Monthly Archives: November 2013

Review: Princess and the Peanut

PrincessandpeanutPublisher: Wild Indigo
Author: Sue Ganz-Schmitt
Illustrator: Micah Chambers-Goldberg
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Ages: 4+
Review Source: Author

★ ☆★ ☆★ – 5 Stars!

Summary:
Every queen knows that in order to find out if a princess is REAL, one must send the alleged princess to bed on a magnificent pile of mattresses, slip in a pea, and see how she sleeps. But when the royal kitchen is fresh out peas, the queen tries a peanut instead. The princess turns out to be as real as her food allergies. This vibrant and humorous tale inspires, and educates children with allergies, as well as those who live in, and around food sensitive kingdoms. Includes a food allergy guide for adults, and kid-friendly allergy definitions.

My Review:
What a touching book! My daughter, Jade, at the age of 4-years-old had a reaction to tree nuts. We found out in May, 2012 when she went into anaphylaxis within minutes of eating a piece of walnut. We never heard the seriousness of food allergies, sure we have heard of “food allergy”  but I never knew the in and outs of this dangerous disability.
Did you know that there are millions with food allergies, and the number seems to rise daily. No one understands why, and research is still going to figure out how to stop this epidemic.
I absolutely love that Sue got to re-create Princes and the Pea to help bring awareness to food allergies, instead of the pea it is a peanut. When a prince loses hope of finding his perfect princess, a princess appears on his doorstep looking for shelter from the storm.  To test to see if the princess is indeed real, the queen places a peanut between the princess’ tower of mattresses.  But this princess doesn’t have trouble sleeping, instead she awakens to an allergic reaction!
The Princess and the Peanut reflects what children today are dealing with and also supports children, like Jade, who have allergies.  Within the book is a food allergy guide for adults, and kid-friendly allergy definitions.
I absolutely fell in love with the book before I had a chance to read it to my daughter. Yeah, yeah, I know you are not suppose to “fall for the cover” but the illustrations are delightfully phenomenal!

About the Author & Illustrator:
Children’s book author, mother and philanthropist, Sue Ganz-Schmitt, is passionate about helping children, and families globally. She is co-founder of an AIDS orphanage in Haiti, has traveled to China to help medically challenged orphans, and set up a birthing clinic in rural India. Yet, her writing is inspired by local children with diabetes, severe allergies, leukemia. She graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business (Marketing) in 1986, and now lives now lives in a rural mountain community in Los Angeles with her two daughters and husband. She produces children’s musical theater, has sung on Broadway in RENT, and contributes to an L.A. area local paper.

Micah Chambers-Goldberg, known for his unique ability to manifest whimsical imagination and fantastical imagery, is a versatile and accomplished artist in Animation, Illustration, Film, and Fine Art.
Check out the Illustrator

Goodreads ButtonBuy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Links
Twitter | Website | LinkedIn

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review: Transparent

TransparentPublisher: HarperTeen
Author: Natalie Whipple
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Transparent #1
Review Source: Goodreads ARC

★ ☆★ ☆★ – 5 Stars!

Summary: (Goodreads)
Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.
An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.
After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.
Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

My Review:
I really enjoyed this book, like complete awesome read. Once I started I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to keep going… I wanted all my questions that was stirring in my head to be answered and I couldn’t sleep til I got those answers. With the sleep thing: having a 5-year-old, and an infant the sleep thing means a lot, haha!
Fiona’s honesty was so blunt, and her dry humor reminded me a lot of my mother, haha! She was definitely a likely character in this book. I loved watching her character grow as the book went deeper into the storyline. Fiona has never seen herself due to being born with differing ability of invisibility. People could see her clothes, but not her body. I thought that was different from other “invisibility” characters from what I  have read before.
I loved how Fiona got to meet people her age, and got to see how her transformation started to take place. All the characters in this book were so great, and I can’t imagine how they will develop more into the series, but I will definitely have to keep my eyes open for the next book.

About the Author:
Natalie Whipple, sadly, does not have any cool mutations like her characters. Unless you count the ability to watch anime and Korean dramas for hours on end. Or her uncanny knack for sushi consumption.
She grew up in the Bay Area and relocated to Utah for high school, which was quite the culture shock for her anime-loving teen self. But the Rocky Mountains eventually won her over, and she stuck around to earn her degree in English linguistics at BYU. Natalie still lives in Utah with her husband and three kids, and keeps the local Asian market in business with all her attempts to cook Thai curry, Pho, and “real” ramen.

