2018 Hiatus

We’re taking a hiatus for the remainder of 2018 – but we’ll be back soon!

If you would your book reviewed, please submit the requested information, after January 20th, 2019.

Thank You in advance for your patience and understanding.

We look forward to resuming book reviews soon!


Normandy’s Bright Ideas


The Fed-Up Cow


Author: Peta Lemon
Illustrator: Maria Dasic Todoric
Publisher: Quirky Pictures Press
Genre: Children’s Books / Humor
ISBN: 978-1999956677
Pages: 34
Price: $7.99 (Paperback)
Available at: Amazon.com

Book Review:
What’s a cow to do, when one day, while grazing in a pasture, she grows weary of uttering, moo?

Hilda, a brown-spotted cow is fed-up with being herself. So, she decides to make a change. Literally. On a farm, there are a variety of animals to choose to become. Perhaps, a woolly sheep? Maybe a stinky pink pig? Or a clucky, feather-covered hen might work. But, will Hilda find the happiness she seeks by being someone other than herself? Or, will she come to discover being who you are is what breeds contentment?

Peta Lemon took a moment with an actual cow appearing fed-up in a field, and put together an adorable, hilarious, rhyming story about self-acceptance, in her book, The Fed-Up Cow. One cannot help but enjoy the journey right along with Hilda, as she finds herself in one creative predicament after another when deciding to make a ‘change’. Ms. Lemon demonstrates through her lesson-inspired book, that even with determination, sometimes what we think will bring forth joy, may not always be the case.

Marcia Dasic Todoric’s illustrations are lively, adorable and display elements of complimentary story-line characteristics. Hilda’s mischievous side is demonstrated not just through facial expressions, but also with the attention to detail Ms. Todoric gives to the secondary characters. The colors used in The Fed-Up Cow are bright and help render a country, farm-like feel to each page of the book.

Hay! Get “moooving”!  Join the herd and fetch your copy of the The Fed-Up Cow.

photo of me (2)

Author Bio:
Peta Lemon is a UK-based author who writes funny picture books in rhyme.  Her books are illustrated by the hugely talented Maria Dasic Todoric.

Peta is the mother to 3 very young children.  She has always written but developed a passion for writing children’s picture books as a result of many hours spent reading to her children.  She writes the type of stories that she would like to read to her own children and that she thinks the children would enjoy as much as the adults.

In 2018 she will release Timmy on the Toilet, another rhyming picture book about a boy who is granted a wish and accidentally wishes he could fly whilst sitting on the toilet at school. This book is in the final stages of illustration and the illustrations are hilarious.

Author Website:

Author Links:



The Grumpface


Author: B.C.R. Fegan
Illustrator: Daniela Frongia
Publisher: TaleBlade
Genre: Children’s Books / Fairytales, Folk Tales & Myths
ISBN: 978-0995359215
Pages: 34
Price: $8.99 (Paperback) $4.99 (Kindle)
Available at: Amazon.com


Book Review:
We all wear a ‘grumpface’ at some point…(most before that first cup of coffee in the morning). But, what happens when you tick off a wizard who in turn curses you with a permanent grump face? You live alone in the land of Ho, taking pleasure by granting freedom only to those who can complete three simple tasks. Dan, a clumsy failed inventor is helplessly in love with a flower girl named Bella. Dan accidentally crossed paths with the Grumpface, while seeking a rose to win Bella’s affections. If he ever hopes to see her again, he must complete the three tasks.  But, will the failed inventor succeed and, in the process, undue the wizard’s curse? Or, will he fail once again, and be doomed to live in the land of Ho forever?

Bryce Fegan has truly captured the essence of grumpiness in his adorable rhyming book, The Grumpface.  The storyline contains imagination, intrigue, mixed with dashes of comedy, romance and an unexpected twist near the end of storyline. The main character, Dan is very inspiring. He keeps reaching for the brass ring, refusing to accept defeat, despite failing every single time. His ‘go-go-go’ attitude is a positive example for children to glean from. As for the antagonist of the book, the Grumpface, one cannot resist the urge to grab this sour-puss off the page and sweeten him up with a hug.

