Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Book Review: Moon Spell by Samantha Young

Ok so I had really enjoyed On Dublin Road so I decided to give one of Samantha Young's YA books a shot. Since I haven't read a shapeshifter book in a long time I went with Moon Spell.

Moon Spell tells the tale of 17 year old Caia Ribiero.  She has been kept seperate from her Lykan pack for ten years. She was told that The Hunter killed her parents and wants to kill her. The alpha pack leader Lucien killed The Hunter and wants Caia to rejoin the pack. But secrets are kept from Caia that impact a centuries old war.

I'm always leery of books where the heroine is much younger than her romantic interest. Which I suppose is hypocritical of me considering there is a 9 year difference between hubby and I. I just am never a fan of teen girls with older men. But in this world the lykan are of age at 17 so she technically is of age. Fortunately, this didn't completely kill the book for me and I was mostly able to get over their age gap.

It was obvious that this was one of her early books as it wasn't as refined as On Dublin Road. But I still really enjoyed it. I was able to finish it in about 3 days so for me that is a fast read. I liked the world and the secret war that humans don't know about.

I found Caia to be a bit immature but at 17 what can you expect? There were also a number of cliche things that one finds in YA books. But again for the most part I could move past them. I would say that this borders between YA and NA. It is not a clean read so it is not really for younger teens. But older teens and adults who read YA should have no problem.

Over all I really liked the book and play on reading the next book in the series. I would say that over all this is a 4 out of 5 star read.

Top Ten Tuesday- Top Ten Books I've Read for 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish . OK so I read both "mommy" books and "children" books. So I was in a debate on what I should do for this top ten. Then I realized that since I read waaaay more children's books than I do adult/ya/na books that I should make this top ten all about the books I've read to my son. So here is my top ten list of books I've read to my son so far this year...some were read before I returned to blogging. All of these books were read with my seven year old son who is severely learning disabled.

1.  A Classic for sure! This was one that always captured my imagination as a kid so I was so happy to share it with my son. Oh and the illustrations! Heaven! This was part of the 1001 children's book challenge.

2.  Ah Splat the Cat is a very popular series in our household. We read a few of them this year so it is hard to narrow it down to one but this one was probably my favorite of the ones we read.

3. We read this one this year as part of the 1001 children's books  challenge. This was a new one for me and I absolutely fell in love with the illustrations. I borrowed a copy from the library and now want to find my own copy.

4. This was another book that I was not familiar with but is a classic. It is also part of the 1001 children's book challenge. This was another one where the illustrations just drew me right in.

5. Cats are always a hit for my son and this on was no exception. As another read for the 1001 children's book challenge I was happy to find a cat book for him. My future crazy cat lady son ADORED this one.

6. This has great sentimental value for my family. This was one of my stepdaughter's favorite books when she was little and insisted that we read it to her over and over again. While we have read this a number of times to my son,  this year  was the last time I read i.t. It had to be officially retired  as the spine broke on the book and my son has gotten too old for it. But this will always be a family favorite since both children just loved that adorable bunny.

7. This was a delightful find that my son grabbed off the shelf during our last trip to the library. Not only was it chock full of cats but the story was wonderful and encouraging to children who are shy or nervous.

8. Ah my great shame...this had sat on my netgalley shelf for years. I mean literally years. I requested it back when I first started blogging and somehow it remained even during that 3 year hiatus from blogging. Which really was a shame because this book was wonderful.

9. This is a book that I appreciated more than my son did. It was read shortly after the death of my mother in law and with my parents being ill (they still are having medical problems). It hit me in a way that is hard to explain. It was bittersweet and I loved the ending of it. I had a hard time hiding my tears from son because it hit me right in the heart.

10. Out of all the books on this list this one right here is the most important one. It is actually not one book but a series of books. Each one adds more and more words till suddenly the child is reading a whole book on their own. This was the first book my son ever read on his own. He was so proud of himself it was amazing. Most parents struggle with teaching their children to read but when you have a special needs child it is soooo much harder. But oh the reward just to see him smile and giggle when he realized he was reading....I can't even begin to describe how freaking amazing it was to see. He insisted I send a note to school to tell his teacher how he read a book all by himself. We have another set of these to review.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Book Review: In A Pickle Over PANDAS by Melanie S. Weiss, RN

I decided to pick up this book from *Netgalley because I like to expose my son to different things and
thought it would be great to teach him about a not so well known illness.

This book is not about panda bears but rather a very serious and not so well known sickness. A little boy wakes up one day and doesn't feel well. Anxiety, OCD, and a general sense of not feeling well are among his symptoms. After many visits with doctors and different types of procedures he finally becomes his old self again.

This book was sad. Just looking at the pictures of the boy were heartbreaking. It was full of lots of information about the illness and the ways in which it is treated. A lot of this was not easy to understand for me as an adult let alone a small child. My son had a hard time with this because much of what was being discussed was beyond what he can understand. He doesn't understand antibodies and he doesn't understand what OCD is, nor did he understand the treatments. He did stay for the whole book but I could tell he was struggling with this one.

I think this book is best for older children or those who are suffering from the illness themselves. Young children or those like my son may not understand what is going on. Even though things are explained it may be concepts that are out of their range of understanding.

That being said for me as an adult going into it I was rather fascinated by the illness and what the treatments entail. So this makes it a bit hard for me to rate this. For me it was a 5 star for my son it would be a 3 star.

I'm going to split the difference and go with 4 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: Are you Sleeping Little One? by Hans-Christian Schmidt and Cynthia Vance

Ah with a title like this book has I knew that I had to request it from *Netgalley. I'm always looking for bedtime specific books to read to my son so I was excited to give this one a go.

This simple rhyming book shows the sleeping habits of all different baby animals.

This was a nice short simple book. It is perfect for very young readers, animal lovers, and for when your child wants just one more book and you are all read out. The illustrations are adorable and the soft soothing tone of the book is perfect for night time reading.

My son the animal lover loved looking at all of the animals. Especially the giraffes. Lately, he has been asking to go see them because he is fascinated with their loooong necks. This was a perfect fast night time reading book. It wasn't overly long or wordy but it kept my son engaged. The baby animals with their parents also encourage a bit of snuggling up while reading.

This was a 5 out of 5 stars read.

*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: Forgive and Let Go by Cheri J. Meiners

Because my son has a hard time with saying sorry and is known to hold a grudge the second I saw this one on *Netgalley I knew I had to request it.

Forgive and Let Go shows situations where children may become angry because of something another person does. It emphasizes that saying your sorry is important learning to forgive people for making mistakes even if they fail to apologize.

I appreciated this book for the message it was teaching. I love that it validated children's feelings when others do things that hurt/bother them. But it also taught that you have to let things go and forgive others. The pictures did a good job representing the different situations that were brought up.

I might have to read this to my son a few more times to help reinforce the message to him but he seemed to understand what the book was trying to say. I think though we will still have a hard time getting him to say he is sorry.

I would say this was a 4 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: Magnus by Claire Shorrock

As soon as I saw the cover for this book on *Netgalley I knew I just had to request it. Come on who can resist a kiss from a dog?

Magnus tells the story of a GIGANTIC dog. Unfortunately Magnus can't seem to fit in anywhere. He is too big to play and well he is just plain too big to do much of anything. However one day when a fire breaks out Magnus is there to save the day. His large size is perfect for taking care of the dangerous fire.

So lets start with the good. My son loved this book. He loved the big dog and he loved the drawings. I too was enchanted by the illustrations. My favorite had to be his paws sticking through the roof of the dog house. It was cute and taught a great lesson that everyone has value even you don't see it at first.

Ok here is the bad and the reason that I have very hard time rating this book. It reminded me more than a little bit too much of Clifford. Clifford is an icon and this was just too similar. It's hard to write a book with a giant awkward dog and not have people think of Clifford.

So here is my dilemma it being too similar makes me put it at 3 stars. However my son is emphatic that it is a 5 star book. So I'm in a debate as I normally automatically default to what my chooses. This is one of the rare cases where I have to split the difference.

So this is a 4 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

Book Reveiw: Henry Hodges Needs a Friend by Andy Andrews

Here is a book that I requested from *Netgalley because I thought that the cover was cute and that the title was a bit heartbreaking.

Henry Hodges is a lonely little boy who doesn't have any friends that live nearby. He had become bored playing with his toys.  But one day his mother tells him not to worry and that he would be getting a special pet. He imagines all different fantastic pets with fantastic abilities. When he gets to the shelter he sees a lonely little doggy and know right away that this is his special new friend.

Ok first let me say that this book is sad. As a child I was one of those children who was a loner and had very few friends so I could relate to the depression Henry went through. Just like Henry though I finally had a friend in my family pet. A blond cocker spaniel named Sandy.

Often times my son is lonely as well and that breaks my heart. It is partly because he doesn't always know how to play with kids his own age. He does well with kids who are 3 or 4 years old but bigger kids he sometimes has a hard time with. They can do things he can't do and know things he doesn't understand. It is sometimes frustrating for him because he so wants to play with the "big boys". So sadly I think my son understood Henry more than I would have liked him to.

We both loved the illustrations in this book and I loved the message that even if you are lonely now there is someone out there for you. For Henry it was his new puppy.

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

Product Review: SR Scar Removal + with Vitamin C by The Healing Touch

Ok so I know that I'm mostly a book reviewer but when I saw this on *Tomoson I had to put in a request. Scars are a very sensitive topic for me. I have a lot of them and most of them happened after an accident in my kitchen a few years ago.

I can't remember exactly how long ago it was but my son was still a toddler in diapers so he was probably 2 or 3 years old. I was making pasta for the whole family. I have one of those pots where the colander sits right in it so all you have to do is pull out the pasta. Well, having a small child in the house I didn't want to leave the pot of boiling water on the stove. So after removing the pasta I went to carry the pot to sink. But something happened I slipped and some of the water splashed on my arms. It was painful and suddenly I'm falling while pouring the whole pot of boiling starchy water on my body. I then landed in the puddle of water. I remember hearing myself screaming but I hadn't felt the pain yet. I actually thought to myself  "Oh man by the way I'm screaming this is really really bad." And it was! I had 2'nd degree burns on over 30% of my body with 10% first degree burns and 3% was on the border between second and third degree. To say it was the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life does not even begin to describe it.

So as you can imagine I have scars. Surprisingly and number of them have faded and are gone but I still have major scaring on my one leg and spots here and there. So I'm checking out to see how it does on the worst of the worst of my scaring my leg.

My first concern was with how it was going to smell. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it did not have a terrible smell. It reminded me almost of cocoa butter. The bottle is not huge so it is perfect for throwing into a purse. It has a pump that puts out a nice size. It took me only 3 pumps to get coverage for my leg. For smaller scars it would only take one. I rubbed it in making sure to spend extra time massaging it in to help break up the scar tissue.

After using this twice daily for a couple of weeks I can't say that I see a huge difference in my scar tissue but because of how extensive it is I imagine it will take longer usage to start to see difference. I think the edges are starting to lighten up a bit though. I will say this it is doing a wonderful job moisturizing my skin. My scar tissue is always extra dry but since starting this I haven't had the itchy dry skin that I've become so used to.

Because of how well it moisturizes my scar tissue I'm going with 5 out of 5. But again I cant say as to how well it does at breaking down the scar tissue because of the extent of mine.

IF you want to try out this product for yourself head on over to amazon to get your own bottle.

*I received a discount on this product in exchange for an honest review. The discount has in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Book Review: The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Frères by Marie Letourneau

OK confession time...when I first joined *Netgalley I was request happy. I mean I'd request anything and everything. Fast forward to the present...well now I know the consequences of my actions because I had a 3% feedback rating. But over the last few months I've brought it up to over 35% and am working on raising it higher. This book is one of the few still on there that have not been archived or deleted. So finally after over three years of not reading or reviewing it I finally got around to reading it.

The book tells the tale of mice Chef Marcel and his 7 mice sons and his petite mouse daughter.  Chef Marcel makes the best cheese soup in all of France. But one day just before he is to be judged on his soup he runs of the secret ingredient that only he knows. Panic ensues and Chef Marcel leaves it to his sons to start making the soup while he runs to find the secret ingredient. Everyone is in a panic except for his sweet petite daughter who is nothing but calm. Will Chef Marcel return in time to finish making his famous soup?