Goodreads ButtonBuy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Links
Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Facebook

Disclosure: I won this book for free via Goodreads First Reads. I did not have to do the review, and this review is my honest opinion.

Review: The Night Horses

The Night HorsesPublisher: Createspace
Author: Anaka Jones
Genre: Children’s Book: Animals, Picture Book
Review Source: Author

★ ☆★ ☆★ – 5 Stars!

Summary:
The beginning of this story is about the daily life of horses.  It’s everything we’re used to reading about life on a horse farm.  The horses eat, race each other in the fields, have their showers, and eat their dinners.  However, once their human caretakers go in for the night — the disco ball comes out and the party begins. The horses start playing cards with sugar cubes (instead of poker chips), the mares paint each others’ hooves and do each others’ hair, and there’s even a horse comedian that makes, “the ladies laugh so hard they fall off their buckets.”  After a midnight snack and some dancing, the horses call it a night and go to sleep.

My Review:
Oh My Goodness!! Definitely recommend this book to others. Who knew that horses continue “living” after the owners go off to bed. The Night Horses described everything perfectly, and you can tell the author thought every horse out while she was writing this book, it was so creative.  Did you know that horses painted their hooves pink, braiding manes, telling jokes, and etc.? You will just need to read this book to see for yourself!
I absolutely love that my 5-year-old is a beginner reader, and the words was easy for her. The Night Horses is also a great way to bring out her imagination.

About the Author:
Anaka Jones, the 12 year old author of  The Night Horses.  She was born and raised in Ann Arbor Michigan.  She lives with her parents and has two older brothers, a frog, a lizard and two dogs.

Goodreads ButtonBuy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Links
Facebook

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

MeMe: #Teaser Tuesday – Friendship Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share 2 “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!
  • Share the Author & Title too, so that other TT participants can add the book to the TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

friendshipmakesFriendship Makes the Heart Grow Fonder by Lisa Verge Higgins

No, no. Everything on that list was for the two of us.”
Becky’s right,” Judy said. “Lenny’s picked these catacombs because he was throwing you a bone.”
Monique groaned. “You didn’t just say that.” -pg.143

 

 

Summary
TOP THREE REASONS TO VISIT EUROPE:
1. Explore foreign cultures
2. Sample outstanding food
3. Desperately flee impending personal crisis

Lenny left his wife, Monique, a bucket list of things they’d dreamed of doing together before cancer took his life. For four years, she ignored it, too busy raising their daughter to consider the painful task of resurrecting shattered dreams.
But when her next-door neighbor, Judy, starts a slow slide into a personal crisis, and another friend, Becky, receives shocking news about her future, Monique realizes that Lenny’s legacy could be a gift to three women in desperate need of a new perspective.
Whisking her friends away on adventures from London to Paris, from Monaco to Milan, she is determined to follow the bucket list to the letter-until one eventful evening knocks the three friends off the beaten path. Caught up in adventures of their own making, they begin to understand: Sometimes getting lost is the only way to find what you’re really looking for.

Watch out my review will be out soon!
If you would like your Teaser Tuesday to be listed in the Related Posts please leave a comment and your link to the post. Thank You.

Review: A Matter of Trust

Matter of TrustPublisher: Thomas Nelson
Author: Lis Wiehl
Contributor: April Henry
Genre: Christian Fiction, Mystery & Suspense
Series: A Mia Quinn Mystery #1
Review Source: BookSneeze

★ ☆★ ☆★ – 5 Stars!

Summary: (Goodreads)
When life is murder, who can you trust?

One minute Mia Quinn is in her basement, chatting on the phone with a colleague at the prosecutor’s office. The next minute there’s a gunshot over the line, and Mia listens in horror as her colleague and friend Colleen bleeds to death.
Mia’s a natural for heading up the murder investigation, but these days she has all she can do to hold her life together. As a new widow with a pile of debts, a troubled teenaged son, and a four-year-old who wakes up screaming at night, she needs more time with her family, not less–and working Colleen’s case will be especially demanding. But Colleen was her friend, and she needs to keep her job. So she reluctantly teams up with detective Charlie Carlson to investigate Colleen’s death. But the deeper they dig, the more complications unfold–even the unsettling possibility that someone may be coming after her.
Lis Wiehl’s signature plot twists and relatable characters shine in this absorbing series debut . . . with an intriguing cameo from her best-selling Triple Threat series.

