Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mud Puddle

Title: Mud Puddle
Publisher: Annick Press
Pub Date: September 1st , 2012
Author: Robert Munsch
Received From: NetGalley 

A brand-new look for a classic story.
First published in 1979, this was the first of Robert Munsch’s oral stories to be turned into a book. Since then, it has made countless children (and adults) all around the world laugh out loud.

When Jule Ann goes outside, a mud puddle jumps on her and gets her dirty all over. No sooner does her mother scrub her clean than she ventures out again, only to be pounced upon by the pesky mud puddle. The cycle continues until finally Jule Ann gets the better of the mud puddle with cheerful ingenuity and two bars of smelly yellow soap.

Lively, clever artwork by award-winning illustrator Dusan Petricic gives this bestselling picture book a fresh and energetic look that will charm a new generation of young readers

C's Review I think that was a very funny story, I know thought it wasn't true because muddle puddles do not go in houses, trees or over houses and the  muddle puddles always knew when to jump right out at her I wish I had a copy to read to my sister. it really is cute and fun and I loved the soap scene.

Mom's Review This was one of my favorite books when I was little, I strongly remember it as being gross because who wants to get muddy. This version adds some great current graphics and a fun twist on the things that small kids can get themselves into! It's a must have for any book collection for the children in your life. 


Monday, July 30, 2012

Let's Hear it for Almigal

Title: Let's Hear it for Almigal
Publisher: Handfinger Press
Pub Date: April 16th , 2012
Author: Wendy Kepfur
Received From: NetGalley

Let's Hear it for Almigal

This fun and original picture book introduces Almigal, a spunky little girl with hearing loss who is now determined to hear every single sound in the universe thanks to her new cotton candy pink cochlear implants. These sounds include a baby's funny giggle, the robin's chirps outside the window, the soft song played during ballet class, and especially her best friend Chloe's teeny-tiny voice. But most of all, Almigal wants to hear her parents whisper to her when they tuck her into bed every night. Almigal's spirit will have both children and parents alike rooting for her, while the story delivers a positive message about accepting and celebrating differences.

C's Review I thought it was a good story. I like how she started wearing hear aids and ended up with the cochlear implant (mom helped me with that word). The colors in the book were really bright and I loved the pink of the implant. I was worried she would be in huge trouble when they got wet and that she'd have to wear hearing aids again. It was pretty crazy her mom dried them with the blow dryer. 

Mom's Review- This was a great story, with some good lessons about what it is like to battle hearing loss. The main character Almigal is strong and brave, but also a fun loving kid. I love that she describes all the things she wants to hear and once she can she focuses on them again! It really touched my heart and you can't ever go wrong with a story that teaches your kids about acceptance and differences!


Friday, July 27, 2012

The Treasure of the Celtic Triangle

Title: The Treasure of the Celtic Triangle
Publisher:Barbour Publishing
Pub Date: August 1st , 2012
Author: Michael Phillips
Received From: NetGalley

The Treasure of the Celtic Triangle

A Quest for the Truth Leads Home
Having accepted his uncle’s dying request to restore the missing heir to the Westbrooke estate, young Scotsman Percy Drummond begins an unforgettable journey. But as his search leads him to Ireland, circumstances in Wales threaten the future. . .
Percy’s engagement to beautiful Florilyn Westbrooke hangs in the balance when Florilyn fears they are moving forward too quickly. Childhood friend Gwyneth Barrie disappears unexpectedly, and Percy begins to feel his heart pulled toward the mystifying lass. Meanwhile cousin Courtenay Westbrook devises a scheme destined to rip the family and estate apart once he inherits his late father’s title.
As Percy’s quest continues down many circuitous paths, the key to the mystery seems forever to elude him. . .unless he can discover the greatest treasure that was within his sight all along. Will he find the true reward before it fades into the misty Celtic past?

