Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Picture Book Review: Happy Dreamer

There are no dreams too big or too small, but there are lots of different types of dreams!

I loved this book, so full of the power of dreams. The illustrations are super fun and the emotions run through it. I love seeing all the different creative types. Even if the dreams fail, there's always moving forward, which is important to see. 

Another great picture book for public and school libraries!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Graphic Novel Review: Spinning

Tillie has a love/hate relationship with skating. After she moves to Texas, her life changes. She still wakes up before dawn to practice her figure skating and arrives after school to practice her synchronized ice skating.

In moving and switching everything, Tillie feels lost in the ice skating world. She has to find new friends. She puts her energy into skating and excels, but she doesn't love it anymore. She can't bring herself to quit, but she's miserable, especially after her first girlfriend breaks up with her.

Can she find a way to be happy again?
My Thoughts: I devoured this book. I couldn't wait to see what happened to Tillie. I loved the skating world, even the terrible moments. I felt bad for Tillie as she went through the world miserable and questioning everything, not letting people get to close to her. I loved it when she found friendship, acceptance, and of course herself. The drawings were wonderful. I haven't read too many graphic novel memoirs, but if there anything like this, keep them coming. I'm eager to see what she does next!

I feel like this one is perfect for kids who might be too young for Shannon Hale's Real Friends, but could use a similar read.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library

Fun Fact: January is National Ice Skating Month. So for more novels about ice skating, check out this post from a few years ago.

Library Recommendation: Perfect for public libraries and middle school and high school libraries.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Review: Duke in Shining Armor

* First in a new trilogy* 
A Duke in Shining Armor (Difficult Dukes, #1)
Lady Olympia's supposed to get married this morning. After years, she's finally found herself a husband. But she's having a hard time saying yes to him. In fact, after a few sips of liquid courage, she means not to say yes. She escapes out the window.

The groom's best friend has one job for the wedding, make sure everything goes off without a hitch. She when he spies a lady in white running away, he follows her.  He intends to take her back to get marries, but Lady Olympia has other ideas.

Finally, he agrees to take her to her aunt's house. But the journey takes longer than he realizes. For the first time in his life, he's desperately trying to do the right thing, but nothing works out the way he expected. He certainly can't be attractive to his best friend's almost bride.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the Olympia was so bookish and had a system for the library books. I love that she wore glasses. I loved that the ton thought her bookish and boring but Hugh brought out her playful side. I loved their banter and how they drove each other crazy. I enjoyed Hugh trying desperately to do the right thing for the first time in his life. I appreciated the bond between the Dukes. I really enjoyed his aunt the part she played in the story - support, comfort, and a few high jinx herself. I'm eager to read the next book in the trilogy.

Cover Thoughts: Stunning
Source: book sent for review (Avon Addict)
Fun Fact: I went to an Avon author event with Loretta Chase and 4 other authors. It was magical.

Library Recommendation: Grab this one for your public library, you won't regret it!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Friday, January 26, 2018

Review: Refugee

Refugee Three different kids.

One mission in common: ESCAPE.

Josef is a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world.

Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety and freedom in America.

Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe.

All three young people will go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers–from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But for each of them, there is always the hope of tomorrow. (summary from the publisher)

My Thoughts: I really liked this book. I loved the short chapters; they kept me turning the pages quickly along with the cliff hanger endings. While the stories were dark and sometimes hard to read, the characters did remain hopeful. It's a fantastic book for discussion. Even though the stories ranged over a significant time period, they are relevant more than ever. I loved the ending and how the stories tied together. 

Cover Thoughts: Well done
Source: My library
Read for: Middle Grade Cybils Award
Library Recommendation: This one should be in all the school and public libraries.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Blog Tour: All We Knew

All We Knew (The Cabots, #2)
More than anything, Sara wants a child. But with each new failure, she looses a little piece of herself. Her husband, Hunter, seems more concerned about the family business than their personal life. She has no doubt that he loves her, but she's not sure that love is enough.

