Friday, January 29, 2016

Explore Your Creative Side (#6)

Hi fellow crafty creatures,

As you know, usually on this date I post some mini reviews for craft/hobby/DIY books meant to help you explore your creative side.  However, this month I decided to not give you some mini reviews and to update you on my own crafty adventures.

So what have I been doing?  Still a little bit of quite a few things actually.

First, this year I upgraded my book lists for the year.  I am doing them more in an art journaling style.  I look forward to seeing this grow and evolve over time.  Right now it is still relatively conservative, but I hope that I will be able to let go and really explore some creativity with it over time.

Second, I am learning to crochet.  I have conquered the single stitch!  I haven't actually tried any other stitches yet and haven't made much more than a wash cloth, but I have extremely high hopes.  My ultimate goal is to be able to make cute things, especially Amigurumi - Hello Kitty Amigurumi to be exact.  I have a book on that exact topic actually.  You can expect a review for it soon.

Third, I am trying to get back into doodling.  I am going with the zentangle style.  I am trying to just let go and not think about it.  Just to let the doodle happen.  That is a lot harder than one would think it is.  At least for me.  I always judge my work.  And I am not very nice.

Finally, I am still paper crafting.  Right now my paper crafting is taking the form of pocket letters.  So much fun!  I have actually been doing some for blog tours!  I have done 2 so far and I believe I have 3 more scheduled!  Good thing I love to make those bad boys.

Other than that.  I am still coloring periodically - though I really should do more of it.  I know my mind could really use the calm and relaxation that it brings.  I actually took some coloring pages to Mom's Night Out this month so myself and some other moms could color while chatting and hanging out at Starbucks.

Anyways, that is what I have been up to.  What about you?  How have you been exploring your creative side?  Tell me!  Show me!  I want to hear!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Make It, Gift It: Handmade Gifts for Every Occasion by Mari Bolte


Title: Make It, Gift It: Handmade Gifts for Every Occasion
Author: Mari Bolte
Series: Craft It Yourself Series
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Publication Date: August 1, 2015
Source: Publisher


Something you need to know about me is that I love to craft.  I am always looking for new ideas and things to create.  I am very fond of websites like Pinterest, however, that does not replace a good book filled with excellent craft ideas and instructions.

Make It, Gift It by Mari Bolte is an excellent craft book.  It is filled with a wide variety of crafts.  It covers so many different things!  Gift wrapping to making your own pickles - there is a little bit of a lot of stuff in here!

I really like how this book is set up too.  Each craft is set up on the page so that the directions are easy to follow and each one also has a list of essential tools that you will need to complete the task.  There are also a lot of photos - not only of fully completed projects, but of different steps along the way to completion.

Now, this book is technically aimed at preteens and teens, but I (who is much older than that) love it and definitely recommend it to any crafter.  That being said, if you do have a crafting youngster, quite a few of these will require some assistance from you or another adult as there are some that require baking etc.

This is an absolutely lovely book, and after looking into it a bit online I have discovered that there are a few more out there in this series that I need to get my hands on!

My Rating
5 stars

This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tales of a Fifth-Grade Knight by Douglas Gibson


Title: Tales of a Fifth-Grade Knight
Author: Douglas Gibson
Series: Stand Alone (but I hope there will be MORE!)
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Publication Date: August 1, 2015
Source: Author

If you have a young reader that loves adventure stories, this one is definitely for them.  It is action packed, fantastic fun, and full of imagination.  I am ashamed to admit it, but I am surprised by how much I enjoyed this story.

What this story is about is Isaac, his little sister Lily, and his two friends.  One day they are at school practicing for the school play and the next thing they know they are in a whole different world underground.  One that has elves, enlarged animals that can talk, and a whole bunch of other extremely weird creatures.  Actually, the weird creatures are just humans that have made their way to the elves in the underground and are some where in the long process of transforming into an elf themselves.

The price for becoming an elf and receiving the immortality that comes with it is a lot, you have to be willing to become almost anything in the process.  There is no telling what kind of changes you will go through.  You could become invisible, you might become a giant ear, end up with the butt of a firefly, the options are as endless as your imagination!

Why did Isaac and his friends end up in this world?  Well, Isaac is the reason that Lily's jewel gem (it's a piece of her toy crown) got lost.  Then while they were looking for it, Lily disappeared.  Then they found a tunnel that led to the underground trying to find Lily...and well they had to rescue her and get her back home!  Or else Isaac's mom would be pretty upset...

