Monday, December 31, 2012

Book Review #1360 Dream Big, Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi




Book Review #1360
Dream Big, Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi, illustrated by Tim Bowers
Rating: two stars (out of four)

A pretty amusing tale. I liked how it showed that even though the pig wanted to do a lot of different things and failed several times she was still persistent. I also appreciated the support system of her family, even if they were a little misguided. (Always cheering her on, even when she wasn't good at something?) But eventually the little pig realized she needed to do something she loved. The message of the book was sweet: do what you love and work hard if you want to become successful.  It was good to get this perspective from a famous ice skater. I enjoyed the book.

Happy New Year 2013 Giveaway!

I'm part of the Happy New year 2013 Giveaway hop hosted by 
I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Babs Book Bistro!

My giveaway is open to those living in the United States and run from January 1st-7th 2013! To enter all you have to do is follow this blog. For two bonus entries you can friend me on Goodreads and tweet about the giveaway!

And the best part? I'm letting you choose from one of three popular young adult titles!

Book #1
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater!

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

*Summary taken from Goodreads. Check out the book page HERE.

Book #2
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers!

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

*Summary taken from Goodreads. Check out the book page HERE

Book #3
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton!

Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…

*Summary taken from Goodreads. Check out the book page HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Book Review #1359 Boy and Bot by Ame Dyckman




Book Review #1359
Boy and Bot by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This featured an amusing tale about a boy and his friend bot, a robot. I liked the interaction between the two friends and how they cared so much about each other they wanted to fix their "problems." It was sweet. The illustrations were fun too - I liked the modern feel and the spiffy interaction between the two friends. It was cool how they made the text of the robot hyphenated so you got a visual representation of how the robot talked. It was a good story with a happy ending. I'd probably recommend for children who like books about technology or robots.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Book Review #1358 Smile, Principessa! By Judith Ross Enderle and Stephanie Jacob Gordon




Book Review #1358
Smile, Principessa! by Judith Ross Enderle and Stephanie Jacob Gordon, illstrated by Serena Curmi
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I really enjoyed the illustrations in this book; they were unlike anything I had ever seen before and very unique. The story was pretty straightforward I liked the interaction between the parents and their children - it was sweet. I also thought the authors did a good job of describing the frustration that an older child might have when they are not the center of attention any more. It was a pretty good book with a happy ending.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Book Review #1357 A New Year's Reunion by Yu Li Qoing




Book Review #1357
A New Year's Reunion: A Chinese Story by Yu Li Qiong, illustrated by Zhu Cheng Liang
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was supposed to celebrate family and the special traditions, but it actually had a little bit of the opposite effect on me. It was a little depressing to read about families that only get to be with each other once a year and while I did appreciate learning more about another culture, it was bleak in comparison. I can't imagine what that would be like - but in some ways, it was good that this book brought it up, because I hadn't been aware of it before. It was interesting to see the perspective from another culture, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Book Review #1356 Loon Baby by Molly Beth Griffin




Book Review #1356
Loon Baby by Molly Beth Griffin, illustrated by Anne Hunter
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was a fairly interesting romp about one loon's paranoid notion that his mother was gone forever. The loon doesn't have a good sense of time and before he knows it he suddenly realizes he hasn't seen his mother in a really long time. It was fairly entertaining to see how this baby reacted to the apparent loss of his mother, but all was righted in the end. It's a nice story, but not something I'm going to read over and over.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Book Review #1355 I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat by Carlyn Beccia




Book Review #1355
I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat: History's Strangest Cures by Carlyn Beccia
Rating: two stars (out of four)

There were definitely some strange cures and remedies in this book. Few I would have ever want to try. I felt a little sick when I read about some of the cures because they were gross. I'm also fairly squeamish, though. But I think children who are interested in medicine or learning more about medicine usage through history might find this book entertaining. Though curious children be warned - they shouldn't try these remedies themselves! I liked the illustrations and I appreciated the extensive bibliography at the back; it showed all the author's research. I might recommend.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Book Review #1354 Wave by Suzy Lee




Book Review #1354
Wave by Suzy Lee
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I fell in love with this book! It was cool how Suzy Lee played the dynamics between the water and the little girl. This was also accented by the grey scale setting compared to the vibrant hues of blue for the ocean. There were no words in the book, but you accurately got the personality of the girl and her playful banter with the wave. I also liked the funny little gulls that chose to watch the whole scene unfold. I would definitely recommend this book.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Book Review #1353 Migrant by Maxine Trottier




