Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Friends Stick Together by Hannah E. Harrison Blog Tour: Spotlight and Toddler Review

Dear Readers:
I don't know how many of you are parents and have little ones, but ever since I had Olivia, my now 3 and a half year old, I've been immersed in the world of kid lit. And believe me, there is a wide variety of books, some better than others. I was thrilled to get the opportunity to review FRIENDS STICK TOGETHER with Olivia who now definitely has her own opinions on books.

Goodreads Book Description: A touching and timeless story about finding friendship in unlikely places from the award-winning creator of Extraordinary Jane

Rupert is a rhinoceros of refined sensibilities. Levi, the new tickbird in class, is not. He burps the alphabet, tells corny jokes, and does really embarrassing air guitar solos. Worse, he lands right on Rupert and is determined to be Rupert's symbiotic best pal! Rupert wants him gone. But when Levi finally does bug off, Rupert finds the peace and quiet a little boring. It turns out, Rupert could really use a friend like Levi.

This sweet and moving friendship story shares an important message of acceptance for every reader--whether they're a Rupert or a Levi.

Author Bio: Hannah E. Harrison is an award-winning painter, specializing in animal subjects, and this is her fourth picture book. She majored in art and minored in creative writing at Colby College in the pursuit of becoming a children's book author/illustrator. Hannah lives in Oklahoma with her husband and daughters.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 couches

My review: From my adult eyes, this is one of the better children's books. First of all, it is beautifully illustrated and the animal paintings are really wonderful. I've noticed the high quality pictures in all of Hannah's books. The story itself has a great message-- while there may be things that annoy us in our friends, if they are good friends, it's important to keep those friends even if we don't realize it at the time. While Levi, the bird, seems like an atypical friend, he is loyal, and literally sticks to Levi as a tick bird. Plus, he helps Rupert by keeping those itchy ticks off of him! Some of the definitions and ideas were over Olivia's head and I think will be for other toddlers, but this book will definitely grow with them.

Olivia's review: My favorite character is the bird. He's silly. It's important to be a good friend. My favorite page is where Rupert spins around and throws up in the garbage can.

There you have it! If you have a child, this is a great book to pick up and explain the importance of friendship.

Check out the rest of the blog tour!

April 10GravityBread – Review
April 11Ensconced in Lit – Spotlight + Toddler Review
April 12Hey Angeli – Review + Lesson Plan
April 13The Delightful Life – Review
April 16Storymamas – Review
April 17Library Lady’s Kid Lit – Review
April 18HonorsGradU – Creative Post about Quality resources on symbiosis for elementary teachers
April 19All Done Monkey – Creative
April 20KidsRUs – Spotlight

Monday, April 9, 2018

Review of Can Somebody Please Scratch my Back? by Jory John

Dear Readers:
I love how I have started to review books with my daughter Olivia. We have found some gems together! Thanks so much to Penguin to providing this book for review. This fact does not change my rating or my review.

Goodreads Description: Persnickety Elephant has an itch--a big one--and he can't reach it! While he isn't above asking for a little help, no one is up to the task. Turtle is too lazy, Snail is too slimy, and Alligator... well, Elephant isn't sure he wants his assistance. Does Elephant have to do everything himself?

My Rating: 4 couches

My Review: Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? by Jory John and illustrated by Liz Climo is a super cute book about an elephant who can't scratch his back. He asks a lot of animal friends whether or not they can help him scratch and almost all are not helpful. But finally he meets one animal who helps him through his issue! The pictures are simple but clean and effective. The book's humor is good for both toddler and parent as there are some nuances only older people will get, but there's enough for toddlers to enjoy as well. The end is hilarious and I couldn't help but chuckle out loud. A fun read! My toddler has demanded to read this book every night for the past 3 nights, which is a good indication it's a keeper.

My toddler's review: I liked the porcupine the best, he was so funny. And the sloth was SO SLOW!


If you have little ones, this is a winner, pick it up! 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Review of Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier and ARC Giveaway (US only)

Dear Readers:
I wanted to talk about a really good book I recently finished-- thanks so much to HMH Teen for supplying this book and also allowing me to do a giveaway!

Goodreads description:
Ulises asked, "How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers."

Elias reached across the table and flicked aside two shells with a fingertip. The map curled into itself. "It's bound to be a goose chase. You know that?"

"Or a treasure hunt," Ulises countered, "and you've always been good at those."

Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar's oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way...until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.

The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias's father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king's beautiful cousin by his side—whether he wants her there or not—Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried...and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.

My Rating: 5 couches

My review: I was getting tired of fantasy and wasn't sure if I'd like this book, but man, was I wrong! It's a slow burn book, so it took me a little while to get into it, but it was way worth it because the payoff is so satisfying.

The book is from several different third person viewpoints, but the most frequent one, Elias, a mapmaker who along with a clever 9 year old, Reyna, find a mysterious map that seems to look like one of his dead father's... the catch is that it was made after his father's death. Elias, his beautiful love interest and bad ass friend, Mercedes, and his best friend who is now the king, Ulises, try to figure out the mystery, and nothing is as it seems.

The characters are great and are well developed and a lot is packed into this richly wrought fantasy. It might seem initially slow to people, but I would recommend sticking with it, because it will be worth it in the end. I loved the story, the world, and the characters and how things are never black and white, but shades of gray.

Overall, a beautifully written novel and is intricately plotted. A must read.


And now, thanks to HMH, a giveaway of the book! US only.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Monday, March 12, 2018

Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone and US giveaway of ARC of her book!

