Sunday, September 29, 2013

Author Jon Messenger

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post in any form. I am just helping out one of our military. Thank you Jon for your service! ~Naila Moon

Help JON MESSENGER's Series Hit #1
We are so excited to see that Jon Messenger's WORLD AFLAME Series is on the Amazon Best Seller's charts. We want to make Jon Messenger's year by helping him get on the New York Times Best Sellers list! Help support this amazing author who is also an Army Major and Amazing Father, by purchasing his books TODAY! 

*If either of Jon Messenger's books hit in the Amazon Top 100 in all of Kindle Books (not sub-categories) Clean Teen Publishing will host an epic giveaway ($200 Amazon Gift Card) for those who helped get his book there! So hold onto your proof of purchase. If your book was purchased between 9/25/13 and 10/10/13 you will be eligible for this exclusive giveaway! The giveaway will be announced on the Clean Teen Publishing Website at the time that the book hits TOP 100! Make sure to check the website often or check the website on 10/10/13 to see if we made it! Be a part of something huge!  

FLAME CALLER by Jon Messenger
Book 2 in The World Aflame Series ~ NEW ADULT 
(Young Adult Appropriate)


White Halls is no longer a sleepy little town. Its houses lie smoldering on their foundations. The residents take refuge in their homes, afraid to leave. And the town’s prodigal son and newest Wind Warrior, Xander Sirocco, has fled.

Xander has lost his family, his grandfather is in a coma, and now the fate of the world is in his hands. He has no time to figure out his feelings for Sammy—the Fire Wielder who saved his life after first trying to take it—because he has a world to save. But how do seven Wind Warriors fight off an army of Flame Callers… who are determined to burn the world of man down to the earth?

When a whispered word gives Xander newfound hope, he sets off to find the very thing that could save them all. They say that Elementals—embodiments of the elemental powers that the different castes wield—are only a myth. Even so, the hope of finding an Elemental is his only chance to save not only the Wind Warriors and Sammy, but also the world itself.

Little does Xander know that while he is out chasing the Wind Elemental, the Fire Elemental is closing in quickly behind him. It has nefarious plans for Sammy… and it will not stop until Xander is dead.

 Check out this amazing BEST SELLING series today!

WIND WARRIOR by Jon Messenger
Book 1 in The World Aflame Series ~ NEW ADULT 
(Young Adult Appropriate)

The sleepy town of White Halls harbors a dangerous secret. On a picturesque street, two houses down from a lovely little park, in a quaint little home with a wraparound porch, lives a family that seems rather normal. Sure, their twenty-year-old son, Xander, still lives at home, but he's going to college and dating the leader of the schools top sorority. It's all very... normal.  However, when a man is miraculously saved from being hit by a bus, Xander's life turns in to the living embodiment of the tornadoes he can suddenly create with a flick of his wrist. Whether he wants this gift or not, Xander must learn to use his new 'super power' quickly if he wants to survive.  For his kind is a dying race, and when this sleepy town has a sudden influx of new, blonde, fire wielders, no one is safe, especially Xander. It doesn't help that one of these blondes happens to be the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Xander can't deny the instant connection he feels to her so, when she tries to kill him, it certainly makes things complicated.

About Jon Messenger

Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Major in the Medical Service Corps. Since graduating from the University of Southern California in 2002, writing Science Fiction has remained his passion, a passion that has continued through two deployments to Iraq, a humanitarian relief mission to Haiti, and an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. Jon wrote the "Brink of Distinction" trilogy, of which "Burden of Sisyphus" is the first book, while serving a 16-month deployment in Baghdad, Iraq.

Jon's books include Wind Warrior which was published through Clean Teen Publishing and quickly hit the best selling lists of Amazon. Jon Messenger has won a readers choice award as well as the Clean Teen Publishing writing contest for his Novella of Wind Warrior, which is also featured in Wonderstruck. Messenger's sci-fi series, Brink of Distinction, was picked up by Clean Teen Publishing's adult imprint: Crimson Tree Publishing in the Fall of 2013. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Review of Spartan and The Green Egg -A Trip To The Rainforest by Nabila Khashoggi

Recently I was asked to review the book Spartan and The Green Egg by Nabila Khashoggi. I thought it would be an interesting book to review due to my love of nature. I was not disappointed.

This hard cover book is the first in a series for Ms. Khashoggi.  The story opens with the main character Spartan and his three friends, meet up in the tree club house. Spartan proceeds to tell the group about a book he has received that mentions how to contact aliens.

