Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#BookReview | Under-The-Bed Fred by Linda Bailey

Title: Under-The-Bed Fred
By: Linda Bailey
Genre: Picture Book
Release Date: September 19th, 2017
Publisher: Tundra Books (NY)

Summary from Goodreads: From the team who brought you If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur comes a laugh-out-loud early chapter book about befriending the monster under the bed.

There's a monster under Leo's bed making a ruckus every night. When Leo needs to go to the bathroom, he leaps from the bed to the door -- careful not to put his feet on the floor within the monster's reach. But one night Leo gets tired of being scared and boldly calls out to the monster to see if they can't just work something out. Surprisingly, the monster listens, and Leo finds out that even enormous monsters have fears! Leo and his monster, Fred, team up to face their fears, each with his own unique strengths. Over the course of five easy-to-read chapters, their friendship blooms as they face everything from bullies to bedbugs. A funny and endearing tale of two very different and unlikely friends, in the tradition of Bink and Gollie and Frog and Toad.
 


Review: This was an awesome read. I love books that I can relate to and my kids can also get something out of. I don't know how many times as a kid, I jumped into bed before something grabbed my feet. Of course, I thought it was an alligator. The art was off the wall, very creative. I loved this book from start to finish.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Monday, April 24, 2017

#WeeklyMenu Week 194

Happy Monday! We are down to the last week of April and I can't believe how fast this month has flown by. 

My middle boy is almost seven. My oldest has a music concert this week and the wee little man who isn't really that little, still won't potty train... I just can't win. 

I guess if there is one constant in my life, it would have to be chaos. Total CHAOS!

Enjoy this weeks menu...

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday
- Beef Tacos

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Tuna Sandwiches

Sunday, April 23, 2017

#BookReview | Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Title: Royal Bastards
By: Andrew Shvarts
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Summary from Goodreads: Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .


Review: I'm always drawn to this kind of book, Fantasy with a little romance. Royal Bastards was a good read, with a fair amount of world building and magical elements woven throughout the story. I found myself really drawn to Zell's character. I loved his whole concept and how we found out what he was really made of in the end. There was one thing that rubbed me the wrong way, but it was minor. Some parts of the book were out of character, like when Tilla said something about the "Guys" or some of the dialogue could be found in todays world instead of this old world setting. Its like the book broke character and thought it was Urban Fantasy for a moment. Even with this little pet peeve of mine, I still gave it four stars. It was enjoyable and I can't wait for the sequel.  


Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

#BookReview | Gauntlet by Holly Jennings

Title: Gauntlet
By: Holly Jennings
Genre: Urban Fantasy 
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: Ace

Summary from Goodreads: Kali Ling isn’t afraid of dying. She’s been killed hundreds of times in hundreds of different ways. And she knows there are things much more terrifying than death…

There’s a new game in town. A brutal, winner-takes-all, international video game tournament between the world’s most elite players, promising fame, prestige, and unbelievable fortune. But there’s a catch. The game uses new VR pods guaranteed to push digital warriors to their physical and psychological brink—adapting every time a gamer makes a move.

As the first female captain and youngest team owner in VGL history, Kali is used to defying the odds. But as the all-star tournament heats up, her determination begins to waver and the pressures of media, sponsors, and the game itself begin to put cracks in her hard-set convictions.

If Kali’s Team Defiance is to survive, they’ll have to find a way to be stronger than ever before. But battling the system may prove too difficult for even the most hardened of fighters…



Review: That ending! I just want to scream. This book was epic from start to finish. There was so much action, but the story in the middle was just as good. I wanted to root for team Defiance the entire time, hoping that they would win. I can't wait to see whats in story for my favorite gamers.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.


Friday, April 21, 2017

#BookReview | Is a Worry Worrying You? by Ferida Wolff

Title: Is a Worry Worrying You?
By: Ferida Wolff
Genre: Picture Book
Release Date: April 15th, 2005
Publisher: Tanglewood

Summary from Goodreads: This book addresses children's worries with humor and imagination, as hilarious scenarios teach kids the use of perspective and the art of creative problem—solving.


Review: I loved how this book digs into how children might see worries in their lives. I have an autistic son who worries a lot. Worries about school, worries about dinner, bedtime, bath time. If anything changes, he worries. I can see this book being an asset for him to read when he is starting to feel the worry monster sneaking in. The art was amazing and the layout was easy to follow. Loved it!


Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.




#BookReview | Magic Words by Unknown

Title: Magic Words
By: Unknown
Genre: Picture Book
Release Date: September 1st, 2013
Publisher: Vanita Books

Summary from Goodreads: Magic Words: From the Ancient Oral Tradition of the Inuit is a modern translation (1965) of a very old Inuit creation story by nationally known poet Edward Field. As a poem it captures beautifully the intimate relationship this Arctic people have with their natural world.