Book Review #1353
Migrant by Maxine Trottier, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This story showcased a lifestyle I hadn't even heard about. It was poignant to see it from the perspective of a young child through her musings. The illustrations were a little strange and I'm not sure if I liked them. I may need to get used to them. The book's footnote explained how it might be to live in those times. I think children will catch a glimpse of what other people do for a living and it will hopefully give them a broader view of the world.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Book Review #1352 I Must Have Bobo! by Eileen Rosenthal




Book Review #1352
I Must Have Bobo! by Eileen Rosenthal, illustrated by Marc Rosenthal
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I really liked the interaction between Willy and Earl..and of course, Bobo's part in all of this. It was vastly amusing to see how much the cat wanted the stuffed monkey too and what lengths he was willing to go to get it. I was glad they were able to find a happy compromise, but the last page hinted it might not stay that way for long. It was a cute book and I enjoyed reading it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Book Review #1351 Ice by Arthur Geisert



Book Review #1351
Ice by Arthur Geisert
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was a very whimsical book about pigs. Their journey to get ice was pretty crazy and entertaining. I also liked how they used the ice to enhance their everyday life. The story was told completely through the illustrations. And the author bio in the back pointed out that these illustrations were made completely from etchings.  Pretty impressive. I enjoyed this book, but it's probably not something that I'm going to read over and over again. I'd still recommend though.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book Review #1350 On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman




Book Review #1350
On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I really liked the essence of this story. It’s important for children to they are special and loved and this book illustrated that through nature and animals. It had a good message, but for some reason it didn't click with me. The illustrations were a little random at times, but I got what they were going for. I think other people would definitely enjoy this book; it has a sweet message.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book Review #1349 The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle




Book Review #1349
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle
Rating: two stars (out of four)

While I liked the sentiment of this book and the illustrations were colorful and bright, I wasn't blown away by the premise. Carle's message good: you should be able to creatively express yourself and not necessarily listen to or follow other people's expectations. But I wasn't sure if this book had adequately gotten that point across. It seemed a little simplistic - the author’s note at the back was good, but I felt like the story needed a little bit more development for me to fully embrace it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Book Review #1348 Along a Long Road by Frank Viva




Book Review #1348
Along a Long Road by Frank Viva
Rating: two stars (out of four)

A fairly interesting book; not a lot of stuff going on throughout the story, but it was fun to look at the modern page designs and feel the different textures. They had applied a gloss to the road so it was slick and smooth compared to the rest of the pages. I enjoyed this simplistic story, but it's not something I'm going to go back to again and again.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Book Review #1347 Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems



Book Review #1347
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
Rating: four stars (out of four)

Loved, loved, loved this rendition of the popular fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I thought Mo Willems did an excellent job with his hysterical retelling and definitely made it his own. I liked the nuances of humor throughout the house, particularly the posters and pictures hanging on the walls - great fun for older readers to catch.  I also loved the "tone" of the story and the comical antics that readers were obviously in on and could eagerly follows. Things would be said or illustrated and then sloppily covered up so as to provide more hilarity for the readers. Goldilocks was funny, if not a tad bit under prepared and lackadaisical. She certainly had her faults, but she finally got her act together at the end and did the appropriate thing. I especially enjoyed the two morals - they deftly tied the story together and gave parents and children something to laugh about. Throughout the book I found myself smiling and laughing at the antics of the hungry dinosaurs and oblivious Goldilocks. This is a story I'd visit again and again. Definitely a recommend!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Book Review #1346 Brother Sun, Sister Moon by Katherine Paterson




Book Review #1346
Brother Sun, Sister Moon by Katherine Paterson, illustrated by Pamela Dalton
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The illustrations were really interesting. I was even more intrigued to see they were scherenschnitte - paper cutting! All of the illustrations were one marvelous paper design and then the illustrator painted over them with watercolors. Impressive! The newer rendition of the prayer of Assisi was good as well. While I enjoyed this book and thought it showcased a rather remarkable layer of skill in the design; it's not something I'd see buying or reading over and over. I'd probably still recommend it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Book Review #1345 Pig Kahuna by Jennifer Gordon Sattler



