Category Archives: Children’s Books

Haunted Halloween Holiday by Robbie and Michael Cheadle – Blog Tour

I’m delighted to welcome Robbie and Michael Cheadle to my blog today. They have a new book for your trick-or-tricking fun read with delicious recipes for the activities.

Haunted Halloween Holiday WordCrafter Book Blog Tour

Giveaway

For a chance to win one of three US$10 Amazon vouchers or one of three paperback copies of the Haunted Halloween Holiday, just leave a comment to show you were here.

Follow the tour and comment at each stop for more chances to win.

The prizes will be given away in a random drawing.

Robbie has been writing children’s books with her son Michael for years. It’s an admirable project between mother and son for such a long time. I invited Robbie to talk about Michael and their children’s books.

Hi Robbie, how did you begin writing children’s books with Michael?

Thank you for this question, Miriam. Michael and I started writing together when he was six years old and learning to read and write in Grade 1 at school.

We discovered that year that Michael has a processing learning barrier, and this made reading and writing a little more challenging for him. He is very imaginative and came up with the idea of a little man made of chocolate who lived in a world where you could eat everything. I started helping him develop his ideas, which always started with characters, into rhyming verse stories, and encouraged him to write them down. That was the beginning of the Sir Chocolate series of books.

As time passed, Michael’s enjoyment of sculpturing and baking came to the fore, and we started making 3-D illustrations for the books from fondant, cake, and biscuits.

My brother-in-law suggested we include the recipes and turn our story ideas into a series of first cookbooks for children. We did that and I was fortunate, the third small publisher I sent our ideas to loved them and agreed to publish the books.

That was a steep learning curve at the time for both Anne Samson, director of TSL Publications, and myself. The Sir Chocolate books were among the first children’s books Anne published, so we learned together. My photography and design skills have improved significantly over the past six years since Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream berries story and cookbook were published in August 2016. Of course, my fondant and cake art skills have also improved year-on-year.

The haunted Halloween Holiday came about through discussions with Michael about acceptance of difference and depression. Generation Z is a lot more attuned to social and cultural issues than my generation was, and I learn a lot from him.

I have always enjoyed the concept of Halloween, which doesn’t really feature here in South Africa, so I had been making Halloween-related cakes and figurines for a few years. I put several of these creations into this book, and I think they are my best illustrations to date. I particularly like Jack Frost and his white wonderland.

Jack Frost in a Winter Wonderland

It’s wonderful to hear that, Robbie! What you did with Michael has been empowering his growth and deepening your relationship with him.

Do you see your personality traits in Michael? What are they?

I see personality traits of both mine and my husband’s in both our sons.

Michael has a lot of my artistic characteristics. He is good with color and sculpture and has a good eye for detail and proportion, which is important for this type of art. He also has an amazing imagination. My favorite of his character ideas is the Ice-cream Rainbow Fairies which represent all sorts of different flavors of ice cream. We made up that story together when we were in New Zealand in August 2016. New Zealand is known for its dairy products and has superb ice cream and chocolate. The fairies’ idea developed after a visit to a local ice cream shop which had the biggest array of ice cream flavors I’ve ever seen.

Michael has always read a little slower than Greg and I, but I read every day with him until he was twelve years old. He has an average reading speed for his age group now, which I consider a great achievement.

Michael has suffered ill health all his life and during his long periods of illness, he listened to a lot of audiobooks. I had the entire Roald Dahl series, Enid Blyton Famous Five series, and several classic children’s books like The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat and E Nesbit’s books including The Railway Children, Five Children and It, The Carpet and the Phoenix, and others.

I think both my sons’ love of reading comes from me. Terence isn’t a big reader.

Michael also enjoys writing poetry and has written some good pieces recently.

Michael also has my ability to completely disengage from anything that doesn’t interest him. This is also one of my less admirable characteristics, and I never learned to speak Afrikaans as well as I could have as a result. Thank you, Miriam, for these great questions and for hosting my post today.

You’re welcome, Robbie. It’s my pleasure to have you.

About Haunted Halloween Holiday

Blurb

Count Sugar is delighted when the Sugarpop Bats invites his family to a Halloween party at the Haunted House. He and his wife, Witch Honey, decide to hire a caravan and enjoy a weekend away with their family.