This story will have your reader (or you!) going from the beginning to the end.  It is going to be hard to get them to put it down.  It is a safe story with nothing too scary, except for some giant rats, but they are actually quite humorous.  Do not be surprised if you hear a good bit of laughter while in the presence of reading this.

The whole world is very imaginative and I am super impressed.  Currently this is the only book out that takes place in this world, but I am hoping that Douglas Gibson will be writing more and soon!

My Rating
4.5 Stars

This review is based on a copy provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell


Title: The Feathered Bone
Author: Julie Cantrell
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Source: Netgalley


Wow.  If you are wanting to read a book that touches on some really hard/emotional topics then The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell is for you.

However, if you want something that is nice light and fun, you may want to steer clear of this one.

The Feathered Bone starts out in New Orleans before hurricane Katrina.  Our main character is with her daughter and her daughters classmates on a field trip.  Everything is all fun and games until it isn't.  Amanda's daughter's (Ellie) best friend Sarah has gone missing.  She is no where to be found.  She is gone.  Just like that.  And Amanda was supposed to be the one watching her when she disappeared.

As you can probably tell just from the premise of this story that it is going to be a hard one with a lot of emotions.  However, you may just think that it is about a girl who has gone missing.

It is about a lot more than that.

Suicide. Human trafficking. Depression. Failed Relationships.

We get to see how someone who isn't a direct family member of the victim is effected when someone they know has gone missing.  We get to witness the ups and downs caused by this one horrible action.

It is quite a ride.  One that I suggest you go on.

I will say that I wasn't quite ready for how much religion was put into this book.  I don't normally read books with religious undertones, but I thought it was tastefully done.  It also fits with the location of the book.

It was also part of what helped this book get its message across.  And I think it was a beautiful message.  What is the message?  I'm not telling.  You need to read it to discover it for yourself.

Now, while I did enjoy reading the story and found it one that pulled me in.  The one thing that I didn't really like was that I never really found myself able to connect fully with Amanda.  There were points where she and I almost connected.  We got so so so close, but it never really happened.  If it had this book would have been rated quite a bit higher for me.

However, all this being said, I think this is a beautiful book.  I also appreciate that Julie Cantrell took the time to tell us her reasons she wrote about all of these hard topics.  Her reasons only made me appreciate it that much more.

My Rating
3 stars


This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Cats in Paris: A Magical Coloring Book by Won-Sun Jang


Title: Cats in Paris: A Magical Coloring Book
Author: Won-Sun Jang
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Publication Date: January 26, 2016


When I first learned about this book, I was pretty excited.  I mean it has cats! And the cats are in Paris!!  What is not to love about this concept?

Then I received the book and opened it up.

I was so disappointed by what I saw.

Now, you are probably wondering why I found myself so disappointed in this coloring book, and I will tell you.  The first and main reason is that I am not a fan of the the illustrations.

I didn't think that the illustrations were very well done and they did not appeal to me at all.  I wanted something fun to color, and I didn't find these illustrations very fun at all.  The cats look a little bit awkward and a lot of the pictures are rather squiggly looking.  More like quick line drawings, not something that seems like something I want to spend my time coloring.

I also thought that the illustrations were the type that would be difficult to color.  Some people may be in for that kind of challenge, but it just isn't for me.

Other than that, the paper quality seemed nice, but each page is double sided.  So if you were planning on coloring on it with markers, that is something you would have to do at your own risk.

I wish I could be more excited than I am about this one, I really truly do.  However, that is not the case.  It just wasn't my thing.

My Rating
1 Star


This review is based on a copy provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Blog Tour: We Are The Ants by Sean David Hutchinson - A Pocket Letter




Title: We Are The Ants
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Source: Irish Banana Blog Tours

I have another pocket letter to share with all of you!  This time it is themed off of the book We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson.  If you don't know what a pocket letter is, it is a super fun and crafty way to send snail mail.  Not only is it fun for the receiver to get, but it is super fun to make!




Here is my pocket letter in all of its glory.  I tried to use the cover of the book as inspiration for the colors.  I like it :)


This pocket.  This pocket represents our main character Henry.  Henry identifies as a gay male.  Now, you are probably thinking that this makes sense for the rainbow, but are asking me "why the rain cloud?"  The reason is complex and I can't give you the full explanation without giving you spoilers, but let us just say that things are not always happy for Henry.


