Thursday, May 28, 2015

Book Review: Cute Continent Cuddle by Besmala Orfaly

Here is another book I picked up from *Netgalley to read to my son. When I saw the alliterative cover with that cute polar bear I knew he would like this book.

Traveling from continent to continent this book contains pictures of different animals from all over the world while telling its story in a simple rhyme. 

Ok so I've been sitting her trying to figure out what it is that I don't like about this book. Because there was something there that I didn't like but I just couldn't put my finger on it at the time I read it to my son. I figured out what it was finally after going back through the book. There is a pattern to how each animal is represented and the very last continent that is visited (north america) that pattern is changed. I didn't care for the pattern to begin with but then to change it at the end felt a bit...uggy if you can't understand what I mean.

However...and this is a huge son LOVED this book. He loved all of the pictures of the cute animals. He was talking to me all about traveling and asking about traveling to see different animals. For him this was a solid 5 star book. In fact without my asking he told me "Put it down as 5 stars mom!"

So I'm at a loss here. For me this was at most a 3 star but for my son it was a 5 star. So do I split the difference and go with 4? Or do I go with my own opinion and put it at 3? Or should I go with the person that this book was orgininally intended for and give it a 5 star? In the end I think I have to go with what my child thinks. 

So I'm going with a not so solid 5 out of 5 stars 

*I received a free copy of this ebook from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion
**This book was read with my special needs son who is severely learning disabled. The review reflects not only my opinion but his as well

Book Review: Surf War by Margaret Read

Ok so I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover but when I saw this on *Netgalley I fell in love with the cover and knew I wanted to read it. I mean come on how cute does that whale look?

Surf Wars is the story of a sandpiper and whale. The two boast back and forth to each other about who is better and whom there are more of. Soon every whale and seabird cousin shows up. In their fight the other creatures who live there start to struggle to survive. Can sandpiper and whale make up in time to save what was once their beautiful home?

Ok so it goes without saying that my favorite part of this book was the illustrations. They were amazing. The story itself was actually not too bad and in its own way showed the consequences of over crowding and thinking that you can rule over something like the sea without the responsibilities that come with it.

My son enjoyed the story but he couldn't understand the fighting between the two. I think this has more to do with my son than to do with the book itself. This is just one of those little hiccups that comes with his learning disabilities. But overall he liked the book even if he couldn't understand parts of it.

When I asked him how many stars he thought this was he told me 5. I agree this is a 5 out of 5 star book.

*I received a free copy of this ebook from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion
**This book was read with my special needs son who is severely learning disabled. The review reflects not only my opinion but his as well

Armchair BEA: Day Two Visual Expressions

Ok so I know today's agenda is really supposed to be about comics/graphic novels...but I have to go with another visual medium. Children's picture books!

My son is seven and has multiple learning disabilities. His main classification is communication impairment. To put it simply my son often has a hard time understanding things that are said to him and he has a hard time saying what he wants. It is all in how is brain is wired. Often times things just don't connect for him. So we often get asked the same question over and over and over again. Not just in the normal child questioning way but in his way of trying to understand things.

Because of his disabilities he is not ready for chapter books or overly wordy books. But picture books are just perfect for him. He gets a story and the pictures help him to understand what is going on. Through the pictures he suddenly sees what is happening and he understands it better.

I've always been a fan of children's books but ever since I started reading them to my son I've grown to love them even more. I LOVE looking at the artwork. I love when the artwork is so good that you don't even have to read the words to know what is happening. Its wonderful when I can had a book to my son and wants to look through it and can tell me what is happening. Whenever I read a book to him I always ask what was his favorite picture.

I just read a book last night (review to come shortly) called Abigail and Her Pet Zombie by Marie F. Crow. I haven't read it to my son yet but am so looking forward to reading it to him tonight. Anyway, the pictures in this book were AMAZING!!! I mean I just could not stop staring at them. That's the kind of picture books I love. The ones that make you keep going back and back again to look at them.

