Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book Review: The Shadow of the Minotaur

The adventures of twins Jemima and Joe, their talking Tonkinese cat Max, and their best friend Charlie continue with another trip back into the past using the magic book they found in their uncle’s attic. Their previous adventures began with a time travel trip to Atlantis in search of their parents, who have mysteriously disappeared. The book, Shadows of the Past, (which belonged to their missing parents) opens to the second chapter, and the poem (a clue) that begins the chapter indicates the adventure concerns the Minotaur and the Athenian prince Theseus. They unhesitatingly step into the past, and find themselves embroiled in an adventure that’s a lot more dangerous than the previous one. Theseus is rather a selfish, absent-minded hero, and without the kids’ and Max’s good ideas, will he even manage to slay the Minotaur at all? With the help of Princess Ariadne (King Minos’ daughter) and of course Max’s vital intervention, they need to achieve their mission and make it back to the present day.

 Having read The Shadow of Atlantis, I confess I couldn’t wait to go on another time travel trip with this trio (or should that be quartet?). Author Wendy Leighton-Porter has an amazing knack of placing her heroes right smack into situations that are potentially big and scary (and this one is uber-scary) and then letting them work out the escape routes by using their brains. The kids are refreshingly honest. They don’t let arrogant Theseus steal all the glory. They are also very brave and inventive. They reaffirm the bonds of friendship and loyalty, and isn’t that what kids should be learning in life lessons. It’s not easy to do the right thing when situations are frightening and dangerous, but our young heroes, human and feline, persevere against all odds. The adventures will continue as the kids search for the twins’ parents, but their renewed hope brings a new and positive slant to their escapades. This is a fantastic way of getting young readers interested in ancient myths and legends, and in realising that history is not dry as dust, but is vibrant and exciting. All the characters are believable and wonderfully drawn. Max, of course, quite steals the limelight! Find The Shadow of the Minotaur on Amazon. Five Stars!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Blog Tour: Return to Cardamom Q and A with Julie Anne Grasso


I’m back with Julie Anne Grasso, author of the fabulous Cardamom books. It is my privilege to dig into the whys and wherefores of the Cardamom mysteries and also reveal the secrets behind the recipes. (It is also my birthday today, 29 July, so this is a doubly special treat!) When I reviewed Julie’s books, the whole concept behind them intrigued me, as I am sure it did many readers. Hopefully this Q&A will answer all your questions! Don’t forget to check out the fabulous cash/gift card and book giveaway here! OK, down to the nitty-gritty!

Where did the whole idea of another planet come from? Why isn’t the story here on Earth?

I wanted my story to be unique, fantastical, and full of nerdy gadgetry, so I think Earth would have been an unbelievable setting, hence I decided to create my own planets.

Why the name Cardamom for the planet? Why not Cinnamon, Allspice, Vanilla etc?

Initially I began with the character Caramel Cardamom. I thought it sounded quirky enough for an elvin princess. However, as I started to develop the world around Caramel, I realised I needed a planet with a rich aroma, that wasn't too well known. Cardamom does actually grow in cleared rainforest so there you have it, the perfect setting for an elvin world.

Tell me more about how Caramel’s character developed?

When I began researching how to write a kid’s book, all the literature said write about what you know. Pssst… Can you keep a secret, Caramel is loosely based on me. Well, apart from the elvin princess part, of course, hee hee. I actually broke my leg as a child. Of course, it wasn’t as dramatic or exaggerated as Caramel’s injury, but that is when I became interested in the medical profession. During my time as a paediatric nurse, I witnessed firsthand that children can succeed in life, regardless of their disability. Caramel is therefore a combination of my own experience and the inspiration I gained from watching these tiny people overcome adversity.  

Will her mom finally heal her leg? (it’s worrying me!)

Oh Fiona, you are such a marshmallow. The simple answer is no. We are all a little bit like Humpty Dumpty, I guess, and we can’t always be put back together again. Caramel’s leg is permanently damaged and she will always struggle with it, but the moral of the story is that she must not allow it to define her or determine her path.

Are you working on a Caramel Fine Dining Cookbook? Now this is a burning question for many readers who were so disappointed there was no recipe section at the end of the books.

LOL my sister said something similar when I first wrote book 1. She was envisioning Caramel merchandise, including of course, caramel cupcakes….

What do you want young readers to learn from the book/s?

