Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review of Floppy The Mystery Dog and The New Kid by Denise A. Bloomfield and Diana R. Starr

In a classic tale of the new kid on the block, Floppy The Mystery Dog and The New Kid  introduces Tommy. Tommy has come to a new town and new school far away from his friends because his Dad found new employment.

Being stuck at home on a rainy day, Tommy finds himself being bored out of his mind. All of a sudden the rains turn interesting and a wonderful dog appears. This dog, named Floppy, practically adopts himself into Tommy's new family.

Floppy is a special kind of dog that helps Tommy in very unique ways to adjust to his new life and maybe meet a friend along the way.
This sweet little chapter book is the first in hopefully a series for Denise A. Bloomfield and Diana R. Starr. It is not for the emergent reader but ones who can comprehend words pretty well. In the back of the book are reader discussion questions that would make it perfect for the traditional or homeschool class rooms.

This is a must read and gets 5 stars.
~Naila Moon

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for my open and honest review. The views expressed here are 100% my own.
Where to find the authors:
Denise A. Bloomfield 
Diana R. Starr 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Review of Chasing Butterflies by Harry Toews

Chasing Butterflies by author, Harry Toews  is a cute and short children's book that follows Sophia and Matteo who are enjoying playing in the backyard garden of their Grandma's house. They have gone to visit her for the Summer like they do every year.

Things are always fascinating at their Grandma's house, whom they call Abuela. Grandma always has a little lesson to teach them, although they really are not aware of that. This year, it is about magic.

As Sophia and Matteo explore they discover things that seem ugly and out of place which includes an ugly green worm. They capture this worm and forget it about it. However, they soon find out that not everything is as it appears. They also learn the lesson that  judging something or someone that looks different before knowing is not the answer and within that is...magic.

Harry Toews along with his  illustrator Viser has managed to create the simplest of lessons visually appealing but yet interesting enough for the emergent reader. The lessons are understood quickly and without a lot of babble.  The illustrations vibrant and not overly done.

I am sure that any kid would love these series of books.

This book gets 4 stars from me.
~Naila Moon

Disclosure: I received a Kindle version of this book for my open and honest review. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Where to find Harry Toews:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review of Children of the Knight by Michael J. Bowler


According to legend, King Arthur is supposed to return when Britain needs him most. So why does a man claiming to be the once and future king suddenly appear in Los Angeles?

This charismatic young Arthur creates a new Camelot within the City of Angels to lead a crusade of unwanted kids against an adult society that discards and ignores them. Under his banner of equality, every needy child is welcome, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or gang affiliation.

With the help of his amazing First Knight, homeless fourteen-year-old Lance, Arthur transforms this ragtag band of rejected children and teens into a well-trained army—the Children of the Knight. Through his intervention, they win the hearts and minds of the populace at large, and gain a truer understanding of themselves and their worth to society. But seeking more rights for kids pits Arthur and the children squarely against the rich, the influential, and the self-satisfied politicians who want nothing more than to maintain the status quo.

Can right truly overcome might? Arthur’s hopeful young knights are about to find out, and the City of Angels will never be the same.
My Review:

When I first heard about this book I thought it had to be absolutely cool because it was about King Arthur coming back to modern times and having his knights of the round table.

In actuality, I was right and oh so wrong! The book is about King Arthur coming back to modern times but that is pretty much where it begins and ends. Having the round table as we know it from history is nothing like I had ever read.
The story opens with a gang war about to happen in one of the barrios of Los Angeles due to a  large A with a cross in the middle that has been posted over the top of other gang tagging. Each gang thinking the other had done it.

The story moves along to find King Arthur fully awake in this new place with a mission he must do. He is seen coming to the rescue of a 14 year old street kid named, Lance, who will eventually become his First Knight and significant throughout the entire book.

With Lance's help and guidance through this strange new era, King Arthur recruits other children of the streets from the drug dealers, to the homosexuals, to the abused and neglected. All come to stay with Arthur and Lance and are trained to be honorable and forthright. All are accepted for who they are, girls and boys alike, one thousand strong, will all come to be known as King Arthur's Knights.

