Monday, October 23, 2017

Blog Tour Review: 7th Grade Revolution

7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner on Tour October 23 - November 27, 2017

7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner and illustrated by Luke Spooner, October 24, 2017. 299 pages. Published by Vesuvian Books. Source: Blog Tour.
Inspired by True Events

Dennis Alexander: Washington Academy Middle School promises to be another in the long line of boring schools he has been expelled from.

Rhonda Snodgrass: Although trained from childhood in survival tactics, she tries to stay off the radar of the “cool” kids who think she’s weird.

7th grade turns out to be anything but normal when teachers announce the students’ bloodless revolution succeeded and they are now in charge. After conducting a secret-ballot vote on policy, the 7th graders emerge to find the school evacuated and the FBI lurking outside with the task of unearthing a treasure of national importance.

The students’ mission is clear—discover the treasure before the FBI locks down the building. Dennis and Rhonda lead the revolt and must work together to follow century-old clues left by a crazy Revolutionary War buff.

To stay one step ahead of the FBI, they must delve into history and amass an arsenal to defend their school … because this is WAR!
Purchase Links: 7th Grade Revolution on Amazon 7th Grade Revolution on Barnes & Noble 7th Grade Revolution on Goodreads
First Sentence
The gentle flump of a fly against the window caught his attention.

While this was a fascinating book, there were a couple things I did not like about it. Yet, overall it was a pretty fascinating and entertaining book to read.
  • 7th Grade Revolution was an interesting read in regards to the historical artifact that the students ended up searching for. I rather enjoyed how their search, and opposition to the FBI (in the book), forced them to reevaluate their perceptions of each other as well as how it forced them all to work through their differences. I like books where characters have to confront their preconceived perception of their peers, which this book a pretty decent job of handling. 
  • While I did like the aspects I mentioned above, there were some things I did not like. The biggest of them being that the characters were too stereotyped. Almost too the point that it irritated me as there was a lot of 'type-casting' (nerdy girl and bored boy). Rhonda and Dennis, yeah, I was hoping for 'more' out of them then what was proposed. I guess you could say that the way their characters read was lackluster. 
  • Personally, what I truly enjoyed the most about this book was the National Treasure-style hunt for the missing piece of history. It was a fascinating concept to add the story, especially since their school was once the house of a paranoid man filled with hidden areas. The added element of mystery and suspense really brought something extra to the overall story. 
  • As to the writing, it was good. Sure, the mystery aspect and search were by far the best-written parts of the book. As to the characters, they just did not seem to be consistently written in a fashion that reflected the ages they were supposed to be representing. Though I did enjoy seeing how the characters changed throughout the entire book; it gave me more reason to root for them on their quest to save their school. It was nice to see characters that you weren't fond of in the beginning evolve.
Final Verdict: 7th Grade Revolution- Overall, a pretty interesting read; though it could have used a little more attention on the characters.

7th Grade Revolution earns

Keep reading to learn more about the author and read an excerpt taken from the book. You can also enter for your chance to win a copy.

About the Author
Liana Gardner is the two-time teen choice award-winning author of the Misfit McCabe series. Daughter of a rocket scientist and an artist, Liana Gardner combines the traits of both into a quirky yet pragmatic writer and in everything sees the story lurking beneath the surface. Born in Seattle, WA and raised in southern California, Liana is definitely a west coast girl, but loves to travel.
She fostered her love of writing after reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and discovering she had a great deal in common with the character Jo. The making up of stories, dramatic feelings, and a quick temper were enough for her to know she and Jo would have been kindred spirits.
Liana volunteers with high school students through the International Trade Education Programs (ITEP). ITEP unites business people and educators to prepare students for a meaningful place in the world of tomorrow. Working in partnership with industry and educators, ITEP helps young people “think globally and earn locally.”

Check out Liana Gardner on lianagardner.comTwitterFacebook, & Instagram!