When her last option for a child of her own fails, Sara imagines the worst. But a new hope comes from an unexpected source. If all the pieces fall into place, she could have the family she's always dreamed of having.

Hunter's trying desperately to keep the family business from selling, but it's a tangled web. His ideas for the company have been turned down so far. He's willing to do the work to prove himself if he could simply have the opportunity. But lately he's fighting two battles - one at work and one at home. Could he lose at both?
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book; it was beautifully written and tugged at my heartstrings something fierce. my heart broke for Sara. I felt sad for Hunter in dealing with all the family issues, particular the business, but there were times when I just wanted to smack him. I loved seeing familiar characters from the first book and I'm so looking forward to the next book and seeing how everything plays out. I had a hard time putting this book down. I really liked Sara's volunteer work. I loved her moments with Ty. All We Knew is different from many women's fiction books because the couple is already married, but they're going through a rough match. And it works really well.

Cover Thoughts: Beautiful
Source: ARC sent for review
Library Recommendation: Grab this series for your public library
Librarians: Jamie Beck is fantastic to host at your library for an author event.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Picture Book Review: Bruce's Big Move


Bruce isn't crazy about the mice who have taken over his home and never left. With the four geese following their crazy plans, life gets stressful. So he packs up the geese and moves
.Bruce is grumpy about all the chaos in the house, but he's also really sweet too. The mice are certainly a handful and get into all kinds of trouble. The story's both funny and sweet. And the illustrations are charming. This is the third Bruce book and all are charming.

Grab this one for your school and public libraries!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Review: Amina's Voice

Amina hates the spotlight; she has a hard time projecting her voice. Even though she loves music, Amina would rather stay in the background. But she at the age when everything starts to change.

Her best friend is just about to become a US Citizen and she's thinking of changing her name. Soojin wants a more American name. Amina can't imagine calling her best friend by another name. Emily starts hanging around both girls. Amina isn't interested in Emily's friendship but Soojin befriends her.

Amina's uncle is coming to stay with them for a time. He's stricter than her parents. His ideas make Amina nervous - especially the ones about music.

Music soothes Amina's soul. With all the changes in her life, it's the one thing that gives her joy. Especially after someone vandalizes their mosque. Can she use music to help her and other heal?
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. I loved Amina's struggle to find her voice and her courage. I enjoyed the family dynamics. I really loved the Oregon Trail game - brings me right back to my childhood. I liked the food descriptions and the family celebrations. My heart broke when the mosque was vandalized. But I loved how the community came together to help. I really enjoyed the friendship moments between Soojin and Amina and the new friendship with Emily. 

Cover Thoughts: I love the colors. Enticing.
Source: My Library
Fun Fact: I read this for the shortlist of the Middle Grade Cybils Awards.

Library Recommendation: Grab this one for both school and public libraries!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Cruel Prince

Prizing and samples provided by NOVL.

About The Cruel Prince
By #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, the first book in a stunning new series about a mortal girl who finds herself caught in a web of royal faerie intrigue.
Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him—and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
About the Author
Holly Black is the bestselling author of contemporary fantasy novels, including Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale and the #1 New York Times bestselling Spiderwick series. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award and the Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award. Holly lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Theo, in a house with a secret library.

Key Links + Social Media

Follow Holly Black on Twitter and Instagram
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Cruel Characters: Villains we love to hate

Often times I think it must be fun to create a villain. There are two that come to my mind as my most hated villains. The first is:
See the source image

She's just SO awful.  A terrible bully who bulldozes everyone in sight unless they agree with her. She's worse than Voldemort for me. Of course he's no Prince either. 

And the second is Joffery:
See the source image
He is a Prince and then a King but he has no respect for anyone and treats people horrifically. I wasn't sad when he died. 

Both of them are terrible people but also great characters because they invoke SO many feelings. Of course I'm always wanting the villains to fall but there are more you want to see earn their just rewards than others. These two are the height of villains for me.

Who is your favorite villain to love?