Led by the King they will begin to clean up the areas and streets they once formerly ran. The children will fight for the right to be heard as children. For their right to be protected by the very adults who should have protected them. They will learn to live and respect each other as 'brothers' and 'sisters' not as enemies who have claimed an area of the city. The children will set an example for other adults but will also struggle with the demons that have lived with for so long.

King Arthur stands up for these disenfranchised children but will also learn from mistakes of his past and his present. Oh yes, there is the story of love and love lost in here too. There is the story of hurt, betrayal and denial all wrapped in these pages. There is also loss so deep that the reader wants to cry along with the characters.

To find out what happens to Sir Lance, King Arthur and the other Knights of the Round Table, you must read this book. It is worth it!

Author Michael Bowler did an excellent job of twisting a real historical character in to a modern day twist. He brought to light an age old problem of child neglect in many forms and also the way we humans treat each other.

It would serve us well, to read this book not once but maybe even several times until we learn that our future counts on us and that we need to stand up for them and treat them with the respect they deserve. We need to be the King Arthurs for our children because the cause is not finished. It has only begun.

This book deserves the 5 stars and then some.
~Naila Moon

Disclosure: I was given a free Kindle version of this book for my open and honest opinion. The views expressed here are 100% my own.
This review is also part of the Innovative Online blog tour.

About the author:

Michael J Bowler is an award-winning author of two novels with a third soon to be published. His second book, "A Matter of Time," is a 2012 Silver Medal Winner from Reader's Favorite. He grew up in San Rafael, California. He majored in English and Theatre in college and got a master's in film production. He was producer, writer, and/or director on several films, most notably "Fatal Images," "Dead Girls," "Club Dead," "Things" and "Things II."
He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to seven different boys for 29 years with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles for 28 years. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California.
His newest novel, "Children of the Knight," reflects his many years of experience working with marginalized and disenfranchised youth in California and promotes the premise that reform in all areas that serve our young people is desperately needed, but not desired by the powers-that-be.

Where you can find Michael J. Bowler


I.O. Book Tours

$50 Amazon or Paypal Cash Giveaway for Michael Phillip Cash

Author, Michael Phillip Cash is introducing arrival of his new novella, The Hanging Tree with a new giveaway just in time for Halloween.  I have already reviewed his book and I can tell you, it is fantastic. Needless to say, I am more than excited to bring this giveaway to you, my readers.

Seventeen year old Arielle is at a crossroads in her life. Disenchanted with her father, she is testing the boundaries of his trust by dating someone he does not approve. Under the moonlit sky in Long Island, Arielle and her boyfriend meet beneath the infamous hanging tree. The couple's destiny is rooted to the five spirits in the tree whose lives and deaths are determined by an ancient curse. Will her future be determined by the past or will Arielle's choices alter the course of her life?

Along with a copy of his book, he is giving away a $50 Amazon card or Paypal cash!  Enter below for your chance to win, if you dare.


Disclosure: Author, Michael Phillip Cash is sponsoring this giveaway. Naila Moon/Once Upon A Time and the blogs co-hosting are not responsible for prize shipment.
This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google or and other social media outlet.
Giveaway is open World Wide.
Giveaway ends: Nov. 8, 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.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Review of The Wacky World of Wendy White:A Whopper of a Tale by Barbara Ann Bonilla

First time author, Barbara Bonilla, pens the very cute book of The Wacky World of Wendy White.
The book is divided into three distinct chapters and is written in prose. The book opens with Wendy just turning 12 years old.

Wendy lives in White Castle with only her father for company. She is truly bored and wishes to break out and explore the world. For her birthday she decides to venture out and find some excitement.

Using familiar social media, she looks up a friend that she met at church to see if she could find where she lives.  Along the way she meets some very interesting people with very interesting and quite familiar names.

She encounters a bully who ends up shoving her in a box with the twin of her friend Eventually escaping she meets up with her friend, Denny and large family. Wendy is enticed with such a large family and especially the cook of the family. Her adventures continues with this family and their friends and ends in a heart warming wrap up.