Read an excerpt:

A ghostly moaning carried to them across the water, along with clanking chains.
Selena smacked Spencer’s shoulder. “Knock it off. This isn’t time for any of your stupid pranks.”
Spencer shook his head. “It’s not me. I swear.”
Dennis believed him because he wouldn’t have had time to set up something so elaborate and he’d lost his cocky attitude.
Selena raised her finger and stuck it in Spencer’s face, but before she had a chance to say a word, more chains rattled followed by even louder moans.
Brooke squealed and scuttled backward until she hit the wall surrounding the grotto, hard. Stones cascaded down as the wall behind her crumbled from the impact. She held her head where she’d banged it.
Brooke sagged against the wall causing it to disintegrate a bit more. A bony hand flopped out onto her shoulder. She screamed.
“Get it off me. Get it off.” She bounced on the balls of her feet.
Spencer ran to Brooke and lifted the skeleton hand, but it was caught in Brooke’s hair. “Stand still for a minute so I can get it untangled.”
Dennis joined Spencer and helped pull the strands of hair from the joints. Behind Brooke’s head, a skull was partially visible. How long had the poor guy been walled up in the cavern lake? Well, he didn’t know guy or girl, but one thing was sure—this wasn’t some prank.
Excerpt from 7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner. Copyright © 2017 by Liana Gardner. Reproduced with permission from Liana Gardner. All rights reserved.


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Liana Gardner. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Gift Card AND 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of 7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner. The giveaway begins on October 23 and runs through November 29, 2017.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

A copy of this book was received for the blog tour for review consideration. All thoughts are my own. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Spinning Pages (30): My Brigadista Year

Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 

This week on Spinning Pages takes us to Cuba as thirteen-year-old Lora sets out to be a brigadista bringing literacy to her countrymen alongside and the dangerous times she experienced during her year away from home. A truly remarkable story!

I don't know about you, but I get so excited when the perfect song for a book leaps into my head!! I just knew from the moment my mind dredged up this one, which I simply love, that it needed to be paired with this book!!  

Letting Go by Suzy Bogguss-
Oh oh letting go
There's nothing in the way now,
Oh letting go, there's room enough to fly
And even though, she's spent her whole life waiting,
It's never easy letting go
These lyrics are perfection, guys! It fits Lora and her parents as they all face the difficult separation that comes with her joining the brigadistas for a year. We all know, no matter the form, letting go is so so hard. Yet, there's always a time and place for when it must happen; in this case, it is the Lora going out to Cuban countryside to teach, where there are bandits who would not think twice about killing her. 

When you really listen to the entire song, it is a tearjerker. I'll just warn you now! Yet it is one of my favorite songs from Suzy Bogguss. 

Want to learn more about My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson, then hop on over to my review to see my full thoughts on it. 

If you would like to watch the video for Suzy Bogguss' Letting Go, look no further than the video below! Hope you enjoy one of my favorite songs!!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Non-Fiction Review: Tokyo Street Style

Tokyo Street Style by Zoé de Las Cases, August 29, 2017. 80 pages. Published by Clarkson Potters. Source: Blogging for Books.
Adult coloring gets a makeover with charming, fashion-forward illustrations from this futuristic and glittering city. 
Wherever you’re off to, take Tokyo Street Style with you. Immerse yourself in this colorful city full of vibrant fashion and unique architecture. The stylish essentials laid out from your suitcase, elegant kimonos in store windows, and fashion-forward city dwellers complement the modern skylines. Embellish whimsical, full-page patterns with your own touch and enjoy Tokyo while you make your way through an iconic city.

This sleek, high-end package has an elastic closure and a satin ribbon marker so you can dip in and dip out of your own Tokyo fashion week. With nothing more than some colored pencils, you'll be on your way to a perfect day.

When it comes to coloring, I'm more of a casual, slow-poke coloring type of girl. Yet when I spotted  Zoé de Las Cases' Tokyo Street Style available for review, I could not resist checking it out! I was not to be disappointed in this decision.
  • Everything about this coloring book is beautiful; from the front cover all the way through the designs within. Design-wise, it's very pleasing to the eye; though the bright pink of the cover was a little shocking at first, although it actually pairs really well with the yellow stenciling on the cover. Okay, enough about the pretty, pretty cover design.  

  • I really enjoyed the variety of designs that Zoé de Las Cases created for Tokyo Street Style. Not only were the designs beautiful, but there were designs the were more minimal and those with more detail. The variety really makes it fun to flip through. Even better, the designs that have more going on are no so busy that they leave your head spinning as you try to decide where to start coloring. 

