Monday, July 27, 2015

Computer issues

I killed my laptop which is what I normally use to post. Our main computer is also not working at the moment. So till I can fix those issues I have to step away from blogging as using the iPad is a nightmare. Keep your fingers crossed that I can find a decent solution.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Diverse Characters

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Following this weeks theme I've decided to feature 10 classic children's books that have diverse characters.

1. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry- This is one of those books that I've only read once but I remember everything about it. I read this when I was still in elementary school and it hit me in a big way. Taking place in Europe during WWII a young Jewish girl moves in with her best friend and pretends to be one of the family's daughters.

2. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats- A true classic for sure. A young boy spends one snow day in the city playing in the snow. I recently read this to my son and it reminded me of the school librarian reading this book to my kindergarten class. All of our faces tilted up and staring at the pictures, imagining ourselves out playing in the snow.

3. And Tango Makes Three by Justine Richardson- I have to admit I've never read this book. But I plan on reading this to my son during banned book week. 

4. The Story about Ping by Marjorie Flack- It has been so many years since I've read this that I barely remember it. But that is about to change since I've decided to reread it. All I remember is that it takes place in China.

5. Corduroy by Don Freeman- One of my son's all time favorite books! We've read it so many times I've lost count. Who can forget that lovable bear who is finally adopted by Lisa. 

6, Iggie's House by Judy Blume- As a child I was a huge fan of Judy Blume and read as many of her books as I could get my hands on. The main character in this book is white but it tells the tale of an African American family who move into a house that used to be the MC best friend's house. I remember the MC had no problem and didn't think twice about the family being black. But others in the neighborhood were less than thrilled. Sadly this still happens today.

7.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie- Another book I have not read but plan on reading during banned book week. 

8. The Miracle Worker by William Gibson- I remember reading this in school and being in awe of Helen Keller. I remember being fascinated and wondering just how someone who is deaf, blind and cannot speak overcomes such an obstacle. 

9. Freedom Summer by Donna Wiles- Two best friends in the south in the 1960's one black one white. A simple tale that is great at introducing young readers to the desegregation that began in the 60's. 

10. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling- I have not read the book but plan on it sometime soon. Of course I've seen the movie but that is really not the same thing 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Book Review: Snap! by Hazel Hutchins

When I saw this on *netgalley I just knew I had to request it. Not only was the cover amazing but the book summary had me desperate to read it to my son.

Evan has a brand new set of crayons. But before he knows it the brown one breaks. Soon one after the other all of his crayons begin to break. But that doesn't stop him. With each new broken or missing crayon he discovers something new like combining colors to make new colors and making rubbings on the paper from coins and paper clips. 

I loved this book. I love that Evan become angry at his crayon for break. We've all seen the frustration that pours forth from a child who has just broken a crayon. But more importantly I love that he discovers new ways to use his crayons and that even when he no longer can color with them he finds a new way to start new adventures with his drawings. I think it says a lot that children should fully embrace their creativity and go with the flow. Discover new ways to make art. 

The illustrations in this were wonderful. It definitely gives the feel of a child artist on a roll frenzied roll with artwork. Never stopping just keeps drawing drawing drawing. The colors are perfect and really follows the flow of the story. I want to add this book to my collection! I love that the cover shows the colors almost splashing out from the broken crayon.

My son loved this one and took out his crayons and some paper afterwards and began to draw. While he didn't get into the long frenzied drawing of Evan he did spend a good (blissfully quiet) 20 minutes drawing cats and blue skies and what might have been a flower.

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: Jaya's Golden Necklace: A Silk Road Tale by Peter Linenthal

I'm always looking for books that feature diverse characters. I was happy to find this book on *Netgalley. I'm always trying to expose him to different cultures and religions. It is important to me that he understands that all people are people and it doesn't matter their race, gender, sexuality, or religion. Though coming from a house of atheists/agnostics he doesn't have much of a concept of religion.

