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

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)

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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Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Blast and Giveaway: The Maisy Files: Maisy and the Missing Mice by Elizabeth Woodrum

Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for the first book in The Maisy Files mystery chapter book series by Elizabeth Woodrum, "Maisy and the Missing Mice". Book 2 in the series, "Maisy and the Money Marauder" is coming August, 2014. If you haven't checked out Book 1, you can grab a copy for only 99 cents from Amazon!


Maisy and the Missing Mice

 Maisy and the Missing Mice (The Maisy Files)

by Elizabeth Woodrum
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Recommended Age: 6-10

About the book: Maisy Sawyer is not your average fourth grade student. She is a detective with a special skill for solving mysteries. She loves black and white mystery movies, cherry lollipops, and her dog, Reesie. When a thief known as The Black Boot steals the school's mascots and her lollipops, Maisy sets out to solve the case. Can she help return the mice to their home in the science lab? Will she ever see her beloved lollipops again? Find out in the first book in The Maisy Files series.



Book Trailer




PURCHASE FOR 99 CENTS

amazon buy button


The Buzz About the Book

"Maisy and the Missing Mice is a fun chapter book featuring a smart and sassy tween girl as the title character; a solid and interesting plot featuring age-appropriate intrigue and suspense; and some terrific writing that carries the reader on a journey as a detective uncovering clues and solving the mystery of who stole the missing mice. I highly recommend this book as a read aloud book for children between the ages of 6 and 10 or for independent readers between the ages of 7 and 12 who love to read mysteries." ~ Renee, Mother Daughter Book Reviews

"Woodrum certainly knows her target audience and does a very nice job with the character development of Maisy. This is an incredibly kid-friendly story that makes a great introduction to the genre of mystery for newly independent readers. It's a quick page turning read that encourages kids to think outside of the box." ~ The Children's Book Review

"The delights from this book start with the cover art and continue with a fun story that is well-written." ~ 5 Star Review, R. Johnson, Amazon

"My name is Kat. I am 9 years old. I would rate this a five because I like everything about it, the mystery the most. It was fun to read. My favorite part was the mystery and the end. I love this book so much. I think other kids would love it too because it has mystery and most kids would like mystery books. Most mystery books have a good mystery. I would love to read the whole series." ~ 5 Star Review, Heather A., Amazon

"What an Amazing book. I totally love it. I admire the author dedication for writing an incredible book. While reading this book, it was very clear that author understand kids. I’ve always been an avid reader and this book is one of the best books I have read in 2014. This book grabs my attention from the very start of the book and couldn't put it aside till I finish it." ~ 5 Star Review, KristinT, Amazon

"I knew I would love this book simply because I knew it would remind me of the mystery books I read in my childhood. I really love how much trust the teachers and community as a whole put in Maisy. She is well deserving of their admiration as the way she finds clues and finds the mascot for the school is well thought out. This is a story any child would love to read. I hope Maisy continues to solve mysteries..." ~ 5 Star Review, Josh, Amazon


Elizabeth Woodrum
About the author: Elizabeth Woodrum is an elementary teacher in Ohio. She came to love writing when she was in elementary school, but more recently began writing material for use in her classroom. From that writing, grew the desire to write books for the general population of children and adults alike. The Maisy Files, a children's series, is the first series that she has published.

As a reader, Elizabeth prefers the fantasy genre, but she enjoys realistic fiction as well. Some of her favorite authors include JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Rick Riordan, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, and Nicholas Sparks. Originally from Indiana, Elizabeth currently resides near Dayton, Ohio with her two pets: a cat named Butterscotch and a dog named Reese Cup.


Book Website | Author Blog | Twitter

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* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

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

Contest ends: August 7, 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, Elizabeth Woodrum 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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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Blast and Giveaway: A Different Kind of Safari by Helen C. Hipp



A Different Kind of Safari Helen Hipp

A Different Kind of Safari

by Helen C. Hipp
Publication Date: Mar 19, 2013
Recommended Age: 5-10

About the book: What do you need to feel happy about being different? Based loosely on real life experiences, this heartwarming and powerful book illustrates how self-awareness, and courage help a young boy named Raymond learn the difference between seeing things as they appear to be and seeing things as they are. Feeling "different and lonely" Raymond befriends a hippo while on Safari in Africa. Unlike other grey hippos, this hippo is pink. Ray is soon carried into a world beyond labels and challenging assumptions. You will never guess what happens next!