  • One of the things I enjoyed most about the designs was that it blended modern with a dash of traditional. I also really enjoyed the patterns that were used for backgrounds and on the clothes. I am actually really looking forward to spending some time coloring in the pages over the next few weeks. 

Final Verdict: Tokyo Street Style- This is probably the most eye-pleasing coloring book that I, personally, have come across! It's bright and cheerful without being too crazy!

Tokyo Street Style earns

A copy of this book was received for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I Want to Read It (75): Miles Morales

I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.

Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds, August 1, 2017. Published by Marvel Press. 
"Everyone gets mad at hustlers, especially if you're on the victim side of the hustle. And Miles knew hustling was in his veins."
Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He's even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he's Spider Man.

But lately, Miles's spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren't meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad's advice and focus on saving himself.

I don't know why, but the idea of Marvel publishing novels is weird! That being said, I am really curious about reading a novel featuring Miles Morales as Spider-Man, it just sounds like a fascinating spin on the Spider-Man franchise. 

Personally, I not a fan of Peter Parker but I really need to be introduced to Miles. His story is one that I want to hear; I don't just want to hear about him being Spider-Man, I want the story behind the hero and all the struggles that involves. I have not been this excited about a superhero character in a long time!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: My Brigadista Year

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, October 16, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review: My Brigadista Year


My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson, October 24, 2017. 208 pages. Published by Candlewick Press. Source: ARC from Publisher.
In an engrossing historical novel, the Newbery Medal-winning author of Bridge to Terabithia follows a young Cuban teenager as she volunteers for Fidel Castro's national literacy campaign and travels into the impoverished countryside to teach others how to read.
When thirteen-year-old Lora tells her parents that she wants to join Premier Castro's army of young literacy teachers, her mother screeches to high heaven, and her father roars like a lion. Lora has barely been outside of Havana -- why wold she throw away her life in a remote shack with no electricity, sleeping on a hammock in somebody's kitchen? But Lora is stubborn: didn't her parents teach her to share what she has with someone in need? Surprisingly, Lora's abuela takes her side, even as she makes Lora promise to come home if things get too hard. But how will Lora know for sure when that time has come? Shining light on a little-known moment in history, Katherine Paterson traces a young teen's coming-of-age journey from a sheltered life to a singular mission: teaching fellow Cubans of all ages to read and write, while helping with the work of their daily lives and sharing the dangers posed by counterrevolutionaries hiding in the hills nearby. Inspired by true accounts, the novel includes an author's note and a timeline of Cuban history.
First Sentence
"Ai-ee!" In all my thirteen years, I hadn't heard a screech that since the time I accidentally stepped on the cat's tail. 

When I was approached about possibly featuring My Brigadista Year on my blog, I said yes for two simple reasons. It sounded interesting and I had previously enjoyed another book, Jacob Have I Loved, by Katherine Paterson, the author of the book. So, what did I think of it?
  • To be quite honest, I cannot commit on how much of the book is actually factual and how much is not, when it comes to the brigadistas and their cause to promote literacy in Cuba, as this book was the first time I had even heard of that initiative. That being said, it was fascinating to learn something new about Cuba that had nothing to do with, well, it was just nice to see a positive historical fact, yes I looked into it, from Cuban history. Though the initiative, of raising literacy, really rather cool (I was curious and did some [skimming the surface] research on it).  
  • Beyond the historical aspects of the book, I want to now discuss Lora and what she experienced during the year she was in a brigadista. From the start, I knew she was going to be an interesting character to read about; as she decided and insisted at such a young age that she would help too, teach those who didn't have access to the schooling that she did, bring literacy. She's thirteen and wants to go out away from home to teach her fellow countrymen! That is pretty incredible, you know! While I don't want to spoil what happened during the year, I do want to mention how much it changed her. Not only did she assist her "family" in learning to read, they also taught her the value of working with your hands. There was definitely give and take during the whole endeavor. 