Adorn Yourself
Look your most bewitching at the revel! One (1) winner receives:
  • Copy of The Cruel Prince
  • Acorn necklace
  • Twig of thorns ring
Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by NOVL.
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Friday, January 19, 2018

Blog Tour: Princess Pulverizer


Meet the princess who'd rather wear a suit of armor than a crown!

Princess Serena (or as she prefers, Princess Pulverizer) doesn't want to be a princess--she wants to be knight! But her father, King Alexander of Empiria, thinks she still has a lot to learn when it comes to exhibiting valiant behavior. So he presents a challenge: the princess must first go on a Quest of Kindness and perform good deeds to prove that she truly deserves to go to knight school. With help from a friendly dragon named Dribble and a perpetually terrified knight-in-training named Lucas, can she complete her quest and discover what it really takes to be a hero?


 Nancy Krulik is the author of more than two hundred books for children and young adults, including three New York Times Best Sellers. She is best known as the author and creator of the Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo; George Br
own, Class Clown; How I Survived Middle School; and Magic Bone book series. Nancy lives in Manhattan with her husband, composer Daniel Burwasser. When she's not writing, Nancy can be found reading, going to concerts, traveling, or running around Central Park with her crazy beagle mix, Josie.

I really enjoyed this book. From the very beginning it hooked me.  Princess Pulverizer knew what she wanted and she went after it; she wasn't going to let anyone tell her differently. I liked her determination. I really liked the idea if a Kindness Quest. I loved the dragon and the knight she met along the way. I love their team work. I wish I had a dragon who made me grilled cheese. Looking forward to their next adventure!

8 Ways for you to show kindness:
1. Leave an anonymous nice note on a school locker or in a library book
2. Donate gently used books to a school or public library
3. Volunteer somewhere - anywhere
4. Donate food to your local food shelter
5. Make some no sew blankets or ties for animals in shelters
6. Help our your neighbors with an errand, shoveling, raking leaves...
7. Send cards to military overseas
8. Bake something delicious and give to your local fire station, police station, post office, library....

How do you show kindness?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Movie Review: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

See the source image Last weekend, I went to see this movie and it was wonderful.

Here's what I loved:
The characters - I loved how they changed in body but love how they remained the same. I adored how Jack Black played Bethany (from the phone withdrawal to the flirting). All of them were great - perfectly playing teens who needed more confidence.

I love the flirting/training montage. And how that all worked out.

I loved the teamwork. And the problem solving.

A fantastic mix of humor and action.

I loved the ending - both the cameo and how the adventure changed their lives.

And I REALLY hope they make a sequel.

Bottom Line: Go see this movie. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Picture Book Wednesday: Press Here


The yellow dot has instructions that come with it, allowing for a playful story.

A fun, interactive story that readers will enjoy and want to read again and again. Best shared in small groups or one on one. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Goals

This week's topic is bookish goals. I feel like I write the same goals every year and just forget about them. I'm going to try harder not to let that happen this year. But I might be fighting a losing battle. 
 meme from That Artsy Reader Girl

Goals I'd like to accomplish this year:

Reading Goals:
Read 365 picture books
Read 250 kids/middle grade/YA/Adult books
Read at least 1 book/month that I own and haven't read yet.
Finish judging the Cybils books
Read the books I've written in my monthly goals

Blogging Goals:
Blog 340 times this year
Read more blogs and comment on them
Post more personal posts - not just book reviews
Start posting movie reviews again

Bookish Goals:
Attend BEA this year

I feel pretty good about these goals - what's on your list to accomplish this year?

Saturday, January 13, 2018

RWA: CT chapter

Today's the first official meeting of the year and it 's my first meeting as the Vice President of Communications. 

Wish me luck this year!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Positivity Prompt: Teen Me

Libraries: Teen me would have been surprised that I'm a librarian. Mostly because the idea never really occurred to me. Plus, libraries have changed so much in 25 years. Also our library in town was very small; I didn't even know that teen librarian jobs existed. 

Books: Teen me would not be surprised that I still love books and reading, even if I no longer read sad stories.