The Inspiration Behind the Story by Helen Hipp

A Different Kind of Safari inside page

Inspired by real-life adventure, the story behind the story unfolded when I went on an African safari back in 2001. The trip was lead by my father whose dream was to share the safari experience with his family. Little did I know that this trip was going to incite me to write a children’s adventure book but it did.

The storyline made it appearance when my family spotted a pod of hippos and one was pink! My son Ray fourteen at the time immediately named her “Rosie”. Curious and wanting to learn more about this hippo we asked the guide many questions about hippos and hippo behavior. Specifically I wanted to know why the pink hippo stood so far outside of her pod. The familiarity of the guides answer took me by surprise, he explained that “Rosie” was tolerated but not necessarily accepted by the herd because of her differences. As a parent of a child with special needs I immediately felt a strong affiliation with Rosie’s situation as did my son Ray who has experienced his own challenges with acceptance. Inspired, I decided to share the story with the world by weaving them into a children's adventure book that celebrates differences. The book is entitled “A Different Kind of Safari”. Find out what you can learn from Rosie the pink hippo, and how you can share those lessons with the children in your life.


Book Trailer




The Buzz About the Book

"A timeless book, that will speak to everyone. To be enjoyed over and over again! A fun, yet very thought provoking story for all ages. If books had a satisfaction guarantee, this one would be on the top of the list. " ~ 5 Star Review, Adden B. Chrystie, Amazon

"A Different Kind of Safari is truly a different kind of children's book! The beautiful artwork bring a very special story to life and I am excited the book is now available in audio format for an added bonus while driving kids around town! I particularly love the message of the book, which teaches us to celebrate our unique differences through Rosie the Pink Hippo rather than allow them to keep us from exploring our potentials. I highly recommend this book to all parents and special needs educators in particular. Thank you for writing this wonderful story!" ~ 5 Star Review, missladyjane, Barnes and Noble

"I really enjoyed this book. The illustrations were beautiful. I found this book to be very interesting and it was written from real life experiences. A Different Kind of Safari draws you in along with Ray on his journey to find his happiness and the answers to his questions. I recommend this book to children that are of grade school age but yet many younger children may enjoy the illustrations." ~ 5 Star Review, Whittle House, Goodreads

"The book has a great story. The illustrations are amazing!!!!! Get this book! All children from the young to the old will love this book. " ~ 5 Star Review, Mel, Amazon

"A Different Kind of Safari is not only a good book, but a great story! It is not only for caregivers, teachers and parents, but for anyone who has ever felt out of place. A pink hippo named “Rosie” and her friend “Ray” take a journey and explore their similarities and differences on the river of life. Self- acceptance and the acceptance of others is exquisitely conveyed in a fresh, FUN way through this sweet tail. It is a prize for all libraries!" ~ 5 Star Review, Anna Wood, Barnes and Noble

Purchase

Amazon (Hardcover) | Audible (Audiobook) | Barnes and Noble


Helen C. Hipp, Author: About the author: Helen Hipp’s experience raising a special needs child led her to an M.A. in clinical psychology and certification as a life coach. She began her career as a psychotherapist to help people find answers for their life problems. Her work eventually evolved into a coaching practice, WithinU Life Coaching, focusing on individuals with special needs and their families. Helen uses her 13+ years of counseling experience and 20+ years’ experience as a successful advocate for individuals with special needs by helping them reveal their innate ability to solve difficult situations. Her debut book " A Different Kind of Safari" puts into words the essence of Helen's teachings addressing the many questions life asks by offering up lighthearted, ever-changing perspectives that transform personal challenges into opportunities.


For more information, visit the books official website and to see a picture of the real Rosie the real life pink hippo that inspired this story, go to www.adifferentkindofsafari.com

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


* Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

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

Contest ends: August 6, 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, Helen Hipp 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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