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review 2020-03-18 11:00
Amazing Origami Boxes
Amazing Origami Boxes - Tomoko Fuse

by Tomoko Fuse


Origami has interested me since childhood but these 20 original designs take it to a new level. Tomoko Fuse has achieved recognition for her modular designs and these intricate boxes and dishes show why.


This is not a beginners book. However, the instructions are clear and although I think practicing on cheap paper is a good idea before using the beautiful, decorative origami papers shown in the colorful illustrations, at least most of them should be possible for anyone with patience and prepared to practice.


If you have no experience with origami, I suggest an easier beginner's book would be better to start, but some of the square boxes are reasonably easy and once those are mastered, the harder ones should be doable. As I said, practice with cheap paper first. Common printer paper can be squared by folding it over and removing the excess. When you've got the hang of a design, then the origami papers will make it beautiful.

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review 2020-03-16 00:00
The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown: A Novel
The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown: A Novel - Paul Malmont ‘The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unknown’ is a follow up to ‘The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril’ but can be read independently. In ‘The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril’, author Paul Malmont plunged pulp writers Walter Gibson (The Shadow) Lester Dent (Doc Savage) and L. Ron Hubbard (Dianetics and Scientology, but not yet) into a deadly adventure mostly set in Chinatown New York. They were joined later by ex-Naval man who was on the run from gangsters after a failed venture with a silver mine. Together they solved the mystery and saved the world (spoiler).

I enjoyed that hugely and when I learned that there was a follow-up book featuring Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, L. Sprague de Camp and L. Ron Hubbard in another adventure I bought it immediately. I’ve heard of Gibson and Dent but I’m a lifelong fan of Heinlein and Asimov and wanted to see what Malmont would do with them, and to them. I was not disappointed.

The story takes place shortly after Heinlein, Asimov and de Camp have begun work at the Naval Yard in Philadelphia trying to develop superweapons for the war. They learn of an installation built by Nikolai Tesla that might be used as a weapon and set out to investigate. Cue a lot of running around in tunnels under New York, interference from the FBI and harassment by naval bureaucrats. There’s also some talk about pulp fiction and a few guest stars pop up along the way. When you’re having fun with famous people you might as well enjoy it so Malmont has pilot Jimmy Stewart fly Hubbard to the Aleutians when Heinlein wants to get rid of him. Sam Moskowitz and Ray Bradbury get walk-on parts.

It’s pretty clear that Heinlein is top man as far as the author is concerned, a well-rounded figure, physically, mentally and morally superior to his peers with L. Sprague de Camp second. Asimov’s physical timidity is shown but that’s something Asimov admitted himself. As in ‘The Chinatown Deathcloud Peril’, Hubbard is portrayed as a flawed character rather than evil. He was on the downhill slide from success as a pulp writer to success as a second rate Messiah.

It’s well researched and the adventure plot is secondary, for me, to the insights into the characters. As this is faction it has to be taken with a pinch of salt but I’ve read biographies of the leads and the portrayals seem fairly accurate. Asimov’s knee-trembler on a New York rooftop was going a bit far though.

Entertaining and worth a look for fans of Golden Age science fiction who like a laugh.

Eamonn Murphy
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review 2020-01-31 02:36
The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane - Nikki Shannon Smith


Nikki Shannon Smith, author

Mari Lobo, illustrator

Picture Windows Books, a capstone imprint (January 1, 2020)

Age Range: 6 - 8 years

Grade Level: Kindergarten – 2

Lexile Measure: 0610

Series: Azaleah Lane (Book 1)

Hardcover: 112 pages

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1515844641

ISBN: 9781515844648 (hardcover)

ISBN: 9781515844686 (eBook PDF)


 +++I was gifted this book by Capstone Publishers for my review for a Multicultural Children’s Book Day event.+++


Azaleah Lane is the middle child of 3 African-American girls. She goes to the zoo on a field trip at school and is given an extra credit assignment which she is excited about doing, but her younger sister lost her bear and needs Azaleah’s help. Her older sister is too busy practicing for a play at school, and mom and dad are working over the weekend. When will Azaleah get her extra credit done?


Azaleah’s story begins at school on a Friday, and ends Monday morning when she arrives at school. Author Nikki Shannon Smith kept Azaleah moving from excitement to worry when her parents ask her to be responsible for helping her sister. Azaleah is written as having some spunk, all while trying to be responsible and successful all while trying to be herself. The storyline moves quickly, so I can see a young reader staying interested throughout the book. Mari Lobo’s illustrations are colorful and bright. The expressions on the characters’ faces are wonderfully accurate for each part of the story.


Nikki Shannon Smith included a glossary of “new” words for the reader, instructions to make a diorama, and questions to answer verbally or written.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 (1/31/20) is in its 7th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.  

Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues.