The Wacky World of Wendy White is chock-full of food references, restaurants, treats and candy. If you are someone who loves food, or is a self proclaimed food junky, as the author suggests she is, then you will love this book.

The only real issues I have with this book is that some words are misspelled in order to keep the prose going. This could be an issue for kids, especially for those who already having spelling problems. Ms. Bonilla also did her own illustrations which were ok but really did not lend much to her completed book over all.

However, the writer's writing style is fun and when reading the book you cannot wait to see what food comes up next or how she will incorporate it into the story. Her character, Wendy is precocious and the friends she meets are just the ones a reader would want to have.
The best part of course is the ending chapter which I will of course not reveal because after all, you my readers need to read the book yourself.

I truly like this book and it gets a 4 1/2 star review from me.

Disclosure: I received this book for my open and honest review. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own.
~Naila Moon

Where to find Barbara Ann Bonilla:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review of T-Bone The Flying Horse

In her first debut book, Janice Virant writes about a horse named T-Bone. Although, T-Bone is based on her real life horse, this story is anything but real.

The story begins rather sadly as T-Bone dreams of being a racehorse but cannot because he is too slow and because there is no one to love him.

Later on he gets his wish to be loved and is adopted by a young girl, who just happens to be sad and lonely too. Together they go on magical adventurers when T-Bone grows wings! They become good friends and are not lonely any longer.

I wish that I could say I liked this book better but I don't.

I actually had issue with the fact that the book starts out so sad. It takes a few pages for things to get happy. Also, I felt the illustrations were somewhat cheesy as they look like they could have been done by a kid.

The best thing about this book was written in poetic rhyme and is really the main emphasis of the book.

I do wish Janice Virant well and hope she keeps writing but unfortunately, I can only give this book 2 stars.
~Naila Moon

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book for free for my open and honest opinion. The opinion expressed here are 100% my own.

Review of The Shadow of Atlantis by Wendy Leighton-Porter

"Ten year old twins, Joe and Jemima Lancelot have no idea why their parents have disappeared, but a mysterious old book which had belonged to their mother and father holds the answer...and so begins an unusual quest to discover the truth."

My Review:

The book opens with Joe and Jemima's beloved cat, Max, watching curiously as some strange event is unfolding in the attic. This event culminates in the twin's parents disappearing.

The children go to live with their Uncle Richard and his housekeeper Mrs. Garland. They befriend the next door neighbor boy, Charlie.
The trio soon finds the mysterious and old dusty book that belongs to the Lancelot twin's parents.

With a little 10 year old ingenuity, they manage to open the book and discover one of its secrets...getting swept back in time to Atlantis! There they meet Varda and are able to speak her language in yet another secret of the book. It turns out, so can Max! Varda takes the trio to meet her parents and family whom they end up staying with.

The adventure continues as Joe, Jemima, Charlie and Max along with Varda's help, explore this ancient and mythical city. Of course with every good story they run into some major trouble, especially when they try to warn the city people about impending danger.

Will they be able to warn the inhabitants in time? Will the manage to find their way out of trouble and return home? Will they find their parents? That is up to you to find out when you read the book.
This chapter book by author, Wendy Leighton-Porter is certainly for the adventure seeking kid. This is her first in a series and really does not disappoint.

Even though I am much older than the 8 year old up that would be recommended age group to read this, I found myself engrossed in this book.

It had everything the young adventurer wants, fun characters who are relatable, mystery and a little mayhem too.

This book is a must read and gets 5 stars!
~Naila Moon

Where to find Wendy Leighton-Porter:

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for my open and honest opinion. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

This review is also part of this blog tour:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Review of The Hanging Tree by Michael Phillip Cash

In a break from his full size novels, Michael Phillip Cash has done it again with a new novella that he has just released this week. The short story called, The Hanging Tree is everything you would expect from a thriller writer. Intrigue, mystery, ghostly presence, it's all there.

The story begins to unfolds in present time with two young teens, Arielle and Chad, who are making out under an old tree dubbed, "the hanging tree". Chad is pushing Arielle in a direction that she may not want to go and it is now a make it or break it decision.