The next pocket is the almost required washi tape sample pocket.  I tried to pick the colors of washi based on the cover.  The top two I think match up pretty well.


This pocket is the date that it is all supposed to go down, if it goes down at all.  It is by this date that Henry has to choose whether or not he is going to push the button.  Dang aliens.


So this pocket is the title of the book.  Pretty self explanatory I guess.  I don't know if there is much else that I can say about it.  Except read the book.  OMG READ THE BOOK!


We have to have a pocket representing the aliens.  They are the creatures that are abducting Henry and have been for years.  They don't look like this.  I believe they are supposed to look more like slugs, but I couldn't find any slug stickers, so we get these guys.  I like them though.  I think they are cute.


This pocket represents the biggest question that Henry faces throughout the entire book.  Should he push the button and save the world?  What would you tell Henry?  Should he push the button?  Why?


Shaun David Hutchinson has a very long name, so here are his initials.  And an elephant.  Why an elephant?  Because I could!


This pocket sums up my thoughts on the book.  I FREAKING LOVED IT!  You need to read it!  Stick it onto the top of your TBR right away.  No, screw your TBR.  Go get it and start reading it immediately.  Then once you have read it, come find me and talk to me about it.  Seriously.


Giveaway

First, I am going to give you the chance to win this pocket letter made by me.  I will put stickers and what not into it.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to US only. Must be 13+.  Reading is Better With Cupcakes is not responsible for any lost, damaged, or stolen items.


Second, you can enter to win a finished copy!!!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Check Out Other Tour Stops

Week 1:

Week 2:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Blog Tour: Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe - A Pocket Letter and Giveaway


Title: Concentr8
Author: William Sutcliffe
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Source: Irish Banana Blog Tours

Hi everyone!

So for my stop in the Concentr8 blog tour I am not going to be giving you my review.  Instead, I will be sharing with you a pocket letter that I created themed off of the book!

What is a pocket letter you ask?  Well, a pocket letter is actually just a super crafty and creative way to write a letter to a friend and maybe, possibly send them some goodies.  The goodies have to fit into the pocket though!

You use those cool sheets that you would normally store baseball cards or other trading cards in.  This gives you 9 pockets to work with.  If you look below you will see my finished pocket letter for Concentr8.


What do you think?  I hope you like it!  I tried to do the color theme off of the book cover, but...the book is actually really dark blue, not black.  So I kind of failed there.  My bad.  I like how it turned out over all though.


So the first pocket you see has a camera and some words on it.  This pocket represents my favorite character, the reporter.  I don't know why she was my favorite, it could just be from how she was written.  I can't really tell you, but she was.


The next pocket has a picture of the book cover on it.  I also chose to put a WS on this page for the author, as they are his initials.


This lovely pocket is to represent all of the kids in Concentr8.  They are seen as hoodlums and bad kids.  One of the characters is a girl, but the leader is a boy, so I figured "bad boy" was appropriate to use.


This one is relatively simple, but it means a lot.  This story takes place over the course of 6 days.  That is it.  What happens on day 6?  Well, you need to read the story to find out!


Ah, the center pocket.  This one is simply the title of the book.  There are also pills and a needle to represent ADHD medication.  The medication plays a huge roll in the story, so I couldn't leave it out.


What is this pocket you ask?  Well simply, pocket letters usually come with samples of washi tape.  That is what this pocket is.  Again, I tried to do the colors based off the cover, but totally failed.  Please forgive me.


This pocket stands for a couple of things.  First, there is a doctor character in the story.  So it stands for him.  Also, it stands for all of the doctors that were originally prescribing the medication to the kids and then took it away -  the thing that started this whole story.


Finally we have the London pocket.  Concentr8 takes place in London.  I figured that was kind of important.  Also, I really like these stickers.

Giveaways

Now for the super fun part!  I have giveaways for you all!!

First I am giving away this fantastically fun pocket letter made by yours truly and an ARC of Concentr8!  I will be sending you the pocket letter as it should be sent, with goodies in the pockets.  Not telling you what though!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is for the US only.  Must be 13+ to enter.  Must respond within 48 hours of being notified of winning or a new winner will be chosen.  Reading is Better With Cupcakes is not responsible for any lost/stolen/damaged items.