 I love a good story that is set before my time, it is always a learning experience and fun to hear about things I haven't gotten to experience. By that note the Treasure of the Celtic circle also brought to the table, some lovely women, a few bad boys, and some mystery. Our main set of characters were young adults Florilyn and Percy who determined they were not suited to marry once engaged. 
After the loss of Florilyn's Father Percy went on a mission for him and while gone Florilyn got herself mixed up in some unfortunate company! Percy found the love of his life and solved a great mystery that proved to keep home as it should be! I loved watching our characters like Percy and Gwyneth, Florilyn, Courtenay and Steven as they each navigated their lives, made some mistakes and in the end found the true them and some true love!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lakeside Family

Title: Lakeside Family
Publisher: Harlequin
Pub Date: July 31st 2012
Author: Lisa Jordan
Received From: NetGalley

Lakeside Family

In the space of a minute, Nick Brennan learns he has a nine-year-old daughter—and that she desperately needs his help. All this time, his high school sweetheart, single mother Josie Peretti, thought he knew about their child. And that he just didn't care. About the ill little girl—or Josie, the woman he's never forgotten. But Nick made a long-ago promise never to forsake his family the way his father did. A promise he vows to make good on now…if only Josie will bless him with a second chance

Families are a group of people filled with love, and watching this a bit unconventional family come together was a real joy. We are first introduced to Josie a mother first and foremost and a single woman trying to run a business and keep herself afloat. Josie's daughter Hannah is sick and needs a bone marrow transplant, when she finds that neither she nor any of her family is a match she must seek out Nick, Hannah's father. Going to find Nick is a true selfless act on Josie's part as to her knowledge Nick is aware of the daughter they share and has never had any interest in knowing or being a part of her life. But the surprises just keep coming when Nick is told of his daughter he had no idea. The messenger Josie expected to share the news took it to her grave! 

Together and separately these three people must form something. Relationships need to be build and repaired and ultimately they need to know if nick can save Hannah's life. While not every moment of a situation like this is built on fun, I see many things in this story that bring me to the life of this small family. Watching them grow, change, accept and move forward with a peace that i wish I would find if ever in this situation!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Jekel Loves Hyde

Title: Jekel Loves Hyde
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Pub Date: May 3rd, 2010
Author: Beth Fantaskey
Received From: Library

Jekel Loves Hyde

Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents rules; especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father's office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she's tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be the key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To improve her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen's sanity. Maybe his life. But Jill's accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything, even Tristen's love just for the thrill of being . . . bad

The title of this book alone is what intrigued me to pick it up! I came across it at the Library and just had to check it out. I am really glad I did. With teenager characters who are deep and tough, mixed in with the typical mean girls and jocks what's not to love! As I followed the trials of Jill Jekel and Tristan Hyde both in their lives and in the chemistry lab I began to really love both characters. Both characters have tumultuous relationships with their fathers and this plays a big role both in what they try to do together and how they end their story. 
The formula they experiment with proves to give them each something they need and can cause some seriously hilarious moments of writing! I felt so much for the relationships of the parents and children in this book and had a lot of pride in the kids who chose to overcome thing that they could not even control! The one thing I would have liked to see more was a stronger backbone on Jill. She could easily let others walk all over her and as the lead it made it hard sometimes!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Big Splash

Title: Big Splash
Publisher: Capstone young Readers
Pub Date: August 1st , 2012
Author: Tracey Corderoy
Received From: NetGalley 

Big Splash!

Join the Grunt and the Grouch, two of the most disgusting trolls you'll ever meet, as they dive headfirst into trouble. In this three-in-one adventure, the Grunt and the Grouch crash the opening of the local swimming pool, get tangled up on a camping trip, and tackle babysitting Grunt's trouble-making cousin.
  • Humor, disgusting monsters and vibrant illustrations all wrapped up with a heartwarming ending
  • Trolls and monsters are popular sellers
Ages 6-8. From the Grunt and the Grouch series by Tracey Corderoy.

(C's Review)
The first story of the dirty trolls and the pool was gross, I would never swim where there were bugs and cheese. Don't you have to shower before going in the pool? When they babysat it was really funny and I liked the glitter paint she used. I would like to go camping where they did just without any trolls if I could. 

(Mom's Review) 
This book is broken into three short stories, each highlighting a time period in the life of two messy, nasty trolls. The stories are cute and entertaining for readers in the K-3 grade levels, with just enough illustrations to entertain. The illustrations are really great and paint a fun picture that helps determine the story for readers struggling with some words. While a bit gross with lots of talk of snot there is a princess to entertain even the girliest of girls!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Giveaway- Chocolate Socks

I somehow managed to receive two autographed copies of Chocolate Socks. Remember this great  book I reviewed and the interview with the Author? 