Thursday's Tale: The Tortoise and The Hare

This morning as we stepped out of our apartment to wait for the school bus my son saw a bunny. So of course that brought up a discussion of how fast rabbits are and I reminded him of the story of the tortoise and the hare. I was so happy that he actually remembered it and knew that the tortoise won.
So in honor of my son here are two cartoon versions of the tortoise and the hare. Both I remember watching many times as a child. One is Disney the other is Bugs Bunny. As always remember Slow and steady wins the race.


Thursday's Tales are a weekly featured event over at CarolsNotebook

Cover Reveal- Library Jumpers by Brenda Drake

Library Jumpers
Release Date: January 2016
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.
Jumping into some of the world's most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik's world and her own, before both are destroyed.

Pre-Order Links:

About the Author
Brenda Drake, the youngest of three children, grew up an Air Force brat and the continual new kid at schooluntil her family settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Brenda’s fondest memories growing up is of hereccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was onlyfitting that she would choose to write young adult and middle grade novels with a bend toward thefantastical. When Brenda’s not writing or doing the social media thing, she’s haunting libraries, bookstores,and coffee shops or reading someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Author Links:
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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Armchair BEA Introduction Questions

Tell us a bit about yourself: How long have you been blogging? Where are you from? How did you get into blogging?
I first started blogging a number of years ago when I realized that I had literally only read two books the previous year. I realized that being a mommy was overtaking my life and I had lost my love of reading. I quit blogging about 3 years ago and recently felt the blogging itch again and started back up just a few short months ago. It is interesting how much my life has changed in all these years.

Currently I live in Central Jersey with my husband, 17 year old stepdaughter, 7 year old son and our cat Marshmellow.

What is one book everyone should read?
 Speak by Laurie Halse was one of those books I could not put down. Seriously, the first time I read it I tossed and turned for about two hours before having to get up out of bed just so I could finish it. I made my stepdaughter read it. It is a very powerful book that I think all teenagers and parents of teenagers should read.

What is your favorite genre and why?
No use in denying is all about romance. The thing with romance is it can also sneak its way into so many other genres. I can read a contemporary romance one day and then be whisked off to a post apocalyptic world the next to a world filled with vampires the following day.

What book are you reading right now?
Down London Road by Samantha Young...though I'm not enjoying it as much as the first book in the series On Dublin Street (review coming soon)

What book are you most looking forward to reading this summer?
Honestly, there is not one book I'm most looking forward to. I'm actually most looking forward to reading a whole huge stack of books with my son this summer. I have a goal of reading him 100 books over the summer. He is 7 but severely learning disabled. So I look forward to keeping up his love of books. There will be a lot of Berenstein Bears, Little Critter's, Splat the Cat, Cat in the Hat books coming his way :)

Book Review: Super Health With Food by Vincent S. Filingeri, Ph.D.

OK so I haven't mentioned it but health is a big concern of mine. I'm extremely over weight with mulitple health problems including but not limited to high blood pressure, Type II Diabetes, high cholesterol, back and knee problems etc. I'm trying to live better now and eat and exercise more. But when you have over 150 pounds to lose it is literally an uphill battle.

When I saw that this book on *Netgalley I immediately hit the button to review it. I've become a bit obsessed lately with finding healthy foods/diets and recipes. Well this book was not what I expected. But that is not a bad thing. This is not the type of book you read cover to cover...well you could but it is not designed that way. It very thoroughly breaks down the details of different vitamins, minerals, herbs spices etc. For example when looking up vitamin A it gives an alphabetical list of all of the uses followed by an alphabetical list of sources for vitamin A followed but some quick notes that include things like side effects and medications and foods that effect the absorption of it.

I have to say that I'm actually surprisingly pleased that this was not the book I was expecting. It is a wonderful reference guide. I'm actually super excited about using it find ways to add more nutrients and vitamins into my diet. I love that it doesn't go into overly long paragraphs. It is quick simple and to the point. This is great for anyone who wants a great boost to their health.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars!

