Monday, February 24, 2014

I Dream of an Elephant by Ami Rubinger


Netgalley ARC

     This is a fun and adorable story for the little ones that allows them to learn colors as well as rhyming. Each verse leaves out the very last word so that the children can guess it. Clues are provided by way of the rhymes and colors on each page. Each page is full of beautiful and entertaining illustrations of elephants of various colors participating in different activities.
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I imagined myself reading it to a group of children that would guess the missing word of each verse. This book would be so much fun in encouraging group participation. As soon as I turned to the first page I was taken in by the beautiful artwork and color schemes.
     I rated this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Spy Goddess: Live and Let Shop by Michael P. Spradlin


     Rachel Buchanan lives in Beverly Hills and enjoys a privileged life but one without the attention of her parents. She's been getting into some trouble with the law lately, and this last incident has her facing a judge. Rachel is given a choice---juvenile detention or Blackthorn Academy. She knows that she'll never last 30 days in juvie...she'd be killed! She's not designed to fight so she agrees to go to the academy, but she didn't know she was agreeing to a year there!
     Rachel travels across the country to Blackthorn Academy. She meets the headmaster, Mr. Jonathon Kim who mysteriously knows way too much information about her. She makes it clear that she doesn't want to stay at this school, and then secretly makes plans to escape. Although, she is clever, her escape plan doesn't work out so well, and Mr. Kim gives her 30 days to decide if she truly wants to leave.
     The thirty days continue to uncover more strange and mysterious things about this so-called academy. Rachel, of course, has to find out what is really happening at this school which leads her on quite an adventure.
     This book was filled with super-sleuthing action and mystery with just a touch of paranormal. I enjoyed the elements of the spy atmosphere as well as the paranormal bits and pieces thrown in. I became completely engrossed in the novel and couldn't put it down. I cannot wait to get my hands on the second book to know where this story is headed.
     I rated this book 4/5 stars and recommend it.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires


     This is the story of a little girl and her dog that she "hires" as her assistant on their quest to make the most magnificent thing. The little girl knows exactly what she wants to make. She can see it in her mind's eye, but when she tries to make her creation it just doesn't turn out how she thought. She tries and tries, but eventually she gets so frustrated that she throws a fit and quits. She is then offered the idea of a walk, and this allows her to push back the anger and frustration. By the time she comes back to her "workshop" she then sees clearly exactly what she needs to do to make this creation she has thought of.
     I loved this book! What a great demonstration of what a young child will think and do! The story was a good model of the steps a child can take to calm himself down after he is frustrated and to never, never give up. The artwork was perfect with the storyline and had me giggling at the creativeness.
     I rated this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Beautiful Surrender by Priscilla West


     Kristen and Vincent's relationship has come to a crossroads. Kristen's heart is breaking, and just when she's the most vulnerable, a sexy man from the past comes knocking at her door looking for reconciliation. Should Kristen give in? Vincent isn't who she thought he seemed to be. Maybe this is just what she needs, but what she gets may not be what she wants at all.
     An exciting, action-packed conclusion to Kristen and Vincent's story that had me hanging on to my seat all the way to the end. I honestly felt like I was right there in the story with them as I felt the emotions pouring from the words. This was an amazing story from book one all the way to the very end. I can't wait to get my hands on another of Priscilla West's books.
     I rated this book 4/5 stars and recommend it.

Secret Surrender by Priscilla West


     A beautiful continuation of Kristen and Vincent's story. Things are looking great for the "forbidden" couple. Kristen has allowed herself to succumb to Vincent's seduction. They go on a trip to Vincent's private island, and things have really heated up between the two. Is Kristen falling for Vincent? Is there a chance that she could have a relationship that could help erase the scars from the past? There is a secret on Vincent's phone that may bring all of Kristen's hopes to the ground.
     I loved this book just as much as the first! I had to stay up late at night just so I could finish it because I had to know what happened. I loved the development of the relationship between the two and the crazy surprise at the end. Priscilla West knows just how to write to keep you hanging on for the next book.
     I gave this 4/5 stars and recommend it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Forbidden Surrender by Priscilla West


     This is a light read that actually surprised me at the end with a little depth. Kristen meets Vincent through work. Vincent, a bad-boy, surfer, and billionaire, becomes a client of Kristen's company. Immediately upon meeting him, Kristen finds herself lusting after the billionaire. This relationship could be forbidden since it is never smart to mix business with pleasure, but Kristen has a hard time reminding herself of that when Vincent is persistently seducing her.
     I actually really enjoyed this book. Obviously from the cover it is a book with sexy times, but it kept my attention all the way to the end. I've already started reading the second book, Secret Surrender, because I wanted to know what happens next in the plot.
     As a reminder, this book is recommended for age 18+.
     I gave this book 4/5 stars and recommend it.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sisters Red (Fairytales Retelling#1) by Jackson Pearce


     This is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Sisters, Scarlett and Rosie, live with their grandmother in a small, country town. One day the peace is disturbed by an attack of a Fenris that leaves Scarlett not only scarred physically on the outside but scarred inside as well. After the brutal attack, Scarlet makes it her life's mission to protect other young girls from the vicious Fenris. Scarlett and Rosie train to be hunters of the wolves. The drive of hunting is all that Scarlett knows, but Rosie hunts in gratitude to her sister for saving her life in the Fenris attack years ago. Silas, the woodsman, has returned to town and takes his place at the sisters' sides once again. The three join ranks in the war against the Fenris, even moving to the city where there are more Fenris to hunt. Soon Rosie and Silas become distracted in the growing attraction to one another. Do the three continue to function as a team or do they go their own ways?
     It sounds like such a good story, right? Well, I guess it was, but I got really tired of all the blood and gore. Descriptions of the blood, injuries, and the transformation process of the Fenris were repetitive. I listened to this on audio book and believe that it is the only reason that I finished the book. If I had been reading this I probably would have set the book down before finishing it. I did enjoy the voices of the narrator and Rosie, but did not enjoy Scarlett.
     I rated this book 3/5 stars. I can't whole-heartedly recommend this book, but if you just enjoy a retelling of a fairytale you might one to check this out. It just wasn't my cup of tea.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Because I Stubbed My Toe by Shawn Byous