Well now is your chance to have your very own autographed copy of the book. Our copy is read at least 3 times a week and both girls ages 7 & 3 just love it, ok I'll fully admit I love it too. The story and illustrations are just too darn cute! 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Swimming to Elba

Title: Swimming to Elba
Publisher: Penguin Group
Pub Date: June 14th , 2012
Author: Silvia Avallone
Received From: NetGalley 

Swimming to Elba

A sensually charged debut novel about two girls growing up fast in a failing industrial town on the coast of Italy.
Anna and Francesca are on the brink of everything: high school, adulthood, and the edge of ambition in their provincial town. It's summer in Piombiono, Italy, and in their skimpy bathing suits, flaunting their newly acquired curves, the girls suddenly have everyone in their thrall. This power opens their imagination to a destiny beyond Piombino; the resort town of Elba is just a ferry ride away and yet they've never dared to go. Maybe the future is waiting for them there, or somewhere beyond.
When their friendship suffers a blow, the girls set off on their own only to discover that their budding sexuality takes them further than they expect, though not as far as their dreams. As their choices take them to a painful crossroads, the girls must reconnect if they have any hope of escaping their small town destinies.

Swimming to Elba starts off with a lot of character points of view and a lot of fun and coming of age moments. Set in Italy in a housing development owned by the government. Poverty is a common theme along with the steel mill where many of the characters work. The real theme is summer and friendship! Anna and Francesca are young girls 13-14 and have bodies they are just learning about. In a world where sex and drugs rule the summer you can imagine how they use them. But when Anna enters a relationship with her brother Alessio's good friend Mattia the friendship between the two girls ends.  
The story shows their lives separate but wanting to be together through some trails and tragedies. The one tragedy I never saw coming is what eventually helps the girls see the light. While I enjoyed some of this story I could not get over this last tragedy, I don't understand what happened to some of the key characters involved after it occurred and was left feeling like I was watching a movie and my TIVO cut off the end. Not a feeling I like for sure! 


Thursday, July 12, 2012

January First

Title: January First
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Pub Date:  August 7th , 2012
Author: Michael Schofield
Received From: NetGalley 

January First: A Child's Descent Into Madness And Her Father's Struggle To Save Her

A brilliant and harrowingly honest memoir, January First is the extraordinary story of a father's fight to save his child from an extremely severe case of mental illness in the face of overwhelming adversity.

At six years old, Michael Schofield's daughter, January, was diagnosed with one of the most severe cases of child-onset schizophrenia that doctors had ever seen. In January's case, she is hallucinating 95 percent of the time that she is awake. Potent psychiatric drugs that would level most adults barely faze her. January, "Jani" to her family, has literally hundreds of imaginary friends. They go by names like 400-the-Cat, 100 Degrees, and 24 Hours and live on an island called "Calalini," which she describes as existing "on the border of my world and your world." Some of these friends are good, and some of them, such as 400, are very bad. They tell her to jump off buildings, attack her brother, and scream at strangers.

In the middle of these never-ending delusions, hallucinations, and paroxysms of rage are Jani's parents, who have gone to the ends of the earth to keep both of their children alive and unharmed. They live in separate one-bedroom apartments in order to keep her little brother, Bohdi, safe from his big sister--and wage a daily war against a social system that has all but completely failed them. January First is the story of the daily struggles and challenges they face as they do everything they can to help their daughter while trying to keep their family together. It is the inspiring tale of their resolute determination and faith 

I am pretty sure I've mentioned before in my life that being a parent is hard work. But I think that any parent that loves their kids only wants the best for them. January, who has renamed herself Jani is a young girl with schizophrenia. At a time when there was really no known cases at such a young age. She feels the ultimate pressure to do things that hurt herself or others and from birth her parents have know that something was different about her. We all think our babies never sleep. But for Jani from under age one, sleep wasn't a reality. The talk in the book  of stimulating her to help her sleep showed me commitment on the parents part from day one. When Jani's new baby brother enters the picture I see that commitment triple and come with fear. There is division in the family as they deal with one child wanting to hurt the other. I can only imagine how hard, and fearful these parents were on a daily basis! I loved some of the strategies they created in order to make their family work! No family is perfect that's for sure. But the one who admits they cannot control it all and makes those sacrifices sure seems to prevail here!
Sacrifices are made in January First that I cannot even begin to fathom. I have the utmost respect and really awe for Michael and Susan the parents who realized that there was a need for help in their young daughters life and fought both together and individually for her. Honestly fight is a huge part of this book. The family must fight with the system, the doctors, the child, each other and ultimately themselves in how and when and why they do what they can for Jani. I am not a huge memoir fan but this book was worth every moment I poured into it. It truly is a great story and while my heart goes out to the family involved I know that they are teaching by example and showing pillars of true strength!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Forever and a Day