Dear Readers:
If you don't know this already, I love Tamara Ireland Stone. Not only is she an amazing writer, but she's a first class person- kind, generous, and just plain interesting. I was thrilled when I got the chance to read and review yet another one of her great books in advance of publication. Not only is this a wonderful book but LOOK AT THAT COVER!!!!

29924360Goodreads Book description: Next-door neighbors and ex-best friends Hannah and Emory haven’t spoken in months. Not since the fight—the one where they said things they couldn’t take back.

Now, Emory is fine-tuning her UCLA performing arts application and trying to make the most of the months she has left with her boyfriend, Luke, before they head off to separate colleges. Meanwhile, Hannah’s strong faith is shaken when her family’s financial problems come to light, and she finds herself turning to unexpected places—and people—for answers to the difficult questions she’s suddenly facing.

No matter how much Hannah and Emory desperately want to bridge the thirty-six steps between their bedroom windows, they can’t. Not anymore.

Until their paths cross unexpectedly when, one night, Hannah finds Luke doubled over in his car outside her house. In the aftermath of the accident, all three struggle to understand what happened in their own ways. But when a devastating secret about Hannah and Emory’s argument ultimately comes to light, they must all reexamine the things they hold true.

In alternating chapters, a skeptic and a believer piece together the story of their complex relationship and the boy caught somewhere in the middle. New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone deftly crafts a moving portrait of faith, love, and friendship.

My rating: 4 couches

My review: I absolutely love Tamara's books, so when I heard she was coming out with another contemporary, I was thrilled! I really enjoyed Little Do We Know! Thanks to Disney for sending this to me for review, and this fact does not change my rating or my review.

Little Do We know stars two protagonists in alternating chapters. We have Hannah, who is a devout Christian, who has never had her faith shaken... until now, and Emory, who lives next door. These two girls have been best friends their entire lives but one night changes everything.

I really enjoyed getting to know both Emory and particularly Hannah, who to me was the more intriguing of the two. I liked reading about someone who is questioning, and seeking, because I feel like blind faith is almost easier than seeking out the truth, pondering, and then making that decision to be faithful even so. Luke, Emory's boyfriend, was another great character and whose arc changes the fates of the two girls. I liked how the story came together, and how Hannah's church and father were shown to be human and three dimensional but still likeable.

I'm not sure how I feel about the big reveal at the end because I see why it was needed at the end, but it almost felt anticlimactic after everything that happens.

Overall, another lovely contemporary written by Tamara Ireland Stone. I will continue to pick up every book she writes!


And now, you get a chance to read this book in advance too! Just enter on the Rafflecopter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 9, 2018

Bygone Badass Broads by Mackenzi Lee, Left Bank Books event and giveaway of the book (US only)

Dear readers:
I'm so excited to introduce this book (and Mackenzi's event at the amazing Left Bank Books), because it's one we sorely need these days. Awesome women have been changing the world for a long time, and Mackenzi is highlighting those women, villains and heroes alike. You probably know her from the adorable Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (if you haven't read it, you should!). Without further ado, here's more about the book and the event!

BYGONE BADASS BROADS: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World
by Mackenzi Lee

Based on Mackenzi Lee’s popular weekly Twitter series of the same name, Bygone Badass Broads (Abrams Image; February 27, 2018; U.S. $19.99; Hardcover) features 52 remarkable and forgotten trailblazing women from all over the world. With tales of heroism and cunning, in-depth bios and witty storytelling, Bygone Badass Broads gives new life to these historic female pioneers. Starting in the fifth century BCE and continuing to the present, the book takes a closer look at bold and inspiring women who dared to step outside the traditional gender roles of their time. Coupled with riveting illustrations and Lee’s humorous and conversational storytelling style, this book is an outright celebration of the badass women who paved the way for the rest of us.

About the Author
Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Simmons College. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the historical fantasy novels This Monstrous Thing and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, as well as the forthcoming The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (2018) and Semper Augustus (2019). She currently calls Boston home, where she works as an independent bookstore manager.

About the Book
Bygone Badass Broads
By Mackenzi Lee
Abrams Image / February 27, 2018
U.S. $ 19.99 / CAN $24.99
Hardcover / 176 pages
6 x 8" / 52 four-color illustrations
ISBN 978-1-4197-2925-6

Stop by Mackenzi's website to see more tidbits!

Details about the event: Left Bank Books presents an event in honor of Women's History Month with bestselling author Mackenzi Lee, who will sign and discuss her new book, Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World!

Based on Mackenzi Lee’s popular weekly Twitter series, Bygone Badass Broads features 52 remarkable and forgotten trailblazing women from all over the world. With tales of heroism and cunning, in-depth bios and witty storytelling, Bygone Badass Broads gives new life to these historic female pioneers. Starting in the fifth century BCE and continuing to the present, the book takes a closer look at bold and inspiring women who dared to step outside the traditional gender roles of their time. Coupled with riveting illustrations and Lee’s humorous and conversational storytelling style, this book is an outright celebration of the badass women who paved the way for the rest of us.
This event is free and open to the public, but proof of purchase of Bygone Badass Broads from Left Bank Books will be required to enter the signing line. 
Parking: Lot one block north; street parking (meters free after 7pm). For directions and public transportation information, click here.

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 7:00pm
Left Bank Books
399 N. Euclid Ave.
Saint Louis, MO 63108
Buy the book at this link:

Now enter to win this great book!
a Rafflecopter giveaway