Intertwined within, are five spirits from the past who are watching the whole thing unfold. They begin to tell their tragic tales of being at this very same tree and what it meant for them. Their stories are eerily familiar and all their deaths are based on a curse that be felled them.

Can this curse be broken in time so no harm comes to Arielle or Chad?
Ah, but if I told you, my dear readers, then that would give away the twisted makings of this tale.

I read this in about an hour and half to two hours. It really is packed full of imagery considering the shortness of the book. It well worth the time and just perfect for the Halloween season upon us.

An easy 5 stars here!
~Naila Moon

Disclosure: I received a Kindle version of this book for free to review. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Interview with author, Michael Phillip Cash

Recently I asked author Michael Phillip Cash to do an interview with me about his books. I wanted to do this as part of my Halloween review month. He was quite gracious. Here is the review in its entirety. ~Naila Moon

Welcome Michael Cash. Thank you for taking the time to do an interview with me and my blog, "Once Upon A Time." We are here to discuss about you and your books, Brood X  and  Stillwell.

Please tell me a little about yourself. 
My name is Michael Phillip Cash and I am a self published author, and screenwriter. I currently live on the North Shore of Long Island with my wife and children. In my lifetime I have been an entrepreneur, mechanic, marketing executive and a salesperson.

How did you get your start in the book industry?
I have screenplays since I’m 16. One particular screenplay I liked enough to turn into a novel for. I’ve read a book called Just Ask the Universe and it motivated me to self-publish. The book harnesses your ambition and dreams and drives you to follow your wishes. Armed with this new attitude, I self-published and followed up Brood X with Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island.

Is thriller books alway something that has interested you? Why?
I love the horror/thriller genre because it’s the most primal way to tell a story. People love to feel the thrill from the characters and I enjoy conveying that feeling to them.

Let’s talk first about your book Brood X.

Living on Long Island, did you experience the Brood first hand?
The sounds of cicada have always been prominent on Long Island during the summer months. Although I have actually never experienced a formidable infestion, I was once watching Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and it hit me, what would happen if nature decided to revolt against humanity. Living through SuperStorm Sandy, I had a first hand observation of how vulnerable we really are.

What kinds of preparations would someone really have been able to do in such an event?
 My event was completely catastrophic and the way it happened was not believable. It was a story. We all know the bugs could not replicate that fast. And if nature decided to attack us in this manner, we really wouldn’t have any hope. Brood X is not about cicada, its really about the fact that we are living our life blind folded and not thinking about anything beyond our own pleasure. But that doesn’t mean as parents or children, we shouldn’t be prepared for emergencies. People should have emergency plans with their families. This is so important. My family always had such plans and when 9/11 happened, even though my family was spread throughout Long Island, we knew what each person was doing without relying on communicating with each other. People should always speak with their important family members about what to do in any type of emergency. We rely too much on social media and technology to get us by, and when something disastrous happens, the last thing you want is pandemonium.

Which of your characters do you closely relate to and why?
I know each of the characters. I have gone to school with them, I worked with them and many of them I’m related too. They represent a microcosm of where society is right now. We are self-indulged. Narcissistic and totally not prepared for catastrophes. 
Now, let’s talk about Stillwell.

How is it that you got so interested in the paranormal?
I have always been interested in the paranormal since I was a young boy. It wasn’t until the television series Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel came about that I started writing about Ghosts and History. I find it fascinating.

Have you ever been haunted or lived in a place that was?
I don’t really believe in hauntings. I feel spirits visit us on this plane from the other side and they make their presence known to communicate with us. I certainly don’t believe in evil spirits or demons. Growing up, I lived in a ranch that was built over an old Revolutionary War campsite. Very often, when watching TV, my brother and I would see a figure out of the corner of our eyes roaming the hallways. We didn’t know if it was a figment of our imagination. Until one day, we had some friends over the house and they asked who was the guy walking the hallway. It was pretty validating to say the least.
What was your inspiration for the principal character in this book? 
Again, I know these people. They live in my neighborhood. Paul is the great guy who lives down the block. A devoted father and husband.