*I was given a review copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thursdays Tale: Fixed Fairy Tales- The Princess and the Pea

Ok so I know I'm not the only one who notices in our modern age just how messed up some fairy tales are. Some are not just gruesome but just plain horrible. Well, I came across this youtube series by HISHE Kids called Fixed Fairy Tales. And guess what? It is down right funny

I checked out The Princess and the Pea. A fairly harmless story on the surface. Princess shows up at a castle one stormy night. The prince's mother not believing she is truly a princess places a pea under 20 mattresses. The princess can't sleep all night long. The prince rejoices and the two are happily married.

You'll have to watch the video to see not only just what is wrong with that tale but how they decided to fix this dated tale. I can't wait to check out more of their Fixed Fairy Tales.

Thursday's Tales are a weekly feature over at CarolsNotebook.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Where I'll be This Weekend: Food Truck Festival at Monmouth Park Racetrack

This weekend is hubby's birthday. What better way to celebrate his birthday then a food truck festival. This weekend March 23, 24 and 25 from 11:30-5:00pm Monmouth Park Racetrack in New Jersey will be hosting 39 food trucks. It is only $3 per person with kids under twelve getting in for free. With so many food options hubby and I plan on mapping out our day There will be craft vendors and free kids activities. So if you live in the Jersey area you may want to consider stopping by and getting some good eats at the biggest food truck festival this fine state has to offer.

Here are a list of the food trucks that will be participating
ahh La Cart
Amanda's Bananas
Betty's icebox
Chimney Cake Company
Chip Stix
Cupcake Carnivale
Dark Side of the Moo
Dellano's Food Service
El Lechon de Negron
Empanada Guy
Enzo's Pizza
Falafull Gourmet Food Truck
Five Sisters Catering
Five Sisters Creperie
Fork In The Road
Four Boys Concession
Igloo Ice Cream Truck
JT's Oven Roasted Turkey
Kim Chi Smoke
Mac's BBQ Truck
Mary Queen of Pork
Max's Hot Dogs
Mobile Mardi Gras
My Hola Paella
Oink and Moo BBQ
Pizza Vita Pizza Truck
Pompier Catering & Cuisine
Prime Kutz
Red Hook Lobster Pound Truck
Taters Half Baked
The Cow and The Curd
The Morris Truck
The Outslider/Pinch of Thyme
Tony's Italian Sausage
Toum Food Truck
Waffle de Lys
Zinna' Bistro

For more information visit or


Book Review: Darkest Before Dawn by Amelia Hutchins

So I've read one other book by Hutchins and I really enjoyed it. When I saw that she had written a post apocalyptic book  I was so there. I mean how can you go wrong with end of times, a werewolf, a vampire and a kick-ass heroine. This was a combination I just HAD to read. Warning may be a few spoilers in this review.

Darkest Before Dawn takes place after a virus has wiped out a large swath of the human population. But this is no Walking Dead zombies book. Nope... there are vampires and werewolves. Emma the main female character is a kick-ass female who has made it her mission to save as many humans as s
he can...or at least those that are worthy of living. Unfortunately not all of the population who survived are good guys. Her father long ago prepared an underground bunker. Her whole family was made fun of for her father's kooky behavior. But turns out dear old pops was right. The end of the world was coming and Emma, her brother Grayson and  Emma's best friend Addy were able to find shelter in the underground bunker. Soon more of the towns people join them. Emma becomes their leader. Soon Emma runs into Jaeden an alpha male who is more than he seems...he's a sexy vampire.