Follow your intuition and question things if they seem wrong, be loyal to your friends and family, persevere in adversity and never ever ever ever give up on your dreams, only you can make them reality.

Given the name of your blog, when did you decide you wanted to write a kids’ book?

Well, I guess you could say now that I have written a kid’s book I must have grown up, but that is clearly not the case. I will always be a kid at heart.  The dream of writing for kids first came when I worked with them; however it wasn’t until I left nursing and became a mom that I found the time, energy, and inspiration to write.

How many people from your friends and family appear in the books?

Micah is actually my best friend's little boy, Sass was my neighbour's kid, Jorde was a kid I went to school with, Arianna was a mum I met when I cared for her very sick little boy: she was an inspiration to me and Jacob is my friend's little boy.

The planet’s inhabitants love food–do you love cooking?

Yes I do love cooking but not as much as eating it. I have made sticky date and chocolate cake with caramel syrup many times for family functions, and Julianna sauce is what we use on our home made pizza bases.

After Cardamom Book 3, what are your plans—something new? Another planet?

Cardamom Book 3 first draft is written, hurrah. This time the story will be on board a space ship, but don’t worry, all the Cardamom elves and Earth kids will reunite for this one.  As for plans for my next book/series, I have a middle grade mystery being illustrated as we speak. I hope to have it released in late November. Stay tuned for Frankie Dupont And The Mystery Of Enderby Manor.

Did you ever want to be an astronaut?

Funnily enough, no, but I do want to travel with “The Doctor.” I even own a TARDIS LOL

Tell me something readers don’t know about you but would love to find out?

I can actually sing. If you would have asked me what I wanted to do as a teenager, I would have said a Jazz singer. I also like to do cartwheels … especially when a new book comes out. Hurrah!

Thanks for appearing on my blog, Julie. If any readers missed my reviews of Escape From the Forbidden Planet, find the review here. Catch up on Return to Cardamom here.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog Fiona, it’s been a hoot.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Blog Tour: Return to Cardamom by Julie Anne Grasso

Return to Cardamom Blog Tour


Return to Cardamom by Julie Anne Grasso About Return to Cardamom

Author: Julie Anne Grasso
Publisher: Independent
Publication Date: July 17, 2013 Pages: 136 (Paperback) Recommended Age: 9+
Summary: Life is sweet for Caramel and things are finally getting back to normal. Well, as normal as it can be for a telepathic elf who can train trees and control computers, but she soon finds life on Cardamom is not all cupcakes and apple cider. A saboteur is hiding in the rainforest canopy, and the elves’ precious cardamom export has been wiped out. Caramel is certain it’s another trick of Alexander222 and her Aunt Isabel, but no one will believe her, and the clock is ticking. She must expose the saboteur in time to save the crop or the Elves of Cardamom will lose their livelihood. Caramel won’t rest until her theory is proven. While she is on the hunt, she makes a shocking discovery, one that will change everything.  


Amazon (US) * Amazon (UK) * Amazon (Canada)


The Buzz About Book 1: Escape From the Forbidden Planet

Escape from the Forbidden Planet by Julie Anne Grasso"Julie Anne Grasso has created an action-packed story featuring a range of interesting and imaginative characters (i.e., elves, the Alexanders, and other creatures), intergalactic travel, advanced medical and scientific technology, and complex environmental and conservation issues. Escape From the Forbidden Planet contains an intricate plot which slowly unfolds until you're hooked and you are left on the edge of your proverbial seat wondering what will happen next." ~ Mother Daughter Book Reviews, 5 Stars "It's part geeky, part science, and part fun, all brought together to become this awesome book called Escape From The Forbidden Planet. I would recommend this book to reading age kids and adults who like sci-fi kids books. Definitely something different. I really enjoyed reading it!" ~ Michael S., Amazon, 5 Stars "I loved this book. Super great series for middle graders. I loved Caramel. She has a great attitude and determination. I really admired how she was focused on getting home, saving her family but also made the best of being stuck on an alien planet. Definitely a book with great role models for kids. I really hope there is more to come where this came from. Kids need books like this with catchy stories, solid characters who have good values that they can relate to." ~ Unorthodox Mama, Goodreads, 5 Stars.