Book Review #1345
Pig Kahuna by Jennifer Gordon Sattler
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I enjoyed the illustrations for this book - they were animated and playful. The antics of the little pigs were amusing and I liked seeing how much fun they were having on the beach together. I enjoyed their irrational fear of the icky murkiness in the ocean; I remember being afraid of the slimy seaweed when I was a young child and I had a grave fear of stepping on it too. I was happy they eventually had some adventures once they realized what they were missing. Wasn’t sure where the parents were in the story, but I'm assuming they were close by. I'd probably recommend this book.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Book Review #1344 A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black



Book Review #1344
A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was funny and amusing. I liked all of the reasons why a pig parade would be a terrible idea. Very persuasive and innovative. It was comical to hear the author's obvious expertise on how things would go down if a pig parade happened. Of course it would be utter chaos! The illustrations were fun, but I didn't fall in love with them. The ending was comical too. I'd recommend to pig fanatics or people looking for a fun and quirky read.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dreaming of Summer Giveaway Hop!

Me, My Shelf and I and I Am A Reader Not A Writer are hosting this giveaway featuring beach reads or beach settings.

And the book I'm giving away on my blog is....

The Story of Us by Deb Caletti

Cricket’s on a self-imposed break from her longtime boyfriend—but she’s picked a bad week to sort out her love life. For one thing, her mother’s romance is taking center stage: After jilting two previous fianc├ęs, her mom is finally marrying Dan Jax, whom Cricket loves. But as wedding attendees arrive for a week of festivities at a guesthouse whose hippie owners have a sweet, sexy son—Ash—complications arise:
Cricket’s future stepsisters make it clear they’re not happy about the marriage. An old friend decides this is the week to declare his love for Cricket. Grandpa chooses to reveal a big secret at a family gathering. Dan’s ex-wife shows up. And even the dogs—Cricket’s old, ill Jupiter and Dan’s young, lively Cruiser—seem to be declaring war.
While Cricket fears that Dan is in danger of becoming ditched husband-to-be number three, she’s also alarmed by her own desires. Because even though her boyfriend looms large in her mind, Ash is right in front of her....
To find out more about the book check out this link.
*Summary provided by Goodreads.
The giveaway starts on November 27th and runs until December 2nd!
Enter the form below for a chance at winning!



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review #1343 Birds of a Feather by Vanita Oelschlager



Book Review #1343
Birds of a Feather by Vanita Oelschlager, illustrated by Robin Hegan
Rating: one star (out of four)

I really liked the premise of this book. I've always been fascinated with idioms and I can imagine what children must think when they hear some of these crazy expressions. This book offered a fairly straight forward approach:  it featured illustrations mimicking the idiom and then explained what the idiom really meant, covering some of the most common expressions. I wasn't a big fan of the book; the illustrations weren't my favorite. But I can see other people liking it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Book Review #1342 The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury



Book Review #1342
The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I was intrigued by this book's premise. What avid reader wouldn't want to read about a bookstore on the brink of demise and the characters surrounding it? I thought Kingsbury did an excellent job of getting inside each character's head and showing their perspective. The people were well-rounded and I found myself liking them and wanting to see how things would turn out for them.

The conflict between Molly and Ryan was well done. As the reader, I saw most of the pieces, but the characters didn't get to see all the circumstances and that kept me going because I wanted to know the resolution. I didn't care for the older couple running the bookstore as much though. I really liked their history, but for some reason, I didn't click with them as well. The entire story felt a little short - but if you're looking for a quick read with a seasonal message this will probably do the trick. For my part, it wasn't my favorite book. It had nice elements, but it wasn't something that made me want to go out and buy all of Kingsbury's other novels. I might recommend if you were already a fan of this genre.

*I received a free ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion of the book.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Book Trailer Tuesday [21]

Now this trailer looked amusing. I admit that I didn't pay particular attention to the text (don't want to read spoilers!) because I'm still working on the first book. But I had heard so many good things about The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. But I liked the blend of illustrations and text to create an animated feel. I also liked the use of song to add another layer to the video.

So here you have the trailer for The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M Valente. Thoughts?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book Trailer Tuesday [20]

Sorry about the mishap last week - long story short: in the hectic process of moving I did not have internet.