In Stillwell, your main character visits a psychic, Georgia Oaken. Would you like to elaborate on your thoughts about psychics and what they can do for those who are looking for loved ones?
 I can only speak from experience of going to a famous Long Island Medium who definitely contacted my relatives on the other side. Its not who you think it is, he is lesser known, but has an unbelievable track record. The things he told me were by far, the most astounding and illuminating in my experience.

Do you personally think we have a soul? If so, why do you think we get caught up here and don’t move on?
We are ghosts(souls) in the machine (body) and I feel we are all here by choice to learn a lesson. We absolutely have a soul that lives beyond the physical body. Our spirits are eternal and exist together in a special place. We pick the family and friends to interact with on this plan to teach our souls how to grow mentally and spiritually. I don’t feel we get caught up on this earthly plain. I really do believe we are here to learn things and teach other and I strongly feel everything happens for a reason.

I see that you have another book coming out soon? Can I get a hint
The Hanging Tree is a novella about an infamous tree on Long Island that is haunted with restless spirits. The theme is about fate and making the right choices. I’m also trying something new and working on a fantasy/dystopian novel of an otherworldly nature. I’m having a blast creating my own Universe.   

Do you have more in the works?
 I always have things in the works. I have a few other ghost stories I’m working researching. One is a true story about a ghost who testifies at her own murder trial. The other is a Victorian Ghost Romance.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Write, write, write. Don’t be afraid. Google is your friend. And is the single best invention for anyone who wants to get their works to the masses. 

Ok some fun questions:
What was your favorite costume growing up? Your worst?
Feddy Krueger, hands down (no pun intended). He was an icon when I was growing up and my parents bought me the hand blade, which I still have.
Worst costume – my mom dressed me as a handyman one year. I was the butt of many jokes. I carried around a paint can for the candy.
Did you ever play ‘ghost in the graveyard’?
No sorry, but I was obsessed with the movie The Goonies. My parents bought me a movie camera when I was 8 and I spent hours filming my friends acting out as the rambunctious, treasure seeking team.

What is your favorite spooky movie?
Poltergeist, definitely. It still brings shivers down my spine. It had the three elements needed for a perfect Monster in the House movie – The Ghost, The House, and the Sin of not respecting the dead (the town moved the graveyard and the bodies of the Indian tribe). Great stuff.
If you could be haunted by any famous person, who would it be and why?
Well, personally, I’d rather not be haunted by anyone, but if I could speak with any famous person that isn’t here anymore, I’d probably want to channel Chris Farley. Why not make your hauntings humorous and have some laughs.

Once again, thank you, Michael, so much for allowing me to interview you. I have found you to be quite an intriguing person.
THANK YOU so much! I had a blast!!

Michael Phillip Cash on Amazon
Michael Phillip Cash on Facebook

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Read and get a gift

Read and review "Stillwell" by Michael Phillip Cash. Right now on sale for $1.99.
Submit proof of purchase and review to get a free gift.
Good through Halloween!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Review of Zombie Town by R.L. Stine

In the 90's my kids loved watching the "Goosebumps" Series by R. L. Stine. They simply could not get enough of them. The fact was, I liked the shows too. They also read and absorbed his books.

Recently, I decided to purchase a couple of the authors individual titles to read for myself. The first of which is Zombie Town.

The book opens with two suburbanite kids, Karen and Mike who go to the local theater to see a hot new movie called "Zombie Town". Even though the movie is supposed to be popular, they find themselves all alone in the theatre.

Thinking this is quite weird, the two settle down to watch the movie although Mike is very uneasy of the situation. Karen assures him there is no such thing as zombies.

Just as the movie begins it also abruptly ends. The two go to figure out what the issue is only to find themselves locked in and soon being chased by the very zombies that were on the screen. In fact, the theatre becomes inundated with them.

Escaping they find the town to have also changed and zombies invading. Their pursuit of survival is based on their friendship and family. Or is it?

The book ends in an unexpected twist but only one that R.L. Stine can do.

As before, R. L. Stine did not disappoint me in his writing. The book kept me wanting more and more. Of course it was a short read and I read it in nothing flat but I simply could not put it down until I was done. I am looking forward to the next one!