Writing: Teen me would be happy I'm still writing and surprised that I finished a book. I never finished anything in my teen years.

Art/Crafting:Teen me would be happy I'm still crafting even if I'm not painting as much and I'm more into paper crafts.

Clearly I found things I love in my teen years, they've evolved with me, but I still enjoy them.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Review: Turn it Up

Lidia and Sydney aren't just best friends, they're the new co-captains of the Nightingales, the high school a cappella group. The group hasn't won a competition in years and Lidia and Sydney have big plans for this year; they can't wait.

One day before work, they plan to meet at a coffee shop. Lidia's a few minute late and when she arrives, she spies the boy she's been crushing over forever kissing her best friend. She flees.

And they don't talk about it, leaving the wounds to fester. They both handle it badly until Lidia blows up at the first Nightingales meeting. Their dirty laundry comes out. Will they let one boy affect the group?
My Thoughts: If you're a fan of Pitch Perfect, you're going to love this book. I felt badly for both girls as they struggled with their feelings. I loved the moments with the group singing - as they struggled to find their identity. I loved Julianna and how she overcame her stage fright and found her voice. I liked the pranks between the Kingfishers and the Nightingales. I loved Lidia's family and their singing moments. I enjoyed her dancing and her determination. I loved the moments with Jack, especially in the moments in the candy shop. I liked the moments between Griffin and Sydney. I really liked how the girls came back together and how they moved forward. 

Cover Thoughts: Super Cute
Souce: ARC sent for review
Library Recommendations: Grab this one for your schools and public library.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Book Spotlight: High Hand

The Acclaimed Espionage Novel That Eerily Predicted Trump and Russia."
Dr. Vince Houghton, the Historian and Curator of the International Spy Museum 
About the Book:
Title: High Hand
Author: Curtis J. James
Publisher: Copper Peak Press
Years before the rise of Donald Trump, this acclaimed international thriller predicted the future. A billionaire businessman is on a glide path to the White House. When an award-winning investigative reporter and former Moscow correspondent gets a call from a friend in Russia, he returns to his old stomping ground in a high-stakes bid to uncover the truth about the Republican candidate's secret ties to the Kremlin--and discovers bizarre intervention by President Vladimir Putin and a US spy agency's covert effort to alter the presidential race. 
Books imitating Life:
 Dr. Vince Houghton, the Historian and Curator of the International Spy Museum, took an extreme interest in High Hand and feels the authors essentially predicted the 2016 election. Its hard to overstate how prescient this book is, especially considering how long it takes from when a book is actually written until it is published, Dr. Houghton reveals. Rosen, Harris and Ellenberger were thinking about Russian interference in an American presidential election years ago. Throw in the billionaire Republican candidate and the espionage angle and youve got the classic recipe for life imitating art. The only problem these authors will have is convincing people they didnt hastily write this book in the summer of 2017.
About the Authors:

Curtis J. James is a pseudonym for the three writers who collaborated on this book, an amalgam of their first names. They are Curtis Harris, James Ellenberger, and James Rosen.

JAMES ELLENBERGER worked for nearly 30 years in numerous capacities with the national AFL-CIO. A Vietnam War veteran, he has written numerous articles on international labor affairs, social insurance and medical care for injured workers. He is a founding member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

CURTIS HARRIS is a physician-scientist who is world-renowned in the field of cancer research. Dr. Harris has published more than 500 journal articles and 100 book chapters, has edited 10 books, and holds more than 25 advanced biotechnology patents owned by the US government. He is chief of the Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis at the NIH National Cancer Institute. He is adjunct Professor of Oncology at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

JAMES ROSEN is an award-winning political and national security journalist who reported from Moscow during the historic collapse of the Soviet Union. Since then, he has covered the Pentagon, the White House and Congress, producing a number of complex investigative articles on insecure nuclear weapons (loose nukes) in Russia; alleged Saudi complicity in the Sept. 11 attacks; sleeper Islamic jihadist cells in Europe; and a range of other cutting-edge topics.

For more information, visit and connect with the authors on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.