Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Book Review: Nobody! by Erin Frankel

Here is another children's book I saw on *Netgalley that I thought would be a great read for my son as I think the issue of bullying is a very important one.

Thomas is being bullied at school by one little boy. No matter what Thomas does Kyle will not stop bullying him. Thomas begins to think of himself as a nobody till one day Thomas decides to change his perspective. With the help of friends Thomas becomes more confident and in turn Kyle starts to bully him less.

This cover....oh this cover is just heart breaking. Those big sad mournful eyes. It reminds me of when I was younger and was bullied. I know the heart ache of no matter what you do it doesn't make a difference. I know what is like when adults wont listen and no one else will stick up for you. It is a hard hard thing to go through. Thankfully, my son hasn't had to really go through that and the little bit of bullying he experienced when he was in Kindergarten he has already forgotten about. Since my son is special needs I worry about him being singled out for being different.

I like that the book didn't just gloss over bullying but pointed out how at times adults don't understand and just give platitudes that the bully will "grow up". I also liked that there was a believable happy ending.

My son enjoyed the book and we had a talk about bullying and why it is wrong.

4 out of 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion
**This book was read with 7 year old severely learning disabled son and the review reflects his opinion as well.

Book Review: Cookies & Beer by Jonathan Bender

Cookies and beer? Cookies and beer!! That was pretty much my reaction when I saw this on *Netgalley. I mean how could I resist this one?

Cookies and Beer is simply that...cookie recipes and the beers that pair well with them.

I can't even begin to say how awesome this book was. When I first saw it I was like...cookies and beer?!?!?! Really!?!?! But then after a moments thought I realize what a genius idea this was. We are so used to pairing beer with salty snacks that we forget that beer can bring out great notes in sweet snacks as well. One of the very first photos is of a cookie that looks like an Oreo being dipped into a frothy glass of beer...and oh my goodness if I didn't want to leap into the pages and have a bit of that!

This book is filled with great recipes that I'm itching to try especially the Chocolate Covered Caramel Filled Shortbread Cookies (paired with a barrel aged porter) and the  Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies (paired with a bourbon barrel aged brew). There is even recipe for making Beer Syrup for your own Beer Milkshakes. Oh and there are some savory cookies as well such as the Curry Coconut Macaroons (paired with an American brown ale) and  Rich Butter Cookies with Fennel Seed and Sea Salt (paired with a rich Copper Ale)

This book would make a great gift not just for a beer lover but for the person that loves to bake. And hey if they are a beer loving baker that's all the better!

5 out of 5 stars

*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Review: Witches and Wolves by Kelly D. Smith

I was excited when I saw this on *Netgalley because it is very unusual these days for find a lesbian romance novel. M/M is all over the place but I rarely ever see W/W. So I figured I'd give this one a try as it was short one

Tory is a witch who lives all alone in a house left to her by her grandmother. One night an unfamiliar wolf shows up at her door and curls up in her bed. The next morning the wolf has transformed into a beautiful woman. Tory helps Gee, who is new to being a werewolf. But soon hunters are on Gee's trail.

Ok so I have mixed feelings about this book. There was a lot and I do mean A LOT of potential but I think due to the size of the book where it could have gone right it just didn't. The problem sometimes with short stories/novellas is that it is hard to get vested in characters or to really learn about them. I think a longer book would have done so much for this book. As it is it was rushed and so much of it fell flat for me.

Why did the witch have better hearing than a wolf? That part had me scratching my head. I also found Gee to be too needy and too polite. The whole I don't want to intrude thing became annoying.

I honestly thing there is potential here and if the author made it a full length novel and extended out the tension between Gee and Tory and put in more action scenes and developed the characters more this would be an awesome book. Also stop making Gee so weak. She is a wolf now she should be strong than that.

Even though I am rating this low I would like to see more works by this author.

2 out of 5 stars.

*I recieved a copy of this from netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Review: The Mirror by John Heldt

I have been getting a lot of review requests lately but have found myself skipping over most (at least for now). But when I saw the description for The Mirror by John Heldt I immediately said yes.

The Mirror is a stand alone book in the Northwest Passage series. Ginny and twin sister Katie Smith were born on September 11, 2001. It is now September 11, 2020 and they are celebrating their 19th birthday at a fair in Seattle. They have a great time till they encounter a strange fortune teller. Ignoring her warnings they decide to visit the house of mirrors. Soon both girls are traveling through the mirror and back into 1964. They decide to bide their time till they can get back to 2020 but things like boys begin to complicate things.

