Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Balance of November

During the month of November, 2016, I reviewed the following:

- "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 55-57" by Werner Stejskal. Read my review.
- "Lost Coast Rocket" by Joel Horn. Read my review.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Book "Lost Coast Rocket" by Joel Horn

About the Book: Rockets are in Ken's DNA. At an early age, he develops a friendship with Akira, a boy who shares his passion for astronautics. While both are child prodigies, Akira does well in private school but Ken rebels against structured education. The unlikely duo draws together a small group of rocketeers, meeting in the shop behind Ken's house.
A tragic event at eight years of age haunts Ken through his growing-up years and shapes his destiny. As fate would have it, the girl at the center of the traumatic experience joins Ken's rocket club, unaware of their shared history. Will Ken tell Dawn that he is the boy she seeks?
As the group reaches their teen years, their rocket designs start pushing legal boundaries, culminating in an event that puts them in the crosshairs of an FBI investigator. To protect his friends and seek refuge from his past, Ken devises an escape plan that confounds the authorities and the world.

About the Author: Joel Horn was barely five years old when his family moved to the wilderness. Growing up in the rugged Trinity Alps, Joel and his two older brothers learned how to do the numerous and varied tasks necessary for survival while carving out a life in their remote paradise.
Living this self-reliant life and tutored by the best of teachers, their dad and hands-on experience, the boys achieved a level of self-sufficiency rarely seen in modern times. In Impossible Beyond This Point, Joel combines his parents' writings with his own recollections to create a fascinating and entertaining account of the family's struggle and triumph creating a self-sufficient life in the wilderness.
Lost Coast Rocket is Joel’s debut novel. The story continues in the second book in the Mare Tranquillitatis Series, Hatching the Phoenix Egg.
You can find Joel online at

My Review: This is a very well written and edited book. Very entertaining, will keep you hooked from the first page until the end. Ken is the grandson of a NASA engineer. He meets his good friend, Akira, in a park when they were toddlers and they start a friendship that will last for ages and together they start playing with rocket models until they get enough knowledge to develop their own models. Others get involved and soon they have a group of young kids, each one with its own expertise, contributing to a common goal of developing a prototype rocket that should reach 100 miles altitude. And they do that with an old design based on drawings of Ken's grandfather. In the mix there is a dose of romance and all the good ingredients that will make this story an instant success. 
I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers that appreciate a very good novel with components of science-fiction, sweet romance, adventure, and a very intelligent plot. It will keep you entertained for hours and you will be willing to read the second book in the series (Hatching the Phoenix Egg) as soon as possible. Go for it, you will not be disappointed!

If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Book "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 55-57" by Werner Stejskal

About the Book: Oliver is an elegant tuxedo cat, who is full of himself. As a matter of fact he says: “I love myself!”, quite often. Naughty, isn’t he? But his best friend Jumpy, a kangaroo lady, is aware that he has a soft heart and will always want to help others. The great thing is Jumpy’s pouch, which Oliver loves to ride in! He calls her his kangaroo taxi! These little bedtime stories with their lovely illustrations are great for small kids. A parent can read the text and tell the child in his own words. These animal stories have sufficient text to keep early readers happy and provide some educational value. Love you all! Meow!
  • Story 55: Flood – The land gets flooded and Oliver is of great help, as always. 
  • Story 56: Lazy Squirrel – The lazy squirrel boy is taught a lesson to help others. 
  • Story 57: Unexpected Lory – Oliver has to deal with a know-it-all teenager.

About the Author: Born in Vienna, Austria, Werner is now living in the paradise of Perth, Australia with his wife, two married children, and three grandchildren. He worked many years in the printing industry and later for the United Nations in Vienna. His wife had been a pen-friend, whom Werner visited in Hong Kong and finally got married to. After an eventful life, now retired, he began to write children's stories, had them illustrated through Upwork, narrated them himself for YouTube and finally published the ebooks on most platforms. Werner's dream is to see "Oliver and Jumpy" animated as a TV series.
There are lots of fairy tales and bedtime stories around and many of them quite violent. This made Werner decide to write something different. On a flight from Europe to Australia, he watched the movie Magic on Belle Island with Morgan Freeman, where Freeman teaches a little girl to have imagination and write her first story. This inspired Werner as well and the first stories with his two characters Oliver, the elegant tomcat, and Jumpy, his kangaroo lady friend, made their appearance. Some very capable illustrators have helped to create this picture book series.

My Review: This book is part of a series called Oliver and Jumpy. This particular volume has stories 55 - Flood, 56 - Lazy Squirrel, and 57 - Unexpected Lory. It is an excellent gift for parents with children under 8 as suggested by the author. The book is beautifully illustrated by Maycee Ann Reyes and that is a very important plus, as its main audience will rely on the images to follow the stories, as many will not have reached the age to start reading by themselves. In "Flood", as a storm approaches, Oliver invites his friends Jumpy and Joey to shelter at his treehouse. As things get worst, he ended up having to shelter many other animals and they have to behave themselves! In the "Lazy Squirrel", Oliver plays a detective, trying to figure out what was happening to the nuts that Squirly had been saving for the winter and were disappearing... Finally in "Unexpected Lory", after doing some exercise with Mousy chasing him for a while Oliver returns to his house to find a nice young lady cat sleeping on his pillow! All stories are very sweet and even touching and the characters are always showing good behavior. No violence, nothing too scary or too exciting, it will keep your toddler entertained (but not over excited) during that critical bedtime period. They will love the stories and soon enough Oliver and Jumpy will be in their hearts forever.
In my kindle fire the story was presented in landscape orientation. No option to have it in portrait orientation, but this is far away from being a problem. I just thought it was worth mentioning. I highly recommend this book to the permanent library of any parent that is willing to entertain their kids during bedtime.

If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment.