Saturday, December 28, 2013

Book Review: Morris Has a Cold

Sky (my 7 year old daughter) and I read Morris Has a Cold as part of her K12 literature and comprehension class. She loved it, and we read it probably five times yesterday. She especially liked the dialogue where Boris is attempting to get Morris to eat some soup. The best part was that she could read it on her own. 

Morris the moose gets a cold and his friend Boris attempts to help him. Unfortunately Morris is not the brightest and he gets confused about pretty much everything. For example, when Boris asks to feel his forehead Morris replies that he does not have four heads. Boris tries to point out that it is called a forehead but Morris says no that is my one head. 

Throughout the entire story Boris shows an incredible amount of patience in dealing with Morris. Though he does get angry at times Boris never gives up on helping his friend. 

This book was very funny and I imagine we will be reading it another 4 or 5 times tomorrow.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Review: Because I Stubbed My Toe

Because I Stubbed My Toe is about a boy who causes a bizarre series of event by stubbing his toe.  It reminded me of when I was a kid and read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Although, I have to say, I like this story a lot more. The illustrations are vibrant and, might I add, hilarious. I especially liked the one where the boy is landing on the overcrowded bouncy house.

The best part about this book for me was that my 7 year old daughter could just about read it by herself. She struggled with a few words but was enjoying the story too much to get frustrated. Of course, as it is a picture book, we had to stop at every page so she could comment on the ridiculous scenarios "Why are the bees chasing the old man? Why don't they turn around and chase the boy?". Of course my favorite comment came after she saw that the kids had run screaming into the zoo, "Oh jeez... that can't be good.".  

The lively illustrations even held the attention of my one year old twins. Which in and of it self is an accomplishment. 

So it seems that whether you have toddlers or beginning readers this book will hold their attention and keep them laughing. Not to mention it provides a great opportunity to discuss cause and effect with the older children. All in all, it's a big win for anyone trying to pass the love of reading on to their kids. 

I got to read an advance copy of this book through 

It is due to be released on February 1st 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Book Review: Princess Ruby: The Make Up Ballet Class

I got to read a digital copy of this book for free through Storycartel so I figured I'd see what my 7 year old thought of it. The book is about a young girl who is nervous about going to a new dance class because she won't know anyone there. In the end she faces her fear, goes to the class, and has a great time.

My daughter liked the book well enough, though she liked the bright colorful pictures the best. The only reason I gave this a four instead of a five was that it was a little basic for my kiddo. I think this would go over better with four and five year old kids. That said the ballet terms were a little advanced for the age group that I think would like this the best.

For me, I liked that they showed a realistic scenario that a lot of kids (and adults) go through when they step out of their comfort zone. Great premise and I will probably read it to my twins again when they get a little older. 

I placed the review above on Amazon but wanted to add a little more here. 

Along with the digital book I also got to listen to the audio book. The narration is great and I loved the different voices. The narrator did a an excellent job of making the book come to life and I actually enjoyed it more than reading the print version on its own. My oldest daughter also enjoyed the audio book better, partially due to my mispronunciation of some of the words :) but mostly because of the great voice acting. Well done!

Book Review: Swimming to the Moon/ A Collection of Rhymes Without Reason

This book is filled with funny poems that often have life lessons in them. I loved the Pants poem as I have quite a few pairs that are fairly close to the ripped up grass stained ones in the poem that I just can't let go of. The I'm Running for President one gave me a bit of a chuckle as well.
The only negative thing I have to say about it was that the meter was a bit off in a few of the poems. Nothing major but it did make me stop mid poem a few times to see if I had read it correctly.

All in all I've really enjoyed it though. I got to read the digital version for free through Story Cartel but I am planning on getting the print copy for my mom as she is a huge fan of Shel Silverstein. Young or old this book is definitely worth checking out.

The above is my review from Amazon.

I wanted to say a little bit more about one of my favorite poems from Jeff McMahon's Swimming to the Moon. Tree Climbing 101 had me laughing and reminiscing about my own tree climbing adventures. As a kid the first few times I climbed a tree getting as high as I wanted wasn't an issue it was finding a way to get down that presented a problem. I remember my dad said when I asked for help to get out of a tree for the first time, "If you can't get down you shouldn't climb up". Needless to say I had to find a way down on my own. At the time I was angry that I was left up there but having to figure it out on my own actually gave me a lot more confidence and it was a lesson I've carried with me throughout my life.

Tree Climbing 101 brought back some great childhood memories for me. Whether you are still out climbing trees or sitting on a park bench admiring them Jeff McMahon's poems bring out the child in each of us.

To check out this book on Amazon go to Swimming to the Moon / A Collection of Rhymes Without Reason

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Book Review: Street Smart Vegan: A Simple Guide To Going Vegan

This book has a ton of great information not only on going vegan but also on eating right. Jay Wesley Anderson does a great job of showing the benefits of the vegan lifestyle without preaching to the readers. He outlines the dangers of chlorine, fluoride, high fructose corn syrup and aspartame as well as the problems with dairy and meat. Not to mention he backs up all his claims with hard evidence. The best part about this book was that it was easy to read and even though there is a lot of information packed into the pages it doesn't feel overwhelming.

The only negative thing about this book is that it has some editorial errors. There's a few places where words are doubled up or misplaced.

A few years ago I was having some digestive problems and cut meat out of my diet for about 6 months. During that time I felt better and seemed to have more energy. I have been toying with the idea of becoming a vegan for some time now and this book gave me a few more reasons to give it try. I think I just found another new years resolution.