Title: Forever and a Day
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub Date:  July 31st , 2012
Author: Jill Shalvis
Received From: NetGalley

Forever and a Day (Lucky Harbor, #6)

Grace never thought she’d be starting her life over from scratch. Losing everything has landed her in Lucky Harbor, working as a dog walker for overwhelmed ER doctor Josh Scott. But the day his nanny fails to show up, Grace goes from caring for Josh’s loveable mutt to caring for his rambunctious kids. Soon Grace is playing house with the sexy single dad…

With so many people depending on him, Josh has no time for anything outside of his clinic and family–until Grace arrives in town. Now this brainy blonde is turning his life inside out and giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “good bedside manner.” Josh and Grace don’t know if what they have can last. But in a town like Lucky Harbor, a lifetime of love starts with just one day…

I haven't read this series before and coming in this late was a bit intimidating. I was worried about understanding story lines and caring about characters. But i had nothing to fear at all. from the moment Grace fell into the arms of  Dr. Josh Scott and into his life that let's be honest is a chaotic insanity I was in love. The characters in Josh's life his young son toby and his young adult sister Anna are so well written with issues and places of their own that you feel a part of the family from page 1.  I just couldn't imagine not loving reading about them. 

The friends that Grace has made in her new town Mallory and Amy add just the right amount of girl time and fun to the book. they were probably main characters in past books, or shared more of themselves, but I felt i knew enough of them to get the support and compassion for Grace. Watching people fall in love will always warm my heart, and watching people grow gives me strength. You can only imagine when finishing this book that I felt like a heart 3 sizes to big hulk!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Where the Heart Lies

Title: Where the Heart Lies
Publisher: Carina Press
Pub Date:  July 16th , 2012
Author: Michelle Garren Flye
Received From: NetGalley

Where The Heart Lies

All widowed Alicia Galloway has left of her war-hero husband are the flag that draped his coffin and his final wishes: to move to his hometown, take over the family bookstore and enjoy a simple, quiet life with their two small children. When she arrives, her husband's best friend makes that new life anything but simple. How can she be so drawn to Liam Addison?
Liam only intended to help Alicia get settled. But one unexpected kiss awakens his long-held forbidden feelings. Soon, the town busybodies swoop in to warn Alicia away from him. Because no matter the man he's become, he'll never live down his reputation as town troublemaker and wolfish womanizer.
No one wants the war hero's sweet widow and the supposedly former bad boy together. But the more everyone tries to keep them apart, the closer he and Alicia get. And the more determined Liam is to prove he's a changed man. Will it be enough to convince Alicia to let a new love in her life?

By the title of this book I truly expected to find characters lying to one another over and over again, but instead I found some great characters and relationships. Alicia is the widow of a war hero, following through with a plan they had made together to move to his hometown and take over his Father's bookstore. With two young kids and a hard road ahead of her she is greeted by her late husband Ty's high school best friend. Liam has a reputation the precedes him and as it turns out eyes for Alicia. 
Together they must conquer the small town talk, determine their feelings, handle more loss, and some very old secrets. But these things they can and will do. This was a great book with likable characters and a few interesting surprises, all things that kept me engaged. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

One Breath Away

Title: One Breath Away
Publisher: harlequin UK
Pub Date:  July 6th , 2012
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Received From: NetGalley

One Breath Away

‘He has a gun.'
‘Who? Tell me, where are you? Who has a gun?'
‘I love you, Mum.'
An ordinary school day in March, snowflakes falling, classroom freezing, kids squealing with delight, locker-doors slamming.
Then the shooting started. No-one dared take one breath...
He's holding a gun to your child's head. One wrong answer and he says he'll shoot. 
This morning you waved goodbye to your child. What would you have said if you'd known it might be the last time?

 One Breath Away is a book that took every breath I had away over and over again. We are all aware of violence in schools, you can't say the word Columbine without everyone flashing back to where they were on that day. When I was a freshman in college @ the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley Colorado back in 1996 3 years before the Columbine Shootings we had a gunman on Campus. I had been at school maybe a month and was returning to my dorm room from a morning class. As I walked across the patio an RA yelled at me to get in the building and slammed and locked the door behind me. I asked what was going on and she said to go upstairs and turn on my TV. I returned to my room and switched on the TV with live coverage from Greeley. The dorm across the way from mine had a hostage situation going on. Four girls were being held by one of their ex-boyfriends who wasn't a student at UNC. It was weird, honestly yes it was a bit scary, but I never thought of things like, "is he working alone" or felt in any danger. Really I felt fairly safe. What's sad is that today after we've seen Columbine, and Virginia Tech we don't carry that feeling of safety. 