Netgalley ARC
     A silly, entertaining story for children (and adults since I thoroughly enjoyed it) about a boy who stubs his toe and the events that follow. A truly gut-busting display of cause and effect is shown by the incidents that occur all the way to the end.
     The artwork was fabulous! The style was perfect for the story being told.
     I rated this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

Eddie and Dog by Alison Brown


ARC Netgalley
     A cute little story about a boy who wants a dog very, very badly.  Eddie, the little boy, finds a dog one day to join him in his adventures, but when he asks his mom if he can keep the dog she says no. The story shows us that the dog continuously comes back to Eddie, and because of the love and loyalty between the two they must find a way to convince Eddie's mom to allow the dog to live with them.
     The story and artwork were very entertaining.
     I rated this book 4/5 stars and recommend it.

Little Monkey Calms Down by Michael Dahl; Illustrated by Oriol Vidal


ARC from Netgalley
     I absolutely adored this story! I sat down with my 17 month old son and we read this book together. He paid attention through the whole book. The artwork catches the eye as well as entertains little ones. The storyline was perfect for teaching children about how to calm themselves after being upset. I loved, loved this book!
     I rated this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

Sailor Twain or The Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The charcoal drawings were appealing as well as the storyline. Taking place in the late 1800's, the story was about a ship's captain and his love and obsession with a mermaid in the Hudson River. I really enjoyed the development of the plot as the reader learned about the mermaid as well as the myths surrounding her kind. I don't want to discuss too much because I feel that it would spoil the story for others.
    I was captivated by the story and art and actually a little surprised of the ending.
    I rated this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

     This is a story of a young boy who is left to live with his undesirous extended family after his father and mother die when he is one year old. His upbringing is not a pleasant one but does not affect Harry Potter negatively. When Harry is older he is whisked away to a school that will teach him wizardry and help him connect to his past. While at school Harry learns skills that help him fight an evil that is forever present. This book was full of adventure, mystery, and entertainment that pulls the reader into the story.
     I rated this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Give Save Spend with the Three Little Pigs by Clint Greenleaf


This is such a great book for children that are at least 5 years of age. Younger than that, they may not understand. This was a great way to introduce financial ethics with characters that are familiar and loved. This presented a great message and story with wonderfully appealing art. I rated this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

A Bed for Fred by Lori Zoss

I absolutely loved this little book! A story of a growing pup who cannot find his bed. We follow along as he searches all day to find it. This book is written in a poetic way that I know that my son would fall in love with this book. With this being an ARC e-reader copy there were no pictures which makes me sad because I would love to know what the art would be like that went with this story. I rated this book 4/5 stars for the words and may have been 5/5 if there had been pictures.

I am excited to be able to edit this review. The pictures for this book were supposed to be included in this copy but technical error interfered. The publisher sent me a new copy that included the artwork.
This book is highly recommended by me! The words along with the artwork are fabulous! The artwork is so colorful and entertaining! I found myself  full of "aw!" and laughs as I re-read the story with the pictures. This is such a great book for little ones.
I now rate this book 5/5 stars for the beautiful word flow and artwork.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead


    A different take on vampires is evident in this book. Rose is a dhampir, which is a guardian to the Moroi who are vampires. Rose is Lissa's guardian, and they have shared a bond for many years that allows Rose to feel and even experience Lissa's feelings and environment. These two have been on the run from an unknown enemy, but are caught and taken back to the St. Vladimir's Academy from where they have escaped. While back at the academy they become engulfed by the world of teen life, popularity, parties, and relationships, but not all is as it seems. There is a danger lurking closely and seems to rear its ugly head as time goes on.
     I'll admit that by the end of this book I actually liked it, but it wasn't until the last 70 pages that my opinion changed. I wasn't too impressed by the story at the beginning. I couldn't figure out what all the hype was about when it came to this series. I made myself continue to read and I'm glad that I did because the last 70 pages were great. They were filled with action and danger that pulled me into the story. I'm looking forward to reading the second book in the series.
    I rated this book 4/5 stars and recommend it.

Easy by Tammara Webber


     This is a book about a young man with a dark past and a young woman with a future on which she placed all of her faith. Lucas hadn't known Jacqueline, but he had watched her from a distance. Jacqueline didn't even know that Lucas truly existed until one night he saved her from a horrible incident. Now it seems as if she keeps running into him. Jacqueline can't get him out of her head. Lucas is the "bad boy" with the tattoos to go along with that stereotype. He is sexy in every way. He's good looking, has tattoos, is mysterious, and knows how to teach a girl how to defend herself. Jacqueline can't seem to keep herself away from the mystery of him. This book is full of angst and passion, and takes you through the journey of falling in love and lust.
     I fell in love with this book! I enjoyed the mystery that surrounded Lucas and the love/lust that Lucas and Jacqueline shared. This was a book that was written to emulate real life, which was a nice break from all the fantasy I have been reading. I thought this book was going to just be a love/lust book with not much else going on, but there was an adventure presented by the incidents that happened as well as deception. I was entertained through the whole length.
     I found out that there will be a second book, Breakable, being released May 6, 2014. You better believe that I have already pre-ordered it!
    I rated this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.