And then we have the tour wide giveaway!  So don't forget to enter that!  You have a chance to win a finished copy of the book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


And as always, please stop by the rest of the blogs on the tour to see what they have for you in regards to Concentr8.

Blog Tour Schedule

Week 1:


Week 2:
1/29: Avid Reader - Review

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Picture Book Wall (#6)

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season celebrating (or not celebrating) whatever holidays your heart desires.  I know I did.  It was my little girls first Christmas and it was a lot of fun.  We kept it pretty low key for her.  Didn't get her too much stuff, didn't wrap the presents.  Just kept it fun and light.

And, we didn't get her all toys.  We got her some books too.  Mostly some Dr. Seuss board books, but there were a few other books besides those.  She has enjoyed them immensely.

However, I will not be reviewing the books she got for the holidays in this installment.  I will be reviewing some other fabulous picture books that I received from some publishers in exchange for an honest review.

This month I have for you 3 picture books.  I hope you enjoy and find something that you and your little ones will enjoy reading for storytime!




Title: Shh! Bears Sleeping
Author: David Martin
Illustrators: Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 stars

Don't let the title fool you on this one.  This picture book is not a "bedtime" story.  It is not meant to lull children into sleep.  In fact, it is actually about bears and hibernation!

It teaches kids about bears and their need to hibernate during the Winter months in a fun and enjoyable way.  The story reads really well and flows very nicely.

It sadly doesn't cover much else about bears except for hibernation, but if you have a fan of bears in your life they will definitely love this one.  The illustrations are beautiful.  They aren't cartoony, they are done in more a photograph/painting type fashion - the same way as you see the cover illustration done.

What I really like about it though, is at the very end there is a bit more about bears.  It has a lot more facts than just that bears like to hibernate.  It is just that this bit isn't part of the story, it is more like an extra.  So if your little ones interest in bears is peaked by this story, you don't have to run and do a Google search.  Instead you can read a bit more about them from the very same book!

This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.





Title: A Recipe for Bedtime
Author: Peter Bently
Illustrator: Sarah Massini
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: G.P Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 stars

Oh my goodness!  This book is so incredibly cute!  Also, my 11 month old who would prefer to walk around the house for no reason other than that she knows how to walks, actually stayed put and listened to the whole thing!!

This book is a "bedtime" book.  It goes through the steps of getting ready for bed, but in a cute rhyming kind of way.  Then, at the end, it has a lullaby!  I loved this part of the book!  I am an absolutely horrid singer, but my bug loves to hear me sing and I have sang her to sleep with Soft Kitty from The Big Bang Theory many times over, so this is perfect for us!

I also enjoyed the illustrations.  They are bright and fun.  Always something going on in them.

If you are looking for a great read to help calm your little one and put them to sleep definitely check this one out!

This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.






Title: Nice Work, Franklin!
Author: Suzanne Tripp Jurmain
Illustrator: Larry Day
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: Janury 5, 2016
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 stars

I can't say that I have read too many non-fiction biographical picture books.  This is something I think I need to remedy.

Did you all realize that we have only ever had one disabled President of the United States?  I am sure that I was probably taught this tidbit of information and then have just forgotten it over time...  Thank you, dear picture book, for reminding me of this!

I enjoyed this story.  It was a nice, fun, and pleasant way to learn about Franklin Roosevelt.  There was a lot of information about it.  I do, however, wonder if he really was as into copying what his cousin Teddy Roosevelt as this book claims he was.  It is kind of funny if it is true, but if they exaggerated it a bit, it made it a little bit more fun.

I am not a huge fan of the artwork in this book, but we can't win with illustrations every time.  It isn't that it is bad, but sometimes the pictures are a little iffy - especially for poor Eleanor Roosevelt...

Definitely a nice fun, educational read!

This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.



Thursday, January 14, 2016

Finley Flowers: Original Recipe by Jessica Young


Title: Original Recipe
Author: Jessica Young
Illustrator: Jessica Secheret
Series: Finley Flowers #1
Publisher: Picture Window Books
Publication Date: February 1, 2015
Source: Publisher

If you have someone between the ages of 6 and 8, whether they love reading or you want them to love reading, you need to get them Finley Flowers: Original Recipe.  It is cute and super fun.  Better yet, they won't even realize that they are learning random facts or a life lesson!