  • So as not to spoil too much of the book, let's talk about the writing! I actually enjoyed Katherine Paterson's writing more in this book, as I thought she did a great job with the setting and character development, than that of her last book that I read. Case in point, I meant to only read the first page to 'check out' the story, and then next thing I knew I was closing in on the end. Her writing and the overall storyline just really drew me in.
Final Verdict: My Brigadista Year- Was an incredible journey to read about! Lora's voice just flew off the page and her story kept me glued to the page (even when I should have been doing other things). 

My Brigadista Year earns

An advanced copy of this book was received for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Spinning Pages (29): The World's Greatest Adventure Machine

Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 

This week on Spinning Pages take son the adventure of a lifetime as Trevor, Nika, Cameron, and Devin win the chance to be the first adventurers on the Castleton brothers mind-bending ride. A trip that would force them to step outside of their comfort zone...

This was one of the easier books to pair with a song. Pretty much once I hit the halfway point in the book, I knew that it would have to be this song from Reba McEntire. See why.

I'm Gonna Take That Mountain by Reba McEntire-
I'm gonna take that mountain
Ain't nothing gonna slow me down
There ain't no way around it
Gonna leave it level with the ground
I ain't just gonna cross it, climb it, fight it
I'm gonna take that mountain

It's overwhelming looking up
Knowing it's the challenge of
Me against this heartache to survive
I may slip and I may fall
But even if I have to crawl
I'll break through to the healing side
As I was reading The World's Greatest Adventure Machine, I knew that this was the song I would pair with it. It so perfectly captures the struggle and fights that Nika, Cameron, Trevor, and Devin had during their adventure. Not only were they pushed to their limits within the adventure machine, they also had to face their fears and confront their abilities. All of which is why this song is well suited for the book. 

Want to learn more about Frank L. Cole's The World's Greatest Adventure Machine, then check out my full review to see why it was such a fascinating read!!

You can also listen to Reba McEntire's I'm Gonna Take That Mountain, a great song when you need some encouragement/inspiration to get through a tough spot, by checking out the video below!!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review: A Heart Like Mary's

A Heart Like Mary's: 31 Daily Meditations to Help You Live and Love as She Does by Edward Looney, October 6, 2017. 160 pages. Published by Ave Maria Press. Source: Publisher.
A Heart Like Mary's is the perfect book for all Catholics wishing to begin or deepen their devotion to Mary. Author and Marian theologian Rev. Edward Looney guides us through thirty-one daily meditations on the unique characteristics of Mary’s heart. This easy-to-read and engaging monthly devotional is full of practical lessons that address the personal challenges we all face as Mary’s fellow pilgrims walking the path of faith.

In the midst of feeling lost in his prayer life and relationship with God, Fr. Looney found himself reflecting on who Mary is and how he could be more like her. He learned that by daily meditating on Mary's attributes and praying for the grace to have a heart like hers he could turn his pessimistic and critical thoughts into optimistic and charitable ones.

A Heart Like Mary's offers readers a simple yet reflective introduction to Marian spirituality by way of a month-long daily devotional. Readers come away with a clear sense of who Mary was, how she cares for and looks after the faithful, and how we can honor her in our daily lives.

I was so surprised and excited to have received a copy of Fr. Edward Looney's A Heart Like Mary's in the post for review consideration. It was a timely received book; one whose message of praying for a heart like Mary's that was much needed.

  • I'll be honest here, I know that it was supposed to be thirty-one days of meditations...but I read it in one day. On the bright side, my reading it in one day was so that I could review it sooner with the plan of rereading it again starting this week; that and I have my parents and sisters reading it, too, now. 
  •  There was so much to enjoy about this book, from the short meditations about different characteristics of Mary's heart and how to implement them in your life, to how so many of the passages, like patience, spoke right to my heart. I mentioned above that this book arrived in a timely fashion, a time that I needed to hear to be more patient, so a lot of aspects of the book felt more personal.  
  • Fr. Edward Looney's writing was really refreshing. The way he laid out the daily meditations, as well as the broad scope of them, made the book light yet full of depth of the heart of Mary. As he pointed out, this is in no way an exhaustive look at her attributes, nor of how we can learn from her life, but a good starting point to gaining a better understanding of her and how she can draw us closer to Jesus.  
Final Verdict: A Heart Like Mary's- A beautiful look into the heart of Mary; a clear and simple message to help you grow in your faith. 