When I first requested this book (way back when) I had intended to read it to my son. But when I looked at it back then I knew it was still too advanced for him. Back then he could only handle books with one line per page. But I was delighted when I went back to read this that it was perfect for him now. My son loved this book. His favorite parts were when the mice would bump into each other causing food to fly everywhere.

The drawings were so perfect. Soft colors and gorgeous to look at scenes. This will definitely be read again in this house.

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

Friday, June 26, 2015

Book Review:Hansel and Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist by Jewel Kats

I was delighted when the illustrator, Claudia Marie Lenart sent me a copy of this book to review. As a
mommy to a special needs child I love to see books that feature other special needs children. So while my son does not have Down Syndrome he knows at least one child from his class who does have it.

This version of Hansel and Gretel have the two children heading out into the forrest in search of food for their starving family. Hansel enjoying the freedom runs off away from his sister. He comes upon the house made of candy and begins to eat it. The witch comes out to discover him and wonders how "stupid" he is. Hansel shows the witch by knocking her over and stealing her broom. He then demands that the witch teach him the spell for never ending house of candy. By the end the two become friends.

Alright this is another book where the art makes the book. Claudia's felt work is AMAZING. Just the little braids in Gretel and her mother's hair had me in awe. Just simply GORGEOUS!

The story itself wasn't bad. It was a bit more wordy than my son likes (when he first saw it he asked me if it was an adult book). But he patiently sat through the whole thing. It had the feel of the old fairy tale and had its own twist by having Hansel having Down Syndrome. But wasn't a perfect story for me.

That said my son liked it and he thought it was 5 stars. So as I usually do I default to his rating. So 5 out of 5 stars.

*I received a free copy of this ebook from the illustrator 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: Why is the Moon Following Us by María Escobedo Cubas

In my quest to find new and different books to read to my son for the summer I joined a group on facebook that connects with children's authors. This was one of the authors who was gracious enough to send me a copy to review. 

Why is the Moon Following Us tells the tale of Lucy and her pet bunny Lulo. Lucy notices that the moon is following her and proceeds to ask everyone that she can why it is following them. No one seems to have the time to tell her why. 

First things first the artwork in this book is INCREDIBLE! This is the kind of book where I could stare at it for hours. To start with the colors are gorgeous and really immerse you. I can't even begin to describe just how wonderful the artwork truly is.

Second...I don't know if I was just a bit too sleepy when I was reading this to my son but I had a moment where I was like, "Wait, whoa...what happened?" I had to go back and see if I missed something. It kind of took a bit of a turn that I wasn't expecting. 

My son loved this book. I didn't even get a chance to ask him before he was bursting out that it was a 5 star read.

So there you have it 5 out of 5 stars.

PS. Check out the authors facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lucyandlulo and website http://lucyandthemoon.com/!

*I received a free copy of this ebook from  the author 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

Cover Reveal: The Way to Never (Book 2 of The Never Trilogy) by O.E. Boroni

The Way To Never (The Never Trilogy)
Release Date: 07/25/15
Waves Corporation

Summary from Goodreads:

When falling out of love, refuses to become an option…

Nathan Roque first met Lenora Baker, a beautiful, exasperating, and bitter girl when she was just fifteen years old. He fell so deeply in love with her that he suspected that in his lifetime, nothing else could ever mirror the kind of commitment that she drew out of him. But she is left heartbroken when an unfortunate incident drives them apart.

Thirteen years later, he sets out to reach out to her when he can no longer resist the consuming thoughts of her that have haunted him for so long. However, the same demons that caused him to let go of her in the first place are still holding him back. But when he is thrust into a situation where he has no choice but to become professionally involved with her, a Pandora’s Box of angst, resentment, and passion is unleashed . Now they are forced to make the decision on how to proceed. But will it justify the one that they made in the past, or will it mock it?

Book One:
(cover linked to Goodreads)

About the Author
I currently live in England. My days are spent in the Project Management field while my nights are spent with books. I'm either reading them or writing the ones that I want to read. My favorite things and in this particular order are books, Korean dramas, ice cream, and people who smile through everything. I consistently tell people that these are the four things they need to be happy but do they believe me?
No! Well I believe me, and you should too. 