Finley Flowers is a young girl who loves to craft and create thing.  Her best friend Henry lives just down the street.  In this first installment, Finley is trying to figure out what to get Henry for his birthday.  Usually she creates something and tries very hard to make sure it is something that Henry is going to love.  However, she isn't sure what to get him.

Then Finley learns about the fundraiser/contest going on at school.  The kids are challenged to come up with an original recipe and to sell samples of it.  The person who is the most creative and that sells the most samples will win a free year of pizza!  And Henry LOVES pizza!

So Finley sets out with Henry to come up with an original recipe that tastes great and is sure to win.  She doesn't tell Henry that she wants to win so that she can give him the free pizza as his birthday present.  Henry just goes along with figuring it out because they are best friends and best friends help each other out.

Finley and Henry run into many bumps along the way.  They find it much more difficult to come up with an original and creative recipe than they thought it would be.  Finley wants nothing more than to win the free pizza and to beat her arch nemesis Olivia Snotham.  Even if that means not listening to Henry's ideas and accidentally upsetting him.

Do they win?  You will have to read the story along with your little one or to ask them once they finish (or read it yourself!) to find out!

For myself, this was a quick read, but I am way above the age range that Original Recipe is intended for.  It should take someone in the intended age range and reading level much longer.  However, I did find it very entertaining and interested.  I was compelled to keep going.

There are also a lot of little things to learn about throughout the story.  The scientific method is one example.  Another example is what capers are.  Thanks to Original Recipe I finally know what a caper is!  I love when little tidbits of information are thrown into a story in a way that the reader doesn't even realize they are learning something  - and Original Recipe does this a good bit!

At the end of the book you can actually find two recipes to try out that are mentioned in the story.  I am not really sure I will be trying one of them out myself, but you and your reader may be adventurous and want to try it out yourselves.

Super fun and creative.  I definitely recommend this to young readers!  Original Recipe is a story that will only increase a young readers love of books and reading!

My Rating
4 stars

This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Once Upon a Kiss by Robin Palmer


Title: Once Upon a Kiss
Author: Robin Palmer
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Source: Publisher

Imagine waking up one morning in your room, in your bed, but it isn't your room...or your bed.  Everything about it is similar, but not.  Oh and there are all these strange new contraptions that you have no idea how to use.

I am going to assume that you would be more than just a little weirded out.

Well, this is what happens to Zoe in Once Upon a Kiss.  One day shes rockin out in the 80's with her best friend Jonah, then the next day she finds herself in the year 2016.  A world with iphones and computers.  A world where she is the queen bee at her school.  A world where her best friend, Jonah, won't talk to her.

This is a fun filled, very fluffy story.  Perfect if you want to read something quick, but still enjoyable.  There really isn't much to the story line.  It is the same "how did I wake up in this time period" story that you are used to.  There isn't much depth to the characters, but they are still fun.

Really, this book is probably perfect for those who love watching the Disney channel and all of their Disney channel original movies (guilty as charged!).  So a preteen and a younger teen would really enjoy this story.

For those who are like me, in their 30s, that were alive at least for part of the 80s, it is also a HUGE flash back.  There were also a few references for those who grew up during the 90s too!

Not everything super popular back then was mentioned, but wow, a lot was.  Probably the most common references were for movies, music, and fashion.  However, other things were mentioned.

Even if something wasn't mentioned that I remembered really enjoying back then, I still found myself thinking about them.

Things like:

Walkman

Care Bears


Popples

Rainbow Bright

This book made me remember a lot of other things too, not just these.  I personally think that having all these references just make it more fun for us "older kids" that like to read YA books.  Hopefully it inspires some of the younger readers to look into pop culture and learn about things that were popular before their time.

All in all, I really enjoyed this Once Upon a Kiss.  Light and fluffy.  Nothing to be taken too serious.  It was a very quick read.

My Rating
3.5 stars




This review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Read This! Round Up (#64)

Welcome to Read This, a collection of book reviews and giveaways that were posted in the past week or so from around the web. This is a collection of book reviews & contests from real reviewers. If you want to be included in the next edition start with the guidelines, then use the submission form.
Want to read more reviews? Check out Read This for a list of the latest reviews and stellar reviewers. You can also follow on twitter for the latest round ups. Read This is now accepting photo submissions for each edition.