Includes some fun limericks to introduce the various characters.

You can find the book trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fr5OxyUfd4

Purchase links

TSL Publications: https://tslbooks.uk/product/haunted-halloween-holiday-robbie-and-michael-cheadle/

Lulu.com: https://www.lulu.com/shop/michael-cheadle-and-robbie-cheadle/haunted-halloween-holiday/ebook/product-vd5778.html?page=1&pageSize=4

Haunted Halloween Holiday Trailer

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with eleven children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions that children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie and Michael have also written Haunted Halloween Holiday, a delightful fantasy story for children aged 5 to 9. Count Sugar and his family hire a caravan to attend a Halloween party at the Haunted House in Ghost Valley. This story is beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s fondant and cake art creations.

Robbie has published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie Cheadle contributes two monthly posts to https://writingtoberead.com, namely, Growing Bookworms, a series providing advice to caregivers on how to encourage children to read and write, and Treasuring Poetry, a series aimed at introducing poetry lovers to new poets and poetry books.

In addition, Roberta Eaton Cheadle contributes one monthly post to https://writingtoberead.com called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends which shares information about the cultures, myths and legends of the indigenous people of southern Africa.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Robbie Cheadle Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

TSL Publications Robbie Cheadle Author Page: https://tslbooks.uk/product-tag/robbie-cheadle/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SirChocolateBooks

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVyFo_OJLPqFa9ZhHnCfHUA

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Smorgasbord Bookshelf 2022- Share an Extract from your latest book – #Children’s – Tina Lost in a Crowd by Miriam Hurdle

I’m excited to be at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Magazine. She features me today and shares an extract of Tina Lost in a Crowd with an insightful review from Marsha Ingrao. Please hop over to visit her blog. She invites authors to share an extract of a poem from your book.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

In this series you are invited to share an extract of 500 words from your most recent book published within the last 12 months. Details at the end of the post.

The aim of the series

  1. To showcase your latest book and sell some more copies.
  2. Gain more reviews for the book.
  3. Promote a selection of your other books that are available.

Today an extract from a children’s book by Miriam Hurdle – Tina Lost in a Crowd. A book that I can highly recommend.

About the book

Tina invited her friend Erica to attend a popular Tchaikovsky’s Spectacular concert on a summer evening with her parents. During the intermission, her dad left the seat to buy some snacks. Tina and Erica followed him wanting to use the restroom. The shoving crowd pushed them away, and they lost sight of him. It would be impossible to fight through the 18,000…

View original post 931 more words

BOOK REVIEWS: #MYSTERY – JACQUIE BIGGAR, #YA – YVETTE CALLEIRO, #CHILDREN – D.L. FINN

I’ve read many interesting books last month and this month and am happy to share the reviews with you.

Virtually Gone: A Julie Crenshaw Murder/Mystery by Jacquie Biggar

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Virtually Gone by Jacquie Biggar is Book 6 of the High-Tech Crime Solvers, but this book reads well as a stand-alone book. Julie Crenshaw is a Vancouver Island Broadcasting System reporter assigned to investigate a series of sexual assault cases. The last victim, Emily, is raped and killed. Detective Matthew Roy is at the crime scene when Julie wants to interview him. He only agrees to do so because Julie is his partner’s girlfriend. The rise of crime in recent years frustrates him. These cases particularly upset him because his half-sister was raped and murdered ten years ago. It’s his determination to get this predator.

The plot develops tightly and moves along at a steady pace. Some evidence, such as Emily being pregnant, takes the investigation all over the place. Other evidence makes Matt think the current rapist on the loose is the same one who killed his half-sister. He gets a sketch of a suspect’s profile through high-tech phenotyping using DNA. He uses other high-tech that lead the chase closer to catching the killer. But it’s like a cat-and-mouse game and the suspect is outsmarting them for ten years.

I’ve read Jacquie’s romance books. It’s a delight to discover her talent in thrillers. In this book, she presents a seamless explanation of the high-tech using DNA to do profiling that tracks down the suspect. She also describes the investigation protocol well throughout the story. I enjoy murder mysteries and this book kept me hooked from the beginning. I read the book in one sitting and finished it in half a day.

