Tag Archives: new author

Book review: Being Frank – by Donna W. Earnhardt

Being FrankBook: Being Frank
Author: Donna W. Earnhardt
Illustrator: Andrea Castellani
Genre: picture book, for ages 5 – 7
Publisher: Flashlight Press
Date: September 26, 2012
Price: $16.95
My rating: a “must have” beautifully illustrated storybook with a moral presented in an entertaining way

I met the author, Donna Earnhardt, online in a writers chatroom maybe three years ago when she was still hoping to write the children’s book that would be accepted by a publisher. Well, it has happened! Being Frank is her first picture book to be placed into the hands of eager children, and it is a beautiful one.

The story begins with these words: Frank was always frank. “Honesty is the best policy,” he said.

While that motto is a very good one, it got Frank into big trouble. Although he knew how to be honest, he didn’t know anything about tact. Eventually, everyone was upset with him, he was being ignored by his friends, and he didn’t understand what to do about it. Enter … his grandfather. Yay! for grandparents!  😉  What he learned from his grandfather Ernest changed how Frank handled his honesty so that he could still be honest but without hurting people’s feelings.

Although Being Frank is a story with a moral, it does not come across in a preachy teachy way that could put children off. It is entertaining and funny while getting the point across.

Donna has everything in this book that should appeal to a child. Words used are fun and a little challenging, there are amusing situations, she uses great names that describe the characters – another example being Mr. Wiggins, the school principal who wears a toupée – and she has brought out true feelings expressed by her characters. It is believable and entertaining for children (and grown-ups, too.)

A fabulous picture book story falls short when there are not great illustrations to back it up. Well, there is nothing amiss in this book! The characters in Donna Earnhardt’s Being Frank are brought to life through the bright and colourful illustrations of Andrea Castellani. (His name is pronounced An-dray-a.) When my grandson and I read this book together he was busily taking it all in, there is so much to see and enjoy that goes with the words.

Being Frank by Donna Earnhardt is a wonderful book to add to your bookshelf.

You can find Being Frank listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Please come back on Thursday, March 14, for my interview with author Donna Earnhardt. There is a picture book to win! 🙂

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂


Book Review: Without a Hitch – by Andrew Price

Without a Hitch - Andrew PriceBook: Without a Hitch
Author: Andrew Price
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Date: June 4, 2012
Genre: legal thriller
Pages: 408; paperback
Price: $12.99 paperback, also on Kindle for less
My rating: Riveting, suspenseful, tense, well worth the breathlessness

At first I wasn’t sure about reading a thriller, but I decided to take a chance on Without a Hitch. Once I got into this story there was no turning back. The author, Andrew Price, cleverly caught and held my attention from the first page onward.

This debut novel is about two lawyers who concoct a scheme to get rich, not exactly legally. Well, actually – not legally at all. That’s where the trouble starts, and it builds to such a heightened point of stress that I had to walk away a few times to breathe. Really.

Having said that, don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed this book almost completely. I say ‘almost’, because of some of the language. If you have been following my reviews, then you know I hate the “f’ word, and this story is riddled with it in certain scenes. What makes it work is that the characters, one in particular, would use that speech if he were a real person living the life created for him by the author. Because I couldn’t bear to not know what was going to happen, I stuck with it. In fact, because of the suspense and effectively building tension, it was with difficulty that I did not skip ahead to find out some things before reading through. I made myself wait so as not to spoil the read.

There are several necessary characters (even a mystery man) created by Andrew – not all playing leading roles in this story, but important – in different capacities – to its forward motion and edginess. They also add to the drama and suspense, enough to keep the reader wondering and reading. They are so real-to-life I could visualize them, hear them, and identify with them in some of their behaviour. The dialogue is accurate, amusing, annoying – and playful when in the flirtatious scenes. The reader may even think, “I know someone like that.”

Because Andrew Price has inside knowledge of the legal field, having worked in various capacities for nearly two decades, he was able to write a story that is believable and enjoyable to read. His characters stay with the reader, and the ending he came up with made me say, “Huh?” I had to go back and reread the last page a few times, studying it for clues. It’s an ending that leaves you guessing and thinking about quite awhile after you lay down the book as ‘finished.’

I believe there is a series developing. And I want to follow it through, it’s that good.

You can find Without a Hitch listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Watch for an upcoming interview with Andrew Price, author of Without a Hitch. There will be a copy of Without a Hitch for one person who leaves a comment after the interview.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