Daniela Frongia did an outstanding job illustrating the story-line. Her interpretation of how a grump-face should look is spot-on, warts and all. The grouchiness of this character, especially the eyes, can be felt.  Ms. Frongia’s detail is showcased brilliantly with her illustration of the volcano. It looks so real, one can almost hear the lava bubbling. The palate of colors chosen throughout the book are subtle, yet, complement the classic vibe of the book, giving it a dash of old world charm.

Before leaving this Book Review, you must complete these three tasks:
1.  Make a cup of coffee for yourself.
2.  Make hot chocolate for the kid(s).
3.  Add a copy of The Grumpface to your book collection.


Author Bio:
BCR Fegan is an award-winning author who has written a number of fairy tales and fantasies for children and young adults. He is inspired by stories that resonate deeply with our desire for adventure, yearning for magic and search for meaning. When Fegan is not writing children’s books, he is forging worlds in the realm of Young Adult Fiction.

Author Website:

Author Links:
Google +

Illustrator Website:

Apples, Oranges & the Starving Artist


March 22, 2018
Normandy D. Piccolo

The phrase, ‘Starving Artist’ is equated with an artistic person (writer/painter/ poet/ sculptor/ musician) who sacrifices monetary comfort and security to focus on their craft, hoping to be discovered. They sink every dime into their work. Some even go so far as to endure a budgeted diet of Raman noodles until they make it.   

The character Lelaina Pierece (Winona Ryder), a documentary film maker in the 1994 movie Reality Bites, joked she was, “moments from selling fruit at an intersection”, if Michael Gates (Ben Stiller), hadn’t generated interest in her project. I wonder what type of fruit Lelaina would have sold had Michael’s opportunity not come along?  

A starving artist’s work is like a baby whom they nurture, until it is ready to be birthed for the world to marvel at. They feel a sense of accomplishment, joy and admiration at their project’s unveiling. Hoping others will embrace it with the same enthusiasm they have in creating the work. You see, starving artists are notoriously emotional, often revealing bits of personal, gut-wrenching life experiences in their work. So, what happens when the work they invested so much emotion and effort in falls flat?

The first instinct is the desire to dive under a duvet and never face the world again. Tears, humiliation, frustration, resentment and anger follow. Finally, confusion arrives over how such magnificent work filled with passion, heart and soul was shunned. Before long, self-doubt about their ability as an artist takes root.

Rejection feels rotten. But, rejection to a starving artist is like having an inflated balloon filled with hopes and dreams cruelly get popped. They are now left holding a sagging string with a piece of broken latex attached to it, unsure if they ever want to try again. Or, just drop the string and walk away.

If you are fortunate enough to be accomplished in the field of arts (writer/painter/ poet/sculptor/musician) with several works already under your belt, rejection is no big deal. You already have a fan base and a publicity machine pushing your artistic talent out to the public. If one idea fails, you simply hop back on the bike, generate another idea, and let the publicity machine put you and your barely bruised ego back on top of the heap once more.

But, if you are a starving artist with meager means, getting back on the bike after getting racked and facing the giant heap is not as easy as it sounds. The ego is severely bruised, among other parts, and the spirit is broken. When rejection happens, a starving artist must heal, then decide if they want to try again, risk enduring further rejection and, most importantly, stomach more Ramen noodles.         

So, the next time you are online, or visiting a local store or happen to spy an artistic person displaying their talent on the street, show them support and appreciation for their artistic efforts by purchasing their work or at least giving them a compliment. Also, a little complimentary word of mouth via social media can give them a needed boost.

Just because a starving artist’s work is not hanging in a museum, showcased in a record store, featured on television/in a movie, or sitting on a shelf at a national bookstore does not mean the work lacks value or is not entertaining. Society has become so conditioned to supporting “what’s in” -“following the latest trend/phase” while overlooking or dismissing the unknown starving artists. Popularity doesn’t always guarantee talent.

By supporting a starving artist over a “an established one”, YOU may wind up helping the world discover the next Ernest Hemmingway, Pablo Picasso, Al Pacino or Robert Frost, who has been overlooked by corporate bean counters, agents, publishers, record companies and/or art dealers.

YOU may be the reason a starving artist no longer has to face the possibility of selling apples or oranges at an intersection.