Author Links:
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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thursday's Tale: The Goddess and the Ogre

This week I went with a Cambodian tale. The Goddess and the Ogre tells the tale of the Goddess Moni Mekhala and the Ogre Ream Eyso. Both the goddess and the ogre go a hermit to learn magic. At the end of their learning the hermit decides to give them a test. He sends them out to fill glasses with dew. The ogre decides to wake up early to squeeze the dew out of the leaves. While the goddess is smarter and lays out a cloth to gather the dew. The goddess returns to the hermit before the ogre and is gifted with an orb studded with jewels. The ogre is upset to learn that he has lost but he is gifted with a golden ax. The ogre coveted the orb and went after the goddess. He threw his ax at her and missed causing the heavens to shake and thunder. The goddess threw her orb in the air which caused a streak of light that blinded the ogre and by the time he could see again she was gone.

This is one of those tales that tells the origins of thunder and lightning. It was a different one for me and I quite enjoyed it. Though it did bug me that the thunder came before the lightning. Which we all know now is not the case. I've heard before tales of it being different gods fighting but this was interesting because a simple man (the hermit) has magical abilities. The fact that ogre and the goddess have to go to him to learn magic is unique. Usually it is man who seeks out the gods or mythical creatures to learn magic not the other way around.

Thursday's Tales are hosted by CarolsNotebook. Stop by and see what she has read this week or better yet join in and read your own tale this week.

Book Review: The Stray Dog by Marc Simont

This is the last book that we picked out during our trip to the library. I thought the cover looked interesting and figured my son was due for another dog book.

The book tells the tale of a family who come across a stray dog while they are having a picnic. They leave the dog there but can't stop thinking about the dog when they get home.  When they go back for another picnic they see the dog run past them while a dog catcher chases the dog. The family claim the dog as theirs.

This book was a Caldecott Honor book. To be honest I was expecting a bit more from it. I loved the watercolor drawings but this was almost too simple. While it would be good for beginning readers I was hoping there would be a bit more meat to it as it is based on a true story by Reiko Sassa.

My son enjoyed it more than I did. He liked the picture of the little boy losing his pants after takes off his belt. He thought the dog was cute.

Ok so this is another one where I have to defer to my son's rating. Because I personally was disappointed but my son was not. So...

5 out of 5 stars

**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: David Goes to School by David Shannon

One of the last books we picked up on our trip to the library was this book. I refused to grab any more
cat books and my son was stumped on what to pick. So seeing the interesting looking cover I scooped it up.

David Goes to School tells the story of one school day. David has a problem following the rules and constantly hears "No, David".

Alright so this was light on content. There wasn't much plot. Just David causing a lot of trouble. What I found funny about it is that it reminded me of my son so much. They were all things I could see my son doing. Not because he means to be bad. Just because he doesn't fully realize that doing those things are bad.

The best part of this book was the drawings and the font. It was written to look like a kid writing on lined paper. BRILLIANT! I thought that was just the greatest idea ever. It might have been done in other books but in this book it works and really couldn't be done in normal every day font. Nope having it be apart of the pictures and look like it is written on paper just works with this story.

Because of how simple this book was it was over after only 2 minutes of reading. So my so did well with it. Though he swore he was nothing like David.

4 out or 5 stars

**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: Piggies in a Polka by Kathi Appelt

So I needed a break from all those kitty books. So while we were at the library I scooped up this one. I pointed it out to my son and said, "Look! Piggies! Let's add this one to our pile". My son gave me an unsure look that told me without him having to say out loud, "Yeah mom sure. I see there are piggies but piggies are not kitties. Lets look for my kitty books". But being that I'm the mommy I put it on the pile anyway.

Piggies in a Polka is all about the yearly hootenanny for all the piggies. Rhymes abound in this book that teaches different music styles, dance styles (there is a mosh pit!), and different music instruments.

What I liked most about this book were the drawings. It kind of had that 1930s nostalgia feeling to it (minus the racism).  The piggies looked like they were wearing their Sunday best as the swung around and danced till the wee hours of the morning.

My son did well with it despite the fact there was not a cat to be seen. He liked the drawings and liked all the dancing pigs.

3 out of 5 stars

**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: Kittens! Kittens! Kittens! by Susan Meyers

Yup, another cat book picked out at the library by my son. It's official he will be a crazy cat lady er
crazy cat dude when he grows up. No doubt. He is going to be just like his uncle who has 7...yes 7 cats.