Amazon Purchase Link

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HYPE by Yvette M. Calleiro

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I love the cover of HYPE. Cecilia (Cici) in the story is the girl wearing the cheering leading uniform. Gaby is the girl in gothic style. The face with duct tape crossing the mouth describes the horror and the girls’ fear of speaking out. The story is told in the first person POV. I find it intimate to listen to Cici telling her story.

Yvette Calleiro creates this story with the seamless blend of her experiences as a high school cheerleader, later a high school teacher, and the observation of the TRUST counseling at the school. Cici has everything a teenage girl hopes for, a loving mother, a comfortable home, co-caption of the cheering leading team, and a sincere relationship with Ryne who won the title of Prom King. Whereas Gaby is a self-absorbed and gothic-looking girl every student tries to avoid. Cici’s world turns upside down when her mom remarried John, bringing Gaby to be her stepsister. Cici is happy for her mom to marry a loving guy but dreads having Gaby in the same house. The unthinkable happens after John and Gaby moved in. John rapes her and threatens the safety of her mom. Cici then finds out Gaby is John’s stepdaughter who suffers from the same fate. The girls have become friends and talk at school. They are afraid that they must allow John to abuse them for one more year before they leave the house for college.

The story is well constructed. Young adults can identify many high school activities and social life in the first half of the book. The second half of the book powerfully describes the predator who appears to be a wolf in the sheepskin who preys on the teenage girls. He looks smart, friendly, and successful. He is skillful to threaten these young girls to keep their mouths shut while continually abusing them for a lengthy period. I’m glad to learn that some high schools have TRUST counselors who establish a trust relationship with the students to help them during crises. I was glad that it came to a clever ending. Highly recommended.

Amazon Purchase Link

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Dolphin’s Cave by D.L. Finn

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This delightful fantasy book is one of my favorite books by D.L. Finn. The story is set in Maui, Hawaii. Coral is a fifteen-year-old girl whose parents disappeared in a plane crash going from Oahu to Maui in Hawaii. She has lived with her Aunt Ruby for eight years. She has a recurring dream about riding a dolphin going into the depth of the ocean. The dream is always the same, but short at leading her to the crash site to find out about her parents. She wants her aunt to take her on a vacation in Maui to solve this mystery.

Coral’s dream comes true when Aunt Ruby plans a work-related trip to Maui. Mr. and Mrs. Penny and their children Ben and Beth are going on the same trip. The first half of the story has a slow build-up with many fun activities such as sunbathing on the beach, watching the sunset, shopping, eating, and sightseeing. They remind me of my frequent visit to Maui.

The vacation turns into an adventure when a strange woman seems to spy on them and take photos of them. A strange man follows them, then pretends to fall in love with Aunt Ruby. A strange thing happens when Ruby is almost hit by a car when she crosses the road. Eventually, Ruby is in a car accident with a broken foot and sprained shoulder and ends up in a hospital.

Coral knows her aunt wants her to have fun. So, she, Ben, and Beth go swimming while Ruby is in the hospital. It is during this swimming that she meets the dolphin and the turtles that appear in her dream. The dolphin takes her to a golden city with the water people, where she discovers her hidden heritage. She also finds out about the spies trying to murder her aunt to control her. This fantasy story has a satisfying magical conclusion. I recommend this book to older children and young teenagers.

Amazon Purchase Link

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Blog Tour – Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

My friends, I’m very excited to host the Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog Book Tour for Robbie and Michael Cheadle. Please join me to welcome them and let them share this wonderful news with you!

Hi Robbie and Michael, please tell us about your latest book.

Thank you, Miriam, and friends.

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Imagine, living in a world…

… made of a giant gobstopper.

A world…

… where you can eat everything.

The trees, the houses, the flowers, and even the beehives.

The river is condensed milk, and the pond is cream soda.

Welcome to Chocolate Land!

Meet Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet…

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Sir Chocolate is round and fat,

He wears a waistcoat and brown top hat.

Lady Sweet wears a stripy skirt and top,

She looks just like a lollipop.

