Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Snow Globe by Judith Kinghorn

The Snow Globe by Judith Kinghorn is set in England in 1926-27.  Daisy is the main character - she is 19 and the youngest of three sisters.  One is married, and one is living in London and owns a dress shop there. Her mother and father have been married almost 25 years.  Her father inherited his father's business and stays in London most of the time while her mother stays at Eden Hall, the family home in the country.  Everybody thinks they have the perfect marriage - or at least Daisy does.  Until she overhears the servants talking about 'that other woman' and mentioning a boy and starts  putting together the clues.  She realizes that her father has been having an affair with a woman in London - and that her mother knows about it!  Her hero worship of her father is deflated with a big fat POP!

It is the Christmas season and her family usually has a houseful of guests for Christmas - friends, family - but this year Daisy's mother Mabel has decided to surprise her husband - and has invited his mistress, Margot and her son Valentine and seems interested in Daisy.  Surprise it is and let's say a little awkward.  Rounding out the guests is Reggie, a friend who lives close by and seems to be enamored with Mabel - not that she seems to mind any - and Ben - an employee of her father's who spent part of the summer there and is quite taken with Daisy.  Then there is Stephen Jessop - he is the son of the cook and gardener and has been Daisy's lifelong companion.  The best way to sum up the three young men in Daisy's life is by taking a quote off the back of the book - "As Daisy wrestles with the truth, she blossoms in her own right, receiving a marriage proposal from one man, a declaration of love from another, and her first kiss from a third."

So the story revolves around Daisy, and her search for true love - while also trying to understand her parents relationship and love.  Is there really much difference between young love and old love?  Or can misunderstandings cause trouble  at both ends?

This was my first book by Judith Kinghorn, but I did enjoy reading it.  It is not a big action packed page turner, but the story slowly unfolds and there were times I just wanted to wring everyone's necks and tell them to communicate with each other!  If you are looking for a good old-fashioned romance, then this one is for you!

~I received a complimentary copy of The Snow Globe from Penguin in exchange for my unbiased review.~

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Uncaged by John Sandford and Michele Cook

Uncaged was a pretty fast paced book by John Sandford and Michele Cook. It is the first book in The Singular Menace series, with the second book expected to be published in July of this year (Outrage). 

Shay and Odin Remby are orphans who were living with foster parents in Washington (?).  Odin is a terrific hacker, but he doesn't have a lot of common sense.  He has a soft spot for animals and has become friends with a group of animal rights activists.  There is a girl in the group that he believes is his girlfriend, but they all might be using him a bit for his mad skills. 

They target  a research lab, Singular, which turns out to be more than they can handle.  Odin ends up with a dog that appears to have had some radical surgery, and some encrypted flash drives.  He contacts Shay only to let her know that he has to go into hiding because of this raid-gone-wrong.  

Before she can think about it, Shay takes off to make sure her brother is okay.  She ends up in California living with a bunch of misfit kids in a hotel that is owned by mysterious artist named Twist.  These kids are themselves a cast of characters - not really bad kids, but all for one reason or another, needing a place to call home.  Shay slowly starts to trust them and needs their help more than ever when she ends up with the stolen dog and sees Odin get kidnapped.  They band together to rescue Odin and try to figure out what Singular is really all about.  

I am looking forward to the July release of the second book, Outrage.

Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman is Volume 1 of the DragonLance Chronicles. This is an old series with this book first being published back in 1984.  I read a lot of the series back in the late 80's, but just felt like revisiting some of the first fantasy books that I ever read.

This book starts out with seven unlikely friends reuniting after some years apart.  They are Tanis, (half-elf, half-human), Flint Fireforge (dwarf), Tasslehoff Burrfoot (Kender), Sturm Brightblade (Knight), Caramon and Raistlin Majere (Twins - Raistlin is a mage). Kitiara, Caramon and Raistlin's half-sister was also supposed to join them, but has only sent a strange note explaining her absence.  They are joined on their first night back together by Goldmoon and Riverwind (plainsmen).

The world they live in is called Krynn and there are rumors of war and unrest all over.  They soon discover that they are not even safe in what they feel is their "hometown" and are soon battling just to make it out of the pub in which they have met.  

They set out together on a journey, not really knowing which way will lead them to safety.  They end up in the Dark Woods where a magical Centaur tells them they are to go to the city of Xak Tsaroth to retrieve the Disks of Mishakal. These Disks will help to restore peace and bring back the true gods who abandoned Krynn years ago.  