4 stars.
~Naila Moon

Review of Good Intentions by D. N. Simmons


Scitech Labs was handsomely commissioned by the United States Military to design a revolutionary serum that would create the ultimate soldier. If successful, the soldier would have an increase in endurance, strength, awareness and overall speed. They would become the true super soldier. That's if everything went according to plan. 

Scitech put its best scientists on the project and gave them a time limit to complete the job or else. With the pressure on and the stakes high, Vincent Masterson and his team put everything they had into the project.  Everything was looking hopeful until an experiment went horribly wrong. The scientists mutated their specimen's DNA, turning it into something monstrous. Now, life as we know it will never be the same. 

As it stands, the only thing that can save them is one of the two things they should be running from. 
Can the human race survive being caught in a bloody war between two vicious predators?

My review:

When I was first asked to review this book, I was told that if I liked zombies and vampires, I would like this book.

To be honest, the books I had read prior to this could be considered light reading and very tongue in cheek compared to Good Intentions. From almost the start of the book I was thrust into the characters lives, who they were, and what made them tick.

The scientist, Vincent Masterson was generally a good guy who cared about humanity. When money and the possibility of saving humanity is thrown at him by the government, that persona went out the door along with his ethics. In turn, chaos of epic proportions ensues causing wide spread terror and zombies roaming the earth.

It seems no one or nothing can stop the zombies from killing and feeding on the non-infected humans. In fact, as it turns out, the zombies are able to infect another race, the vampires, who have to come out of hiding to save not only themselves but the human race as well.

There is non-stop gore in this book. I swear to you that if it was possible, the pages themselves would have dripped with blood and guts. I made the mistake of reading this in the darkness of night only to have a bit of trouble going to sleep.

Along with all that, there is a bit of heavy language but nothing that would make me shut the book. I whole heartedly was into this book and read it in no time. My only disappointment? It ended abruptly just as I was really getting into it. I had absolutely no realization that this was only the first in a series!

All in all, good book but I think probably an average read for those who really like this genre.
In any case, D.N. Simmons does a good job and kept my interest and therefore deserves 4 stars.

~Naila Moon

Disclosure: I received this Kindle edition for free for my open and honest opinion. The views expressed here are 100% my own.

About the author:

D. N. Simmons lives in Chicago IL., with a rambunctious German Shepherd that's too big for his own good and mischievous kitten that she affectionately calls "Itty-bitty". Her hobbies include rollerblading, billiards, bowling, reading, watching television and going to the movies. She has been nominated at Love Romances and More, winning honorable mention for best paranormal book of 2006. She has won "Author of the Month" at Warrior of Words. She was voted "New Voice of Today" at Romance Reviews and "Rising Star" at Love Romance and More.Blog
Facebook Good Intention

This review is also part of the Innovative Blog Tour.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Giveaway for $50 Amazon Card or Paypal Cash on behalf of author Wendy Leighton-Porter

The following is a shared giveaway for a blog stop tour that I belong to on behalf of author Wendy Leighton-Porter for her book, Shadow of Atlantis. I have reviewed her book and that review will be live on October 15th. Please stop by Amazon and check out her reviews.
If you would like a chance of winning a $50 Amazon Card or Paypal cash that Wendy is so generously giving away, enter in the Rafflecopter below. Thanks, Naila Moon   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Help Set the World Reading Record and Give Some Books

I am participating in this event today. If you wish to join me you can find the book online at the link below. I believe in getting books in the hands of kids so, when you read from this link, the company sends books to kids. Win!

I received no compensation for this post but the enjoyment of reading. ~Naila Moon

Help Set World Reading Record with We Give Books TODAY!

We Give Books and readers from across the country and around the world are coming together to show their support for early childhood literacy. Join us TODAY for Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, a national celebration of literacy that highlights the need for high quality early childhood education in America by mobilizing children and adults to set a record for the largest shared reading experience. Help us set a world reading record by reading Loren Long’s new classic Otis on When you read online with We Give Books, you will automatically be counted towards the world reading record and the new digital reading record!