If you are a ‘Starving Artist’ . . . “I want to wish you all the best of luck in your artistic endeavors.” ~ NDP

Feel free to share your creative work (pics/links/short description) here.

Please limit your postings to no more than one. If you have multiple works you would like to share, make a statement about them and provide followers with a link to a website that displays your work.

Don’t forget to share this blog/thread.

You never know who might stumble across it and discover your work and/or whose dream you may help come true.  





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Alexander the Great: Student of Aristotle, Descendant of Heroes.
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Publisher: Independently Published
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs / Historical
ISBN: 978-1977060266
Pages: 39
Price: $7.99 (Paperback) $0.00 (Kindle Unlimited)
Available at: Amazon.com

Who is in60Learning?

in60Learning produces concise historical and biographical works that can be read or listened to in 60 minutes.  Science and technology works are coming soon! Visit their page for even more great works Amazon.com


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Author Interview with Normandy D. Piccolo

questions & answers
about Bullied Dying to Fit In

Book Summary: Each year, approximately 4,400 children commit suicide due to bullying. ‘Bullied Dying to Fit In’ is every bullied person’s story and needs to be heard. Will you listen? The book captures the raw emotional side of bullying. Though everyone’s bully story is different, the pain felt is the same. The broken-heart tells the tale. ‘Bullied Dying to Fit In’ takes the bullied, the non-bullied and even the bully on an emotional roller-coaster of tears, insight and triumph.

How did you become involved with bullying?
I was severely bullied from the age of five until my mid-twenties.

Were you ever suicidal because of being bullied?
Yes. It did reach a point where I attempted suicide one time.

What stopped you from ending your life?
I realized that if I ended my life, the bullies won. And, they were not worth my life. I decided I wanted to no longer be a victim. I wanted to overcome the pain and help bullied kids to not feel the horrific pain I had experienced for years.

Did you write ‘Bullied Dying to Fit In’ as a way to help you heal from being bullied? It is put together in an unusual format, not like most books about bullying.
Yes and no. Yes, because it did help me heal as the words poured forth.

But, the main reason I chose to write ‘Bullied Dying to Fit In’ and, in that particular format, was because the market is flooded with so many “my bully story” books. I wanted the reader to know that “I get it”. I understand how they feel because I have been there. But, at the same time, I also wanted to allow the reader (a person who is being bullied) to see it as “their story”. I also wrote it this way for those who have never been bullied, to help them realize how painful it is to be bullied. And, I am hoping to help parents who have a child being bullied or lost a child who was bullied to understand the pain and maybe answer some of the ‘whys’ which are often asked after a tragedy.

What do you hope the book accomplishes for those who are being bullied?
By the turn of the last page, I want bullied kids to see their future in a positive light and to heal from the pain and know that they are not alone. The book contains five sections; hurting, facts, scoop, healing and #tbh, which range from the pain of being bullied, to information, to the bold truth about bullying and how to gain strength to rise above it.

How do we end bullying?
Unfortunately, there will always be bullying. Bullying exists even in the animal and insect world. As for humans, hopefully through better education programs at school, more communication at home with their parents, the teaching of basic manners, learning how to agree to disagree and develop better acceptance and tolerance of others. As a society we need to become more sensitized and less desensitized. This happens by having more human contact vs electronic communication.

Taking these steps, a bullied victim will better understand how to stop being a victim and see their bully through new eyes. The same goes for the bully. Hopefully he or she will learn how to better communicate with others without using physical, mental or emotional abuse towards them.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing ‘Bullied Dying to Fit In’?
I discovered I had a lot of pain that was tucked away down inside that I never dealt with.

And have you since dealt with the pain?
I have. But, I would be lying if I told you everything in my life is perfect since dealing with and healing from the pain. Perfection is an unrealistic goal. And, if anyone tells you otherwise, they are mistaken.

If you had one piece of advice to give, what would it be?
Life throws us challenges every day. It’s how we choose to handle those challenges that makes us or breaks us. You have the power – you have had it all along. The power of choice. You can choose to allow a bully to ruin your life. Or, you can choose to take your life back. Your choice.

What do you think makes a good story?
The truth.

