old when his adventure begins. He is as dreamy and clever as only a child can be. We were all Tristan once in our life and maybe now, we have one in it. My guests- smart, creative and inspiring personalities- have accepted the challenge to go back to those years, to go back to when they were around eight or ten to answer some questions about the world around them.

Let me introduce you to author Aviva Gittle, when she was ten. 

Mariana: Hi, Aviva, it’s very nice meeting you. Where do you live? And who do you live with?

Aviva: 6 Cliftwood Place, Kings Park, NY. My mom, my stepdad Bob, my sister, our collie dogs, Kimmy and Laddie and our Siamese cat, Muffin. Kimmy and Muffin are smart. Laddie’s pretty dumb. But he’s really cute. He eats melon. What kind of dog eats melon?

Mariana: What’s your sister’s name? Do you two get along?

Aviva: My sister, Barbara, is 4 years older.  I hate her. She’s bigger and taller and mean. Every April Fool’s Day she leaves me notes that say I’m going to win a big prize. I go all over the house reading these stupid notes and the last one always says, “April Fools!” No prize. Nothing. I fall for it every year. Why do I trust her? I’m Charlie Brown; she’s Lucy.

Mariana: What school do you go to? What do you like about it?

Aviva: Parkview Elementary School. I like playing on the monkey bars. I like gym class. Well, I did like gym class. Every year I climb the ropes to the top and touch the ceiling. When you do that you get to be in the Monkey Club. This year I fell. Two stories down onto hard wrestling mats. Hurt my back bad. I don’t get to play in gym anymore. I have a cast that starts at my chest and goes down past my hips.

Mariana: And the worst about school?

Aviva: Most of the other kids. In Kindergarten and first grade, I wet my pants a few times. The first time was on the playground. I’m in 5th grade now, but I still remember the kids making fun of me. I was sick, but the doctors told Mom there was nothing wrong with me. Dr. Waterhouse yelled at the other doctors ‘cause all they had to do was a simple test. I had a really bad infection.

Jenn and Bev are my best friends, but they’re not in my homeroom, so I have no friends. I’m an easy target. My parents are divorced, my hair’s frizzy, I’m not pretty and everyone makes me nervous. I told Mom the kids were all making fun of me, but she just told me to ignore them. It’s not working.

Mariana: Tell me more about your best friends!

Aviva: Jenn and Bev are both my best friends. Jenn can draw really well and Bev…is just Bev. She’s smart and she puts up with me. I’m different with them. A leader. I’m always coming up with creative projects. Like the time we made these little dolls out of yarn and sold them door-to-door. We record radio shows on my little cassette recorder. I write the scripts and they act them out with me.

Mariana: What is the food that you absolutely dislike eating?

Aviva: I didn’t know tongue really came from a cow’s tongue! I thought they just called it that. It used to taste great until I knew that. And I thought those were grapes on Grandma Pearl’s table. They were olives! Ew; so bitter. I’ll never eat an olive again for as long as I live.

Mariana: Do you have pets?

Aviva: Kimmy and Laddie, like I said. They’re a bit smelly, but I let them lick my face. Muffin, my cat, sleeps with me. He takes up half the bed!

Mariana: Are you scared of the dark?

Aviva: Very scared. When I walk home in the dark from my friend Bev’s house, I sing John Denver songs to keep me calm. Rocky Mountain High…

Mariana: Do you daydream?

Aviva: I daydream so deeply I forget where I am. Sometimes I’m walking home and day dreaming and I realize I’m talking out loud. When I was younger, the school called my parents because all I did was daydream in class. The counselor at the school told them to tell me that Santa Claus wasn’t real. They had my sister tell me. Bet she loved doing that. She’s so mean.

Mariana: Who do you look like, your mom or dad?

Aviva: Wherever we go people always say to my mom, “That one definitely belongs to you.” I think it makes my sister mad. Good.

Mariana: Who is your favorite star?

Aviva: Barbra Streisand. I sing her songs all the time. People, people who need people, are the luckiest…

Mariana: What is the best book you’ve ever read?

Aviva: The Phantom Tollbooth. Once I read that book my mom didn’t have to pay me to read anymore. She used to give me 35 cents a book!

Mariana: Do you think you’ll ever get married or have kids?

Aviva: Of course. Isn’t that what everybody does? I’ll have a house, and a white picket fence, and some kind of a job. It will all be really good.

Mariana: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Aviva: A veterinarian. I love animals.

Mariana: Thanks for sharing with me Aviva. I hope we can be friends for a long time!
And this is Aviva Gittle now:

I live in San Diego, CA with my partner of 16 years,
David. I’m still in touch with both of my best friends, Bev and Jen. I’m a grandma. Which, honestly, beats the heck out of being a parent. I’m older, wiser, calmer and I have more time to give.
In January of this year, I decided to self-publish two children’s stories I had written many years ago. I’ve had an entrepreneurial spirit since childhood, so I decided to be a publisher, too. In a fit of inspiration, I wrote a whole series (7 books) called “Kitten and Friends.” Kitten, who is irresistibly fluffy and cute, makes a new friend in each book. A butterfly, a snake, a koi, a squirrel, a monkey, a litter of kittens and a boy. I’ve written (or co-written) 6 other books. All will be offered in English, Spanish and “Spanish Immersion” (bilingual) versions. By mid-2014 I will have 42 eBooks in the Amazon Kindle library. Several more are actively in development. I’m also starting an animation project called “Blue Guy and Fly” with a young, talented Columbian artist. You can find a list of my published books here: Or just search for “Aviva Gittle.” There’s not too many of us. J
Aviva Gittle's free Ebooks, ONLY 9/5/2013...Please leave a review if you enjoyed her stories:

When I was eight I used to daydream, I played pretend and I loved to write. I still remember my eighth birthday present and the feeling of joy it gave me. What was it? A journal, covered in beige leather, with a writing pad of white satin pages and a black fountain pen that attached to the inside of my elegant and beaming new friend. Oh, yes! A world of words and stories was waiting for me...