CONTESTS


NON FICTION


FICTION

-WOMEN’S FICTION

-COMING OF AGE


YOUNG ADULT

-FANTASY

-HISTORICAL

-PARANORMAL

-SCIENCE FICTION


NEW ADULT


ROMANCE

-HOLIDAY ROMANCE


FANTASY


PARANORMAL


SCIENCE FICTION


MYSTERY

-HISTORICAL MYSTERY


HORROR

-DYSTOPIA


THRILLER


300x200readthis

Giveaway

Any book or preorder (retailer of your choice) up to $17

Thursday, January 7, 2016

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Box Set by Dr. Seuss

Title: How the Grinch Stole Christmas Box Set
Author: Dr. Seuss
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 22, 2105
Source: Publisher

This is a pretty fun box set for How the Grinch Stole Christmas!  It comes not only with a nice hard cover version of the story, but also comes with a journal to keep track of your good deeds, and a stuffed Grinch!

For this review I thought it would be best to review each part separately, so here we go!

The Book:

There really isn't much that I can say about this book.  It is the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  It has been around a long time.  There have been a few movies made based off of it.  It is by Dr. Seuss.

In short - it is a classic.  It is a nice hard cover edition that you get with this box set, not a flimsy paper back, so it should be able to hold up pretty well.  No complaints here.

The Journal:

I really liked the idea of this journal.  The point of it is to track your good deeds.  It goes along with the story in that good deeds will help your heart grow in size.  Just like how the Grinch's heart grew in the story.  It is an awesome way to include a lesson with this well loved story.

What I did not like was that the journal was flimsy and paper back.  It is also a bit small.  While I understand the thought behind the length of it, I wish that they had made it a little thicker and had given it a trade cloth cover or something.  I would really like this journal to be sturdier since the idea is to use it and write in it.  I don't think it will last very long with the way it is made now.

The Grinch:

When I handed my 10 month old the Grinch she stopped, smiled, and giggled at him before she took it.  If that doesn't say how awesome this stuffed Grinch is I don't know what will.  He is super soft and very lovable.  He also seems to be well made.

Final Thoughts:

This is a super cute box set.  It definitely makes a great gift.  You get a great story, a fun way to learn about doing nice things, and a Grinch to hug and love.  Very well rounded if you ask me.

My Rating
4.5 stars


This review is based on a finished copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake


Title: Thief of Lies
Author: Brenda Drake
Series: Library Jumpers #1
Publisher: January 5, 2016
Publication Date: Entangled Teen
Source: Netgalley

Could you imagine being able to jump from library to library?  I mean, you could go to any library in the world!  Personally, I think it would be super awesome, but then again I am a huge booknerd...

Anyways, the Thief of Lies is about Gia.  She lives with her dad, who is actually her step dad, and her mom died some years ago.  She doesn't know much about her real father or very much about her mother either for that matter.  She does know that she loves her dad as though he was her actual birth father, and that is all that matters to her.

She is also some what of a geek.  She really enjoys reading and doing research.  Her sport of choice is fencing, and she could do research all day every day.  In fact, she has a tendency to do it for her friends when they are too lazy to do it themselves.

It is while Gia and her friends are off at spectacular library, the Boston Athenaeum, that her life and that of her friends gets turned totally upside down.

We can blame it all on the hot guy wearing leather that she runs into.  He is the one who left the magical book out that lets special people jump from library to library on the table.

Wait? Special?

This book was really entertaining.  I loved the lore of it all.  I thought that Brenda Drake did an excellent job crafting and writing her world.  I found it all believable (to the extent you should find a fantasy book believable at least).

Thankfully, the awesomeness of this story didn't end with the lore and the world building - the characters were crafted pretty well themselves.  I would LOVE to go into detail about all of them, but I want you to read this story and see the world building and the character development for yourselves!  You will be well rewarded, that I can promise.

The whole story line was a fun ride, one that I cannot wait to continue on.  Too bad book 2 isn't out yet.  Maybe if I close my eyes and wish really hard it will magically appear before me?

Sadly, that didn't work.

Until book 2 is here, I will dream of jumping from library to library and sword fights.  Maybe my own hot guy in leather will be there?

My Rating
4 stars


This review is based on an eARC copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.