*** Get your FREE COPY of Escape From the Forbidden Planet by Julie Anne Grasso July 17 to 21, 2013. Available for 99 cents after July 21, 2013. ***

Amazon (US) * Amazon (UK) * Amazon (Canada)


About the Author

Julie Grasso - Author Julie Anne Grasso is an Australian author with a background in paediatric nursing. She spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed great courage and resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories about a little girl elf just like them. Add in some very funky technology, her love of science fiction and desire to impart great values through her little girl elf named Caramel and there you have it, the Adventures of Caramel Cardamom Trilogy was the result. Julie lives in Melbourne with her husband Danny and their little elf Giselle. Most days she can be found sipping chai lattes, chasing a toddler, and dreaming up wonderful worlds that often involve consumption of cupcakes.  
Book Website:
Facebook page: Julie Anne Grasso Books
Twitter: @Jujuberry37
Goodreads Author: Julie Anne Grasso

Return to Cardamom Blog Tour Schedule (2013)

July 17

July 18
July 19
July 20
July 21
July 22
July 23
July 24
July 25
July 26
July 27
July 28
July 29
July 30
July 31

*** Return to Cardamom Blog Tour Giveaway ***

Return to Cardamom by Julie Anne GrassoAmazon $50 Gift Card
                Prize: One winner will receive a copy (print in U.S./Canada & e-copy interntionally) + a $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash Contest runs: July 17th to August 7th, 11:59 pm, 2013 Open: WW How to enter: Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send us an email! a Rafflecopter giveaway

My review:

And the adventure continues! Instead of life returning to sleepy normal on Cardamom, the planet is now experiencing loads of activity. Cardamom Crystal is in huge demand as a power source for intergalactic technology. Caramel develops her skills in tree tending and healer classes and is keen to get better at computer control. The dangers of Alexander222 are over … or are they? Disaster strikes when the entire cardamom crop drops before due time, the plants are traumatized, and Caramel has to accompany her mother to the tree canopy to find out what is going on. If Cardamom does not meet its quota, Alexander222 and his sidekick Lex will put forward the new biosynthetic hybrid, Cardocryst, to the Intergalactic Council. This is something the inhabitants of Cardamom cannot afford to see happen because they will lose their livelihood.
Once at the tree canopy, Caramel discovers she has the ability to understand the plants and also to soothe them. She manages to encourage them to start producing a new crop. The planet might just make the quota after all, if the elves can keep the plants safe. Amazingly, the plants give her a clue: they were unable to smell the identity of the saboteur, meaning he or she is an elf!  Caramel’s ideas on what happened to the plants—Alexander 222 and her Aunt Isabel are at the bottom of this—are dismissed as conspiracy theories, but once her mom, Arianna, is kidnapped, it’s up to Caramel and her friends to save the day … again!

Author Julie Anne Grasso knows how to keep the action and the energy going as Caramel and her mates plot and then execute a rescue plan. In between all the Cardamom-based science and techno talk, are the real themes of life that readers are beginning to understand. Doing the right thing, being loyal to friends and family, trying even when you might not succeed, believing in yourself, and consciousness of environmental issues are themes that should be instilled in kids at an early age. Caramel’s courage and principles help young readers to understand what it means to jump into the fray and do your very best. Wonderful revelations at the end of the book restore Caramel’s (and readers) faith in justice and make for a beautiful ending. I loved the first two books and can’t wait to read what the author and Caramel have in store in the final installment of this captivating trilogy. Totally elvo!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: Brave. A Book About Courage

There are as many definitions of poetry as there are poets. Poetry is an artistic expression unlike any other. Some research suggests that poetry predates literature, starting out as songs and oral traditions of storytelling. Why poetry? The art of a few simple, well-chosen words teaches us to look at the smallest moments and details of life and learn from them. Alas, for many people the last time they read a poem was at school or university. It’s wonderful to find a book like Brave. A Book About Courage geared specifically for kids. Readers of all ages will delight in a variety of themes in this compilation of constructive acrostic, witty alliteration, haiku, alphabet, and free verse poetry. The book offers an endearing perspective about the various interests and feelings of a child in relation to hopes and aspirations, family relationships and friendships, the five senses, self and a sense of identity, animals, and life in general.

A book of poems is a gem, something to be savored and relished for each word of wisdom and awakening it offers the reader, regardless of age. In this book, many poems explore the fun, boisterous, sunny side of life, and others plunge deeper into the fearful aspects of being small in a big world. Bravery is having the courage to go out every day and tackle what comes, no matter what comes. These creatively structured poems explore what it means to cultivate respect for self and others, the meaning of good qualities, and to hold fast to the maxim that ‘anything is possible.’