MCBD 2020  is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board


Super Platinum

Make A Way Media/ Deirdre “DeeDee” Cummings,


Language Lizard, Pack-N-Go Girls,


Audrey Press, Lerner Publishing Group, KidLit TV, ABDO BOOKS : A Family of Educational Publishers, PragmaticMom & Sumo Jo, Candlewick Press,


 Author Charlotte Riggle, Capstone Publishing, Guba Publishing, Melissa Munro Boyd & B is for Breathe,


Author Carole P. Roman, Snowflake Stories/Jill Barletti, Vivian Kirkfield & Making Their Voices Heard. Barnes Brothers Books,  TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books,  Charlesbridge Publishing, Barefoot Books Talegari Tales


Author Sponsor Link Cloud

Jerry Craft, A.R. Bey and Adventures in Boogieland, Eugina Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Kenneth Braswell & Fathers Incorporated, Maritza M. Mejia & Luz del mes_Mejia, Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Josh Funk and HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture GrooveLauren Ranalli, The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! By Dr. Sharon Chappell, Phe Lang and Me On The Page, Afsaneh Moradian and Jamie is Jamie, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, TUMBLE CREEK PRESS, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Gwen Jackson, Angeliki Pedersen & The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 by Mia Wenjen, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher (Founders of Inner Flower Child Books), Ann Morris & Do It Again!/¡Otra Vez!, Janet Balletta and Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Ocean, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo & Bruna Bailando por el Mundo Dancing Around the World, Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, Sarah Jamila Stevenson, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Teresa Robeson  & The Queen of Physics, Nadishka Aloysius and Roo The Little Red TukTuk, Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore & Stories by the Girlfriends Book Club, Finding My Way Books, Diana Huang & Intrepids, Five Enchanted Mermaids, Elizabeth Godley and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle, Anna Olswanger and Greenhorn, Danielle Wallace & My Big Brother Troy, Jocelyn Francisco and Little Yellow Jeepney, Mariana Llanos & Kutu, the Tiny Inca Princess/La Ñusta Diminuta, Sara Arnold & The Big Buna Bash, Roddie Simmons & Race 2 Rio, DuEwa Frazier & Alice’s Musical Debut, Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series  Green Kids Club, Inc.

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Afsaneh Moradian, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Bethany Edward & Biracial Bookworms, Michelle Goetzl & Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Educators Spin on it, Shauna Hibbitts-creator of eNannylink, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joel Leonidas & Descendant of Poseidon Reads {Philippines}, Imagination Soup, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Serge Smagarinsky {Australia}, Shoumi Sen, Jennifer Brunk & Spanish Playground, Katie Meadows and Youth Lit Reviews

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

TWITTER PARTY! Register here!


Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.



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review 2019-07-21 13:27
A Modern Spidey Worth Picking Up!
The Amazing Spider-Man by J.Michael Straczynski Omnibus Vol.1 - Mike Deodato Jr.,J Michael Straczynski,John Romita Jr.

In 1963, Amazing Fantasy issue #15 saw the debut character Spider-Man, written by Stan Lee and co-written and drawn by Steve Ditko. It became an instant hit among comic readers and launched its own comic book series. Many years later as we came to know of, Spider-Man was adapted into 7 live-action motion pictures that depicts Peter Parker's teenage years and his daily problems as a superhero, and a teen in love. For the general public of movie-goers, this is what they know but in 1999, Peter Parker as we know it, is no longer a teenager. He is now an adult, on temporary separation with his wife Mary Jane Parker and his life, as always, spiraling down. Still, as a superhero, he uphold and care for the city of New York... until he meet someone (and older) with similar powers like him. Ezekiel became Parker's interest as these two embark on a journey which lead to one of the best written work with artwork by John Romita Jr.. Still, its not that its without faults but overall, its a story worth reading.


Collecting from The Amazing Spider-Man (1999) issues #30-58 & #500-514, this massive whooping 1120 pages thick omnibus has every thing from how Peter discovers that his powers may not be from a radioactive spider to how Aunt May discover Peter as Spider-Man and the need to accept for who he really is as a superhero and how Peter's life and MJ comes to terms between them, every thing as how it is is the true spirit of the characters that started since the beginning. One important story included that became an instant bestseller was issue #36 - the 9/11 story. Powerful and beautifully written.


While the art from John Romita Jr. is breath-taking, after he left the series, Mike Deodato Jr. took over the drawing board with what is this volume's arc-storyline Sin's Past, which to my opinion, isn't good. It does felt forced and truly, it felt like as if the reasoning writing this story is nothing but shock-value. Overall - I always love J.Michael Straczynski's work and this is one of the best of his worth picking up and read.

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review 2019-07-07 19:28
Escape as Art
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon

This is going to be one of those reviews in which the reviewer wishes the novel was about something other than what the author wrote.


Kavalier and Clay are cousins, one a refugee from Nazi occupied Prague, the other a kid from Brooklyn. Kavalier is a talented artist and Clay an inspiring writer and together they get in on the start of superhero comics with their character the Escapist, a Houdini inspired hero who mostly fights Nazis. I find the history of comic books and the writers and artists who created them to be a fascinating story and I hoped this novel would tell that story, but the early days of comics are just a background for the complicated relationships of the two main characters.


For a novel that touches on the plight of Jews in eastern Europe during the Third Reich and the plight of closeted gays in early 20th century America, Kavalier & Clay is a surprisingly fun novel. Kavalier has most of the adventures, and they are amazing. Clay mostly makes wisecracks on the sidelines. There are elements of a fiction trope I think of as "all happiness must die." Whenever the characters in a book or film are getting too close to happiness you know something is about to ruin everything, and that absolutely happens at about the 2/3rds point of the novel.


The book has a running theme of escape, both literal and metaphorical. Kavalier literally escapes from Czechoslovakia and then helps his cousin escape from his dreary suburban life. At various times both Kavalier and Clay attempt to escape from their whole lives by packing up and leaving or by pretending to be something other than what they really are. Comic books and genre fiction are often disdainfully dismissed as escapist. I have marveled at the level of literary snobbery that leads someone to dismiss anything that is not serious and/or depressing as escapist. If it means escaping from the wardens of the imagination, then I am all for the escape attempt.

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