Magic Words describes a world where humans and animals share bodies and languages, where the world of the imagination mixes easily with the physical. It began as a story that told how the Inuit people came to be and became a legend passed from generation to generation. In translation it grew from myth to poem. The text comes from expedition notes recorded by Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen in 1921. Edward Field got a copy from the Harvard Library and translated it into English.
 



Review: What a beautifully illustrated story. The pictures were interesting, bringing me into the world of the Inuit. The words seemed calming and easy to read. The story moved along nicely. The only thing I could say, was I wish it was longer. Four stars for Magic Words.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.


#BookReview | Ivy in Bloom by Vanita Oelschlager



I've decided that today is going to be picture book day, full of colorful pages and books for our younger readers. Enjoy!


Title: Ivy in Bloom
By: Vanita Oelschlager
Genre: Picture book
Release Date: April 1st, 2009
Publisher: Vanita Books

Summary from Goodreads: Ivy in Bloom captures the weariness of a young girl tired of a long winter. "I stare out the window," she says on the first spread of brown and gray, "looking for birds or flowers / or even warm showers / but I don't see any such thing." But then Spring comes when "March is out of breath snow melting to flowery waters and watery flowers spring rose from its wintry rest." And Ivy's "heart dances with daffodils." As these words also dance across each spread, Ivy's world erupts into a riot of color. 

Ivy in Bloom introduces the poetry of Dickinson, Longfellow, Browning, Wordsworth, Frost and others. Excerpts from their writings, as seen through Ivy's eyes, will open up poetry as a way for children to express their own feelings about the changing of seasons. This book includes longer excerpts and brief bios of each author.
 



Review: This was a good concept, but it didn't feel very cohesive. Kids will love the pictures though. The art is amazingly wonderful and the poems themselves are good. They just don't go together well.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Rise of the Sea Witch by Stacey Rourke #BlogTour


Rise of the Sea Witch
Stacey Rourke
Publication date: June 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Details of the sea witch’s banishment have been exaggerated. The body count that preempted it was not. Once an illustrious princess, her hands and tentacles were stained with the blood of thousands. No one could comprehend how the hooks of madness dragged her down from her life of privilege.
Born Princess Vanessa of Atlantica, the ambitious young royal was one of two children born to the great King Poseidon. She and her brother, Triton, were groomed from birth to rule. Yet only one would ascend that coveted throne. While carefree Triton flits through his training with a cavalier demeanor and beguiling charm, Vanessa’s hunger for her father’s acceptance drives her to push herself to the limits of magic, and combat to become a leader worthy of her people.
When war against the humans ravages their once regal kingdom, political sides are chosen. Factions from the seven seas challenge the existing leadership, pitting Vanessa against her brother in a vicious battle for the crown. Traitors are exposed, dark family secrets revealed, and a once strong sibling bond is strained to its breaking point.
Only when the ink black waters from the ultimate betrayal rescind, will the truth be known of how the villainous sea witch rose with one name on her vengeful lips–Triton.


Author Bio:
RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012
Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013
Readers' Favorite Silver Medal Winner for Crane 2015
Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly suspenseful Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Reel Romance Series. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.

XBTBanner1

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Forgotten by Kristin Smith #BlogTour @SwordsStilettos