The group collectively decides, through the use of the power of imagination, that they will indeed contact aliens from outer space. They create the look of their spaceship and where they want to go.
Through great concentration they end up having an alien in a green egg appear.

This green egg is actually their spaceship which take them to the Amazon Rainforest. They have a few bumps along the way which could put them in danger.
However, there they meet Amazonian kids who take them back to their village. Spartan and friends learn how the children live in the village. They also experience a dream through a village shaman who shows them that the Rainforest is in grave danger from people who destroy it. This could mean the end of the Amazon Rainforest and extinction of many animals.

The group decides to do something and help save the Rainforest.

Do they accomplish their task? Are they forever stuck? Will it be enough? What about that green egg alien? You decide, read the book!

This book is for the older child who can read pretty well. The books illustrations were done by Manuel Cadag and quite impressive. Usually when I have read books the illustrations are on opposite pages or sparse. This book however, was written comic book style with the illustrations and words interacting with each other. I don't know a single kid that would not like this book.

To say the least, this book is excellent and I highly recommend it. I look forward to many more books in this series.

Spartan and The Green Egg deserves my 5 stars!
~Naila Moon

Disclosure: I was given this book to review for free. The words and opinions expressed here are 100% my own.
Where to find Nabila Khashoggi and Manuel Cadag:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Review of The Rocking Chair by Steven Manchester

Memories are the ultimate contradiction. They can warm us on our coldest days – or they can freeze a loved one out of our lives forever. The McCarthy family has a trove of warm memories. Of innocent first kisses. Of sumptuous family meals. Of wondrous lessons learned at the foot of a rocking chair. But they also have had their share of icy ones. Of words that can never be unsaid. Of choices that can never be unmade. Of actions that can never be undone. 

Following the death of his beloved wife, John McCarthy – Grandpa John – calls his family back home. It is time for them to face the memories they have made, both warm and cold. Only then can they move beyond them and into the future.

A rich portrait of a family at a crossroad, The Rockin’ Chair is Steven Manchester’s most heartfelt and emotionally engaging novel to date. If family matters to you, it is a story you must read.
My review:

I was so excited when I was able to review another of Steven Manchester's books. His books are truly heart wrenching and yet, tell timeless tales of loss and love. His book, The Rocking Chair did not disappoint.

His character John McCarthy was a hard working man, who cared for his wife who has Alzheimer's, right up to her death. He believes that hard work and lessons learned are what makes you stronger. He is not a highly educated man but his often hard learned lessons are given as he rocks in his rocking chair. They are usually poignant and understood without the need for frivolity.

After John's wife dies, he realizes his family is broken in a myriad of ways and the only way to  repair the damage is for each of them to face what haunts them, that includes John himself. Each character is brought to life with  purposeful intent and the reader cannot help but get wrapped up in them and want the best outcome possible.

As I read, I found myself  in the character Hank, who is John's son. They have been estranged for years when a misunderstanding leads to years of hatred and heartbreak. I honestly could relate to this as the relationship I had to my own father before his death two years ago.

Once I started reading The Rocking Chair I simply could not put it down and read it in one day. With tissues on hand, this book is a must read.

This book: 5 stars!

~Naila Moon

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the author for my open and honest opinion. This review is also part of the Providence book tour. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

About Steven Manchester:

Steven Manchester

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestseller Twelve Months, Goodnight, Brian, and several other books. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early
Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

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Banned Books Week Sept, 22nd-28th

Did you know that according to the American Library Association that 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 when banned books week became a forefront movement. Last year alone 464 books challenged.

The following is the top 100 books challenged. Which ones have you read. Tell me.

Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling

Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz

His Dark Materials (series) by Philip Pullman

TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series) by Myracle, Lauren

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris

Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Forever by Judy Blume

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

King and King by Linda de Haan

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar

The Giver by Lois Lowry

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

Killing Mr. Griffen by Lois Duncan

Beloved by Toni Morrison

My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier

Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney

We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier

What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

It’s So Amazing by Robie Harris

Arming America by Michael Bellasiles

Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane

Life is Funny by E.R. Frank

Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

The Fighting Ground by Avi

Blubber by Judy Blume

Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher

Crazy Lady by Jane Leslie Conly

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by George Beard

Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

You Hear Me? by Betsy Franco

The Facts Speak for Themselves by Brock Cole

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Green

When Dad Killed Mom by Julius Lester

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going

Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Draw Me A Star by Eric Carle