Jaya's Golden Necklace tells the tale of a little girl whose mother is sent to the kings palace to bake her famous apricot cake for the king's birthday. Before her mother leaves she give Jaya a golden necklace with three gold coins. Jaya then finds out her father has also been summoned by the king. He has been asked to carve a statue of Buddha the peaceful one. From the gold coins on Jaya's necklace spring the gods Shiva, Inanna and Hercules. They help Jaya on her journey to the palace with her father.

I loved the illustrations in this book. They almost reminded me of stained glass with the colors and how they pictures were outlined. It really was beautiful to look at. I was afraid my son would have a hard time keeping up as he doesn't know much about the gods (ok to be truthful neither do I). But he kept up and seemed to enjoy the book. He loved the part were Jaya dons the lion skin.

I love how at the end historical information is give and you even get the recipe for Jaya's mom's famous apricot cake...I might even give it a go since I love apricots! I actually really liked this book and think it is great for introducing children to Buddhism.

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

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thursday's Tale: The Gingerbread Man

This week I decided to break out a book I had from when I was a baby. This was a Little Golden Book illustrated by the famous Richard Scarry....The Gingerbread Man. We all know that chant "Run run run as fast as you can. You can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man." In fact when my son was a toddler I used to say that to him and he would be off and running. Giggling cause he knew I was about to scoop him up and give him tons of tickles and hugs.

The Gingerbread Man tells the tale of a woman baking a gingerbread man who comes to life. He runs past her and many others who give chase. A kindly fox offers to help the Gingerbread Man cross the river. This of course is a trick and the fox eats the up the goodie.

I fondly remember this book and it was fun to go back and read it. I probably haven't read it in 30 years. I've heard many different versions of the gingerbread boy/man. Also who can forget Gingy from Shrek. All I know is right now I could go for a piece of gingerbread.

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.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book Review: Matilda by Roald Dahl

This is a classic for sure. Pretty much everything Dahl wrote had the magic touch. He was just such an amazing writer. I read this one as part of the 1001 children's book challenge.

Matilda tells the store of an extremely bright little girl who loves to read. Her parents don't take with reading and her father is crooked car sales man. Matilda sets off to school for the first time and her teacher Miss Honey is amazed by how smart the little girl is. The big problem is that the head teacher Miss Trunchbull is a meanie and cruel beyond cruel.

Now then it has been over 25 years since the last time I read this book...Eek did I really just write that? Whenever your reread a beloved childhood classic you always have to wonder if it will stand up or if growing up changes the book for the worse. I'm happy to say for the most part Matilda stands up. Of course had it been written today Matilda's family would be on their tablets and cell phones while watching tv and eating their gross (even to this day) TV dinners. Also as an adult the idea of the type of abuse and violence that Matilda and her fellow peers face is a bit sickening. I guess as a child it seems cartoonish but as an adult we realize the stomach turning reality of such things. The fact that unfortunately neglectful parents like Matilda's and the inexcusable physical and mental violence of Miss Trunchbull actually exists makes it hard to see it as silly.

That being said I still really loved the book. Matilda is a great example of a book loving child who uses her intellect to get through problems. She is always greatful for what she has and she forms such a wonderful loving relationship with her teacher Miss Honey.

4 out of 5 stars!

WWW Wednesday: July 15, 2015

WWW Wednesday is hosted by samannelizabeth.

The Three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Ok I'm going to have to split this up in two parts. 1 is books I'm reading just for me and 2 is books I'm reading with my son.

Part 1.

Currently Reading: So I requested this book from Netgalley not even realizing that I already own the book. Well, that's ok. I'm not quite a quarter of the way through it but so far I'm enjoying it. But I'm a huge fan of dystopian/apocalyptic/post apocalyptic fiction. I know a lot of people are burnt out on it right now but I've found if I mix it up and read other types of books I never become bored with a genre. But if you read 20 of the same type of book in a row it becomes yawn worthy.