My Review:
This is a book you will want to read all in one day. It was so hard for me to put down. The first few pages have you wanting more so fun of intensity, then you are so far into the book that you just have to keep going and going.. well, you get the point.
The mystery was very well written. I loved how in depth she took us, and how everything tied together even threw every twist she brought to the book. I can’t imagine what the other books in this series will be like. If they are anything like this book they will be absolutely worth the money spent!
Lis has a beautiful writing technique, the words run smoothly, and there is so much open for your imagination as the story plays out in front of your eyes. The characters are relatable; their stories and emotions are real. Although the murder of Colleen is the central plot, this book tackles bullying and secrets, making A Matter of Trust a little more challenging than just a great mystery.

About the Author & Contributor:
Lis Wiehl is the author “Face of Betrayal,” a New York Times Best Seller.
She has also written “Winning Every Time: How to Use the Skills of a Lawyer in the Trials of Your Life” and “The 51% Minority: How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It.”
In addition to her written work, Wiehl is currently a legal analyst for Fox News. She has been with the network since 2001.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Wiehl is an adjunct professor at New York Law School.

April Henry writes mysteries and thrillers. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her family. If you’ve read one of her books, she would love to hear from you. Hearing from her readers makes her eager to keep writing.
When she was 12, she sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children’s magazine.
Her dream of writing went dormant until she was in her 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years are now thankfully a blur. Now she is very lucky to make a living doing what she loves. She has written 13 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. Her books have gotten starred reviews, been picked for Booksense, translated into six languages, been named to state reading lists, and short-listed for the Oregon Book Award.
She also reviews YA literature and mysteries and thrillers for the Oregonian, and has written articles for both The Writer and Writers Digest.

Goodreads ButtonBuy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Links
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: Snow Angels

Snow AngelsPublisher: Berkley Trade
Author: James Thompson
Genre: Mystery & Thriller
Series: Inspector Kari Vaara #1
Review Source:  Goodreads ARC

★ ☆★ – 3 Stars

Summary: (GoodReads)
It is called kaamos–two weeks of unrelenting darkness and soul-numbing cold that falls upon Finnish Lapland, a hundred miles into the Arctic Circle, just before Christmas. Some get through it with the help of cheap Russian alcohol; some sink into depression.
This year, it may have driven someone mad enough to commit murder. The brutalized body of a beautiful Somali woman has been found in the snow, and Inspector Kari Vaara must find her killer. It will be a challenge in a place where ugly things lurk under frozen surfaces, and silence is a way of life.

My Review:
I enjoyed the suspense of the book; however I did find it hard to connect with characters, just because it lacked some detail of getting to know them. The book was more about the “snow angels” then about who is who and why. However, it could be that with this being the first book of a series that the characters build during the other books. I love the fact that you get sucked into the darkness of the plot. I believe that is what makes you want to turn pages, because I surely did that. I did, in fact, enjoy the novel and I will be waiting for the second book to come out.
It is brutally violent, dark, harsh words, but yet it sucked me into wanting more. Definitely more of an adult book, unless you like the dark suspense like I do.

About the Author:
James Thompson, eastern Kentucky born and raised, has lived in Finland for the past decade and currently makes his home in Helsinki with his wife. Before becoming a full-time writer, Thompson studied Swedish and Finnish, in which he is fluent, and worked as a bartender, bouncer, construction worker, photographer, rare coin dealer, and soldier.

Goodreads Button
Buy Links

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Books-A-Million

Author Links
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Disclosure: I won this book for free via Goodreads First Reads. I did not have to do the review, and this review is my honest opinion.

Review: The Magenta Man

The Magenta ManPublisher: Dog Ear Publishing
Author: Jodi Cardin
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit
Review Source: Author

★ ☆★ – 3 Stars

Summary: (Goodreads)
What will be the consequences when a thirty-eight-year-old wife and mother of three seeks to fulfill her secret sexual desires in the arms of a man she’d had a crush on twenty years ago? The Magenta Man explores the consequences of Katie Duncan’s ultimate betrayal during the year she spent on the planning committee for her high school reunion with hunky Mark Sabatino. Although happily married to Glen for 15 years, she struggles with her intimate relations with him-at least in comparison to the ideal lover her co-workers have dubbed The Magenta Man. Reunited at the out-of-town planning committee meetings, Katie and Mark soon realize these getaway weekends have much more to offer than merely planning a reunion as they selfishly indulge in a variety of guilty pleasures, unleashing and feeding their hidden desires. Yet, in the end, the devastating fallout causes tempers to flare, strains relationships to the near breaking point, and tests tender psyches, resulting in a denouement of infinite compassion and divine forgiveness.