A Heart Like Mary's earns

A copy of this book was received for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I Want to Read It (74): The Afterlife Academy

I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.

The Afterlife Academy by Frank L. Cole, September 8, 2015. Published by Delacorte Press.
Walter Prairie knows how to deal with bullies. He just has to beat them to the punch. But he doesn't see the biggest hit of his life coming when he is struck dead by a bolt of lightning. Before Walter even knows what's happened, he is sent to a Categorizing office, fast-tracked through the Afterlife Academy, and assigned as a Guardian Agent to protect a High-Level Target.
Walter's HLT, Charlie Dewdle, isn't exactly the most popular kid in school. He's what you might call paranormally obsessed. When Charlie finds an ancient book with spells that can be used to open the Gateway for demons to wreak havoc on earth, it's up to him and Walter to fight an eclectic horde of enemies and protect humankind at all costs.
But saving the world isn't so easy. Especially when your protector doesn't know the first thing about the Underworld, bullies like Mo Horvath are trying to hunt you down, pretty and popular Melissa Bittner is suddenly talking to you, and your parents think you're going crazy.

Having just finished reading Frank. L. Cole's newest middle-grade book, The World's Greatest Adventure Machine, I was curious to see what his previous books were about. Which is how I stumbled upon The Afterlife Academy on Goodreads; the bonus is that it sounds pretty interesting. 

While the write-up sounds a little kooky, it looks to be an entertaining, though light, adventure book! Personally, I'm really curious about how the author plans on pulling off the premise of this one; though I am willing to give it a chance because his other book was really quite good. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The World's Greatest Adventure Machine

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, October 9, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review: The World's Greatest Adventure Machine

The World's Greatest Adventure Machine by Frank L. Cole, August 8, 2017. 320 pages. Published by Delacorte Press. Source: Publisher.
An adventure novel about four lucky kids and a mysterious, but thrilling ride for fans of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Jurassic Park!
CastleCorp and the famous Castleton brothers are unveiling the World's Greatest Adventure Machine! The roller coaster is an experience like no other, and four lucky kids have won the chance to be the first to ride it.
There's Trevor, whose latest stunt got him in trouble at school again. There's Devin, whose father is pushing him to be the next Internet sensation. Nika's wealthy grandfather isn't too pleased about her participation. And Cameron, he'll be the first to tell you, is a certified genius.
The whole world is watching. But as the kids set off on their journey, they begin to realize that there is perhaps more to their fellow contest winners than meets the eye. And the Adventure Machine? It might just have a mind of its own.
Join the contestants on their wild ride if you dare. Your adventure starts now! 
First Sentence
Trevor Isaacs sat in the passenger seat of the faded red Buick, his faced pressed against the window.

How could I possibly resist a book that has the words "world's greatest" and "adventure" in the title? I cannot, that's the answer! I am so excited to have been approached with the opportunity to feature The World's Greatest Adventure Machine on my blog since it ended up being really good. 
  • While this book started off a little on the slow side, I still enjoyed it because the slow start gave the reader a chance to get to know the characters individually before their stories were merged together. I really liked getting the glimpse of what set each character apart and how it affected their daily lives before you really dig into what will happen to them during their adventure. It really sets the stage for the growth that they go through during the entire book.
  • From the beginning, I knew that there was something fishy about the whole contest in gathering the four children as the 'winners'. That aside, seeing the four of them slowly begin to build up trust and friendship was one of the best parts of the book. Especially since none of them really had that before they met due to their varying conditions, of which you'll learn more about throughout the course of the book. There's a tremendous amount of character growth for all four characters throughout the book. 
  • For me, the plot was fairly easy to solve. While I will not be going too in-depth as to why, because no one wants a spoiler, I do wish that the mystery surrounding the problems of the Adventure Machine had been, well, more just more. To my mind, it was just too obvious on who/what was plaguing their adventure. I would have loved to see it a less obvious twist to the ending; though I still found the book entertaining.  
  • As for the writing, I thought Frank L. Cole did a great job with the characters and their story arcs. It was really well done and made each of them, and their individual stories, well worth reading as they came to grips with things and faced challenges that pushed them beyond anything they had previously encountered. I also really enjoyed how the whole sequence of events within the adventure machine went; it was trippy and entertaining.  
Final Verdict: The World's Greatest Adventure Machine- A twisty and entertaining read with some of the best character development I've read in ages!

