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Double Review: Double or Nothing by Johanna Hurwitz +GIVEAWAY!

Today I'm reviewing TWO books which is perfect since they are books about twins!

The Books:

Double or Nothing With the Two and Only Kelly Twins
What's the same about identical twins -- and what's different? Sleepovers, poetry projects, and new haircuts are in play as seven-year-old Arlene and Ilene start coming into their own. 

Arlene and Ilene love so many things about being identical twins. They like sharing a room, sharing friends, and wearing matching outfits. But they're in different classes at school, and one twin has a scar that the other one doesn't. One morning, their friends Monty and Joey point out a new difference that takes the sisters by surprise and gets them thinking: if they are identical twins, why are there differences between them at all? Their tongues must be the same, so why do they like different kinds of ice cream? Why does Arlene wear pink nail polish while Ilene thinks it's silly? Why is Ilene sleeping soundly when Arlene is awake, wondering how she can be sure that she is Arlene, not Ilene?

The Two and Only Kelly Twins
Second-graders Arlene and Ilene Kelly are twins — identical twins to be exact — and they love being a pair. They love to dress alike, they have identical pet ferrets, and they do everything together. But being a twin is not always easy. When a set of triplets comes to school, Arlene and Ilene wonder whether triplets are more special than twins. At Halloween, on different streets in identical witch costumes, some neighbors think that the girls are one person trying to get extra candy. And when Arlene gets sick and has to visit the hospital, the twins each find out what it’s like to be one instead of two. But whether they’re together or apart, Arlene and Ilene know they’re lucky to have each other.

About the Author
Johanna Hurwitz is a former children’s librarian and the award-winning author of more than seventy books for children, including The Two and Only Kelly Twins and four books about Arlene and Ilene’s friend Monty, who lives on their street. Ms. Hurwitz divides her time between Great Neck, New York, and Wilmington, Vermont. To learn more, visit her website:

There you'll see a lovely interview with the NYPL:

Praise for the Books
“These realistic predicaments with warm resolutions will fare well with the chapter-book set. Singletons' interest in twins will be piqued while multiples will find much to relate to.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Accessible text and frequent illustrations make this a friendly pick for young readers tackling their first chapter books. Themes of identity and self-discovery join amiable characters reminiscent of Clementine, Ivy, and Bean, making this a solid addition to early chapter-book collections.”

Sign up for a free downloadable curriculum guide for both books here.

I remember when I was young really wanting to be a twin! Does everybody feel that way??? It's because of that I can see these book appealing to young elementary girls.  I found the girls very cute, but also realistic.  They aren't perfect.  They do things to get themselves in trouble, and they do bicker with each other.  I liked that because it made them see like typical little girls!  I loved the story triplets move to their school! Here they've always been the unique ones because they are twins, but now they've been moved aside for triplets.  It was cute to watch them struggle with this!  I do think - tho my favorite part was when people accused them of trying to just get double Halloween candy.  I can completely see that happening!  Oh - and how can I forget their adorable ferrets! Loved that part of the books.  It was fun to see a pet besides a cat or dog!

In short:  Cute, cute books that I can see early elementary girls really enjoying! 

Double fun giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive both books featuring the Kelly twins--THE TWO AND ONLY KELLY TWINS and DOUBLE OR NOTHING WITH THE TWO AND ONLY KELLY TWINS (U.S. addresses).

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Blog Tour: My Life as a Ninja +GIVEAWAY

Very excited to be a part of this blog tour!  

My 9 year-old loves these books, so I knew I had to help promote this one!  

Watch for my review in the next couple of days! 

About The Book:

Author: Janet Tashjian 
Pub. Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Pages: 240
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Book 6 in the bestselling My Life series!

Derek Fallon has expanded his taste in cartoons to the world of manga and anime. Together with his friends Carly, Matt, and Umberto, Derek has fun learning about all the cool aspects of ninja culture. When someone starts vandalizing their school with graffiti of a mischievous troll-like figure, these ninjas-in-training are convinced they'll be able to crack the case. But it turns out that being a ninja is a lot more work than they thought, and this adventure brings about new opportunities for Derek to embarrass himself. For once, can he be the hero that saves the day?

