Thursday, October 29, 2015

Medical Issues

Just wanted to post a quick update. I haven't been blogging lately due to medical issues. Seems like I just can't win this year. First my parents, then my mother in law, then my parents again and again and again oh and again, then my husband, then my father AGAIN, and now me. I have what is known as a diabetic ulcer on my leg. At times it is very very very painful (like someone is stabbing me in the leg with a flaming knife). It makes it really hard to sit at the computer and type. I haven't really had the concentration to read and worst of all I haven't been reading to my son. What compounds it is I have a job where I am on my feet the entire time and that makes it even more painful. This past weekend I worked two 9 hour shifts and had to walk a mile home from work. By the time I was home I was literally sobbing from the pain.

So I apologise to those authors who have sent me books for review and that I have not gotten to yet. I WILL read the books I promise. I am just putting my health and comfort ahead of my blogging. I am healing (very very very slowly) and hope to be myself sometime soon.

What upsets me most about this is that I was planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year and I don't know if it will be possible. If I can get my laptop up and running again I'll be good with both blogging and NaNoWriMo. Anyway, here is to hoping that I'm back to my normal self.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

WOW: What I'm waiting on this week

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

From Goodreads:

The Crown's Game


4.07 of 5 stars
Vika Andreyev can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orph
an, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.


From Goodreads:

Ollie and the Wind

Hardcover32 pages
Expected publication: March 1st 2016 by Random House Australia
4.0 of 5 stars
A beautifully told story about ingenuity and friendship from a wonderful new author-illustrator talent
Ollie and the Wind is about a small boy who lives—seemingly alone—on an island. The wind keeps stealing away Ollie’s hat and his scarf—but is the wind naughty, or does it just want to play?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

WOW: This week I'm waiting on Ruined by Amy Tintera and The Dragon's Toothache by Annie Besant

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

I've decided to make a slight change to my WOW. Since I review children's books on here as well I'll be doing two WOWs each week. One book for me and one book for what I'm waiting to read to my son.

From Goodreads:A revenge that will consume her.

A love that will ruin her.
     Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.
     But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.
     In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.
     Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.
Hardcover368 pages
Expected publication: May 3rd 2016 by HarperTeen

From Goodreads: What could be stranger than a dragon's toothache? A motley crew comes to the rescue of the dragon in pain, but do they manage to help him? Annie Besant's quirky humor and Rayika Sen's imaginative illustrations make this book a joy to read over and over again. (less)
Hardcover36 pages
Expected publication: February 9th 2016 by Karadi Tales Picturebooks

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thursday's Tale: Don Joseph Pear by Thomas Frederick Crane

Don Joseph Pear is a fairy tale from Italy. It is in Italian Popular Tales by Thomas Frederick Crane. I had never heard of this one before but thought it looked interesting.

Three brothers own a pear tree. They notice that someone keep picking their pears. So one by one the brothers stay over night by the tree. The first two fall asleep but the third one, Don Joseph, stays awake and catches a fox trying to steal their pears. The fox convinces Don Joseph to set her free and that she will have the king's daughter marry him.

Two times the fox hunts and brings a large amount of game to the King. He visits the king a third time and asks for a measure so the King will think Don Joseph is rich. 

Eventually Don Joseph marries the King's daughter and goes to live in castle that used to be owned by an Ogress. The fox kills the Ogress by convincing her to hide in the well when Don Joseph and the kingsmen ride up to the castle.

One day Don Joseph throws dust on the foxes head and the fox threatens to tell his wife everything. Don Joseph throws a clay pot at the fox killing her. Don Joseph is left with all of his riches and his wife after killing the fox who got it all for him.

This story was really fascinating. You can't help but feel bad for the fox in the end since she did all the work and Don Joseph just kills her and still gets to keep everything. It's frustrating when people who don't deserve things win them anyway. But that is how the real world works all the time. 

Thursday's Tales is hosted by CarolsNotebook. Feel free to join in and read a tale of your own!

Book Review: Mug Meals: Delicious Microwave Meals by Dina Cheney

25094970My stepdaughter is heading off to college next year. So when I saw this book on *Netgalley I decided to look into it. As I'm sure she will be eating many a microwave meal.

Mug Meals is a recipe filled book that shows the microwave is not just for leftovers. With just a mug and some simple ingredients you can microwave up a variety of delicious meals.

This book is great. I was right that this book is perfect for people like my stepdaughter. Mouthwatering recipes with pictures that leave you drooling. It covers all meals of the day from breakfast through dessert. I loved that there were also vegetarian recipes included.