Because Brave. A Book about Courage is authored by a 12-year-old child, other children will more thoroughly comprehend the content at hand and develop a better appreciation for literature. For children to read a child-authored book not only encourages more kids to get involved with reading books, but will possibly inspire them to write one of their own. This is a fabulous little book for parents and teachers to introduce children to the enchantment and magicality found in words. Highly recommended. 5 Stars. First reviewed for Readers Favorite.
by Fiona Ingram

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Reviewing David Litwack

I’m a fan of David Litwack’s writing and I first met David when I reviewed his book There Comes a Prophet. I recently reviewed David’s second book, Along the Watchtower, and was not disappointed.

An IED explosion in Iraq ends the war for Lieutenant Freddie Williams, leaving his mind and body shattered. Once a skilled gamer and expert in virtual and real warfare, he emerges from a medically induced coma to discover he’s inhabiting two separate realities. The first is his waking world of pain, family trials, and remorse for living when his friends are dead. The second is a dark fantasy realm of quests, demons, and magic that Freddie enters when he sleeps. In his dreams, he is Frederick, Prince of Stormwind, who (after his father’s death) must survive horrific visions in order to save his embattled kingdom from the monstrous Horde. While in the conscious world, the severely wounded vet faces a strangely similar and equally perilous mission—a journey along a dark road haunted by demons of guilt and family ghosts that must be put to rest.

This is a trial by ordeal that readers will appreciate on several levels. The outer physical journey to recovery and the inner spiritual road to victory play out with the two worlds merging perfectly. Items from Freddie’s reality become hauntingly evocative icons in his dream world. Author David Litwack has an almost poetic approach to the fantasy level that contrasts sharply with the gritty, real world Freddie struggles (and almost gives up) within. I like this interesting contrast and in a way, the two levels are part of the great game of life that Freddie must win. But will he win, one wonders? His
mind is haunted by demons; his body is struggling from the extent of his injuries. In his reality, he undergoes slow rehabilitation with Becky, his physical therapist. In the dream kingdom, he finds comfort in the royal gardens, where the gentle words of the beautiful gardener, Rebecca, calm the storms in his soul. Can he retrieve his original purpose in life? Will the demons of both worlds win?
The title is part of a poem by Bob Dylan and captures the essence of the story. This is a great read and the author’s skill in building both worlds with gifted imagery becomes apparent as the story draws the reader in. I really enjoyed it. Highly recommended.
The books are so different that I had to delve deeper and find out where David was going with his writing.

Along the Watchtower combines the dark magic of a fantasy world with the grim reality of war trauma. Where did the idea for come from?
I’ve always been fascinated by how we perceive reality. Think of the film Rashomon, the classic exploration of multiple realities, where several witnesses to a crime describe events completely differently, each bringing their own experiences and biases into play. But it’s when we’re ripped from our normal life and placed in extreme circumstances that our reality becomes totally fragmented. Such is the case with hospitals and war. At the same time, I had become engrossed in playing the online fantasy game, World of Warcraft, with my son, an avid player. With me on the east coast on him on the west, he suggested we meet weekly in the fantasy world of Azeroth—an invitation I could hardly resist. For several months, we had a Wednesday evening appointment, where we our avatars would meet in this virtual world and go on quests together. I was struck by how totally immersed I could get into the game, how quickly time passed and the surreal mood of wandering around in strange places, solving riddles and following quests, all to gain magic powers, more powerful weapons, and experience points so I could “level-up”. The fantasy gaming experience has a dream-like quality to it. And I began to wonder: how would this experience affect the dreams of someone whose reality has been fragmented by war, PTSD and traumatic brain injury. These concepts—war, hospitals, and the fantasy world of online gaming—came together in Along the Watchtower.

