Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Treehouse Graphic Novel 1)

Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Treehouse Book 1) has been made into the first Magic Treehouse graphic novel! I was fortunate to get a chance to read it before publication.

The Magic Treehouse is a fantastic children’s series about a book-filled treehouse that will take readers on adventures to other lands. All they have to do is open a book and make a wish! Below is my review of Dinosaurs Before Dark.

BOOK REVIEW – BONNIE READS AND WRITES

Dinosaurs Before Dark is the first book in the Magic Treehouse graphic novel series. Jack and Annie find a treehouse in the woods, and climb inside. It is filled with books. When Jack picks up a dinosaur book and wishes he could see them, the treehouse begins to spin and they are whisked into the past, where they meet and learn about dinosaurs of different kinds.

This is a fantastic Children’s graphic novel with cute and colorful illustrations that any child will love. Children will learn about dinosaurs while also experiencing a time travel adventure with Jack and Annie. The story is interesting and even as an adult, I loved it. I plan to purchase this series for my grandson. You can’t get any higher praise than that.

I received a free temporary digital copy of this book from Random House. My review is voluntary. 

Dinosaurs Before Dark (Graphic Novel) will be released May 4, 2021.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR/ADAPTOR/ILLUSTRATORS

There are many facets to this graphic novel. It has been adapted by Jenny Laird from the best selling children’s books by Mary Pope Osborne. The graphic artists are the twin sister team of Kelly Matthews and Nicole Matthews. Check out an article about the new graphic novels here.

PREORDER ON AMAZON

No Ordinary Thing

Diamond Level Read

No Ordinary Thing was #1 on my list of my Top 7 Books of 2020. At the time I made that post, I couldn’t post the review because I was required to wait for it to be published on the Historical Novel Society website. The time has finally come when I can post my review, which is below. The Historical Novel Society must have agreed with me on this one, because they made this book one of their Editor’s Choices. For this blog, I gave it my extra “diamond” rating because I think it’s over and above 5 stars. It’s historical fiction with a time travel twist, which is my absolutely favorite thing to read.

REVIEW

No Ordinary Thing by G.Z Schmidt is a delightful middle grade time travel fantasy. It is 1999 and Adam lives at his uncle’s bakery, the Biscuit Basket, in New York City. Adam is missing his parents, who passed away years earlier in a plane crash. Then a mysterious stranger visits, holding a snow globe. He tells Adam that adventures await him, and that he should go up to the attic. When he does, Adam finds the snow globe, which immediately takes him back in time to Times Square in 1935 and then later a candle factory in 1967. Adam soon realizes the people and places he is visiting are all connected, more magical objects exist, and a dark presence wants to control it all.

I adored this wonderful, enchanting time travel adventure. The characters are so well developed and the plot is very engaging. The author’s ability to connect characters from different backgrounds and time periods will leave you spellbound. Every time travel story has to have a means of or explanation for the time travel, and this one does it so well. The snow globe is sometimes curiously blank, but then the traveler’s destination will appear without warning and the holder will be whisked away to another time. This book is everything that fans of fantasy and time travel could wish for. It is a magical journey that will appeal to people of all ages. It is one of those books that I will read over and over again, and I will remember fondly the first time I read it. I can’t wait to share it with others and I sincerely hope I see this world and these characters again.

I received a free hardcover copy of this book from Holiday House via Historical Novels Review Magazine. My opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

G.Z. Schmidt

Gail Zhuang Schmidt was born in China and immigrated to the U.S. when she was six. She grew up in the Midwest and the South, where she chased fireflies at night and listened occasionally for tornado/hurricane warnings. She received her BA in Economics from Wellesley College in New England. After working for four years as an analyst, she began her new chapter in life by moving to Europe. She currently lives in Switzerland with her husband and their tuxedo cat.

She fell in love with reading after discovering the Arthur books by Marc Brown. Her first stories were written in a spiral-bound notebook in third grade.