The biggest problem with the book is when it comes to some of the lunches and dinners which required cooked rice/pasta. For people living at home that is not an issue but for those who are in a dorm food like that is not readily available. But you can use some leftovers to accomplish these recipes.

All in all I would get it 4 out of 5 stars.

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

Book Review: Ten Zany Birds by Sherry Ellis

25605484I recently received a signed copy of this book. The only problem is I can't remember where I got it from. I've searched through all my email records and through the contests I've entered and still have no clue how I got this book. So I either received a copy for review or I won it through a contest.

In Ten Zany Birds, 10 birds get together. One by one they dwindle down to the last bird as each bird flies off for  different reasons.  There are striped birds, spotted birds, and one with purple polka dots. Only one bird will be left standing.

This book was very cute and was in the vein of Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. It counts down to the last bird and uses some repetitive rhyming. Both my son and I loved the illustrations. The colors are very kid friendly and my son was asking me how it was drawn. He was obsessed with the spider that was on nearly every page and had a fun time finding it each time we turned a page.While this was a bit more for younger readers my son really enjoyed it and I have a feeling this one will get a couple of readings in our house.

5 out of 5 stars

*I received a signed copy of this book but do not know if it was in exchange for a review. Either way this has not influenced me and I have given an honest review
** This book was read with my 8 year old severely learning disabled son and reflects his opinion and how he did with the book.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

WOW: I'm waiting on The Steep & Thorny Way

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

Ok I just stumbled upon this one on Goodreads this very morning. I started doing the pee pee dance. A retelling of Hamlet set in the 1920's where the main character is mixed race.....oh yes please bring on to me!


From Goodreads:

A thrilling reimagining of Shakespeare’s HamletThe Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.

1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.

The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.
Hardcover352 pages
Expected publication: March 8th 2016 by Amulet Books

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Bookish Things I want to Quit

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by TheBrokeandtheBookish.

1. I want to quit buying so many books that I never get around to reading. And oh god all the free ebooks as well. I'm a book hoarder. I have so many books that I already own, thousands of books I want to own, thousands of books I used to own that I want to own again, and billions of books yet to be discovered. I'm learning to curb my spending but oh how there are always new books to taunt me. And then I think about a book I used to own and haven't read in years. 

2. I want to quit spending so much time on Goodreads...what?!?! Yes, I need to spend less time on there finding new books and spend a bit more of my time actually reading books. 

3. I want to quit pretending to others that I only read highly intellectual books. Truth is I'd much rather be reading a romance book. Thankfully, these days romance books are not as looked down on. I just have to stop pretending I'm reading The Scarlet Letter and come right out and say "I'm reading a trashy romance book with an over the top plot and I'm loving every single second of it." 

4. I want to quit feeling obligated to review every book an author offers me. I'm learning to say no but it is hard. Because I feel for authors and have a very special place in my heart for indy authors. But between the books I read to my son, the books I read for myself, the books I've already agreed to review and books that I have yet to be introduced to I just don't have the time for it all.

5. I want to quit being a slow reader. THIS....oh god this is probably my number one thing that I would change if I could. I am such a slooooooooow reader. It takes me a week to read a 300 page book. I'm so jealous of people that read one or two books a day. I'll never even get a quarter of the way through all the books I want to read while these people will get so much close. My hat's off to you fast readers!

6. I want to quit reading books by authors that I'm only meh about. There is one author in particular who I will not name. I loved two of her books (yes all of two). The rest were either awful, DNF, or just meh for me. But yet I keep picking up her books hoping for the magic that I found in those two that I loved. But no go. And man she write looooooong books. I think that is why so many are DNF for me...that and some are just really crappy.

7. I want to quit feeling bad when I do not finish a book. I try not to add to my DNF pile but I realize that I can't waste my time on books I'm not enjoying. I can always come back to them (rarely do). It is just that I hate investing my time in something and then not finishing it. But, I've got to learn to let go because sometimes I drag my feet reading books I don't really like and that time could be spent on something I do like.

8. I want to quit falling asleep in the middle of reading...ok this is a medical thing (sleep apnea) and eventually I'll be going for a sleep study to get a c-pap machine. But part of my slow reading is that I often fall asleep half way through a chapter. When I was a teenager I devoured books whole and stayed up all night reading. I'd wake up the next morning on only two hours sleep just to repeat it all again that night. Now I read for about 20 minutes and then I'm asleep.