What were your goals and intentions in this book?
To help someone not feel the way I did about myself for the longest time because of bullying. Having people hate you hurts. And, I did hate myself right along with the bullies. When someone says hateful things about you over and over, it’s hard not to believe them after a while.

How do you feel you achieved your goals and intentions in ‘Bullied Dying to Fit In?
If I help only one person overcome bullying and heal, then mission accomplished.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
I would have to say the section entitled, “hurting” because I had to reach deep down inside and basically bear mine and every bullied person’s soul.  It was a very painful, and yet at the same time healing journey. Being bullied is very damaging to a person mentally, physically and emotionally. It goes deeper than I think most people realize.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I really enjoyed writing the section entitled, “#tbh” because it is truthful, honest and positive. The section talks to you, not at you. So, for those who have no one to talk to or get advice from, this section can be helpful.

Bullied Dying To Fit In
Author: Normandy D. Piccolo
Illustrator: Normandy D. Piccolo
Publisher: Normandy’s Bright Ideas
Genre: Parenting / Relationships / Juvenile Non-Fiction / Bullying
ISBN: 978-0997934946
Pages: 288
Price: $10.99 (Paperback) $2.99 (Kindle)
Available at: Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com/uk

Author Bio: Normandy D. Piccolo is a writer, book reviewer and former Advertising Copywriter. She has written several books featuring “underdog characters”, appeared on Television and in Mom Blogs, written radio scripts for the “Click It or Ticket” national campaign and for “Operation Lifesaver” with well-known Country Stars including Charlie Daniels. Her song, “My Bestfriend Ted”, received continuous air-play on Chicago radio. Additionally, she worked on the GodSpeaks Billboard campaign contributing campaign concepts, along with scripts for the televised cartoon, Auto-B-Good. She is a participant of the Hillsborough County Anti-Bullying Advisory Committee.

“I believe there is nothing better in the world than to take hold of a book and while reading, allowing the book to take hold of you and your imagination. Reading, next to learning, truly is the greatest adventure of them all.”

Additional information, including radio, magazine and television interviews, can be seen at http://www.NormandysBrightIdeas.com

Visit my youtube channel by searching ‘Bullied Dying To Fit In Book’ for book trailers.
Youtube Book Trailers

Author Website: www.normandysbrightideas.com

Author Links:
Bullied Dying to Fit In Book Website
*includes Press Release










Bonjour! Let’s Learn French: Visit New Places and Make New Friends


Bonjour! Let’s Learn French: Visit New Places and Make New Friends
Author: Judy Martialay
Illustrator: Judy Martialay
Publisher: BookBaby; Bilingual edition
Genre: Children’s Books / Language
ISBN: 978-0997468700
Pages: 40
Price: $16.99 (Paperback) $Unlimited (Kindle)
Available at: Amazon.com


Book Review:
Buckle your seat belts for Pete the Pilot is not your ordinary airline pilot in the book, Bonjour! Let’s Learn French: Visit New Places and Make New Friends. While in flight to France, Pete teaches his young passengers some important French words to help them navigate around the country easier. And, that is only the beginning of the adventure. While at the beach, the children, Arlette, Jacques, Marie and Pierre unwittingly construct a special château (castle) and help make a little escargot’s (snail’s) dream of being King come true.

The beginning of the book transports the reader to France, while the following pages incorporate some lessons in elementary French language use. Ms. Martialay has added practice exercises for the reader to learn colors, objects, days of the week, art, music, and the culture to help the reader further expand in French speaking skills.  An adventure with Louis the escargot, who goes into town and must use French to get around, adds to the reader’s practice for using the French language.  The one thing Bonjour! Let’s Learn French: Visit New Places and Make New Friends could use would be a breakdown on how to properly pronounce the French words.

The illustrations in Bonjour! Let’s Learn French: Visit New Places and Make New Friends are displayed in a variety of tones – from light pastels, to vibrant colors that leap off the page. One cannot help but to develop a love for snails after seeing the adorable drawings of Louis the Escargot. It is quite evident Ms. Martialay is very talented when putting brush in hand. To add further flavor to the book are actual pictures of some delicious French food, along with the French flag and a few other surprises.