My Review:
While reading The Magenta Man I was drawn into Jodi’s words. It is a book you can sit down and read in one day. I did lack with getting to know Katie on a deeper level. However, you follow through the affair, and eventually realize why everything happens the way it does. It shows us, even in everyday life, that we have to be open with communication. People, even husbands, can not read our minds, we should constantly explain what we need, even if it is “pleasing” one another.
The main thing I didn’t like was the lack of emotions they had for their families. It was like they was living in another “world” that only involved them. They would even go off in public like they was a couple, it just seemed not realistic. On another note, I was constantly on my toes wondering if they was ever going to get caught. I guess that is what had me flipping the pages so quick.

About the Author:
Jodi Cardin received an A.A. in Liberal Arts and General Studies, both with honors from Oakland Community College. She enjoys daily exercise, reading, creative writing, fine arts and world travel. In 2009, her first children s book, Bernice’s Bad Hair Days, was published. Her story entitled “Words to Live By” was a runner-up for the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Children with Special Needs edition (2007). This is her first novel. She currently lives in her hometown state of Michigan with her husband and two children, after having spent some time in California, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

Goodreads ButtonBuy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Links
Website | Goodreads

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review: Get Lost

Get LostPublisher: WaterBrook Press
Author: Dannah Gresh
Genre: Young Adult, Christian, Devotional
Review Source:  Blogging For Books

★ ☆★ ☆ – 4 Stars

Summary: (Goodreads)
Have you ever ditched a friend for a guy? Filled your journal with more thoughts about guys than God? Found yourself jealous because that other girl gets all the dates? Maybe it’s time to get lost—in God.
Discover how to get so lost in God that a guy has to seek Him to find you.
Dannah Gresh traces God’s language of love through Scripture to help you pursue your heart’s deepest desires and seek love the way God designed it to be. Because once you identify your true longings and let God answer them, you’ll know just how to respond when romantic love comes along.
With a guided ten-day Love Feast Challenge, Get Lost will help you see for yourself how getting lost in God opens the door to lifelong fulfillment.

My Review:
Love can be so complicated, if we let it. We tend to associate everything with love: We love our friends, animals, food, shows, etc. Dannah breaks it down for us though:
Hesed is the Hebrew form of love. Hesed describes the God kind of love for us.
In the Greek, this love is called agape. This love is unfailing, and is not rooted in emotionalism or circumstances. It is a love that is about the other and not oneself. Agape is the love we really desire, and it is offered to us.
She also shows us at the beginning we are wired for craving. She lets us know it is not wrong to want to be loved, but most of the time we lean on people to offer us love instead of God.
Get Lost reveals that we need to get over ourselves and get lost in God. In this book you will guide yourself into an experience of getting to know what it is like to get lost with God: His Word, His Voice, His Love.

About the Author:
Dannah Gresh, a mother/daughter communication coach, has sold well over three quarters of a million copies of her books—including And the Bride Wore White and 2008’s best-selling CBA youth book, Lies Young Women Believe (coauthored with Nancy Leigh DeMoss)—making her one of the most successful Christian authors targeting teens and preteens. With the belief that today’s culture has been seeking to rob little girls of their innocence, Dannah has been fighting on the front lines to protect them. Her fun line of Secret Keeper Girl mom/preteen daughter connecting resources and live events that tour the country provide moms with just the right tools to fight back. She has long been at the forefront of the movement to encourage both tweens and teens to pursue purity and is often called upon to defend the conservative position of abstinence in national news media like USA Today, Time, Chicago Tribune, and Women’s Wear Daily. She is also a frequent contributor to FamilyLife Today, Midday Connection, and Focus on the Family. Dannah lives in State College, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bob, and their children, Robby, Lexi, and Autumn, whom the family adopted from China in 2007. She and her husband founded Grace Prep, a new model in Christian high school education, which Bob administrates. She is shamelessly in love with her labradoodle, Stormie.