Recently Finished: Just finished this last night and it was oh so satisfying. I love that Roald Dahl is so universal and his books are not only beloved by children but adults as well. They don't feel stale or dated. I haven't read this one since I was in elementary school (no I wont even begin to tell you how many years ago that was). I can't wait to tackle another Dahl book as there are a few on the 1001 childrens book challenge that I have to read.

Reading Next: Here is where the debate comes in. I have a TON of books to read and want to read. I think though I'm going to knock out another Netgalley book. This one has been waiting for me to read for a few weeks now so I suppose it is time to do it.

Part 2

Currently Reading: This is hard to do as we only read picture books together and they are finished immediately. So I'll post the book I'm going to read to him today when he gets home from summer school. This is yet another Netgalley book (can you tell I'm obsessed with Netgalley?)

Recently Finished: This is one of my favorite books that we have read this year. This was another Netgalley book. I'm excited for when it is released and plan on buying my own copy. 

Reading Next: These are the next two books up for reading. I might read them today or tomorrow. Depends on if he will sit through multiple books today. The first one is another Netgalley and the second one is one I've been dying to get my hands on since I've heard so many amazing things about it. Finally found a copy of it in my local library.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Recently Acquired Books

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

1. I got this one through Netgalley and already reviewed it. It is one of my favorite books that I've read to my son so far this year. This would have made my top ten books of the year so far had I read it in time for that top ten.
2.  This is another book I've acquired through Netgalley. I have yet to read it but love the cover.

3. I recently recieved a review request from the author and thought the book sounded great So I said yes and he sent me over a copy. I still have to read it though.

4. Here is another Netgalley I have to review. Look at those sad soulful eyes. Can you see why I requested it?

5. Ok so this is one that I used to own but gave to my stepdaughter along with a bunch of other Roald Dahl books. She just recently gave them back to me (after much poking and prodding) because I want to reread a good number of them. I'm very nearly done reading this one. 

6. I loved the first book so much and I finally got around to buying the second book. I can't wait to start it! 

7. I've heard mixed things about this book but either way I really wanted to read it so shelled out the money for a copy. 

8. R.L Mathewson is one of my all time favorite romance authors. Her Neighbor From Hell series is one of my must buys. So I was pleased that she put out these novelettes. Go Team Bradford!

9. I saw this one on Netgalley but sadly was not approved for it. I was still really interested in it so I picked up a copy for myself.

10. Lastly I HAD to pick this up after seeing how many put this on their lists. It seems like it is practically required reading.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Book Review: The Night Children by Sarah Tsiang

Here is another book that I found through *Netgalley. I so fell in love with the cover and the description that I was ready to cry if I had been denied for this one. But thankfully I was approved for this book. I'm so glad I requested this book!

 The Night Children tells about when children have gone home and it is dark out. The Night Children come out and take over for the Day Children. They steal slices of the moon, scatter leaves, cause the cats to sing etc. Till it is time for them to go to bed and time for the Day Children to take over.

 Wow wow wow wow wow! Did I say wow? Cause holy freaking wow! This book was AMAZING! No, seriously! I wish that I had read this book in time for my top ten books I've read so far this year list. Because this would have been on there.

Let me start with the illustrations. They are some of the best I've seen so far this year. They have a fluidty to them that is hard to describe. I can just see the movements of the Night Children in the drawings. You can see their graceful almost dance like movements. You can see the wind whipping the leaves that they tear up and scatter. This is sheer perfection. From the tiny details to the color choices. This is the type of book that tells a story without having any words.

Ah, but we can't forget the words can we? The story itself is wonderful. This is a simple easy to read story but yet it tells of the magic of the Night Children. I think this book would be best told in the fall time as the imagery of the words and artwork go with that time of the year. Also as I was reading it I could totally see a mini animated short made out of this. It totally flows like the best animated art films.

My son loved this book as much as I did. He stayed with me while I looked back through the photos and would complain if I moved to fast for him. He wanted to soak it all in.

5 out of 5 enthusiastic 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: Derma Roller from Beautify.Me

Ok so one of the latest skin treatment trends out there are derma rollers. I've been hearing about them for a while now and kept wanting to try one. When I saw the opportunity to try one pop up on *tomoson I did not hesitate to apply.