The Stupids (series) by Harry Allard

The Terrorist by Caroline B. Cooney

Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

A Time to Kill by John Grisham

Always Running by Luis Rodriguez

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen

Junie B. Jones (series) by Barbara Park

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

What’s Happening to My Body Book by Lynda Madaras

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Anastasia (series) by Lois Lowry

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Crazy: A Novel by Benjamin Lebert

The Joy of Gay Sex by Dr. Charles Silverstein

The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

Black Boy by Richard Wright

Deal With It! by Esther Drill

Detour for Emmy by Marilyn Reynolds

So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Watkins

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher

Cut by Patricia McCormick

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissenger

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Graighead George

The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar

Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard

Goosebumps (series) by R.L. Stine

Shade’s Children by Garth Nix

Grendel by John Gardner

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

I Saw Esau by Iona Opte

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

100 America: A Novel by Frank E.R.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Carole P. Roman Celebrating, Talk Like A Pirate Giveaway

Ahoy Me Mateys and all you Landlubbers! In these parts it is "Talk Like A Pirate Day" (September 19th) and Author Carole P. Roman of the Captain No Beard book series is celebrating!

I am so excited to get talk like a pirate all day and also host another giveaway for Carole P. Roman. Shiver me timbers! She has found the motherload box full of some things that only the best pirates would love to have. Look at this pirate booty!

*Popcorn Popper on Cart
*Movie Theater Popcorn
*Captain No Beard Series of Books (4 total)
Approximate value $350

Aye, you can win all of these fine treasures when you enter in the Rafflecopter below. Arr!

Code of Conduct aka disclosure:
This giveaway is sponsored by Author, Carole P. Roman who is providing all prizes to one winner.
The blogs hosting, co-hosting, nor this blog of Once Upon A Time/Just The Stuff Ya Know  are not responsible for prize shipment.
The giveaway begins at 12AM MST on Sept. 19, 2013 and ends at 12AM MST on Oct. 4, 2013.
Open to US Only.
This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube or any other social media outlet.
Winner must respond to an email sent within 48 hours or an alternate winner will be drawn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is hosted by Away We Go Media. Please contact if you have social media needs.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review of Skinny Little Tree

Skinny Litte Tree by Jayme Martin and illustrator Clark Andrews Jr. is a short 28 page mostly picture book for the emergent reader.

The book tells the story of a little boy who meets up with a tree who in the beginning is happy. The sun is shining, a bird is singing on its branch and all is right in the world for the tree. The story moves into the different seasons with the skinny little tree changing as the seasons do. The boy interacts with the tree asking it questions as life moves along.

On every other page, the young reader is asked to draw a picture in response to what is going on in that particular season. For example drawing leaves.

This is a very quick read and definitely for the young child. I would say probably birth up to 4.
I wish I could say I was impressed with this picture book but alas, I was not. I found the pictures to be dull and cheesy.  I also did not think much of the story itself. Even though it was an easy read and good for the age level, I thought that it did not have much of a story line for it.

I can only give this book: 2 stars.
However, I hope this author can do well in her next book.
~Naila Moon

Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for my open and honest opinion. The opinion expressed here are 100% my own.

Where to find Jayme Martin:

Book Tour Announcement

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Review of Blueberry Bubble Gum by Mahamad Ali ElFakir

Blueberry Bubble Gum is the tale of Max who is freshly out of second grade and looking forward to hanging out with friends and playing baseball. He has usually nothing on his mind except baseball that includes telling the truth.

Max's father brings home a magic bag of blueberry bubble gum which he tells Max not to chew unless he knows the rules about doing so. Of course Max's curiosity gets the best of him and he ends up chewing several pieces.

When his mom finds out she is very upset with him because he lied about chewing the gum and did not follow the rules. However, his mom's anger turns to concern when Max gets sick and ends up floating away on a blueberry bubble that comes out the seat of his pants.

Max is then taken to the magical kingdom of Blueberry Bubble Gum World where he must complete a task and learn important lessons before he can return home.

Will Max learn his lessons about not following rules and lying? Will he ever get home?
Read this book and find out.


I really thought this was a well written and cute book. The author was able to wrap fantasy, humor, and life's lessons all in one book.It is for the older child who knows how to read so about first grade level up.  The photos that are included only enhance the story itself.