Forgotten
Kristin Smith
(The Deception Game #2)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 25th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
The epic tale of Sienna Preston continues in this second installment of the exhilarating Deception Game series.
Seventeen-year-old Sienna is no stranger to heartache and loss. But this time, it’s different; someone―or something―has tampered with a loved one’s memories, and she’s determined to get answers.
The trail leads her to the glittering skyscrapers and modern luxuries of Rubex, the Capital of Pacifica, where she infiltrates the government’s Agency for Intelligence and Genetics. But answers are not always easy to come by, especially when her own memories may have been altered. Luckily, Zane Ryder is there to help her put the pieces back together, his devotion and concern muddying the waters between friendship and something more.
When Sienna gets too close to uncovering dark Agency secrets, she’s framed for the murder of a prominent government official, sending her on the run. Sienna’s heart may be torn about who she loves, but none of that really matters anymore―because the only thing that awaits her now is a death sentence.
Grab book 1 for only 99¢!
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo
EXCERPT:
“How do you know so much about motorcycles? Did your dad ride?”
She laughs outright at my question. “My dad on a motorcycle? No way. Dad was a mixture of leather, coffee, and books. Not oil, sweat, and grease.”
After lying down on her back, she scoots up next to the bike, checking the rims and spokes to make sure there’s no damage. “It kind of became a hobby of mine after my dad died. Do you know the junkyard off Chantilly? Never mind, of course you don’t. Anyway, I found Harley there when I was looking for some old furniture to decorate our trailer with.” She looks up at me. “We didn’t always live in a trailer, you know.”
I try to hide my surprise. I assumed the opposite. “What happened?”
“After Dad died, Mom became sick. We couldn’t afford to live in our house in the suburbs anymore, so we sold it and everything in it, and found the trailer on the outskirts of town. That’s when I dropped out of school and started taking on odd jobs.”
She says it all with such a matter-of-fact tone, but I sense the truth. It was hard for her. It was more than any teenage girl should have to deal with. But she’s too strong to admit it.
“I don’t know how you did it,” I say.
She sits up, wiping her hands on her shorts. Unconsciously, I find my eyes shifting to her bare legs.
“I didn’t have a choice,” she says. She rises to her feet, straddles the bike, and bounces up and down a little. I can only assume she’s checking the chassis to make sure everything is working properly.
“Anyway,” she says. “When I found Harley, I took her home, researched antique motorcycles, and fixed her up. There’s a shop near the Hollow that sells parts, so that’s where I headed after I got my first paycheck.” She pats her bike fondly. “Never regretted it.”
I watch as she turns the key and the engine roars to life, bringing a brilliant smile to her face. I want to tell her all the ways I think she’s amazing, how she’s unlike any girl I’ve ever met, how I find her beautiful, resourceful, intelligent, and intriguing, but she doesn’t want to hear those things. Not from me anyway.


Author Bio:
Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary and science fiction novels. When she’s not writing, you can find her dreaming about the beach, beating her boys at Just Dance, or belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five incredibly loud but extremely cute boys. To read more about her obsession with YA novels or her addiction to chocolate, you can visit her at kristinsmithbooks.com.

XBTBanner1

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#GuestPost | Top 10 Reasons to Love Dysopian Novels by Kristin Smith @SwordsStilettos

I'm really excited to feature this guest post from an amazing author. Kristin Smith wrote one of my favorite books I read last year, Catalyst, and now she has another read coming out called Forgotten. Makes sure you stop by tomorrow for more info on her awesome new book.


Guest Post by Kristin Smith:
Top Ten Reasons to Love Dystopian Novels

After the rise of popular novels like Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Selection, publishers started chasing the next trend. And it was NOT dystopia. I recently wrote a blog post about whether or not dystopian novels are dead. And the consensus is that they are indeed NOT dead. They are still kicking and thriving and readers are enjoying them more than ever.

SOURCE

So if you haven't hopped on the dystopia train yet, why should you? I'm about to give you 10 Reasons Why.

Top Ten Reasons to Love Dystopian Novels

1) Dystopian novels typically take place in a futuristic time period, often after an apocalyptic event. The society is different, rules are different, and this can make for some pretty interesting plots.

2) There WILL be romance, and there may even be two love interests, creating an intriguing love triangle. I mean, come on, who doesn't enjoy a good love triangle?

3) There will most definitely be at least one HOT guy, and he'll probably have great abs and lots of strong muscles. And plenty of excuses to take his shirt off. YUM. :)

4) The heroine will likely be different from everyone else, but also completely relatable. You'll laugh with her, cry with her, and scream with her. She'll be like your best friend—only better—because she's also pretty kicka$$.

5) There will be at least ONE character who provides some comic relief. Because let's face it, when there're bombs going off and buildings are tumbling, you NEED someone to lighten things up a bit. Cue the funny man. 

6) There's never a standalone book. It will most definitely be a series, making you wait and wait for the next one to release so you can finish reading all the epicness. Doesn't everyone love a good wait? No? Well, series are still pretty awesome because you get to be with the characters even LONGER!

7) When you're finished reading, you'll close the book and reflect for at least three minutes on the meaning of life and if anything you've read could possibly come true. Chances are, it could.

8) You'll find yourself comparing your significant other to one of the hot guys (or cute girls) in the book. And thankfully, your significant other will win out every time, especially once you come to grips that these characters aren't REAL.

9) Dystopian novels are often filled with blood, carnage, inhumane acts, and loads of hopeless feelings. My favorite things to read about!

10) Someone inevitably will die, and you'll end up crying big, fat, ugly tears with lots of snot, and you'll go through half a box of tissues. But that's okay. All you have to do is tell yourself that you never really liked that character anyway. That makes it all better!

So that's my Top Ten List! As you can see, it was full of snark. But one thing is certain—I DO love a good dystopia! <3


Monday, April 17, 2017

#WeeklyMenu Week 193

Happy Easter! I hope you had a great day full of family and friends. We spent the day with good food, family and lots of waffles. Yes, we had waffles.

I made this week easy because the boys are off of school today and I don't want to spend hours wandering the store for what I need. I just want to gte in and get out without any problems. Wish me luck.

