Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Harmless by Katherine Dell


Be careful what you wish for.

After moving from Vancouver to isolated Hazelton, BC, high school senior Rachel Barnes hopes she’ll finally find closure and a sense of direction after tragedy has torn her family apart. When she and her friends discover the old spirit box her grandmother gave her, they see it as a chance to wish their troubles away. But the Great Spirits—deer, crow, bear, and the mythical wendigo—give away nothing for free. 

So instead of worrying about fitting in and finding a boyfriend, Rachel finds herself in a race to control the malevolent spirit who’s taken up residence in Mason Allen, who she fears and craves in equal measure. What began as a harmless game forces Rachel to confront her past—and offers her a future she never imagined.

My Thoughts

So, I opened up my planner a few days ago and realized that I had written in to try to review the book Harmless this week.  I couldn't remember what it was about so I searched for the review request email and read the synopsis.  It sounded pretty good so I wasn't worried, but at the same time, I sure was hoping that it would be the kind of book that I would be so into that I would want to put it down (You know, since I didn't have much time to read it being that I'm a procrastinator).  Well... It was SO GOOD!

I seriously read it in 2 days.  It would have been 1 day if I hadn't started it late at night!  I really enjoyed it.  Even after reading the synopsis, I was still surprised and kept on the edge of my seat.

Before reading Harmless I had never even heard the word wendigo, much less knew what one was.  I really like learning about other cultures and things so I found that pretty cool.  I don't know that I would ever want to meet one but learning about them was neat! Lol!

Harmless was left somewhat open ended.  Hopefully that means there will be a sequel to this story!  I would love to hear more about what happens with Mason and Rachel!

Thank you, Katherine, for sending this book to me!  I really enjoyed it and can't wait to read more from you!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Operation: Hail Storm by Brett Arquette


Marshall Hail was a husband, a father, a Physics Nobel prize winner and industrial billionaire. But when Hail's family was killed in a terrorist attack, he became a predator and redirected his vast industrial assets toward one goal, removing every person on the FBI's Top 10 Terrorist list. With the help of his MIT colleagues, Hail designed and built a devastating arsenal of attack drones of all shapes and sizes that are flown by the nation's best young gamers. The world will come to realize that Marshall Hail possesses the capability of getting to anyone, anywhere, at any time, unleashing an operation so disturbing that the CIA has named it Operation Hail Storm.

My Thoughts

Such a great book!  It is fast-paced and certainly keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time.  I didn't want to have to put it down!  The character development was phenomenal.  My personal favorite is Kara!

Operation Hail Storm is the kind of book that somehow makes you feel a bit smarter when you've finished reading it.  I feel like I learned so much more about technology but didn't feel like I was being forced to learn.  So Good!

I honestly don't know that I would have picked this book up on my own.  It's not the genre that I usually prefer.  That is one thing that I love about reviewing books for people.  They send books that I wouldn't necessarily pick out for myself, I read them, and then I end up a happy girl with an extended book genre preference!  Love it!

*Note:  I received  copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Ten Tips For The Frazzled Parent by Birgitta Karlén


'Ten Tips for the Frazzled Parent, When You've Reached the End of Your Rope!' takes a behind the scenes look at the joys and frustrations of raising children. Most would agree there is never a dull moment with a child in the house, and several can be downright overwhelming! Having conceived and written the book in the parenting trenches, author Birgitta Karlén takes a real look at how fun, yet frustrating, demanding, challenging and sometimes silly the job of parenting can be. Illustrator Michael Pugliese brilliantly captures the nuance of the family dynamic, with his loveable characters and true-to-life depictions. Parents and caregivers alike will find these ten bits of parenting "wisdom" charming and irresistibly funny!

My Thoughts

Ten Tips For The Frazzled Parent is such a cute little book.  It would be a great baby shower gift for a new parent.  The illustrations are fun and so relevant (great job, Michael Pugliese!).
I especially loved tip #4 "Even though it may seem like they are trying to kill you...slowly...you are the light of their lives."

It's a really small, short book that is a quick and fun little read.  Thanks, Birgitta Karlén, for sending it to me!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Elephant Picture Book by Jack L. Roberts and Michael Owens


The Elephant Picture Book is a delightful picture book for children (ages 4-8) that tells about the differences (and similarities) between African elephants and Asian elephants. It also provides a special look at a group of elephants at Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand, a place where overworked and abused elephants have found a safe and loving home in a natural environment. Photographer Michael Owens captures both the gentleness and the majesty of these enchanting animals in his full-color photographs that are guaranteed to delight both young readers and their parents alike.

My Thoughts

I took this book to my class (I teach First and Second grade at a private school) and they LOVED it!  I read it to them first and then they wanted to take turns looking at it at their desks.  The book stayed in my classroom for the rest of the school year and will be returning when school starts back up in August!

The Elephant Picture Book was a bit hit in my classroom!  Thank you, Jack Roberts, for sending this book to me!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Ugly Teapot (Book One: Hannah) by Fred Holmes


Fourteen-year-old Hannah Bradbury loved her father so much that she worried about him constantly. After all, he was a photographer who traveled to the most dangerous places in the world. 

