Monday, July 25, 2016

Book Blitz & Giveaways: The Chronicles of Hawthorne 1&2 by Rue

Book Tour Spotlight & Giveaway: The Gift by Rebecca J. Hubbard



Paperback: 62 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 23, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1515181839
ISBN-13: 978-1515181835

ABOUT THE BOOK

All eleven-year-old Pip wanted was a best friend. When Pip gets a horse for her birthday, she’s delighted. She thinks that the horse she names Buck will be her best friend from the moment that they meet. But she finds out that friendship does not come that easily.

Pip’s father gently guides her so that Pip can discover for herself how to make Buck a true friend. Pip's new friend, Buck, has a story of his own. After leaving his own herd, to move to Pip's house, he is looking for a relationship that will help him feel safe. He, too, learns that making a friend takes patience and understanding.

Told from the perspectives of both Pip and Buck, The Gift is a heartwarming and valuable lesson about friendship, trust and love, that will appeal to a wide variety of readers.






 ABOUT REBECCA HUBBARD


Rebecca J. Hubbard is a master's level Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over twenty years of experience working with children and their families. She began writing short stories as a child for her own amusement and enjoyment. Rebecca discovered that she could facilitate the healing of her young clients by writing stories for them.

Currently, Rebecca works at Spirit Reins as a clinician and as the clinical supervisor where she practices Natural Lifemanship, ™ a Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy™ model.

Rebecca is a native Texan, who enjoys spending time with friends and family, including her two dogs, Idgie and Sully, and her two horses, Cash and Cloud. She also loves to read, paint and garden. Rebecca encourages readers to connect with her via her website and Amazon Author Page.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Sunday Post #29 - Post Vacation Fatigue


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things you received, share news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead, and more.

Day-cation week was a success and now I'm worn out! We only had 3 days planned out beforehand but ended up staying busy every single day which meant very little reading time for me but I still ended up finishing the two books that I've been reading for the past couple of weeks. 
Our one rest day at home was spent building one of those swing set / slide combos (our little one's very early Christmas present.) We really enjoyed swimming at the springs we went to. My husband and I have always enjoyed visiting state parks to hike, camp, swim, or picnic at and we were glad to get back into that after two years. We visited family, went to the zoo, and had a couple of lovely picnic park days. 
To top it all off, we started playing Pokemon Go, which made all that driving around a little more fun for me while sitting in the passenger seat. I've never watched or played Pokemon before this week but I was curious about all the hype and I'm actually enjoying it. After a couple of trips to local parks, I can see that it is getting a lot of people out and about. Our parks are usually deserted but they were really hopping this week.
Now I have a ton of catching up to do. I have only read 4 books so far this month which is an all time low for the year. Hopefully I can find the time fit in a couple more! My TBR pile is getting kind of crazy!


This Past Week On The Blog

Reviews
Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library by Julie Gassman (picture book)
On Your Mark: The Adventure Begins by C.J. Milbrant
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

Other
Stacking the Shelves #67
Book Blitz & Giveaway

Coming Soon

Book Reviews
Picture Book Review: Lionheart by Richard Collingridge
The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox
Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

Other
Book Tour & Giveaway
Book Blitz

Books I Finished This Week

What I'm Currently Reading

(ebook)
A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee
Middle-grade historical fantasy set in London with lots of witches! 

(physical book)
Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
I enjoyed the first book but really have no clue where this is going yet since I just started it. 

I need to catch up with visiting blogs this week so leave a link in the comments for me! I hope you all have a lovely week! :)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Stacking the Shelves #67

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by TYNGA'S REVIEWS that features the books we bought, borrowed, were gifted, and were given for review.
----------------
I only have a couple this week!

PURCHASED


Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee - It's been too long since I read To Kill A Mockingbird so I'll need to do a re-read before getting to this. (Hardcover)

The Beach by Alex Garland - I want to say that this one is on the '1001 Books to Read Before You Die' list. Or maybe it was some other list. It was also adapted into a movie with Leonardo Dicaprio back in the 90's (?). (Hardcover)

BORROWED

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine - The sequel to Ink and Bone, this is an alternate history where the library of Alexandria survives and controls everything. 

Did you get anything good this week? 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Book Review: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

Title: Stars Above
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4.5
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Retelling
Pages: 369
Source: Overdrive for Libraries

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Synopsis:
The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories --and secrets-- that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?
--
The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid," set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles. 
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toil it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch...
The Queen's Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we're introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles. 
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit. 
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna. 
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess.
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder's first meeting from Kai's perspective. 
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century...

My Thoughts:
If you haven't read any of the Lunar Chronicles, STOP READING THIS! Because these short stories are based off of the first 4 books, you might get spoiled if you read any further. Go read the books. They are all fairytale retellings told in a futuristic world. They are fast-paced, fun, and have lots of cute couples to "ship". 