A Christy Ottaviano Book

About Janet:

Janet Tashjian is a middle-grade and young adult novelist who’s been writing books for children for fifteen years. Her first novel Tru Confessions was made into a critically acclaimed Disney TV movie starring Clara Bryant and Shia LaBeouf. The Gospel According to Larry is a cult favorite and Fault Line is taught in many middle and high schools. Her novels My Life As a Book, My Life As a Stuntboy, and My Life As a Cartoonist are all illustrated by her teenage son, Jake. Their collaboration continues with My Life As a Ninja coming April of 2017.

Janet lives with her family in Los Angeles, enjoying her respite from the long Boston winters. When she isn’t writing, she’s rewriting. Learn more about her and all her books at!

Janet has been doing school visits for fifteen years; you can email her at for details.

Check out the rest of the tour
Blog Tour Schedule

4/17/2017A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt
4/19/2017- BookHounds YA- Review
4/20/2017Margie's Must ReadsReview

Giveaway Details:
3 Winners will receive a finished copy of MY LIFE AS A NINJA, US Only.
Ends on April 25th at Midnight EST!

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Blog Tour Book Review: Missing by Kelley Armstrong

Today I'm excited to kick of a blog tour for Kelley Armstrong's new book Missing! I love a good mystery/thriller, so I was excited to be offered a spot on the tour.  

About the book
Winter Crane knows all too well that Reeve’s End is not a place where kids stick around if they can help it. Scores of teens—her sister and best friend included—leave the Appalachian mining town behind as soon as they can and are smart enough to never look back. But when Winter stumbles across a battered boy in the woods, she begins to doubt if everyone who left did so voluntarily. Luckily, growing up on the wrong side of the tracks has left Winter tougher than most. Equipped with a quick mind and hunting skills, Winter is a formidable opponent for anyone lurking in the forest shadows.

If you only have a second: Twists, turns, tension and a bit of romance.  Love it! 

If you have a few minutes:

I haven't read a good thriller mystery in awhile, and this was a good one.  It honestly had me hooked right from the beginning, and I pretty much tore through it in two days.  I'm a sucker for a good mystery filled with tension, and this one had it.  It starts right away with Winter finding Lennon.  I wanted to know who he was, why was he there and could he be trusted.  That feeling continued throughout the whole book.  At different times throughout the book I didn't know who I could trust! I think I question every single main character except for Winter.  Wait! I did question her at once! It just kept me guessing right up until the end.  I thought I had a few things figured out, but nope they twisted one last time on me! 

Besides the great plot, I loved both Winter and Jude the two main characters.  They had depth to them.  I cared about both of them and wanted them to be ok both physically and mentally.  There were a few times I didn't like Winter's choices especially when she went investigating on her own, but I got why she did it.  And of course it really really added to the tension in the story when she did!

Lastly the ending - well done! Everything wrapped up as well as it could.  I felt satisfied although I'd love to know more about their futures! I just hope they are done having to play detective! 

Best stick with you image:  Anything with the feral dogs! 

Best for readers who: Love mysteries and can handle tense scenes! 
Best for ages: 13 up I think - if they can handle tension and some graphic scenes.

*Book provided by publisher in return for an honest review.*

Book Review: I Survived Hurricane Katrina by Lauren Tarshis

Title: I Survived Hurricane Katrina
Author: Lauren Tarshis

Barry's family tries to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina hits their home in New Orleans. But when Barry's little sister gets terribly sick, they're forced to stay home and wait out the storm.

At first, Katrina doesn't seem to be as bad as predicted. But overnight the levees break, and Barry's world is literally torn apart. He's swept away by the floodwaters, away from his family. Can he survive the storm of the century -- alone?

The short story:  I'm glad I finally read one!  I see why my students read them.

The details: My students love these books.  Once they get started on one, they keep coming back to get another one until they've read all we have in the library.  My own son is exactly the same way.  I love them because of this an because they give kids an appropriate look at historical events.  This one did just that.

 It was a quick read.  I read it in one evening, so I know that's one reason why kids read them.  I liked how it gave a clear look at some of the events of hurricane Katrina.  It didn't go into all the events instead focusing on one family and their story.  I think that's what kids need because it lets them see how someone their age might get through a difficult event, and it might help them connect to the story - an in turn the historical event - better.  Barry's story let me, as an adult even, see what the first days of hurricane Katrina were like for people still there.  I got to see a more personal story, and that was good.  Was it simplified - yes, but it needs to be with the audience it's intended for.  If a child is interested in learning more they can.  This just opens the door for that.  

To add about the series in general - I was talking to my son about them.  He told me each story jumps right into the part where the kid is in danger and then backs up so you hear what led up to it.  He said he really liked that they did that.  
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