These are two such different worlds that your main character, Lt. Freddie Williams (or Prince Frederick of Stormwind) inhabit. What kind of research did you do to make both come to life so vividly.
In addition to playing World of Warcraft myself (I only managed to get to level 63) I read several academic books written about the sociology and psychology of role-playing games, where people assume an alternate identity, go places and do things they would never attempt in “normal life.” But it was when I researched the effects of the Iraq and Afghan wars on veterans that the two worlds began to converge. I learned that 30% of our returning veterans are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress. That means that after six months they’re still dealing with flashbacks, dreams, depression and difficulty re-assimilating into their former lives. And that doesn’t account for the many others who were able to adjust on their own, but continued to go through inner turmoil. The war experience changes all of them forever. Many have suicidal thoughts (the suicide rate among war veterans is triple that of the general population. More soldiers have died by their own hand than in the war itself). The unemployment rate of released veterans is triple the national average for that age group. Many struggle with dark thoughts and have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships. They also develop an inability to “turn off” the normal flight or fight syndrome, leaving them uncomfortable in crowds, always suspicious and on alert.

But it’s worse than that. One of the ironic successes of these recent wars is the advance in battlefield medical treatment. The result is that far fewer die of serious injuries than in prior wars. The ratio of wounded to dead in WWII was 1.1/1, in Vietnam 1.7/1. In Iraq, it was 7/1. Many more lives are saved, but many more veterans are coming home with debilitating, lifelong injuries. And 68% of all the wounded have some form or brain trauma, penetrating injuries from shrapnel or non-penetrating concussions from the blasts of IEDs.

 I began to research brain injuries. One of the books I read was In an Instant, the story of Bob Woodruff. The brilliant Woodruff had just been named co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight. Then, while embedded with the military in Iraq, an improvised explosive device went off near the tank he was riding in. Bob suffered a traumatic brain injury that nearly killed him.
The book describes his recovery and recounts how fragile our brains can be. At one point, the erudite Woodruff could rattle off the names of all prior U.S. presidents, but couldn’t remember the names of his own children.

And I read about post traumatic stress. One of the best books is Achilles in Vietnam. Written by Jonathan Shay, a Vietnam war era PTSD counselor, it compares his clinical notes from actual patients to the text from Homer’s Odyssey, showing the parallels of how we as human beings deal with the trauma of war. The result is an amazing insight into how war fragments our sense of reality and disrupts our moral compass, leaving re-entry into normal life as a brutal and agonizing experience. I picked up this book to learn and ended up both enlightened and deeply moved.

Your prior book, There Comes a Prophet, was a dystopian fantasy. Along the Watchtower seems to cross genres. It’s part fantasy adventure, part love story, part family drama and a chronicle of recovery and personal growth. Was that your intent?

I didn’t write Along the Watchtower to be a polemic on the state of our returning veterans. But the more I found about their situation, the more I discovered the universality of how people are affected in extremis. War, injury, illness, and personal tragedy touch all of us deeply and reveal much about who we are and how we cope with the human condition.

You’ve delved into very different topics in your first two books. What else do you have planned?

I’m in late stage edits with an alternate world story called The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. It’s about a world divided between the Blessed Lands, a place of the spirit, and the Republic, whose people worship at the altar of reason. A mysterious nine-year-old girl from the Blessed Lands sails into the lives of a troubled couple in the Republic and seems to heal everyone she meets. She reveals nothing about herself, other than to say she’s the daughter of the sea and the sky. But she harbors a secret wound she herself cannot heal. I’m also currently planning what will be a sequel to There Comes a Prophet. I’ve always wondered what happened to Orah and Nathaniel after their world changing heroics and what became of the contemporaries of the keepmasters who had crossed the ocean. Stay tuned.

by Fiona Ingram

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book Review: Escape From the Forbidden Planet

Meet Caramel Cinnamon, an elf who lives in Cardeville on the planet Cardamom. Caramel’s bad accident when she was little has left her with a gammy leg, but that doesn’t stop her doing all kinds of things an elf of her age would do—such as spending two weeks visiting her
friend Jemm Jasmine in the tree canopy village and having loads of fun. But treachery and tragedy lie in store for the unsuspecting inhabitants of Cardamom.
The villainous Alexander222, an off-world explorer, along with his sidekick clone, Lex, arrive from the planet Isqwartz. His planet resource is crystal, but supplies are dwindling. They need a renewable resource to trade with other members of the Intergalactic Council. Cardamom is just perfect, especially when the properties of this amazing plant become evident.
Alexander222 is desperate to impress the Clone Council and get back into favor. The elves are betrayed by someone close to them, and things turn ugly. Caramel’s grandparents (the King and Queen of Cardamom) are kidnapped and Caramel recognizes their attacker. Before she can make trouble for him, Alexander222 dumps Caramel and her parents on the forbidden planet (Earth) that the Alexanders desperately try to avoid after a bad incident there (Roswell!). Although Earth isn’t as technologically advanced as Cardamom, Caramel and her parents make plans to rescue the King and Queen … until things go horribly awry! Now it’s up to Caramel to do it all on her own, with some help from her new Earth friends.