Children will get a kick out of the bubble coming out of the pants and for sure will have some giggles at the thought of this happening. They will also strongly get the whole point of the story because the message is quite clear. I know I did. 

I give this book: 5 stars!
~Naila Moon
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for my open and honest opinion. The words expressed her are 100% my own
Mahamad Ali Elfakir
Where to find Mahamad Ali ElFakir


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review of Strangers On The High Seas by Carole P. Roman & Giveaway

Strangers On The High Seas is the fourth installment of the "Captain No Beard" series by Carole P. Roman. We once again find Alexander aka Captain No Beard and First Mate Hallie on another seaworthy adventure. This time a new member, his baby sister Cayla, has joined the crew of his ship the Flying Dragon.

Captain No Beard struggles with having to watch his baby sister and yet, keep his ship afloat. Upon this adventure, the crew encounters the most dangerous pirates of Captain Barnabas and First Mate Crab Cakes. Captain No Beard's crew does not know these pirates, for they are strangers and decides to stay clear of them.

Captain Barnabas pursues Captain No Beard and his crew and all things seem to be nothing but trouble until a shift in the wind and a certain crew member saves the day.

Who is this crew member on the Flying Dragon and what does she do to save the day?
Well, read the story and find out, you might be surprised!
In my mind, Carole P. Roman has done it again with this picture book!

The story flows along in a fun manner but teaches a bit about strangers but more importantly that anyone no matter what their age can be helpful in some way.

The pictures are bright and animated to help the reader imagine along with the crew. The book itself has much more dialog this time which can allow the older child to read on his or her own.

This book is a win-win and deserves the 5 stars it is getting from me.

Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for my open and honest opinion. The opinion expressed here is 100% my own.
Would you like a copy of this book for your own? Well, my dear readers, Carole P. Roman is generously giving away to one of my lucky readers not only this book but the whole Captain No Beard series. This includes: Captain No Beard, Stuck In The Doldrums, Pepper's Problems With Patience, and Strangers On The High Seas.  Enter below!

~Naila Moon

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Naila Moon of Once Upon A Time/ Just The Stuff Ya Know is not responsible for shipment. Carole P. Roman is responsible for prize shipment.
This giveaway is also not affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube or any other social media site.
Giveaway is open World Wide.
Giveaway ends: Sept. 25, 2013 at 12 AM MST
Winner has 48 hours to respond after notification via e-mail or  forfeit prize and another winner will be drawn.

Review of Diva Pearl the Pekingese

You surely have heard the phrase, "It's a dog's life" or other dog related phrases to describe how well treated some dogs can be. Well, in the case of one Pekingese breed dog that is an understatement.

Enters Miss Pearl Essence otherwise known as Diva Pearl, Miss Pearl or just plain Pearl.
Pearl is a real dog champion that won several awards including Best In Show and two time best of opposite sex for the breed. 

Pearl steps out of retirement after seven year to become the magazine cover for Orient Express in 2012 but to also have her very own book entitled, Diva Pearl the Pekingese which included a CD of two songs and video written just for her. Would you believe she has her own web page and Facebook page too. A diva just has to have her things.

Upon reading the book "written" in Pearl's voice, with the help of her human, Vicki Gattuso, the reader learns a little tidbit about how the Pekingese were bred in China and how they became worshipped. Most of all the reader follows along with Pearl in her journey from birth, becoming a champion, becoming a mother, retirement and her comeback gigs after showbiz.

With over 57 pages of photos with Pearl in all her diva-ness which includes family and friends, one simply cannot get enough of her.

Overall, I thought the book was cute and certainly over the top for a dog. However, kids and dog lovers alike will certainly like this book.

The photos are bright and fun. This is no ordinary dog as her awards and life attests to.
The book is classified as a picture book due to the amount of photos in the book so, a really young child as young as 1 year old up to 8 will love this.

The only thing I found to be cheesy about this was the included CD. To me, it really leant nothing to the book other than being a little bonus for those who would purchase the book.  Frankly, I do not get the writing of two songs to a Champion Pekingese. Maybe though, that is just me.

I give this book: 3 Stars.

~Naila Moon

PS. In Diva Pearl's book insert of information, there was a card that said she was available for movie rolls, just in case anyone is interested.

photo source

Where to find the author, Miss Pearl and her human pet, Vicki Gattuso:

Pearl's Website
Pearl's Facebook

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book and CD for my open and honest review. The words expressed here are 100% my own.