This rhyming book features cats of all shapes colors and sizes. There is no plot just rhyming featuring different stages in a kittens life.

Ok first must point out the drawings. ACK!! So darn adorable! Before I even opened up the book I was enamored of the cats on the cover. I'm not even talking about my son. I mean I myself was in love with them. It made me want to scoop our cat, Marshmellow and begin to stroke his fur.

I loved the rhymes which kept a nice quick pace to the book. While there was no plot my son easily kept up with what was happening. He was just happy to see so many cats.

4 out of 5 stars!

**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: I Love You, Grandpa by Vivian French

Here is another book from our trip to the library the other day. This book has extra meaning for us
right now as both of my parents have been very sick and in and out of the hospital plus the death of my mother in law last month. So, my son is very conscience of the health and well being of his grandparents.

This cute little book features some kitties who are being watched by their grandfather while their mother has to work. Stanley's brother and sisters want to play soccer and jump rope but Stanley is not very good at those things. Stanley has decided that he is going to help take care of grandpa. While sitting down to relax Stanley sings his grandpa a song and soon all the kittens are fast asleep.

I thought that there was a positive message happening in this book. Even though Stanley couldn't do all the things that his brothers and sisters could he still had his own talent...singing. I like that he had such a close relationship with his grandfather. I also loved that the grandfather tried to do all the things his grandchildren wanted to do even though they wore him out.

The drawings were great. The cats all looked so adorable and I think that was my son's favorite part. He loved looking at the drawings and spent extra time flipping back through the pages after we had finished it.

4 out of 5 stars!

**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: Mr. Pusskins: A Love Story by Sam LLoyd

Took my son to the library the  other day and let him pick the majority of books we read. This was one of them and of course he picked it because..well cats.

Mr. Pusskins is a mean cat. His owner shows him nothing but love. But Mr. Pusskins is not content and decides to venture out into the world. Till one day he realizes just how good he had it when he was back home.

The drawings in the book were fun. Mr. Pusskins was perfectly show to be a curmudgeon. I mean look at that cover! How much meaner can one cat look? Ok so the cat wasn't mean...he was just the sterotypical cat that ignores its owner. I can't tell you how many times my own cat ignores my calls for cuddling or playing with his toy mouse.

I like that the cat missed his owner and in the end became less of a sour puss. My son of course loved the cat even when he was all feral looking. I don't think he picked up on the appreciating what you have message but he enjoyed it all the same.

This one was a 5 out of 5.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Book Review: Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág

My son, who very well may become a "Crazy Cat Lady" one day, wanted me to read him just one more book yesterday. I was proud that he wanted me to read him so many so I rewarded him with just one more cat book. I picked this one because it is part of the 1001 books challenge.

Millions of Cats tells the story of a lonely little old man and little old lady. The decide a cat is just the thing they need so the little old man sets off to find a cat. He comes upon a hill where there are million, and billions and trillions of cats. He wants to take home the prettiest cat but soon finds he thinks they all are the prettiest and so he takes home with him all of the cats. When he arrives his wife realizes there is no way the could feed all those cats. So the husband makes up his mind to let the cats decide who will stay with them.

OK this is a classic book but I had never heard of it nor seen it before. I loved this and totally saw my son in the little old man. My son would pick every single one because he could never have the heart to leave one behind. However my son would probably try and keep them all.

There was a bit of gruesomeness that might not be appropriate for all children. In it when the old man lets the cats decide they all fight and the next day the have all disappeared and the assume that the cats ate each other (ugh gross). My son didn't seem to notice that part or if he did he didn't even bat an eye. It helps that it had a happy ending (as all children's books should)

The illustrations were wonderful and it was cute to see the millions, and billions, and trillions of cats. My son of course enjoyed it tremendously.

I'm going to have to go with 3 out of 5 just because I'm not a fan of the cats eating each other.

**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: Captain Cat by Syd Hoff

So yesterday my son comes home all excited that he has one more day left in school. They cleaned out their desks and he brought home two books that he said were in his desk. One of them was this book. When I asked if he had read it yet he said no. So I remedied that and read it to him right away.