This is an enchanting fantasy tale to delight readers of all ages. Cardamom’s elves are not your ordinary fairy-tale elves. Science and technology rub shoulders comfortably with a twist of fantasy in this magical world. These elves have telepathic skills as well as healing talents. Caramel is not just an elf, she’s a princess, and she rises to meet the responsibilities thrust upon her with new-found inner strength and determination. Author Julie Anne Grasso has woven a wonderful story with all the elements to intrigue young readers and keep them turning those pages. There’s danger, a test of our heroine’s courage and resourcefulness, intergalactic travel, super-science, geek talk, and a mission to accomplish. Caramel is a lovely, real character, and touches such as her limp emphasize the importance of believing in yourself and being … well, yourself! Family relationships and friendships are also precious to the elves. There are some humorous touches parents will enjoy such as references to modern culture. Mentions of delicious food abound and one wonders why the author did NOT include the recipe for sticky date and chocolate cake with caramel cardamom syrup. (Pass the pudding please!) 5 Stars. Ages: 9+

Julie Anne Grasso is an Australian author with a background in paediatric nursing. She spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed great courage and resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories about a little girl elf just like them. Add in some very funky technology, her love of science fiction and desire to impart great values through her little girl elf named Caramel and there
you have it, the Adventures of Caramel Cardamom Trilogy was the result. Julie lives in Melbourne with her husband Danny and their little elf Giselle. Most days she can be found sipping chai lattes, chasing a toddler, and dreaming up wonderful worlds that often involve consumption of cupcakes. Visit her blog and book site for details of upcoming books.
Watch out for my book review on the next in the trilogy: Return to Cardamom (20 July) and Julie's Q and A (29 July).

by Fiona Ingram

Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review: The Shadow of Atlantis

Ten-year-old twins Joe and Jemima Lancelot get the shock of their lives when their parents disappear without a trace and with no explanation. The only clues are a mysterious old book that had belonged to their father and a piece of jewellery belonging to their mother … something she always wore. The only witness to part of their disappearance is Max, their unusually talented Tonkinese cat. Months pass with no further information, and so the twins begin a new life with their Uncle Richard, a professor of archaeology. Although he hasn’t any kids of his own and isn’t very good at parenting, luckily his wonderful housekeeper, Mrs. Garland, makes the twins feel at home. Uncle Richard said Max (short for Maximus) could stay too, so, apart from deep sadness about their parents, the twins settle into a new routine. Charlie Green, the shy boy next door, soon becomes their best friend.
One rainy day, the twins decide to look at their father’s old book. In an amazing magical moment, they manage to open the book and, accompanied by Charlie and Max, are transported to the lost city of Atlantis. They befriend a kind family but the disaster facing the city soon becomes their problem. The trouble is, only a few people believe their warnings. Can they escape dangerous enemies, save the city, and get back to their own world before it’s too late? And where are their parents?

I loved this story. The kids are all clearly defined, and bring their own thoughts and personalities to this well-paced adventure: Joe always daring and often impetuous; Charlie a little hesitant but getting braver; and Jemima, sensitive and perceptive. Max is a unique character all on his own: wise beyond his years, observant, and alert to any hint of danger. He adds a lovely touch of humour with his cryptic comments. Wonderful descriptions bring the past to life and create a sense of otherworldliness mixed with reality. The story of Atlantis is one of those incredible mysteries that people aren’t quite sure is true or not. I’m a firm believer and I really enjoyed how much authentic detail the author includes in describing the history and legends of Atlantis and its origins. Greek mythology interweaves nicely with the story and makes for easy and interesting learning for young readers. This book is the start of a series that takes Joe and Jemima on new and exciting adventures into the past. Highly recommended. 5 Stars.
Wendy Leighton-Porter has embarked upon a series of 15 time travel adventures Shadows from the Past. The Shadow of Atlantis is the first in what promises to be a magical journey for everyone! Having recently completed number 6, The Shadow of Camelot, Wendy is currently writing the seventh book in the series, The Shadow of the Norman Arrow, featuring William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings.
by Fiona Ingram