So as you can see, this is a true fantasy world, filled with myths and mythical creatures - from draconians and centaurs to dwarves and elves.  It was fun to revisit it and learn again about this circle of friends and all of their strengths and weaknesses. It reminded me of a dog and a cat that I had in the 80's and 90's that were named after characters in this series - Tika was our dog - she is a barmaid who joins the travelers, and Fizban was our cat, and he is a wizard.   I have decided to keep reading the series and am about half way through book 2 - The Dragons of Winter. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Arcady's Goal by Eugene Yelchin

Arcady's Goal by Eugene Yelchin takes place on the eve of WWII in Soviet Russia.  Arcady, now twelve, has been raised in orphanages.  His parents were taken away when he was a baby as they were accused of being "enemies of the state". Orphanages are the only home he has ever known. The other thing he knows well, though, is soccer.  Where he has picked up his mad soccer skills, we will never know, but he dreams of being the next striker for the Red Army soccer team. 

For now though, he plays one on one soccer with the other boys in the orphanage.  He is so good, that they often parade him out when the inspectors come around - to entertain the inspectors and keep them from actually seeing how poorly the boys are treated.  It is during one of these inspections that Ivan Ivanych sees Arcady play.  Ivan is not really an inspector, but he is interested in adopting - and feels Arcady is the one.  Arcady doesn't know anyone who was adopted and thinks Ivan is a soccer recruiter and starts calling him coach.  

Both of these characters have been wounded and they strive to please each other - Arcady by always trying to impress "Coach" with his soccer skills, and Ivan, by actually creating a soccer team - even though he knows nothing about soccer.  Things don't go as planned, though, and Arcady's dream of trying out for the Red Army soccer team seems further away than ever.  Somehow these two start to become a family, and maybe that was Arcady's goal all along.  

There is a lot of other nuances going on with this story as well - the charged atmosphere and the anticipation of war. The prejudice towards the families of the enemy of the people as well as the unjust way that people were accused of being enemies. For grades 4 - 7. 

Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods

Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods is the first book in The Sweet Magnolia series.  I saw Swan Point advertised sometime last year, and as it is the latest in The Sweet Magnolia series, I wanted to go back and start at the beginning.  (Swan Point is book 11, so I have a ways to go!)

The Sweet Magnolias are comprised of Maddie, Dana Sue and Helen, best friends since high school.  Stealing Home is Maddie's story and it starts out with Maddie finding out about her doctor-husband's affair with his nurse.  Well, she is pregnant (and 16 years younger) and he wants a divorce. I have a feeling that this happens more than we would like to admit in the medical field.

After wallowing in some much deserved self-pity, her friends set out to give her a new purpose by deciding to open a new spa/health club in town. They decide that Maddie needs to be the one to run it - to put her unused business degree to good use.  Dana Sue already runs a very successful restaurant and Helen is a very successful lawyer. 

As with all of Ms. Woods' books, there has to be some romance - and this comes in the shape of a much younger, easy-on-the-eyes ex-ballplayer (who just happens to be Maddie's son's baseball coach), Cal Maddox.  Cal remembers the first time he saw Maddie, and never dreamed that her 20-year marriage would soon be over.  Wanting to give her time to heal, but also needing to be there to lend a hand, he slowly develops a friendship with Maddie - both denying the attraction that is simmering under the surface. 

I have read The Ocean Breeze Trilogy by Sherryl Woods and knew that I would enjoy this one.  I was looking for a light-hearted romance that would be an easy read, and this one fit the bill.  I look forward to continuing on in this series.  The second book, A Slice of Heaven, is Dana Sue's story. 

The Vault and PopSugar's Reading Challenge

After working as a shelver for a year at our public library, I was able to move up to a position in our Youth Services department in October.  The Vault is our teen center and they have picked up a challenge from PopSugar.  I have decided to do this challenge as well, but felt it should have it's own page since it is my library.  :)

You can find out more about this challenge by either visiting The Vault or PopSugar's challenge page.

The challenge is to read a book that will fit into each of the categories below:

You can fulfill the list however you would like, with whatever type of books you would like.  You could even make your book fit more than one category.  I am going to try it the hard way though and try to do a separate book for each category.  