If you or your child want to begin to learn French, then Bonjour! Let’s Learn French: Visit New Places and Make New Friends, is the perfect book to get you started. Au revoir! (Goodbye!)

JudyPortrait-1 - medium small
Author Bio:
Judy Martialay was born in Mount Vernon, New York, and received a BA from Mount Holyoke College and MA from Columbia University. She taught world or foreign languages in elementary school, middle and high school. During and after retirement, she devoted time to public advocacy for foreign language education with the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers. Her dream is to give all children the opportunity to experience a foreign language, as early as possible. Judy has traveled to Mexico, France, Spain, Italy, Algeria, China, Ethiopia, Greece, Israel and other countries. She loves guitar, oil painting, and gardening. She lives in Sea Cliff, N.Y. with husband Javier, has two daughters and one granddaughter.

Author Website:

Author Links:

Bullied Dying to Fit In


Author: Normandy D. Piccolo
Illustrator: Normandy D. Piccolo
Publisher: Normandy’s Bright Ideas
Genre: Juvenile / Non-Fiction / Social Issues / Bullying / Mental Health
ISBN: 978-0997934946
Pages: 284
Price: $10.99 (Paperback)
Available at: Amazon.com

Each year, approximately 4,400 children commit suicide due to bullying. Bullied Dying to Fit In is every bullied person’s story and needs to be heard. Will you listen?

The book captures the raw emotional side of bullying. Though everyone’s bully story is different, the pain felt is the same. The broken-heart tells the tale.

Bullied Dying to Fit In takes the bullied, the non-bullied and even the bully on an emotional roller-coaster of tears, insight and triumph.

Learn more about Bullied Dying to Fit In by clicking here


If I Was a Caterpillar

Authors: Ben Jackson and Sam
Illustrator: Danko Herrera
Publisher: Indie Publishing Group
Genre: Children’s Books / Growing Up & Facts of Life / Bugs & Spiders
ISBN: 978-1988656083
Pages: 32
Price: Paperback ($9.99) Kindle ($2.99) Hardcover ($18.94)
Available at: Amazon.com

Book Review:
If I Was a Caterpillar is the story of a little caterpillar who knows no limits on what he can accomplish in life. From being sophisticated enough to sip tea with Royalty, to metaphorically taunting the ‘fashion police’ by wearing different shoes for fun, to bouncing about in a kangaroo’s pouch, to soaring the open skies with an eagle, and so much more.

Ben Jackson and Sam Lawrence once again do not disappoint in their latest children’s book, If I Was a Caterpillar. Although the story appears light and charming, do not underestimate the influential lessons weaved in the storyline for children to grasp. The power of positive thinking. The ability to achieve goals. The will and desire to be anything you want to be when you grow-up.

Danko Herrera’s illustration of the little caterpillar in If I Was a Caterpillar easily relates to young readers with its childlike innocence and appearance. He takes detail in creating a variety of joyful facial expressions to match the adventures taking place. This allows the young reader to vicariously enjoy the experiences, too.  The colors used are cheerful and aid in the illumination of the little caterpillar’s adventure with each turn of the page.

“If I Was a Caterpillar what would I do?” Simple.  I would curl up inside a cocoon and read the book, If I Was a Caterpillar until I blossomed into a beautiful butterfly.


Ben and Sam
Author Bio:
Ben and Sam currently live in Ontario, Canada. Ben was born in Tasmania, Australia, while Sam was born in Toronto, Canada. Between the two of them, they enjoy travelling frequently, and both have two children. With three boys and one girl, they both enjoy spending quality time with their families, reading books, playing games and exploring both Canada and Australia.

Author Website:
Amazon Author Page

Author Links:

Illustrator Bio:
Danko Herrera, when not walking natural landscapes, works as an illustrator for various indie writers like Arnie Lightning and Jeff Rivera.  His work has been part of Saca la Bici, a bicycle organization in Mexico. He started illustrating for a short-tale collective in Querétaro (Mexico) called “cuentos para iluminar”, a fanzine containing short illustrated tales with a psychological approach. Danko is a contributor to Rockademix, a multimedia academic program based in California. As a visual artist, his work has been exhibited in Mexico, Denmark, and Argentina.