When she’s not writing, she enjoys going to museums, playing the violin, biking, and eating pizza.

Buy No Ordinary Thing on Amazon

Link to My Goodreads Review

The Top 7 Books I Read in 2020

Here are my favorite books of this year. Everyone else is doing a Top 5 or a Top 10. I’m doing a Top 7, mostly because I couldn’t narrow it down to five. Although I have them numbered, those numbers could change on any given day and I just couldn’t leave any of them out. These are all books I read in 2020. Since I’ve been doing reviews for the Historical Novel Society, I’ve found some great historical fiction. I also found an Indie book that I really loved. Below is a list of my favorites with their Amazon links and Amazon book descriptions. Three of them were read for the February issue of Historical Novels Review, so I can’t post my reviews for them until they are published in the magazine. Look for my reviews of those three books in February.

7. Set the Stars Alight

This is riveting dual timeline historical fiction. My Review

6. Doing Time

Jodi Taylor is probably my favorite author. She writes the Chronicles of St. Mary’s, a popular time travel series, and Doing Time is the first in a new spinoff series, The Time Police. My Review

5. The Milk Wagon

This is a great book from an Indie author who wrote a fantastic 80’s thriller, mostly revolving around a group of high school boys. This book has not gotten the attention it deserves and is a hidden gem, in my opinion. My review

4. The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop

I can’t post my review for this title until it is published in Historical Novels Review magazine. For a book description on Amazon, click on the cover.

3. The Edge of Belonging

This is a moving story about adoption and family.

My Review

2. Things We Didn’t Say

I cannot post my review until February, but I will say this is an epistolary historical novel, done solely in letters and written communication. You can check out a description on Amazon by clicking on the cover.

  1. No Ordinary Thing

Again I cannot post my review until February, but this is a Middle Grade Time Travel Fantasy revolving around a snow globe! Click on the cover for the Amazon link and description.

Arriving Through Time

Arriving through Time by Heather L. Barksdale is a Young Adult time travel novel. Lizzie has been through a family tragedy and is having a tough time, but she is supported by her two best friends, Sam and Jeremy. They are currently navigating high school life and dealing with bullies Gary and Tiffany. Then a class project has Lizzie wondering about her ancestors, and a school trip ends with the three friends hurtling through time, along with their bullies and Lizzie’s secret crush. Although at first it appears to be a freak occurrence, the time travel seems very designed, as all of the teens begin to meet long dead ancestors.

What I loved about this story is that it combined time travel fiction and genealogy, two of my favorite pastimes, and it did this in a clever way. A class project and a DNA test have brought questions about Lizzie’s ancestors to the surface, and unexpected time travel gives her a chance to get answers. This book reminds us that our ancestors were living, breathing, people, not just names on a family tree. They blazed the way for us, good and bad, and everything they did enabled us to be alive today. We also learn something along the way as we visit people and places that are important to American history.

I loved the way time took the six travelers to locations that were pertinent to all of them and their ancestors and gave them both answers and surprises. I find that in my own genealogy research. 

If you are a fan of young adult novels, time travel, genealogy, and/or historical fiction, you will enjoy this book. I received a free copy of this book from the author. I also picked up a copy on Amazon, where Kindle Unlimited members can read it for free. My review is voluntary. 

Link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Arriving-Through-Time-Heather-Barksdale/dp/B08BDVN29C/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=arriving+through+time&qid=1604109793&sr=8-1

Link to Heather L. Barksdale’s website: https://heatherlbarksdale.com

Link to my review on Goodreads (Like and follow if you are so inclined): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3620451441?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Hard Time

Another amazing book by Jodi Taylor! I truly enjoy everything she writes. Hard Time is the second book in The Time Police series, a spinoff of Taylor’s wildly popular Chronicles of St. Mary’s series. 