And now, THIS trailer. I am really starting to like the use of live actors in the trailers lately! It gives the book a much more dimensional feel. This video nicely set up the beginning of the book. Sure, there were parts I found a little cheesy, but overall it was pretty entertaining. I was also piqued because it's advertising a new book by Terry Pratchett. I'm definitely going to put this on my to-read list. What about you guys, any fans of Pratchett?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book Trailer Tuesday! [19]

I must say, this is one of the BEST book trailers I've seen this year. It was intriguing and had actors! It definitely felt like a movie trailer. Also, I got chills watching it. My interest was completely piqued. I loved the different elements they used - especially placing the reader directly into the story's time period by mimicking their movie styles.

What about you? How'd you like this trailer?


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Giveaway Hop #2!


I'm participating in a hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Mary from Book Hounds which runs from August 1-7th. You guys really seemed to like having the option of choosing your book, so I'm doing it again! I have 3 books up for grabs!

You can pick either Incarnate by Jodi Meadows or The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges or Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers!

So, without further ado, here's the cover art and brief synopsis of the books you get to choose from!

Book #1
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Published January 31st, 2012

New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Heart

Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

*Taken from Goodreads. Check out the book HERE.


Book #2
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Published April 3rd, 2012

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

*Taken from Goodreads. Check out the book HERE.


Book #3


The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
Published January 10th, 2012

St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.

An evil presence is growing within Europe's royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina's strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar's standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina's help to safeguard Russia, even if he's repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.

The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart?

*Taken from Goodreads. Check out the book HERE.

Just enter the form below to enter! And you can friend me on Goodreads for an optional entry. Good luck and happy reading!

Book Trailer Tuesday [18]

I thought this trailer did a nice job of mixing computer graphics with text and music to create something very animated and not as stilted as other trailers I've watched. The feel of the video was pretty neat too. It offered a brief glimpse of what the book might entail and I might just have to read it. Plus I kind of liked the cover art too. The book just came out a few weeks ago, July 10th and was published by HarperCollins. Have you read it? What'd you think?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Book Trailer Tuesday [17]

Well, the trailer doesn't give a lot of information away and I was a little disappointed in that, BUT it does hint at exciting things (Movie? Veronica Roth likes it?) and the trailer is definitely different than I imagined the book...And when I read Insignia I was hooked. It reminded me of Enders Game WITHOUT feeling like they had totally stolen from that plot. It's a pretty thrilling read. If you haven't heard of it, maybe this trailer will help pique your interest. Sci/fi fans should definitely check this book out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Book Trailer Tuesday [16]

I've been seeing these books around Goodreads and other blogs and I just added them to my to-read list. The graphics were kind of fun in this book and brought the covers to life for a brief snapshot. I also liked the combined book trailer for the two books. Have you read this book?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Trailer Tuesday [15]

This book won a Newbery Honor this year - so when I saw the trailer I was intrigued. This video has a different format than most book trailers, but I kind of liked it. It's been a while since I've read a good historical fiction book. What's your opinion on the trailer, like it? love it? apathetic?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Book Review #1341 Chowder by Peter Brown



Book Review #1341
Chowder by Peter Brown
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was a pretty entertaining read, albeit a little wacky. The dog had weird mannerisms and it wasn't fully explained why he was so different. But that didn't matter as much as Chowder finding friends who could appreciate him. It did strike me as a little odd that he didn't get along with the neighborhood dogs...but he got along with the farm animals. The illustrations were pretty amusing, but I don't see myself reading this book over and over again.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Review #1340 Blowin' in the Wind by Bob Dylan



Book Review #1340
Blowin' in the Wind with song lyrics by Bob Dylan, illustrated by Jon J Muth
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was okay, I'm not a big Bob Dylan fan, so maybe it'd be more meaningful for someone familiar with his music. I appreciated the illustrator note that included Jon J Muth's personal connection with the song and why he wanted to share it with younger readers. I liked the illustrations; they were thoughtful and contemplative. While I wouldn't say that this was a wonderful read, it was still enjoyable and I might recommend it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Review #1339 Big Cat Pepper by Elizabeth Partridge