Captain Cat tells the tale of a cat who "joins" the army. He is given his name when some soldiers notice that he has more stripes than they do. He spends his day following the soldiers around but most are too busy to pay attention to him. All except for Pete. Pete always makes time for Captain Cat.

Ok so I totally was sitting there while I was reading it asking myself why these drawings remind me of something. It wasn't till today when I was looking up the book and author on Goodreads that I realized that Syd Hoff did some classic children's books that I remember from my youth such as Danny and the Dinosaur and Sammy the Seal. That gave me a smile as I had totally forgotten about those books.

I loved the charm of the books and the cuteness of a cat thinking it was joining the army. I also liked at the end when all the soldiers were dreaming of loved ones that Captain Cat was dreaming of Pete and vice versa.

So my son enjoyed this very much..wanna guess why? Yep, cause of cats. Put a cat in it and for him it an automatic 5 star.

I'm torn on this one because for me it felt a bit dated in that it depicted army life like a 1950s cartoon would. But it was still really cute and my son really enjoyed it.

I'll go with 5 out of 5 since my son didn't notice it was dated.

**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 Reviewer: Papa Gave Me a Stick by Janice Levy

When I saw this one on *Netgalley I fell in love with the cover and thought that the book summary sounded interesting. I live in a neighborhood where it is not uncommon to see a mariachi band walk by so I thought this would be a nice book for my son.

The book tells the story of a little boy who wants a guitar so badly after he sees a mariachi band playing. He lets his father know how much he wants one but his father instead hands him a stick. The boy is unhappy and wonders what good is a stick. Soon he finds a dog and trades the stick. He keeps trading and trading each time he asks what good is the item he gets.

Ok so I kind of chuckled when the father gave him a stick and quite honestly I could hear Charlie Brown saying, "I got a rock". I liked that the lesson of this is that sometimes you have to work to get what you want. He had to keep trading and trading to get his guitar. What I didn't like was that each time he complained about what he got. I understand that he really wanted the guitar but he came off as a bit ungrateful.

As many know I'm a huge fan of artwork in picture books. This book was filled with wonderful drawings. This was one that I went back to look through all the artwork a second time.

My son liked this one. He picked up right away that there were Spanish words in it. Though to be fair to him there are only two languages English (or american as he calls it) and Spanish. He doesn't know any Spanish. He was excited to learn the word for cat in Spanish though he kept forgetting two seconds later and would ask me yet again to tell him it. I thought this was a great opportunity to teach him a few Spanish words.

In the end I have to give this 4 out of 5. I'm knocking off one star just because I didn't like that he seemed ungrateful sometimes.

*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

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Book Review: Dino-Swimming by Lisa Wheeler

Last weekend we went to see Jurassic World. So when I saw this on *Netgalley I knew it was perfect to read to my son since he is still riding on a dinosaur high... ok so maybe just maybe I'm the one on a dinosaur high.

Dino-Swimming is a cute rhyming book that tells the tale of the land sharks vs the algae eaters dinosaurs. They participate in many different swimming events to see who will be winner.

The drawings in this were wonderful. Nice and colorful with the dinosaurs not looking overly scary making it appropriate for the youngest of readers.  I love that they gave the names of the different types of dinosaurs. I admit I became hung up on one and had to play the sound it out game. My son was pleased that the dinosaurs were all different colors (especially blue...his favorite color).

From what I can tell it looks like this is a series of books. I will definitely have to check out the rest in the series because my son was extremely interested in reading more of them. It looks like the next book has them racing in cars...or at least that was what was suggested by the ending of the book.

My son really liked the book and I enjoyed it too. I would have to say that this was another 5 star book for the two of us.

*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

Thursday's Tale: The Pen and the Inkwell by Hans Christian Anderson

So I wasn't sure what I was going to pick this week for Thursday's Tale. I wasn't prepared at all this week so I just randomly chose a Hans Christian Anderson tale. This is one I have never heard of before and it was a nice short one.

The Pen and Inkwell is basically a tale that starts with the inkwell boasting about what comes from him. That wonderful poems etc are written from the ink drawn from him. The pen then boasts that he is actually one that causes such wonderful things as he is the instrument that writes them. The inkwell points out that he has been there forever and that he has seen many a pen. Soon the writer comes home after attending a violin performance and decides to write because he is filled with inspiration. He writes not about the bow or the violin nor really the man who performed but about the higher power that inspired the man to perform.