Stars Above is a collection of short stories, mostly prequels, that give us a deeper look into the lives of the characters we have grown to love throughout the Lunar Chronicles and tell more of the characters beginnings. How Cinder came to be on Earth, how Winter ends up being 'crazy', how Wolf becomes Alpha... All the little questions we might have had while reading the books that were only touched on are now expanded and explained. 

I'm not going to talk about every single story. Some are worth noting, others were just okay. I think my least favorite was Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky. 

I really liked The Queen's Army, getting a glimpse of what it was like for Wolf to become Alpha of his pack.

The Little Android was the 'black sheep' of this collection. It definitely fits the bill but while all the other's were extensions of The Lunar Chronicles and the characters we know and love, The Little Android seemed to be it's own little story within the same world. I only vaguely connected The Little Mermaid to it but it was still a fun read.

The last story, Something Old, Something New, was something I didn't know I needed when I finished Winter. I thought Winter had a pretty satisfactory ending since it gave a pretty good idea what the future held for everyone. This was a nice little addition to that though. We get to revisit all our favorite characters and see what else is in store for their futures. 

Overall, while I felt like it wasn't necessary to read these shorts, it was nice to get the full story on things that were only mentioned in the series books. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Book Review: On Your Mark: The Adventure Begins by C.J. Milbrandt

I won a free physical copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways via the author and was encouraged but not required to give a review. This in no way affects my opinion of the book. 

Title: On Your Mark: The Adventure Begins
Author: C.J. Milbrandt
Series: Byways #1
Publisher: Byways (self-published)
Publication Date: November 25, 2015
Genre: Juvenile, fantasy
Pages: 50
Source: Goodreads Giveaways


Synopsis: 
Ewan, Zane, and Ganix -- three half-brothers take siblings rivalry to new lengths as they race each other across their homeland.

Magic isn't the only legacy Mr. Ian Johns wants for his bickering sons. The Postmaster hoped the boys would bond during a family trip, but they twist his vacation plans into a race. Ewan, Zane, and Ganix soon find themselves far from home, facing choices that are far from easy. Three routes stretch from coast to coast. The rules: each brother -and his two companions- must check in at post offices along their route. At these waypoints, they stamp in with their personal seal and report their progress by postcard.  

Book #1 in the Byways series introduces the Johns family and sees the brothers to the starting line. Ewan is dependable but shy. Zane has a rebel's reputation and a lone friend. Ganix has a gift for getting into mischief and enough luck to get back out of it. All three boys have inherited their father's magic  and a re Changers with an animal form. But they'll need more than a magical quirk to reach the finish line. A coming-of-age story times three with an educational twist. The storyline includes a state-based geography quest.

My Thoughts:
Mr. Ian Johns, Postmaster and shapeshifter, wants his three sons to get along so he suggests a long excursion to bring them together. The boys, who are all half-siblings meaning they have different mothers, have other ideas. They don't want to work together so instead they devise a race from the East Coast to the West Coast. 

This is the start to what I believe will be a fun, magical, and adventurous series of really short books. The mix of historical fiction with bits of fantasy and a cross-country adventure make this really appealing. 

Because this series starter is so short - less than 50 pages - we don't really get a good feel for the characters but the idea that they can shapeshift into their own separate animal form really sucks me into wanting to continue this series. I'm eager to see what adventures await them. 

I think one of the best things about this series is that each book takes place in a different state - this one in Delaware - and at the end of the book there is a 'game' that urges you to find things within the story that coincide with the state that the book is set in. There are also plenty of facts about the state. So not only is this a fun little story, but it can also be used as a learning tool. I can see this being the perfect curriculum for homeschoolers to learn the states and information about them in an exciting and unique way. 

I must also add that the cover art and illustrations for all of C.J. Milbrandt's books are illustrated by the very talented Hannah Christenson. Each and every cover is absolutely gorgeous. Even if I didn't like this book I would want this series for the covers. Luckily both cover and story are equally wonderful but I am a little extra happy that my copy of this book came with three postcard sized prints of the cover art! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Children's Picture Book Review: Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library by Julie Gassman

Title: Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library
Author: Julie Gassman
Illustrated by: Andy Elkerton
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
Pages: 32
Source: Netgalley

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Synopsis:
Have you ever thought about bringing your dragon to the library? Don't do it! You might have the best intentions, but dragons will cause nothing but trouble. Using rhyming text and a diverse cast of characters, this charming picture book will provide some important and some not so important library etiquette in a very entertaining way. 

My Thoughts: 
I received a free temporary ecopy of this picture book from Netgalley and Capstone Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. 

Dragons do not belong at the library. They take up too much space, they are clumsy and have a habit of setting things on fire. Nope, there is absolutely no good reason to bring your dragon to the library. Please leave them at home. 

The text in this is pretty funny. I think children will have a lot of fun reading about these bad-mannered and destructive dragons and possibly learn a little something about library etiquette in the process. I may have to buy myself a copy to teach my own little 'bookdragon' a thing or two about what is and what isn't acceptable in a library! 

The illustrations are bright, colorful, and a lot of fun. I was so happy to see more than one dragon featured.