Ok so the beginning of the book was AMAZING I couldn't put it down. But midway through it started to drag for me. Emma who started off as kick-ass soon began to annoy me. The whole back and forth sexual play between Jaeden and her became annoying. As some of you know I am not a big fan of sex scenes but even I was soon shouting, "will you guys bump uglies now please." Soon enough they do and I found myself skimming ahead past longer than I prefer sex scenes (yes I know some people like overly detailed sex scenes but I'm not one of them). The ending also ticked me off. I don't mind cliffhangers (as long as there is not a 2 year wait between books). This one has a bit of a cliffhanger but it was almost like oh gotta get in one last sex scene before we end the book. If I was experiencing what was happening at the end of that book last think i would want is to be sexing it up with a vampire.  I was glad this didn't turn into the cliche love triangle (I adore love triangles but even I knew that it would be too cliche).

In the end what started off as a 5 star book has been dropped down to a 3 star. I'll still check out the next book but I'm hoping it doesn't disappoint as much as this one did.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Book Review: Is a Worry Worrying You? by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz

Ok so I noticed this book a while back on *Netgalley and immediately fell in love with the cover. I mean come on look at how awesome it is. When I showed this book to my son he immediately was "worried" and asked if this was a scary book. I told him let's read it and see.

This book is all about worry...what it is, how it makes us feel, and how to deal with it. It gives examples of worries and shows how you shouldn't worry about everything. It also discusses ways to get over them. All of the examples a silly but yet make their point in a way that is simple and easy for kids to understand

I LOVED the illustrations. They were awesome and really helped set the mood of the book. My son enjoyed the pictures as well though I don't think he appreciated the artwork as much as I did. It was nice to discuss worrying with him afterwards and we came up with some examples of our own. My son is classified as communication impaired so books like these are like gold to me. My son has a hard time understanding things sometimes and even harder time communicating them. Books like this make it so much easier.

Both my son and I really enjoyed this book. I give it 5 out of 5 stars

*I received a free copy of this ebook from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion
**This book was read with my special needs son who is severely learning disabled. The review reflects not only my opinion but his as well.

Follow Friday May 15, 2015

 RULES To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:(Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read} (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
  • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
  • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn't have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed.
  • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
  • If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

How do you organize your books? Either at home on your bookshelves or on your reading-device, or on your bookish platform like Goodreads, Leafmarks or Booklikes.  – Unconventional Book Views

Ok so I have next to no organizational skills. Like I use goodreads and often mark on their the books I want to read and will kinda sorta categorize books I've read on there. These days I only read ebooks. There is no rhyme or reason to how they are organized on my phone (where I do all my reading). I don't even have them all in the same folder. I often have them in 6 different places or have them on the computer waiting to be transferred over not to mention the flash drives that have books. I'm a bit of a free book whore and will scoop up free books  from EVERYWHERE. Especially, childrens picture books. I have about 150 picture books downloaded all for free that I have yet to read to my son.  Its a sickness really.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thursday's Tale: Clever Grethel (Gretel) by Brothers Grimm

Thursday's Tales are hosted by CarolsNotebook. I'm just a tagger on joining her in reading tall tales, fairy-tales and retellings every Thursday.

Today's tale is one I have not seen nor heard before. Clever Gretel is the story of a cook who likes to drink. And when she drinks she likes to eat. Her master has a guest coming over and the guest is very late. Her master leaves to fetch the guest and Gretel decides to have herself a drink. One drink leads to another and then to another and soon she is eating the two chickens that were meant for her master and his guest. But Gretel is clever and when her master comes back she tells him she will serve up the food promptly. Meanwhile the guest shows up and clever Gretel tells the guest to hurry away because her master wants to cut his ears off. She then tells her master that the guest ran off with the chickens leaving the master to run off after the guest begging for one of the chickens but the guest of course thinks the master is begging to cut off one of his ears.

I have to say I actually laughed when I read this one. It was a unique tale that had a great twist of an ending. I had not realized that there was any humor at all in the Grimm stories. I really enjoyed this one and hope I can find other "clever" tales like this one.