One Breath Away is a story that takes us through an entire day of  the point of view of the some of the people in town when a gunman takes over a small town in Iowa. This school contains all kids from K-12. It's the last day before Spring Break when a gunman enters the school and one 3rd grade class in particular and takes them hostage. We are greeted with the story from the Teacher in this class Mrs. Oliver , as she works to protect the students and determine the identity of the gunman. We walk through the day with perspectives from our main family the Thwaite's. Holly the mother is in a burn unit in Arizona and has sent her two kids Augie and PJ to stay with her father Will in her small home town of Broken Bend, Iowa. As we move between these characters and what they are learning during this day, we see amazing feats of fear and bravery! There are so many other characters that make up this story and really make it so good. This book moves quickly, keeps you engaged and really is off the charts phenomenal! I couldn't out it down without knowing how each character came out of that day. 


Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Promise for Miriam

Title: A Promise for Miriam
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Pub Date:  July 1st , 2012
Author: Vanetta Chapman
Received From: NetGalley

A Promise for Miriam

 A Promise for Miriam, the first book in a brand-new romantic series from popular author Vannetta Chapman, introduces the Amish community of Pebble Creek and some of the kind, caring people there. As they face challenges to their community from the English world, they come together to reach out to their non-Amish neighbors while still preserving their cherished Plain ways.
Amish schoolteacher Miriam King loves her students. At 26, most women her age are married with children of their own, but she hasn?t yet met anyone who can convince her to give up the Plain school that sits along the banks of Pebble Creek. Then newcomer Gabriel Yoder steps into her life, bringing his daughter, an air of mystery, and challenges Miriam has never faced before.
Will Gabe be able to let go of the past that haunts him? He thinks he just wants to be left alone, but the loving and warm community he and his daughter have moved to has other plans for him. After a near tragedy is averted, he hesitantly returns offers of help and friendship, and he discovers he can make a difference to the people of Pebble Creek?and maybe find love again.

A promise for Miriam was a fun read. It contained some great characters, like Gabe. the widower who lost his wife Hope three years ago and is raising their daughter Grace. Gabe is  a stubborn self supporting Amish gentleman. he really has the I can do it on my own feeling going on. So after the loss of his wife he moves far away fro family. Spend his days attempting to fix up the mess of buildings and land he purchased and raise Grace. 
Grace has something she is dealing with too, fear from loosing her mother and because of this she doesn't speak.  But luckily for Grace her teacher Miriam is in her life and she knows just when to push and helps young Grace find her voice again. Actually Miriam is just the woman to help both Gabe and Grace, find happiness in life again! This is really a cute fun story with the Amish lifestyle, some gutsy moments of bravery and the overall feeling of happiness and love!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Little Night

Title: Little Night
Publisher: Penguin Group
Pub Date:  June 5th, 2012
Author: Luanne Rice
Received From: NetGalley 

Little Night: A Novel

An emotionally gripping family drama from beloved New York Times bestseller Luanne Rice
Clare Burke's life took a devastating turn when she tried to protect her sister, Anne, from an abusive and controlling husband and ended up serving prison time for assault. The verdict largely hinged on Anne's defense of her spouse--all lies--and the sisters have been estranged ever since. Nearly twenty years later, Clare is living a quiet life in Manhattan as an urban birder and nature blogger, when her niece, Grit, turns up on her doorstep.
A riveting story about women and the primal, tangled family ties that bind them together.

From the moment the author begin to describe the sisterhood between Anne and Clare I knew that great love of a family was going to be tested in this book. What I didn't know is how proud I would be of the women in this story. You see when women grow up and begin to find their own lives you cannot really control the path each take. Clare so desperately wants to do that, to take back control of Anne from Frederick her husband. When she finally gets in their home and visits her sister she feels she is doing that, until Frederick arrives and not only pulls back all control but turns her actions into a moment that lands Clare in Jail. 

After working to put her life back together years later, Clare get a visitor that moves herself right in. Her niece Grit. This is Clare's connection to Anne, her chance to try again for some control. But only does it  not come to her as she hopes, but she learns in the process to control her own love life! I did enjoy the growth and change in Clare, the youth and honesty in Grit and the ending of the book while a bit sad was a good one!