Goodreads ButtonBuy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Links
Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review: Tainted Love

TaintedLovePublisher: Terra-Mia Press
Author: Eva Márquez
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Series: Sweetest Taboo #2
Review Source: Goodreads ARC

★ ☆★ ☆ – 4 Stars

Summary: (Goodreads)
Isabel thought her life was on track – she was doing well in college, moving quickly toward her future, and deciding who she wanted to be. Best of all, she’d reunited with Tom, the swim coach she had a secret affair with in high school. But it doesn’t take long for her history – and his – to start catching up with them.
When Isabel goes back to her college life, after spending a blissful summer reuniting with Tom, things take a dangerous turn. Isabel gets swept up in a relationship with a dark, mysterious professor, with whom she begins a covert love affair that could ruin everything she has rebuilt with Tom. Worse, she starts to hear rumors from friends back home – rumors about a teacher having affairs with students. And Tom seems to be at the center of the controversy. Will Isabel’s instincts about what Tom’s been up to during their time apart drive her farther away, or will she forgo her new romance to run to Tom’s defense?

My Review:
I couldn’t stop reading this book! There was a lot of back and forth of emotions I had to deal with when reading though.
Number 1 – Isabel’s “thoughts” were so irrational. Most of her decisions made me want to throw the book at times. Other times I could understand her “rational” thinking due to her previous involvements.
Number 2 – Tom’s inability to walk away when he could. The heartache he must have went through was something that we didn’t go in depth on, but I could only imagine his ever though, or well-being.
Number 3 – How could anyone ever think this is okay!? There is so much about this book that makes me cringe. I guess being a parent sheds a light in a whole other angle.
On another hand, I loved the storyline. I read this book before the first one, and I picked up right where it left off. I guess this book could be a stand-alone because I sure got the “jiffs” of the idea going on. I absolutely loved the flow of the words Eva put into every word. It was really captivating. Here I am sitting here right before bed already wanting to know about the next book, the cliffhanger off this book will drive me bonkers! haha!!

About the Author: Goodreads
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, daughter of European immigrants, Eva Márquez has spent most of her life outside of her home country. At the age of five, Eva accompanied her parents to the United States, where the family settled permanently. After graduating from university, she went on to complete graduate studies in International Relations in Spain. Eva received her Master of International Studies degree from the University of Sydney and went on to work in the global health field in Sub Saharan Africa and South East Asia. Eva currently resides in Southern Africa.

Book Trailer

Goodreads ButtonBuy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Author Links
Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Google+ | Tumblr | Pinterest

Disclosure: I won this book for free via Goodreads First Reads. I did not have to do the review, and this review is my honest opinion.

Review: Spring Cleaning

Spring CleaningPublisher: Self-Published
Author: Brandi Salazar
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Review Source: Author

★ ☆★ ☆★ – 5 Stars!

Summary (Goodreads)
Sometimes, relationships can be deadly.
Terri thought she was marrying a strong, loving man, only to find that beneath that handsome face lies something cold, brutal, and dangerous. After years of abuse, Randy takes things a little too far, and Terri finally summons the courage to take matters into her own hands and make her escape. But freedom comes at a price.
Forging a new life, Terri tries to forget her past, but she can’t help looking over her shoulder at every turn. When prison bars can no longer hold Randy, and her past comes knocking, Terri finds that the strength to trust again may be her only salvation

My Review:
This is the first book I have read from Ms. Salazar and I would like to continue to read more of her books! Spring Cleaning starts off kinda more into the storyline then I wanted to be. I think it would have been better if we could have built up getting to know the main characters like Randy, and how his rage/anger started.
The book definitely had me wanting more by the time I was turning a page. I would get through a chapter then another one, till I was almost half way through the book. It is scary to think some women go through this abuse on a daily basis. I would have purchased an alarm system for everything I owned, or tried to. I know Terri’s money must have been tight with her working at a club.
I love how Luke could feel Terri’s emotions without asking her a billion questions. He knew when something was wrong, and wanted to help right then. He was a remarkable character in the story!
Spring Cleaning is a book that would be enjoyable by a fire, the story is very appealing, and will have you wanting more!

About the Author:
Brandi Salazar started writing poetry, short stories, and novels at a very young age, weaving tales to share with her friends that were geared toward making them laugh. Today her writing habits reflect that, ranging from mystery/suspense/thriller to paranormal and YA romance, and no matter how different her works may be, you can always find a healthy dose of action, romance, and humor. Under the pen name J.C. Valentine, she also writes erotic romance fiction.
A longtime resident of Ohio, Brandi lives with her husband, three children, a dog and five cats that keep her very busy. She holds a degree in Business and has plans to continue her education so she can one day become an editor to authors everywhere. When she isn’t crafting her next novel, toiling away at schoolwork, or hanging out with family, you can find her curled up in her favorite chair with her nose buried in a book.

Goodreads Button
Buy Links
Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Author Links
Website | Twitter

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.