Book Review: Double Dare by R.L Mathewson

One of my all time favorite romance series is Neighbor From Hell by R.L. Mathewson. So every time a new one comes out I immediately pounce on it and devour it. Any book I'm currently reading beware because you are going to be tossed aside like a piece of parsley garnishing a steak. I'm a bit behind though on reading this. It came out late last month but due to all of the family emergencies I didn't get to start it when I wanted to. I know super sad face.

Anyway, Double Dare tells Marybeth and Darrin's story. What makes this one so different from all the others is that it takes place during the same time as the previous book The Game Plan. So while you can read it without reading The Game Plan it is so much better to read The Game Plan first. Honestly, though start from the beginning cause Jason and Hayley's story is my favorite. But this one...oh this one is right up there. Be prepared for lots of sexy sexiness as well.

I love friends to lovers theme and this was great. It still had the NFH feel even though they have been friends all their lives. I love how alpha male Darrin is. Oh and no one does humor like R.L. I mean seriously she cracks me up every single time (she is a pretty funny lady on facebook too...but that is a different story...oh and she loves when fans stalk her on there). This one had a sad twist to it but like all the NFH it had a happily ever after ending. So as long as R.L keeps cranking out stories about the Bradfords I'm gonna devour them books like a Bradford at a buffet (don't get the reference? then read the books!)

I give this a 5 out of 5 stars

Monday, May 11, 2015

Book/Movie Review: Blackfish Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite and Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish by John Hargrove

Ok so I've been meaning to watch the movie Blackfish ever since I first heard the rumblings about it. I had heard about it when it aired at Sundance and knew that despite the fact that it would break my heart I HAD to watch it. Well, I put it off and put it off. Then I saw John Hargrove on The Daily Show and I knew I had to finally watch it. Well, first I read John Hargrove's book Beneath the Surface.

After seeing him on The Daily Show I decided to get a hold of a copy of his book as soon as I could. Beneath the Surface is a sad heartbreaking tale of a Sea World trainer who loved his job and loved the animals he worked with till he slowly came to the realization of just how greedy the Sea World Corporation is. The book details just what a trainer goes through from how they become one to the break down and wear and tear on their bodies. The bond between the trainer and the whales are undeniable. My biggest problem with the book is that often he would go off on a tangent and keep branching off from that tangent so it sometimes made it hard to follow where he was going with a chapter. The book is far more in depth than the movie and goes into more details of the attacks, trainers lives, and Johns own experiences. John contributed to the movie Blackfish.

Blackfish was truly heart breaking for me. The videos are haunting and hearing the tales from the
trainers and experts made me tear up. I remember as a very little girl visiting Sea World in Orlando and being enchanted by all the animals. I remember watching the trainers perform with the whales and I remember being scared by the shear size of the whales. The moments the whales would toss the humans up high in the air were breath taking. Now as an adult and knowing what I know from seeing both Blackfish and reading Hargroves book I feel nothing but guilt. Guilt that we humans allow such abuse to continue to this day.

I give both Blackfish and Beneath the Surface 5 out of 5 stars.


So I know I was gone for a while after only just coming back to blogging. I've been away due to multiple family emergencies. It started with my father becoming very sick and ending up in the hospital. Just as he was sent home my mother became sick. My mother has MS so it is always serious when she gets sick as she has a weakened immune system. Mom ended up going to a rehab center to get better. Meanwhile Dad was getting worse and worse. He went from driving himself around to barely walking finally to not even being able to stand up. He has joined mom at the rehab center and they are sharing a room. Which is great. We don't know when they are getting out but they are both well on their way to recovery.

Just as it looks like all the major medical emergencies were over with we were hit last week with another major and much sadder one. My mother in law was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. No chemo, no surgery. She is in a hospice right now and it is only a matter of time. It is sad to see her. She has dementia and is scared because she doesn't understand what is happening to her.

I'm hoping now to get back into the groove. But I can't make any promises on when or how often I will be posting.