9. I want to quit worrying about my son's reading. My son is severely learning disabled and it kills me that he cannot read yet (he is 8). So many other kids his age are reading chapter books now. He sometimes can barely sit through an overly wordy picture book. I'm hoping to start him on chapter books soon but I know I need to stop worrying so much. When his brain can finally make the connection it will and he will learn how to read. He wants to read and that is one of the most positive things. 

10. I want to quit starting 4 different books at the same time. This partly has to do with me hating to put a book on DNF pile. But often when I read multiple books one or two or all 4 end up never being finished. Forever sitting my ereader at different percentages finished never to read again. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Book Review: If you were me and Lived in China by Carol P. Roman

25790900I've been entering a lot of giveaways lately for books. Especially picture books for my son. I was delighted when I won a giveaway for this book. I'm always looking for opportunities to expose my son to other cultures and thought this book was a great way to do that. China holds a special place for my family. A number of years ago my mother went to China with a family friend who was adopting a baby girl. This was one of the last major trips my mother took before she was diagnosed with MS. We still have money and souvenirs from her trip there.

The book is non-fiction and gives details of life in China. From the different foods they eat to different celebrations. The book goes into facts about geography and how many people live there. The book even tells what are some popular names for boys and girls born there.

I thought the book was great for introducing China to children who are not familiar with the country. My son's only previous knowledge of China was practically non-existent. He liked learning some of the words in Chinese and seemed to do well with sitting through the book. I was concerned when I first began to read it as it is very fact heavy. So this is not something I would read with the toddler set. But older children (5-8 years old) should have no problems with it.

I would say this was a 3 1/2 out of 5 stars for us.

* I won an autographed copy of this book. My review reflects my honest opinion and I was not required to review this book.
** This book was read with my 8 year old severely learning disabled son and reflects his opinion and how well he did with the book.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Book Review: I wish I was a Brownie by Marsha Casper Cook

I am so far behind on posting this review. I received this book a few weeks ago in exchange for review and both my husband and I have read this book to my son.

I Wish I was a Brownie tells the tale of Chippy. The poor cookie feels out of sorts and is embarrassed because he wishes he were a brownie. With the help of his teacher Mrs. Chipster he soon learns to love who he is and that he doesn't really want to be a brownie. He just wants to be himself.

This was a cute book that had a great lesson to teach children. With a son who is "different" from most "normal" children I thought this book was perfect for my son. He doesn't always notice that he is "different" from other children but when he does it is devastating for him. He wants to be like all the other kids but he is not and probably never will be. I love that this book teaches children to love themselves for who they are. My only problem with the book was that the "chip" related names made it confusing and a bit hard to read aloud to my son.

My son really liked the book and asked his father to read it to him a day or two after I had first read it to him.

4 out of 5 stars

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion
**This book was read with my 8 year old severely learning disabled son and the review reflects his opinion as well.

Book Review: My Stinky New School by Rebecca Elliot

24920087My Stinky New School tells the story of Toby and his new school. His brother and sister love their schools that smell of paint and rainbows. Toby's school smells of ogres. During the day he looks for new friends. But all he finds are a pirate, alien, and other fantastical creatures. He tells his mother that he has found no friends but soon realizes that all those fantastical creatures are his friends.

This was a really cute book with wonderful illustrations. I love that this book teaches kids that sometimes we get the things that we want even if we don't realize it. I love that it was just silly enough to keep my sons attention while still teaching a lesson.

My son loved this book and even giggled during it. I've read it 3 times to him now and I think I'll have to buy my own physical copy of it. 

Excellent book that gets 5 out of 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion
**This book was read with my 8 year old severely learning disabled son and the review reflects his opinion as well.

Thursday's Tale: King and King by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland

Being that it is banned book week I thought it would be appropriate to read a modern fairytale book that has been challenged/banned from schools. In King & King a young prince still has not married. Princesses from far and wide come to the castle. But the prince is not interested in any of them. Though the prince's page falls in love with the princess from Greenland. Soon all that is left is one Princess. Princess Madeleine enters with her brother Prince Lee. It is love at first sight. The prince has fallen in love with Prince Lee. They both exclaim "What a wonderful prince!". Soon they are married and all the rejected princess attend their wedding. At the end the two share a kiss.

Normally, I would read this book with my son. But as I read it this morning while he was still in school but I plan on reading it to him later. Why? Because we are an LGBT friendly family. This book has been challenged many times all because two princes fall in love and share a kiss. There is no propaganda to this book. It is a straight forward fairytale that just happens to feature two gay characters. I love that there are books out there that now for children that feature gay characters. I honestly wish there were more. As a society we need to get over our hatred for others.

Thursday's Tales is hosted by CarolsNotebook. Feel free to join in and read a tale of your own!