The World's Greatest Adventure Machine earns

A copy of this book was received in consideration for review. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Spinning Pages (28): Curse of the Iris

Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 

This week on Spinning Pages takes up back into space with the Hashoone family as family secrets are unearthed and secrets of the past, battles that no one will openly speak of, begin to be revealed!! Really exciting things, you know, happened that really made this a fascinating read!

Are you ready to see which song will be paired with Jason Fry's Curse of the Iris!! I hope so because this one fits so so well with so much of this book!! Be excited!!

I Won't Back Down by Tom Petty-
Well, I won't back down
No, I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

No, I'll stand my ground
Won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground

Considering all that they're up against in the Curse of the Iris, their old pirate nemesis, rebels, and the government, the entire Hashoone family has to stand their ground while walking a thin line between piracy and being privateers. Even though at times it looks as if they'll fall apart as the kids vie for the opportunity to be the next captain, they seem to always manage to bring it together when it really counts. All of this is why I chose Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down! I just feel that it perfectly captures my feelings on the dynamics of the book and all that happened.

Curious as to why I really liked this book, then feel free to check out my full review of Jason Fry's Curse of the Iris!

Since you're here, you should check out the video for Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Non-Fiction Review: Queso

Queso!: Regional Recipes for the World's Favorite Chile-Cheese Dip by Lisa Fain, September 26, 2017. Published by Ten Speed Press. Source: Blogging for Books.
A fun, full-color look at everyone's favorite cheese dip, with history, tips, facts, and 50 recipes from beloved food blogger Lisa Fain, "the Homesick Texan." 
Queso (aka chile con queso) is a spicy, cheesy, comforting cult favorite that has long been a delicious addition to any party, barbecue, or family gathering. This appealing and accessible book features a mix of down-home standards and contemporary updates, from historical, regional, and Mexican quesos to vegan and dessert quesos, including Chile Verde Con Queso, Squash Blossom Queso Fundido, Fajita Queso, Cactus and Corn Queso Poblano, Frito Salad with Queso Dressing, Pulled Pork Queso Blanco, and Sausage Queso Biscuits. Whether you're relaxing with friends, having a few people over to watch the football game, or entertaining a hungry crowd, queso is the perfect party food for good times.

You may be wondering if I've lost my bookish mind with the strange books popping up for review lately here on the blog (kids almanac and now a cookbook), but rest assured, I have not lost my mind. I just could not resist featuring some different books here on the blog. 

  • While I have not had a chance to attempt making any of the recipes (yet) in Lisa Fain's (otherwise known as The Homesick Texan) book on queso, but I definitely plan on trying to make a couple of them because they look simply delicious! The reason I took on reviewing a cookbook is that is because a)  queso is so good and b) because I miss Texas and c) because it is nearly impossible to find a descent queso recipe.

  • Not only does Lisa Fain include some scrumptious sounding queso recipes, there's some history to the different quesos separated by region and background. I really liked how this was more than a cookbook; it was more like a history appreciation of cheese. For those unfamiliar with making chili con queso, there's a short guide and explanation to the various chilies and cheeses that one can/will use when cooking. 
  • Mouthwatering looking dishes aside, this book is really very beautifully put together with delightful colored pictures that really highlight the different dishes. It just a really well put together cookbook...and now I'm starving and totally in need a serving of chili con queso; even more homesick for Texas!! 
Final Verdict: Queso!: Regional Recipes for the World's Favorite Chile-Cheese Dip - Not only is it pleasing to the eye, this cookbook makes me want to be more adventures with cooking!!

A copy of this book was received through the Blogging for Books program for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

I Want to Read It (73): The Rise of Earth

I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.