Book Review #1339
Big Cat Pepper by Elizabeth Partridge, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I can see the point of this book, but I just didn't think it did a good job of conveying the loss of a pet. The rhymes were kind of choppy and cliche. I was annoyed with some of the repition and felt like it was used as an attempt to make the text flow better, but it just got on my nerves. The pictures were pretty good - I enjoyed looking at each page, but it was hard to stomach when it was mixed with the story's message. It was pretty much touch and go with this book, but mostly go.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Book Review #1338 The Zoo by Suzy Lee



Book Review #1338
The Zoo by Suzy Lee
Rating: two stars (out of four)

My favorite aspect of this book was the colorful pencil drawings of the little girl and the zoo animals. I liked the contrast between zoo the parents saw with the bleak colors and the zoo through the young girl's eyes. It was a fairly entertaining story and something I'd think children would enjoy, especially if they loved zoo settings. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Book Trailer Tuesday [14]

I've had this book on my to-read list, but hadn't actually gotten around to reading it yet. Though this trailer makes it look pretty interesting. I like the striations of purples/blues/pinks and how it incorporates the cover. Have you read this book? What'd you think?


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Vicious Cycle (of book reading)

This bag describes my life perfectly!
So I kind of have this problem. After I finish a book I have all these thoughts floating through my head: critiques, exasperations, frustrations, and raves and...well, I really, really, really, MEAN to sit down and write these thoughts down while everything is SUPER fresh. But here's the thing - I get distracted! I tell myself that I'll remember and I can go do something else, and before you know it, kabam! I'm reading another book. And even though I do still remember the majority of what I wanted to say, it just isn't the same as my initial-reaction-just-finished-the-last-page-wow-sentiments.

It's kind of a vicious cycle because as soon as I'm reading another book, I want to spend every waking hour finishing it because I can't stand NOT knowing how things end. And since I work full-time and I have an hour long lunch break which I spend reading. And then I'm in the middle of a story when I go back to work and I find myself obsessing over the plot/characters and wondering how things are going to turn out. THEN when I get home, instead of doing what I should be doing I greedily pick up the book I started on my lunch break to continue reading because I can't put it down. And the next day rolls around and I'm reading ANOTHER book on my lunch break. Thus, the cycle. So in the end, I have to physically sit down and make the time to write some reviews. But sometimes it's hard, because I'm itching to get my hands on the next book.

But what about you guys - other book bloggers, book chroniclers, readers, do you have this sort of problem? Any ways you motivate yourself to write down your thoughts?

Book Review #1337 Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers



Book Review #1337
Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers
Rating: two stars (out of four)

While this was a sweet story about friendship, I felt like something was lacking. The illustrations were simplistic, yet characterized and still pretty interesting. I liked the friendship between the boy and the penguin, but thought it needed a little more depth. The ending was sweet, but I wasn't overly attached to the characters and so it didn't seem like that much of a big deal. Also, I know I'm a stickler for this (but I can't really help it) BUT one of the pictures showed the penguin knitting and he was holding the knitting needles the completely wrong way. If you hold them like that you're basically holding them upside down and it's impossible to knit. Which...anyone who knits would know, but I guess other people just don't realize. Okay, sorry, I know that's knit-picky. (Pun intended, ha!) If you like modern illustrations and cute penguins you might want to give this book a whirl.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012



Book Review #1336
Huck Runs Amuck by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Rating: three stars (out of four)

The illustrations were wild and hilarious, the rhyme bosterous and amusing. This book was definitely a hit with me! I mainly picked it up because of the illustrator, but the text and overall happy-go-lucky feel of the book was delightful. It was fun to see all the things Huck got himself into and it interesting to see his progress throughout the book. I especially liked the rhyme right when Huck was about to nab a tasty treat...or so he thought. I couldn't help but smile while reading this book and I immediately wanted to share it with someone. I'd recommend this book to all - especially if you love crazy goat antics!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012



Book Review #1335
The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Jon J Muth
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I picked up this book because of the Jon J Muth illustrations. For some reason this story didn't shine as much as his others I've read. The story had a sweet message, but seemed a little unrealistic in parts. Maybe I'm just supposed to assume that Santa has magic like Mary Poppins or something, but I was expecting to see an over-abundance of toys/stuff and most of the illustrations were really subdued. Kids will probably still enjoy the premise, I just won't be reading again though.