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From Book 1: Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries Story and Cookbook

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet run a shop where they sell their delicious homemade chocolates and soda pop. When they are not busy developing yummy chocolate recipes, they go about Chocolate land putting wrong things right.

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet have a son, Chocolate Fudge, the star of Chocolate Fudge Saves the Sugar Dog.

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Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet,

Have a son, Chocolate Fudge,

A mild-mannered and kindly lad,

He’d never bear a grudge.

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From Book 8: Chocolate Fudge Saves the Sugar Dog

Blurb:

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet’s son, Chocolate Fudge, sees one of Lord Humbug’s dogs struggling to stay afloat in the hot chocolate pond.

Can Chocolate Fudge save the sugar dog from drowning?

Includes lovely new recipes.

That’s wonderful information, Robbie and Michael.

My Review

I’ve read many Sir Chocolate books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle. Chocolate Fudge Saves the Sugar Dog is another darling addition to the series. The story is told as limericks. Limericks are cute and fun to read. The characters and the scenes are Robbie’s fondant art. I must say that I’m very fond of this fondant art because each character has a unique personality. They’re expressive and lovable.

In this story, Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet have a son, Chocolate Fudge. He has a smile for everyone. The teachers love to have him in their classes. Fudge enjoys taking his dog to walk around the chocolate ponds every day.

One day, when Lord Humbug is out walking, his three dogs jump into the pond to chase the ducks. They scared the ducks, and the ducks flap their wings to escape. Two of the dogs are strong and good swimmers. The third little dog seems in trouble and on the verge of sinking. Chocolate Fudge must decide what to do to save the little dog.

There are delicious recipes throughout the book. This is a delightful book for children. They love to read the limericks and do the cooking with the adults.

Purchase Links

Paperback: https://tslbooks.uk/product/chocolate-fudge-saves-the-sugar-dog/

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Chocolate-Fudge-Saves-Sugar-Dog/dp/1914245547

Ebook: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/michael-cheadle-and-robbie-cheadle/chocolate-fudge-saves-the-sugar-dog/ebook/product-j7k4e6.html?page=1&pageSize=4

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Author Roberta/Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with ten children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions that children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes two monthly posts for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms and Treasuring Poetry and one monthly post, under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle, called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Follow Robbie Cheadle at:

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

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Book Reviews – #Legend, Joan Hall #Children, Toni Pike #Poetry, Balroop Singh #Romance, Jill Weatherholt

Our neighbor girl on the right of our house and the couple on the left got mild Covid, but they are recovering nicely. We wear doubled masks when going to the gym and grocery stores. I wear my mask when walking in the neighborhood even when people are not out walking. We have to be patient to get through this crazy Covid. I find more time in reading and watching music or ballet videos. I also started to submit my memoir to my writing group for feedback. Here are the book reviews part 1 for this month.

House of Sorrow

House of Sorrow: Legends of Madeira by [Joan Hall]

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Joan Hall

House of Sorrow by Joan Hall is about an elderly widow, Ruth, who lives alone in a Victorian mansion. She lives on the first floor to avoid getting up and down the stairs. Her nephew has suggested to her to move into a care facility, but she ignores him. She has many wonderful memories attached to this home and doesn’t want to leave.

Ruth and her husband Lee moved to Madeira in 1960 when he got a job as the police chief. With her inheritance, they could afford to purchase this home. She loves to decorate the home, plants flowers, and hang plants on the overhang on the front porch. Ruth is friendly and cares about people. She soon makes friends with the neighbor Sam who becomes a regular visitor. He tells her the stories about the deaths of the previous homeowners who were police chiefs. He thinks the house is cursed. Ruth is not superstitious and doesn’t pay attention to it.

She had a life-threatening miscarriage and had a hysterectomy, so she cannot have her own children. Her love of children shows when she makes lemonade and cookies for the neighbor kids on all the holidays. By volunteering at a retirement home, she gets to know Margaret, whose stepfather was also a police chief and lived in the Victorian home. Ten years into his job, Ruth got the shocking news that her husband was murdered.

Margaret told her that her stepfather, Ethan Bass, then the next police chiefs Edward Roberts, Bill Guthrie, and now Ruth’s husband, are dead while living in this mansion.