The Rise of Earth (Jupiter Pirates, 3) by Jason Fry, June 14, 2016. Published by HarperCollins. 
For Tycho Hashoone and his family, space privateering is more than a business—it’s a way of life. Now that the Jovian Union needs their help more than ever, their way of life is about to get a lot more complicated.

Earth is preparing to mount an arms race, and it seems they’ve started recruiting privateers of their own. Meanwhile, the Ice Wolves of Saturn are still on the offensive, and their ruthless tactics make them look like the pirates of old. Trapped between two formidable foes, the Jovian Union has asked for all hands on deck—and that includes the Hashoones and their ship, the Shadow Comet. The stage has been set for a showdown on the Cybele asteroids, a place where neutrality is for sale and friends always go to the highest bidder.

With so many players vying for power, Tycho will have to decide once and for all where his allegiances lie. Because the day when his mother will step down as ship captain is approaching fast—and the fate of much more than the Shadow Comet hangs in the balance.

What can I say, I really do want to see how things will play out in the final installment of the Jupiter Pirates. There are a couple things I am really hoping will happen in Rise of Earth. One of those being the naming of a new captain (though I have a good idea who it'll be; the same person I've been thinking of since book one to be exact). Plot theories aside, I just hope that the author is able to conclude the series in a satisfying way. One that will leave no questions unanswered, or at least clear up the bigger plot questions that were left over from the last book.

Regardless, I am definitely looking forward to (one day) getting my hands on a copy so I can see how it'll end. 

Want to learn more about Jason Fry's The Jupiter Pirates, then check out my reviews of the first two books!!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Curse of the Iris

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, October 2, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review: Curse of the Iris

Curse of the Iris (Jupiter Pirates, 2) by Jason Fry, December 16, 2014. 352 pages. Published by HarperCollins. Source: Publisher.
It's been a tough year for Tycho Hashoone and his family. Hostilities between the Jovian Union and Earth have reached a boiling point. The privateering business hasn't exactly been booming. And the ongoing contest for the captain's seat of the Shadow Comet has the three Hashoone siblings perpetually on edge. Then the Hashoones intercept a ship--one with a long-dead crew, its final mission a warning to all who seek their fortunes in space. The Hashoones don't have time for ill omens; they need a payday. Following clues from the mysterious ship, they embark on a hunt for the long-lost treasure of the Iris--a treasure that Tycho's own great-grandfather Johannes had a hand in hiding. But in his quest for the Iris cache, Tycho is going to dig up much more than he bargained for. Because like old pirate treasure, family secrets never stay buried for long.

Filled with action, intrigue, and one unforgettable family, The Jupiter Pirates: Curse of the Iris takes readers across the depths of space and brings the Jupiter Pirates saga to new heights.
First Sentence
Tycho Hashoone went over the checklist in his head one more time before he stepped back from the cannon in the bow of the Shadow Comet

I really meant to write this review months ago but...things happened and I'm only just now getting around to it. Let's see how Curse of the Iris held up to Hunt for the Hydra, okay!!

  • You know how I enjoyed reading Hunt for the Hydra, well Curse of the Iris was even better! I really liked the progression of the character arcs, especially seeing how each of them was trying to grow in different directions, and how more of the past was brought to light. It was definitely an interesting read that made certain characters make big choices that would affect the whole scheme of the story.
  • I mentioned above that I really liked how the book delved into more of what happened in the past, like how the Hashoone's went from being pirates to privateers working for the government, and how things did not go down exactly how they were told. It was just really well done and gave the story more depth to see what happened leading up to where they're at now. At points, the history of what happened all the years ago was more captivating than what was going on in the present, simply because it had such an impact on the course of the characters lives, that there almost needs to be a book that explores the full scope of story of the past...of course, that's just because it was intriguing to me. 
  • Even though I know that Tycho was competing for the captaincy with his sister and brother, I really wish that they could have done it in, well, a less contentious fashion. I wanted to knock the older brother upside the head at points because he was such a jerk! Even so, it was nice to see them work together when it really mattered. Overall, I still really like the family dynamic of the Hashoone's and have enjoyed reading about their adventures thus far.
Final Verdict: Curse of the Iris- An exciting continuation of the Hashoone's adventures in space!

Curse of the Iris earns

A copy of this book was received for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.


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