To allay her fears, each time he came home he brought her silly gifts, each one with supposed magical powers: the Seal of Solomon, the Ring of Gyges, even Aladdin’s Lamp. It was that lamp Hannah found the most unbelievable, for it looked like an ugly teapot. Nevertheless, her father assured her it was real, and made her promise to save her three wishes for something very special. 

Then . . . six months later . . . the unthinkable happened. Her father was killed while on assignment to Baghdad. And so on the day of his funeral Hannah did something she never thought she would ever do. 

She took out that teapot and gave it a rub . . . 

The Ugly Teapot by Fred Holmes is a timeless tale, filled with magic and adventure. More importantly, it will make you believe in the overwhelming power of love.

My Thoughts

Here I am, a few days after finishing The Ugly Teapot, and I am still going back and forth on how I really feel about this book.  There were things I liked, and there were definitely things I didn't really care for.  We'll see if I can figure out my feelings by the time I finish writing this review.

The very beginning of this book had my heart twisted.  My heart hurt for Hannah.  One thing that gets me every time is the emotion of a person losing someone that they love.  So, at the start, I was all in.  It was looking good.

Then, Hannah's dog walked in and talked to her...
I was not expecting that.  At all.  Griff, the dog, talks to her subliminally so no one else hears it.  I wasn't a fan of this part of the story.

I also want to add that, for a middle grade book, The Ugly Teapot has a lot of goriness (if that's a real word) in it.  Breaking of fingers, slashing of throats, and much more.  It took me by surprise!  Another thing I wasn't exactly a fan of.

Ok, so toward the end something happened that seemed to bring it all together and made it make sense.  Kind of a WHAT?!?! moment!  I don't want to say what happened because it is a major point of the book.  Anyways, it made me feel better about some of the other things I read, with the exception of something that happens with the dog.  I didn't like that part.

However, then there was something at the very end.  Something that, I realize, needed to be there to make the book part of a series.  But, I felt like it cancelled out the part that made everything make sense to me.  It was an interesting twist though!

Overall, I think I liked the book.  I'm pretty sure I did.  I definitely didn't hate it!  Pick it up and decide how you feel about it!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Organizing For Your Lifestyle: Adaptable Inspirations from Socks to Suitcases by Jane Stoller


Organizing is a lifestyle, but it isn’t one-size-fits-all. Incorporating organizing into your life shouldn’t, ultimately, involve changing who you are, but rather maximizing it. Knowing where your favourite socks are, and having them stored correctly, means you’ll be able to wear your favourite socks more often, and look better doing it. Similarly, packing properly for a once-in-a-lifetime trip means you’ll be able to enjoy that trip even more. Remember: being organized doesn’t mean thinking about organizing all the time. Ideally, being organized means that you don’t have to think about organizing all the time—because you do it automatically, as an organic part of your everyday routine. And you can only reach this level of organizing bliss by making sure your organizing systems and routines are perfectly adapted to your goals, personality, and needs. Again: organizing is a lifestyle, but it needs to be your lifestyle. This is the mantra of the book, even though reference's to certain things that everyone should always do, such as labelling, folding, and ironing (to name a few) are included. Emphasis is placed on the basics and then adapting them your own lifestyle and goals.

My Thoughts

Oh My Word!!! This book came at just the right time!  I had been feeling a little overwhelmed by clutter and I wanted to much to organize things better.  When asked if I would like to read and review this book I jumped at the chance!

I took my time reading and I implemented some of the different ideas and suggestions.  Obviously, not everything will work for everyone but I definitely took plenty that worked for me!  I found that it wasn't as overwhelming as I thought it was going to be.

I don't want to go into too many details because, well, you need to get the book for yourself!  But, let me say that I even changed the way I fold my bath towels!  It may not seem like a very big deal but it actually is because I have been folding my towels that same way since I was about 8 years old and my mom taught me!

If you are ready to get more organized, do some decluttering, and just feel more in control of your daily habits and lifestyle then pick up this book!  You won't be sorry!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Quest of the Golden Apple by Geoffrey Angapa


The Quest of the Golden Apple is something of a fairy tale or a traditional fantasy. Having a fair share of wonders and a fair bit of travel, it follows the adventure of Geoffrey and the Dragon.

My Thoughts

I quite enjoy reading Fairy Tales, always have, so when asked to read this book I happily accepted.  I personally felt that this book is more geared toward children so it wasn't exactly my preferred choice in a book.  Normally I would hand it off to my daughter but she was already in the middle of a book :)

So, I had to get my mind set as this being a children's book so that I could write an acceptable review!  The Quest of the Golden Apple turned out to be a cute little book, less than 100 pages, with a fun storyline.  There were some editing issues that could be addressed, but not anything that would make you want to stay away from reading it.

All in all, this was a pleasant read and I definitely know of a few young people that I will recommend it to.  Thanks for sending it to me, Geoffrey Angapa!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.