A prominent politician has asked the Time Police to retrieve her spoiled daughter after an illegal time jump. Enter Matthew, Jane, and Luke (Team Weird), who are once again off on a chaotic and sometimes humorous adventure. And, as usual, they find more than they bargained for.

I continue to love reading about the adventures of this trio. Matthew is the son of Max and Leon from the St Mary’s series. He is a savant when it comes to the time map, but a little awkward in every other area. Jane was a victim of a lifetime of abuse, but continues to find her own way, and a new confidence is making its appearance. Luke is the disinherited, formerly spoiled, current playboy son of a powerful businessman. He has finally found something he cares about–Matthew and Jane. Follow this trio as they travel up and down the timeline–sometimes with permission, sometimes not. And the hilarious crew from St. Mary’s always makes an appearance.

I highly recommend this series to anyone who is a fan of time travel fiction, or to anyone who just wants to read a well-written, often funny series with great characters. I also recommend that you check out the series from which it was born–The Chronicles of St. Mary’s by Jodi Taylor. The first book in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s is Just One Damn Thing After Another.

I received the novel early after ordering a signed copy from the author’s website. So far, and to the best of my knowledge, she has done this with every new release since she started her website.

Link to Jodi Taylor’s website: https://joditaylor.online

Link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hard-Time-irresistible-spinoff-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B0847JM5YP/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=hard+time&qid=1602719155&sr=8-3

Link to Jodi Taylor’s Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Jodi-Taylor/e/B00DOSKIHU/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Link to Jodi Taylor’s Facebook group “Fans of the Chronicles of St. Mary’s.” This is an awesome, fun group you won’t want to miss out on. https://www.facebook.com/groups/JodiTaylorFans

Doing Time

I am writing this review of Doing Time, which came out last year, because the second book in this series, Hard Time, is winging its way to me in the mail as we speak. My review of Hard Time will be along soon. I must preface this review by saying Jodi Taylor has become my favorite author. Her St. Mary’s Chronicles is an absolute must for Time Travel (Sorry Dr. Bairstow) Fiction Readers. I would be remiss if I didn’t advise you to drop whatever you are doing and buy the first book in the St. Mary’s Chronicles, entitled Just One Damn Thing After Another. You will not be sorry, and I envy you the experience of reading it for the first time.

Doing Time is a spinoff of the St. Mary’s series and revolves around Matthew, son of two St. Mary’s main characters. Now that I’ve set this up and advised you to check out everything the brilliant Jodi Taylor has ever written, on to the review!

EDIT: My copy of Hard Time (Book 2 in the series) has been received. The review will be posted on 10/13//20. Hard Time will be released on 10/15/20.

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Jodi Taylor has done it again. A spinoff of her wonderful St. Mary’s Chronicles, Doing Time is the story of Matthew, Jane, and Luke, trainees in the Time Police. Matthew is of course the son of Max and Leon from the St. Mary’s Chronicles. There is mystery, laughter, and intrigue all rolled up in one story as the trio (Team Weird) become Time Police cadets, and are faced with opposition from the Albayans. The Albayans are leftover followers of the late Colonel Albay, the former Time Police leader and unapologetic fascist, who killed first and asked questions later.

Beloved characters from St. Mary’s make an appearance and provide a lot of hilarity during some stressful times, and we learn a tiny bit about what is going on in Matthew’s head. I hope more will be revealed in subsequent books. 

If you love Time Travel, history, and well written characters, you will LOVE these books.

Amazon link to Doing Time: https://www.amazon.com/Doing-Time-Jodi-Taylor-ebook/dp/B07TF5YS7N/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=doing+time&qid=1601598336&sr=8-1

Jodi Taylor’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jodi-Taylor/e/B00DOSKIHU?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Amazon Link to Jodi’s latest book: Hard Time: https://www.amazon.com/Hard-Time-irresistible-spinoff-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B0847JM5YP/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Hard+time&qid=1601598546&s=digital-text&sr=1-1