For those that do not know derma rollers are long sticks with a roller at the top. Attached to the roller are multiple spikes. The point of a derma roller is that it lightly pierces the skin. It is thought that this piercing does one of two things. Number 1 it allows for better absorption of different skin products. Number 2 it promotes the production of collagen which is supposed to help smooth out the skin and reduce scaring.

I tried this on a couple of spots. My first fear was that it was going to hurt. Thankfully it didn't. As far as bleeding goes on my face I had none but on my leg it bled a tiny bit. I don't know if that had more to do with the pressure I was using. To be honest I didn't notice any difference at all. Granted this was only one treatment and it can take several treatments to see a difference. Since you should wait and give your skin time to heal in between treatments I still haven't done a second session.

For now a few weeks after my first session I'm not impressed at all. It takes a long time to properly do and I made no difference in my skin at all. I'll give this at least two more sessions but for now my thoughts are that this is just another fad that does nothing. 1 out of 5 stars.

*I recieved this product at a discounted rate in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Book Review: There's a Little Black Spot on the Sun Today by Sven Volker

When I saw this on *Netgalley I immediately clicked to read it. It sounded so interesting. It is a children's book but I didn't wait for my son to read it. I bypassed him and read this one by myself.

This book illustrates the lyrics of Sting's classic song King of Pain. Sven's son has been enduring a lot of pain and after hearing Sting's song Sven's son declares that he is the King of Pain.

Wow where to begin. The backstory here of Sven's son is heartbreaking for anyone to read about. The illustrations are as minimal as you can get. In fact it is all made up of triangles. But oh my god does it work. The illustration for the line about standing out in the rain is my favorite. It is just brilliant!

I don't think I'll be reading this one to my son. Just because I don't think he will understand it. He might like the illustrations but I think this topic is a bit too deep for him.

That being said I loved it! Even though at first the artwork seems amaturish once you his that picture of the rain with the silhouette of a person you realize that there is real artistry here. It actually takes some talent to create the images of the lyrics while only using triangles. Some were very abstract and it was fun figuring it out.

I'm going with 4 out of 5 stars!

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

Book Review: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

So I'm ashamed to admit that this was the first time I had ever read this book to my son. I mean come on it is a classic. I must have read it about 50 times as a kid and here I am..bad mommy that I am I have never read this one to my son. Well, I happily remedied that mistake and in doing so can cross another book off the 1001 book challenge.

Snowy day tells the adventures of one little boy spending the day out playing in the snow. He even puts a snowball in his pocket to play with later only to have it melt from being in his warm house. He dreams of the snow all melting but when he wakes up he discovers the snow is still there and that even more is falling.

This classic is just amazing. It really captures the fun of running out in the snow and all the things you do from making prints in the snow to dragging your feet to make looooong line tracks to making snow angels. This is just a fun book all around and it stands the test of time. It doesn't feel dated at all. And that iconic image of the little boy in his red snow suit is unforgettable.

My son enjoyed this one a lot and has already requested I read it to him a second time. So I'm pleased to have found another book to add to our permanent collection

5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday's Tale: In Search of the Magic Lake

Image by Rusty Clark

This week I decided to go with a South American tale. This one comes from an Incan folktale in Ecuador. I can't remember ever having heard an Incan folktale before. So this one was a first for me (or at least I think it is).

A young girl named Ampata lives with her poor farming family. One day her brothers set out in search of the magic lake. The Sun King's son is very sick and the only thing that will heal him is the water from the magic lake which is at the end of the world. The Sun King has declared that anyone who brings back the healing water will join the royal family. The two brothers give up after climbing over mountain after mountain after mountain. The scoop up some water and try to deceive the Sun King. But the court magician has a flask that will only hold the magic water. When the water desolves the brothers are found to be frauds and thrown in jail.