So obviously this one is a religious tale. About praising and recognizing that God is the one that creates all things. Even as an agnostic I can understand where this was coming from. Though of course in my belief it is the man not the instruments nor a god who creates such beauty.

I did like the back and forth between the pen and the inkstand. I found it amusing how they boasted to each other and called each other names. The names of course were not bad but basically things like "ink pitcher" and "writing-stick". Which of course is the most simplest way of explaining what they are and thereby simplifies them. Did that make sense?

Thursday's Tales are hosted by CarolsNotebook. Stop by and see what she has read this week or better yet join in and read your own tale this week.

Product Review: Full-Time Energy Super Weight Loss Blend Liquid

So I've been struggling with my weight for... well my entire life. I've never tried weight loss supplements before but was curious about this one especially because it totes that it gives an extra boost of energy. With just 2 oz being a serving and whole 32oz bottle to try I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

The Super Weight Loss Blend contains raspberry ketones, green coffee bean extract, and garcinia cambogia. What does that all mean? After some research I found out that raspberry ketones are used to increase lean body mass. Green coffee bean extract is thought to help with diabetes, weight loss and heart disease. While garcinia cambogia is thought to be an appetite suppressant.

Ok so I've been taking this for a few days now. I was honestly very excited to try it especially after I checked out reviews on Amazon. Everyone seemed to agree that it tastes great and gave an energy boost. The label warns that if you are sensitive to stimulants that you should slowly work your way up to full dosage. I of course went for it and did full serving.

First impression? "ACK!!! This is too sweet...and oh god it tastes horrible!" Yeah, I'm the odd man out apparently because I can't stand the taste of it. It is very medicinal tasting and reminds me nothing of raspberry lemonade. Nope instead it reminds me exactly of a medicine my mom used to give me when I was sick when I was a little girl. It was the one medicine that I dreaded and begged my mom not to give to me because I wasn't allowed to drink anything afterwards and it always left that horrible taste in my mouth. This tastes EXACTLY like I remember that medicine. So I knew after my first sip there was no way I could finish it like that. SO I added some ice and watered it down a bit and sucked it all up with a straw. That made it a lot easier to get down and still left an aftertaste but I didn't feel like I was going gag anymore. I've tried adding it to juice etc but it just makes the juice taste bad. So I've found best thing is to add lots of ice, water it down and just drink as fast as I can.

Ok so I know you are saying if it tastes so bad why are you still taking it? Well, quite simply it does an AMAZING job at giving an energy boost! Like seriously, I was shocked at how much it actually worked. Because I have sleep apnea I usually fall asleep during the day and take a 1-3 hour nap. Since I started this I haven't had to take a nap at all! I did learn the hard way not to take it at night. When I first got it I was so excited to get it that I took it before I did  a closing shift at work (about 5:30pm). I didn't fall asleep till after midnight. But guess what next day after having my morning dose I didn't feel sleepy at all! While I haven't had diet supplements before I have tried energy drinks before and this out beat them all. This didn't make me jittery at all but I definitely was wide awake, alert and ready to go!

Another thing I noticed is that it is helping me at night. Normally as a side effect of my type II diabetes I am up several times a night peeing. Since starting this I went from getting up 3-5 times a night to pee to 1 or 2 times a night. I don't know if it is that I am sleeping more soundly or if it actually helping to keep my bloodsugar low. I was unable to find out how many sugars are in it but the lable says there is only 15 calories to a serving.

As far as helping to lose weight I haven't been on it long enough to see any difference. But I can see where the energy boost will help with that. As it makes it so much easier to get things done.

So my final thoughts? I'm gonna keep doing it! The energy burst and better sleep at night make it worth the 1 minute torture of drinking it. I still prefer the taste of it over coffee (even the smell of coffee sets off my gag reflexes). I think though if I try any more products by Full-Time Engery I want to skip the liquid blends and go with pill form.

Giving it a star rating is hard because for taste it is 1 star. But for energy totally a 5 star product. I'm going to go with 4 stars because the energy boost is just that good that I'm only going to knock off one star for the taste.


* I received a free sample in exchange for my honest opinion. I have not received any other compensation and this review expresses my 100% honest opinion.