This story is a prequel to a series. The characters are likable and relatable. The events covered are the news that readers could identify, such as the assassination of Kennedy, America’s first astronaut landing on the moon, and the breakup of the Beetles. It would be interesting to find out the cause of the deaths of the police chiefs. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Amazon Purchase Link

Brody Cody and the Stepmother from Outer

BRODY CODY AND THE STEPMOTHER FROM OUTER SPACE (Brody Cody Series Book 1) by [Toni Pike]

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Toni Pike

Brody Cody and the Stepmother from Outer Space is a funny story about a boy named Brody. His mother was hit by a bus and died when he was a baby, so he never knew his mother. He thinks he doesn’t need a mother because he doesn’t like rules. His dad doesn’t have any rules for him.

His dad goes to Melbourne for a conference, and he stays at his friend Kyle’s house. Kyle’s mother makes him clean up after himself. He is glad she is not his mother but listens to her. He and Kyle love to read books about aliens.

His dad comes back with his new stepmother. Within the first weeks, she tells Brody to eat healthy food and wear a helmet to ride the bike. He doesn’t like it but listens and does what she asks.

Brody discovers his stepmother Pandora has one blue eye and one green eye. She turns her face in orange color and wears funny clothes. He tells his friends that Pandora is an alien. Every year, his dad plans a big birthday party for him, but his year is quiet. He feels lonely. After school that day, he finds out that Pandora has arranged the biggest alien theme birthday party for him. For the first time, he gives a big hug to Pandora.

Toni Pike has created the fun characters in this book. Young readers can identify with the literature they read, the secrets friends keep for each other, and their fantasy about aliens. They can also identify the feeling of and build a relationship with a stepmother. I recommend this book to young readers.

Amazon Purchase Link

Slivers: Chiseled Poetry

Slivers: Chiseled Poetry by [Balroop Singh]

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Balroop Singh

Slivers: Chiseled Poetry is a collection of poetry that includes poems inspired by the Japanese poetry haiku and tanka, as well as poems in the acrostic form. Readers would find the nature and creatures personified. Ms. Singh’s imagination is vivid, and her descriptions of these emotions are rich. The sky, the clouds, the wind, the flowers, the seasons, the birds, the human heart speaks in their unique language. They speak to each other and communicate with deep emotions. Every spark, every raindrop, every movement of the breeze and gusty wind conveys a message. Every changing shade in the sun, the moon, and flowers expresses deep and meaningful emotions.

Poems in haiku, Tanka, and acrostic that I appreciated are:

The beginning of the poetry briefly explains the metric system of the haiku and tanka and the rules of writing acrostic poems. Readers would find this description informative while appreciating the beautiful poems. I recommend this book to poetry lovers and any readers interested in these poetry forms.

Amazon Purchase Link

Searching for Home

Searching for Home by [Jill Weatherholt]

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Jill Weatherholt

Searching for Home by Jill Weatherholt is a delightful and heartwarming romance.

Luke is a rock star of the rodeo. He returns to his hometown Whispering Slopes to seek treatment for the neck injury. His agent Reed wants him to play low during the treatment for fear of losing sponsorships. Meg runs a Bed &Breakfast business there and keeps a part-time practice as a physical therapist. Meg is also raising the triplets left by her sister. The girls, Tilly and Tia are doing fine, but the boy Tucker acts out and gets in trouble at school.

Luke checks into the Bed &Breakfast and realizes the owner is Meg. Meg’s heart still aches ever since the high school sweetheart left her. Luke promises not to linger longer than necessary, but his involvement extends beyond the treatment. He volunteers to repair the rooms at the inn and starts a therapist-patient relationship with Meg. He sees the potential to expand the inn business to weddings and events venues and wants to partner with her.

The triplets adore him. Tucker comes out from his shell and finds “Cowboy Luke” to be his hero. The children see in these two adults something they’re blind to see and start some unintentional gossip at school. As much as Luke and Meg try to deny their feelings toward each other, their common interest in the triplets’ wellbeing keeps them in focus.

At several points, the readers would want to wake up these two adults to turn their heads to look at each other. I was glad that the story had a happy ending. I recommend this heartwarming romance.

Amazon Purchase Link

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