Book Trailer Tuesday [13]

I actually picked up this book at ALA and I haven't gotten a chance to read it yet. But this trailer definitely made the book look more intriguing and gave a nice build-up for the novel's premise. What about you, is this the type of book you'd mark "to-read" after watching the trailer?

Monday, June 25, 2012



Book Review #1334
Wolf Won't Bite by Emily Gravett
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was an amusing tale. I LOVED the pigs - they were so cute and their little circus was pretty entertaining with their wolfish acts and astonishments. The text added a fun flavor to the mix and made the story pop with its funky font. It was pretty comical to see how things ended and yet, it wasn't as big of a surprise as I would have imagined. I enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend to pig fans.

Saturday, June 23, 2012




Book Review #1333
Zen Ghosts by Jon J Muth
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I picked up this book because of the illustrations, and the other Zen books. I adore Jon J Muth's watercolor illustrations. They are completely amazing and bring the characters to life and this book was no exception. The story was pretty straight-forward and offered an interesting myth/riddle that I hadn't heard before. It might be a little too cryptic for young children, but the author's note at the back gave it more detail and foundation. I'd recommend.

Thursday, June 21, 2012



Book Review #1332
The Best Kid in the World by Peter H. Reynolds
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was odd. It had a good message and definitely touched on some things that children could learn from, but it wasn't amazing, or even something that warranted a second reading. I couldn't figure out what sort of creatures they were and that was also bothersome. I never heard of this series either, so maybe they explained what types of animals they were in another book. I also thought the names were peculiar, especially "Sugarloaf" as the main character. The ending was nice, but I'm not sure with how easily the parents dealt with Sugarloaf or Sugarloaf's actions. Not a book I'd recommend.


Book Review #1331
The Odious Ogre by Norton Juster
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was pretty entertaining in the very beginning. I really liked the verbiage and definitely thought children would eagerly snatch up the foreign words. But after the ogre met the girl, it seemed like that part of the story was taking too long. I was a little exasperated that he kept going on and on about himself. The ending was nice (for most people) but a little anti-climatic and a bit of a letdown. It was different than what I wanted to happen. The last page also confused me for a moment and I had to re-read the phrase before I made sense of it. But that might have just been me and the effects of a long day. I probably wouldn't recommend though.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012



Book Review #1330
Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The illustrations were cute and comical. It was sweet and sadly endearing how hard the little chameleon tried to fit in and make friends. I liked the colors and pencil-y feel of the pictures; they captured the mood without dulling the story. The ending was great, and I was glad that the chameleon finally found someone who could appreciate him for who he was. I'm a pretty big lizard fan, so when I saw this book I knew I had to read it...and I wasn't disappointed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012



Book Review #1329
Listen to My Trumpet by Mo Willems
Rating: three stars (out of four)

It gets me every single time. Every. Time! I never see the ending, not even by a mile. These guys are just hilarious and fantastic; I can't get enough of Elephant and Piggie. Their adventures always put a smile on my face and I love the wacky illustrations. Mo Willems really captures some delightful characters and I love their interaction together and the crazy scenarios they come across. This book was a hoot, er, I mean, gr-ick! If you're already a fan of the E&P books this story won't disappoint, and if you've never read them before you should definitely pick one up!

Book Trailer Tuesday [12]

I thought this trailer was done well and featured cool animations. It really does a good job of bringing in the graphics from the book and setting up the story. I'm a big fan of Scott Westerfeld and when I heard he was coming out with a steampunk series I was super stoked. If you haven't read Leviathan you should definitely check it out.

Monday, June 18, 2012



Book Review #1328
Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This cute book had sweet & soft illustrations that contrasted with the simplistic text to create a homey and comforting feel. I read this book outloud to myself and it was fun to hear the way the words smooshed together and the rhythm and rhyme. It was fun to hear the similiar sounds and keep everything straight. I'd recommend.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Book Review #1327 The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?



Book Review #1327
The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems
Rating: three stars (out of four)

An interesting take on being polite and learning how to ask for things nicely. I loved the pigeon's antics, even if his rant did seem a little odd, but that's the Pigeon for you. The Duckling handled the Pigeon's rant nicely and was very well behaved. But by the end of the book you got a little better perspective on why the duckling was so thoughtful. It was an amusing twist and made me smile. This book was funny, but I can't say it's my favorite of the pigeon stories, but I definitely enjoyed it!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Movie Review: Disney's BRAVE

So I know this is a book blog and all, but I got to see a special 3D advance screening of Disney and Pixar's new movie, BRAVE, a couple of days ago and I figured it'd be kind of cool to share my thoughts.
*Coming to theaters June 22, 2012.