I will be keeping track of my books with a separate google spreadsheet - but will also update my progress here.

For printable lists - please visit The Vault as they have a few different ways to access the list.

To view other challenges that I have joined, please see the tabs at the top of the page.

1. A book by a female author - Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods (January)
2. A book you can finish in a day - Arcady's Goal by Eugene Yelchin (January)
3. A book with nonhuman characters - Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (January)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Readathon Opening Meme and Future Update Page

Readathon started at 7:00am CST time this morning, but I had a little puppy who didn't want to come inside - so I got started around 7:30.  My husband picked my book - ZomB by Darren Shan - should've known that would  be the one that he would pick.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? - I am reading from Illinois

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? - This is a tough one - maybe Rooms by Lauren Oliver

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? - Pretzels and Chip Dip - and Dinner out with my husband tonight!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! - Mom of 3 (22, 20, 9) and one puppy; I work at 2 different libraries and am back in college. 

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I have done a couple of other readathons; but have missed the last couple - I won't be reading review books today - I get to pick them all on my own!  

I am going to use this page to do my updates -

Started 7:30 - Reading ZomB - Drinking coffee
9:00am - page 74 of ZomB - two cups of coffee - been outside in the rain with the puppy twice.  (She was just spayed on Thursday and trying to keep her calm is RIDICULOUSLY HARD!)

10:00am - Finished Zom-B (174 pages) - another cup of coffee and a donut.  My son picked the next book - Angel Killer by Andrew Mayne.

11:20am - Been on a pseudo break - was supposed to be at a soccer game right now, but didn't go due to rain and cold.  Sister has stopped by and so that has slowed the reading down - also spent some more time outside with the puppy. . . haven't been able to get her to cooperate with me this morning.  Only 20 pages into the 2nd book. . .

1:30pm - Just finished lunch - only  70 pages into my book but getting ready to go to a Science Alliance thing at our library.  Should be back after 3.  Happy reading!

Hour Two - Coffee or Tea?

It is morning where I am reading - and coffee is my choice in the morning!  I am all out though so must go make some more!  Go Team Trollope!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dewey's Readathon is almost here!

Hello blogging friends!  I have not been blogging for awhile for a very good reason.  I finally went back to school!  I took two classes over the summer at our local community college and this fall started an online course at UIS (University of Illinois/Springfield).  I am finally going to finish my bachelor's degree (in Liberal Studies) and at the same time am picking up some credits in Library Science at our community college.  I am pretty sure I am going to get an Associate's in Library Science, but don't know what part of Library Science I am going to 'specialize' in. 

I have been reading a lot - I actually have a stack of books that have been sitting here waiting to be reviewed since last July - but I just have not had the time.  I am still working as a library aide at a primary school - but am no longer shelving at our public library - I am now working in the Youth Services department.  I have only worked a couple of shifts, and already know that I am going to like it --- a lot!

But that brings me around to Dewey's Readathon tomorrow (Saturday, Oct 18)!   I am hoping to read a lot tomorrow.  I have to break for a soccer game around 11 - 1  and then will be back at it until my husband takes me to dinner for Sweetest Day.  I am  hoping to read some more after returning home from dinner.  

This is the first time that I have participated in the readathon that I have not been actively blogging and reading review books.  I have a big stack of books to dip in to tomorrow.  Many of them are YA books for future reference in my new position. 

If I could read the majority of one of these series tomorrow I would be happy - 

  • The Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano (Wither, Fever, Sever), 
  • Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant by Veronica Roth; 
  • The Castor Chronicles (Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos, Beautiful Redemption) by Kami Garcia.  
I also have numerous stand alones or the beginnings of series that I could choose from:

  • What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  • Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Hayes
  • Angel Killer by Andrew Mayne
  • The Time of the Fireflies by Kimberley Griffiths Little
  • The Shadow Lantern by Teresa Flavin
  • Conversion by Katherine Howe
  • Uncaged by John Sanford and Michele Cook
  • The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
  • Panic by Lauren Oliver
  • Zom-B by Darren Shan
  • The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
  • Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
  • Rooms by Lauren Oliver
I also have two books that I am reading that I need to finish:
  • Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez
  • Birthdays for the Dead by Stuart MacBride
So what would you start with?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book Blast and Giveaway: Billy and the Monster Who Loved to Fart by David Chuka

Billy and the Monster Who Loved to Fart by David Chuka

Billy and the Monster Who Loved to Fart

By David Chuka
Publication Date: January 31, 2013
Publisher: Pen-n-a-Pad Publishing
Recommended Ages: 3-8 yo

About the book:  In the first book in this epic tale, we discover that Billy loves Monster and Monster loves Billy. They play together. They have a bath together.They even go to school together. There's just one thing that threatens to spoil their friendship.