Ampata decides she is going to try and find the magic lake. One day she shares some of her food with two macaw's. Once they find out about her mission the two macaws reward her kindness with three magic feathers. The feathers will transport her anywhere she wants. She uses the feathers to transport to the magic lake. There she encounters a swarm of army ants, a poisonous snake and a scorpion. All three foes are vanquished by the fan of feathers. When she arrives back to the Sun King he offers her to join the family. Instead she asks for more land and cattle for her family. She also asks for the release of her two brothers, which the king grants. Eventually she ends up marrying the prince after many years of visiting the castle and becoming friends with him.

I liked that in this folktale a young girl is the hero. I also like that instead of just joining the royal she wants to stay with her family and she asks for things that would make them successful without just sitting around. They still will be working but they have the means now to survive. I really want to check out some more Incan stories. This one was just so different.

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.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Book Blitz: Love in the Gilded Age by Saruuh Kelsey

Love In The Gilded Age (Fissure Chronicles, #1)
Release Date: 10/28/14

Summary from Goodreads:
Once in a hidden queendom…

There is an ocean: In the infinite distance, between one hidden world and the next, is an unmeasurable expanse of twenty seas. One sprawling edge of the world to another is filled with waters as beautiful as they are deadly, as miraculous as they are fraught. Treasure and treachery litter their ocean beds, sleeping side by side with adventurers whose travels ended abruptly, lives caught and held under a wave until all breaths fled. 

There is a land: Tucked into a corner where four oceans fold together, land rises up illustrious in a jagged slash of mountains and forests, with secrets and wonders as plentiful as any water. 

There are chronicles: Not of the twenty savage seas but of the fissure of land and the people who sigh life into it.

In an original epic fantasy world, Love In The Gilded Age reimagines the heroes and heroines of Grimm fairy tales as ethnically diverse, LGBT, disabled, and gender flipped. 

Buy Links:

Xanna drove herself forward, leaning into the run to propel them along. Her mother was trailing behind her but didn’t have an option except to follow as Xanna leapt from the last bit of land and crashed into the pond. She heard Koal’s strangled shout as she broke the surface, gasping and paddling wildly. She fought every bit of tiredness in her muscles as she dragged her mother from the depths of the water; she emerged spluttering and angry. “He will kill you for that,” her mother said without emotion. No fear for her daughter’s life, no regret, no anger, just a blank statement of facts.
“No,” Xanna hissed. “I won’t be the one dying today.”
“Three souls will pass in this last fight.” Her mother dissolved into the senseless chanting of before, only repeated the ominous three souls will pass in this last fight. At least she had the good sense to pump her legs and move her arms to stay afloat.
Xanna had to get the rope off them if her plan was going to work. She pulled at their bound wrists, fearful and frustrated, and the vine uncoiled as if in response to her wish at the same moment the Wolf reached the edge of the pool and leapt in. It loves my mother, Xanna thought, but found she didn’t care. She gripped the rope in a fist as she put three lengths between her mother, watching the Wolf wade sloppily through the water to the woman it loved.
She didn’t have long. Xanna had to act, and she had to be both quick and quiet about it—a impossibility now that her every movement made a splash. Still, she had to try. Koal was shouting at her from the clearing but she blocked out his warnings.
The Wolf only noticed her presence when she wrapped the vine around its neck and pulled it taut. Growling, it fought to face her but couldn’t spin and remain afloat at the same time. Xanna kicked her legs faster, unable to use her arms to keep her from a drowned death as she strangled the animal. She was slipping, on the verge of sinking. Without warning, the Wolf dipped underwater, testing her grip on the vine. She lost the rope.
Xanna looked around for it desperately. It was her only weapon.
The vine didn’t resurface but the Wolf did.

About the Author
Saruuh Kelsey is the author of several novels for young adults, including the free Lux Guardians series and The Legend Mirror series. Her latest releases include THE BEAST OF CALLAIRE, the first novel of a new YA fantasy series, and a collection of diverse fairy tales in LOVE IN THE GILDED AGE. Find her online at

Author Links:
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