Enjoy this weeks menu!

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Tuna Sandwiches

Sunday, April 16, 2017

#BookReview | Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Title: Mask of Shadows
By: Linsey Miller
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: September 5th, 2017
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire

Summary from Goodreads: Perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, the first book in this new duology features a compelling gender fluid main character, impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class―and the nobles who destroyed their home. 

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand―the Queen's personal assassins, named after the rings she wears―Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge. 

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.



Review: I loved this book to its core. It had assassins, magical mystery monsters, a selection kind of vibe going on with the trials for the new Opal. Mystery and deceit. Action and a little bit of romance. All the characters really brought a color to the world and each one had their own part in moving the story along. The book kept me entertained from start to finish. Five stars for Linsey Miller's Mask of Shadows.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

#BookReview | Who Killed Superwoman? by Phil Jimenez

Title: Who killed Superwoman?
By: Phil Jimenez
Genre: Graphic Novel
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: DC Comics

Summary from Goodreads: A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

Imbued with the powers of Superman, Lois Lane pledges to use her powers to protect Metropolois as the new Superwoman. The only problem is, Lois' new powers are killing her, and neither she nor her friend and confidant Lana Lang know what to do about it.
Will Lois even survive long enough to uncover the deadly secret of her new foe, Ultra-Woman? Find out in Superwoman, Volume 1: Who Is Superwoman?, written and drawn by comics superstar Phil Jimenez (Infinite Crisis)!

CollectingSuperwoman 1-6



Review: I love a good epic woman duo. Its crazy to me that Lois Lane has super man's powers but she is one bad ass chick fighting to save Metropolis. The story seemed to move nicely and the characters were butt kickers. I loved the art and the layout. It was beautifully created.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Friday, April 14, 2017

July Thunder by Shannon A. Thompson #BlogTour


July Thunder
Shannon A. Thompson
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 10th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
From best-selling author Shannon A. Thompson comes an exciting new duology in the Bad Bloods universe.
Fourteen-year-old Violet has been called many things: a bad blood, a survivor, an immortal…now she has a new name–citizen. But adjusting to a lawful life is not easy, especially when she must live under the rule of the same officers who justified the killings of her flock only eight months earlier.
Segregation of bad bloods and humans is still in effect, and rebellious Violet steps into a school where she is not allowed. When the police get involved, things deteriorate quickly, sparking a new revolution at the wall separating the Highlands from the outskirts.
That’s when Caleb steps in. He might appear to be an average sixteen-year-old bad blood, but he has secrets, and Violet is determined to figure them out. Caleb knows who’s attacking the wall and why, but his true identity remains a mystery–and how he relates to Violet could shake the threatened city to its very core.
Together or not, a storm will form, a rally will start, and shocking truths will be revealed.
EXCERPT:
While the Northern Flock had to be quiet to survive, the herd played music in order to live.
Caleb’s hand found mine. “Dance with me?” he asked, but I hated my answer.
“I can’t.” My confession came with my wrecked knee. With one gesture, Caleb seemed to understand, but as he turned his eyes to his herd—to Britney prancing around with Plato, to Kat covering her ears, to Yasir holding Hanna with his protective gloves between them—Caleb pulled me up to my feet.
“Let me do it for you,” he said, and then, he lifted me up and placed me on the tops of his boots.
As he swayed, I saw the sunburn on the tops of his cheeks, the sand in his hair, the sea salt on his skin. Then, his chapped lips as he managed a shaky smile. For once, Caleb looked disheveled, and I had never liked him more.
“That’s some crew you have,” he said, but I hadn’t noticed anyone else in the world around us until he spun.
Life-sized shadows—dozens of them—danced all around us, and I recognized their shapes as people I would always know. Blake and his teddy bear. Floyd’s stretched limbs, and Ami’s swinging braids. Even Adam’s speed.
Alive or dead, the shadows of every member of my own flock joined in on the dance of a herd, and my heart fluttered at the sight.
Losing control had never felt so great.
Neither had a storm descending down upon us.


Author Bio:
Shannon A. Thompson is a young adult author, avid reader, and a habitual chatterbox.
As a novelist, poet, and blogger, Thompson spends her free time writing and sharing ideas with her black cat, Bogart, named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Her other two cats bring her coffee. Between writing and befriending cats, Thompson graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, and her work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies. Represented by Clean Teen Publishing, Thompson is the best-selling author of The Timely Death Trilogy and the Bad Bloods duology. When she is not writing, she is climbing rooftops, baking cookies, or watching murder shows in the middle of the night, often done with her cats by her side.
Visit her blog for writers and readers at www.ShannonAThompson.com.

XBTBanner1

Featured Posts