Monster loves to Fart!...and everyone blames Billy for it!

Will Monster make Billy the uncoolest kid at school? Will Monster cause an irreparable hole in the Ozone layer? Will Monster and Billy both learn how to behave properly in a social environment?

Get your copy today and enjoy this funny book for kids (and also adults), that's not just big on laughs but also teaches a valuable lesson for social situations.

* Get Your Copy for ~ FREE ~ *

* You can download an electronic copy of "Billy and the Monster Who Loved to Fart"for FREE on the following platforms! *

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords | Kobo | Scribd

The Buzz About the Book

"One of the aspects that makes the little children's books by David Chuka so endearing is that he enters territory and vocabulary that in other circumstances would be either verboten or at least judged inappropriate. But instead of writing a story of questionable taste, Chuka creates some hilarious situations and then makes a point of allowing learning from them...Chuka's drawings match the joy of his story and once again he has written a brave little book that will greatly appeal to kids - and to their parents! Very high quality work from David Chuka." ~ 5 Star Review, Grady Harp, Top 100 Reviewer, Amazon

"Yes dear readers kids now have a new friend called the Fart Monster. A buddy that lets them off the hook big time. In this imaginative story by David Chuka your child's imagination will leap to new bounds in giving kids cover for what comes so naturally. The great thing about this is you don't have to hold your nose to enjoy a fun story that is sure to have you and child laughing out loud." ~ 5 Star Review, StevieV, Amazon

"I laughed all the way through this story. I know that boys think farting is funny and I'm sure my grands will love this picture book. Of course us adults have to use some animation, so we can join in the fun. The pictures rock with this simple story, and there are some problem solving discussed and shared with another character. However, the overall problem is, 'Billy is getting blamed for something you didn't do'. In the end the problem is solved and the relationship is forever. Job well done. I'm still laughing. " ~ 5 Star Review, Amazon Customer, Amazon

"This is a not too serious book for kids who love to LAUGH OUT LOUD. I bought it for my nephew and he laughed and laughed and I had to ask him twice to get my IPAD back. But anyway, The book is funny with lots of illustrations that kids love. The illustrations are really good and captivating for a young audience. Not only that the book also gives a moral story at the end of the book. It teaches kids discipline and manners, which is something very valuable in today's society. Overall good book." ~ 5 Star Review, Jomy K., Amazon

"THIS BOOK IS HILARIOUS! My 8 year old son stated. He highly recommends it, and also poses the age old question: "Why does Monster keep farting?" " ~ 5 Star Review, Bkustom, Amazon

David ChukaAbout the author: David Chuka lives in London with his lovely wife and two adorable children. His family are usually the first people to hear his funny and quirky tales. He was inspired to write his first book, 'If You See a Doctor' after he struggled to find a book for his daughter who was a beginner reader.

He's gone on to write more books including the popular 'Billy and Monster' series, a funny set of books about a little boy and his Monster who get into all sorts of funny situations and learn about moderation, friendship, self control, bravery etc. Young children can relate to Billy and you'll love sharing his adventures with your children, grandchildren and loved ones.

As a father himself, he has parents at heart when he writes. He recognizes that bedtime has to be one of the best parts of the day for parents and grandparents as it gives them the opportunity to bond with their little ones. He believes you'll enjoy sharing his stories with your loved ones at bedtime.

In David Chuka's books, you can stay rest assured that quality and captivating images will always complement the story to ensure your loved ones are spell-bound as you read to them. Beginner readers will also enjoy discovering new words as they read his books.

He would like to keep you updated on what he's working on and any giveaways he currenty has on offer. Please subscribe to his newsletter at www.davidchuka.com and you'll get a FREE Coloring and Activity book for your loved ones.

Make sure to watch the video trailers for his most popular books on this Amazon Page and you'll get a little taste of why his books have garnered more than 300 glowing reviews.

He has so many stories to tell and can't wait to share them with you and your loved ones.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Google+ | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page

* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: August 9, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, David Chuka and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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