PROS
  • accents
  • humorous antics and funny bits
  • dainty + bears
  • Merida's hair
  • no awkward love interest
  • family relationships
  • the short pixar film at the beginning
  • Emma Thompson
  • IT WAS FREE!
CONS
  • will-o-wisps leading off into the forest (as a good thing?! Since when has it ever been safe to follow blinking lights into the forest?)
  • scary elements + creatures (okay, not super scary, but scary for a kid's flick, you know?)
  • Merida's hair
  • unrealistic scenarios (hey, it IS a Disney film. Though who can climb a cliff-face in A DRESS?)
  • random nudity (it wasn't super offensive or anything, it was just random)
For those of you who haven't seen the trailer....



In short: The humor and theatrical antics kept the film going at a brisk pace, the characters were fleshed out and likable, and the story neatly wrapped up with a good message. I enjoyed watching it, but I'm probably not going to go out and buy it when it comes out.

In long: Merida's character was spirited and spunky. The initial interaction between her mother and her rebellious ways was well illustrated and gave insight into the rest of the family dynamics. While I did like Merida's free-spirited ways, I also felt like she was a little too demanding. And of course, some of the things she did did seem a little ridiculous (taking from the above CON list, climbing a cliff-face in a DRESS using only her HANDS? What? I know, I know, it's probably petty to be nitty-picky about this example, but it was the most prominent thing I could remember. Anyway.)

I really liked the voices they chose for the animations - they really brought the characters to life, and one of my favorite portrayals was Emma Thompson as Elinor (Merida's mother). She was fantastic. The dad, Fegus, was very amusing as well and I couldn't help but laugh at the triplet's crazy and insane antics throughout the film.


I thought the preview did a good job of setting up the movie without giving too much away, because there were several times during the movie when I was pleasantly surprised. The beginning was a little frightening - or might be frightening for younger children, but it certainly started off with a bang. I kind of had a love/hate relationship with Merida's hair. (Though you probably gathered that from the pros/cons list.) On one hand, it was AMAZING hair. It was curly, wild, flowing, and gorgeous. But on the other hand, it also seemed to be remarkably controlled in certain scenarios and didn't seem to get in Merida's way as much as that kind of hair should. It was also a little distracting during the film because I kept wondering what her hair was going to do next.

I did think parts of the movie were pretty intense/scary...there were even parts where I jumped a little in my seat. So, a word of caution before you take younger kids. There were other sections of the movie that just didn't flow as well for me or I thought could have been handled better. It just felt like there were a lot of minor things that didn't add up to make me head-over-heels in love with this film. It was good, it just wasn't something I instantaneously fell in love with (How to Train Your Dragon, Tangled, Super 8).

Also, I absolutely LOVED the short film they played before the movie, La Luna. It was bizarre, but strangely endearing. The sounds were also FABULOUS and it felt like every particular sound had been perfectly matched. It was a true marvel.

So in conclusion, Brave offers a lot of laughs and crazy antics but still features a strong message of family values and reconciliation through the actions of the rebellious Merida and her quest to change her fate.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop!

It's that time again! Book giving away time! I'm participating in a hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer which runs from June 15th-20th. And this time I'm adding a twist, not only will you get to win an ARC I picked up at ALA, but you'll be able to choose from THREE BOOKS!

I have Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, Starters by Lissa Price, and Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (which doesn't even come out until July!!)

So, without further ado, here's the cover art and brief synopsis of the books you get to choose from!


Book #1
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Published May 22, 2012

Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves  that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help--no matter what the risk.

*Taken from Goodreads. Check out the book HERE.


Book #2
Starters by Lissa Price
Published March 13, 2012

HER WORLD IS CHANGED FOREVER

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .

*Taken from Goodreads. Check out the book HERE.


Book #3

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Published July 10, 2012 (not yet released!)

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.

*Taken from Goodreads. Check out the book HERE.

Just enter the form below to enter! And you can friend me on Goodreads for an optional entry. Good luck and happy reading!