I got to read this book for free compliments of Story Cartel.

The above review was originally posted on Amazon.

This book is a really good reference guide for starting out on the path to becoming a vegan. The recipes look like they would be good although I have no idea where I would find wheat-grass juice, among other things, in my town. There are also a few websites listed with vegan recipes if the ones in the book don't look appealing. 

I really enjoyed the interview with the guy that lost 125 lbs by going vegan. He gave some great insights into what it was like and what he ended up struggling with. 

Regardless of whether the vegan diet/lifestyle appeals to you this book has some great information on healthy living. 

To check out this book on Amazon Street Smart Vegan: A Simple Guide To Going Vegan

Book Review: Zombie West Trilogy

I've got to say that when I first read the title and description for this book I was skeptical.  I mean, come on, zombies in the old west? I definitely did not expect to get wrapped up in the story. But I did,  I enjoyed all three books and had a hard time putting them down to sleep at night.

Red has a secret, zombie bites don't kill her, and desperate people want to tear her apart to find out why. Initially Trace sees a wanted poster with her picture and follows her in the hopes of making a quick buck. But through several close calls in towns he begins to understand why she's running and eventually he even falls in love with her. Together they accumulate a small group of people who are trying to outrun the plague.
I won't say these books had me hooked from the first chapter on, Red and Trace are fairly abrasive and take a while to warm up to, but by around the 5th or 6th chapter I was all in. These books had me on the edge of my seat and at one point in book three I had to set the book down and pull myself out of the story so I wouldn't cry.
If you are a fan of zombies or just good thrillers, this book is definitely one to check out.
I got to read a free digital version of this book through Story Cartel.

I originally posted the above review on Amazon.

I really enjoyed this series. The characters caught my attention and some of their actions took me by surprise. My favorite book of the series is the last one. I thought the character development as well as the shocking turn of events near the end was very well done. My favorite character, from his first appearance onward, has to be Kitchi, the tough as nails, brutally honest native boy. Although to be fair, I really liked all the characters. These are some great books, kudos Angela Scott, very well done.

To View this title on Amazon go to Zombie West Trilogy

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Book Review: Odd Weird & Little

Woodrow gets picked on... a lot. So when a new kid from Canada shows up wearing a tie and carrying a briefcase, Woodrow is a bit relieved. Finally there is someone stranger than him for Garrett to pick on.  But once Woodrow realizes that he and Toulouse have quite a bit in common they become friends.

Unlike Woodrow, Toulouse seems to excel at everything he does, but this doesn't stop the other children from making fun of him. He is short, doesn't speak much and writes with a quill, not to mention he's the prime suspect when one of the class goldfish disappears. In the process of defending his only friend, Woodrow learns to stand up for himself as well.

I got the opportunity to read this book through NetGalley. I really enjoyed it and I think my 7 year old will too.

The only negative things I have to say about it is that Toulouse's secret isn't difficult to figure out. That being said, I'm not sure it was supposed to be. Also the story seemed too short, while the ending wasn't bad, it left me wanting to read more about the odd duo.

While Toulouse's secret isn't very hard to guess, (just read the table of contents) it doesn't take away from the story at all. Odd Weird & Little does a great job of showing kids that being a little weird is perfectly okay. I also liked that bullying was a big part of the story.

"I scowl at him. One of the rules at school - the kid rules, that is - is that kids don't tell on other kids. If a kid does something against the adult rules, even if it's a kid you don't like, even if what he did is really bad, or even evil, it's against the rules to tell the adults. The adults have to find out stuff on their own." 

Most children do live by the "kid rules" and never tell anyone when they or someone else is being picked on. In the book, Woodrow goes from following those rules, to standing up for his friend, and though at first they are afraid to, eventually the other kids join in. This is more than just a book about a peculiar boy, it's a story about bravery and doing what is right.

For those interested, Odd Weird & Little is due to be released on 01.28.14

Book Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures Volume 1, from

Let me start by saying that I love the Ninja Turtle's, I have since I was a kid. In fact, I joined Tae-Kwon-Do because I wanted to be a Ninja Turtle, I even chose the bo-staff as my weapon because Donatello was my favorite character. Keep in mind that this was the 90's version of the cartoon, so when I first saw the new TMNT I wasn't sure that I liked it, it's a lot more anime than the one I grew up with . My daughter, on the other hand, loves the new show and through hours of watching it with her I have to admit that it has grown on me. So when the opportunity to read a new TMNT comic book through NetGalley came up I jumped on it.

The book contains four different chapters each with a self contained story, so you won't be lost if you read the fourth one first. The authors did a great job of capturing each of the characters personalities in the dialogue. The illustrations are also amazing, after each chapter there are a few stand alone drawings that would make fantastic posters. I especially liked the one with the baby turtles and the pizza box (you'll find it near the end).

I read the first two chapters with my daughter (she's 7) and she recognized Snakeweed right away. This was the first experience she's had with comic books so I had to pause a few times to explain that different speech bubbles meant different tones of voice. Even with the breaks she was still laughing and enjoying it the entire time. She even retold the episode where she first saw Snakeweed when he showed up in chapter two. After she went to bed I ended up reading the last two chapters on my own.

The last chapter, featuring the Shredder, was by far my favorite. Two words: Hallucinogenic fruit. So whether it's for the great artwork or the cool stories, this book is definitely worth reading. Booyakasha!

To view this title on Amazon go to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures, Vol. 1