The good news is that even though this book is part of a series you can read it without reading the other books. When I started the book I was worried that one of my biggest pet peeves was in there...the dreaded head hopping (changing first person perspective). I was worried because the chapters had the name of the different sisters. But I didn't have to worry as this was not first person and there was no real head hopping. Believe me I gave a sigh of relief.

Of the two sisters Ginny was my favorite right out of the gate. But I loved the relationship between the twins. Each one was unique but they had that special bond that twins seem to have including communicating without speaking.

I used to be a HUGE fan of time travel stories but this one was unique in that it takes place in the 60's. I can't remember another time travel book that I've read that has done that. I love that it was close enough to have been in recent memory for some people but yet far enough away to seem a whole lifetime ago (which I suppose for some it is).

I really enjoyed the book and plan on checking out at least one other book in the series.

4 out of 5 stars.

*I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I chose The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury. 

Release Date: February 23, 2016 by Razorbill

From Goodreads:

When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years -- a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Arabian Nights from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Review: Doll Junk: Collectible and Crazy Fashions from the ’70s and ’80s by Carmen Varricchio

When I saw the cover of this book on *Netgalley I knew that I had to immediately request it. I could barely contain my giggles at the site of it. I'm not a doll collector and as a child was never a snob over "fake Barbie clothes". But this book looked too intriguing to pass up.

This book is filled filled with dolls and fashions of Barbie (and other doll) knockoffs from the the 1970's and 1980's. Many are shown in their orignal packaging. Drawing from many different countries besides the USA this book displays the wide variety of knockoffs that were in mass production during the 70s and 80s.

As I stated I'm not a doll collector. In fact in my neighborhood I grew up in we had a lady who was well into her 60's who collected baby dolls. As in thousands of them. She would put them in strollers and cribs and dress them up and everything. At the time the kids in the neighborhood found it a bit odd and to be honest pitied her a bit. One of the other kids had sagely told me that the woman couldn't have children and so that was why she had them. Whether or not that is true I'll never know. But now as an adult I have to admit...well I WANT to play with dolls. After going through this book I have the burning desire to go out and buy some Barbies and huge pile of clothes to put her in.

This book was light on words but heavy on pictures. Some of the clothes were down right hideous but some made me want to rip it out of the original packaging and start dressing up Barbie (told you I'm not a collector...no collector would open the original packaging). In particular I fell in love with the Petra doll fashions. They may not have been as well made as Barbie's but oh man some look down right fun!

For me what was more scary than some of the fashions were the dolls themselves. Some looked possessed. Some looked like drag queens imitating Tammy Faye Baker. Some of the male dolls had mustaches (one a full beard). The rooted hair made some of them look crazy. Creepy children dolls who would give Chucky a run for his money.

Over all I LOVED this book. It was good for a chuckle, lots of nostalgia (hello crazy fashions of the past), and a return to innocence. I really and truly want to go out and play with some Barbies right now. I could never be a collector because I would want to dress up and play with them just like that "crazy" lady that I pitied as a child. No pity here just a longing for a time of innocence when imagination reigned free and the whole world was ahead of me.

A solid 5 out of 5 stars.

* I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: Death's Leash by J.D. Stroube

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I chose Death's Leash By J.D. Stroube.
Expected publication: December 1st 2015 by Euphoric Publishing & Design

From goodreads: 
The myth is wrong…

Death is only a man, but one who has control over all living beings. He chooses who will live or die. He commands the fates and gives the order to cut the thread of life. However, Death isn’t alone.

In the beginning of time, he realized that it would be impossible for a single figure to wield power over life and death, while still having time to punish the wicked. Death summoned the tainted souls of the dead and from them created a race of females. They would be the takers of souls, the guardians of the afterlife, and the harbingers of death.

They are Death’s Hellhounds. Wild, impulsive, and terrifying, these sisters have a solitary goal: to hunt down unspeakable evils. When Death calls his Hellhounds to embark on the Wild Hunt, they must forsake their humanity to consume the most depraved souls in existence. Six remain in the veil between life and death, but step through the threshold when Death calls.

Kali has spent her immortal life avoiding attachment. She hides her true self from all but her sisters. When Death gives her an assignment to hunt a rogue angel, she must confront the one man who places her heart in danger. Alone, she must face an enemy too powerful for a solitary Hellhound and find a way to break Death’s leash.

When wicked souls turn from the light,
And baying calls ring through the night.
Face your end or turn to flee,
For Death’s Hellhounds have come for thee!