Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The Step-Spinsters


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 30, 2017

Fiction-Review: The Step-Spinsters



The Step-Spinsters by Madina Papadopoulos, July 18, 2017. Published by Createspace. Source: Author for review.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away... ...(actually, in Medieval France, to be exact) there lived Cinderella's stepsisters, Fredegonde the tall and Javotte the small. They wake up the morning after the legendary ball to learn that they each still have a chance to be the bride-all they have to do is make their feet fit into that tricky slipper. Alas, these two damsels under stress never quite seem to fit in anywhere. But that doesn't stop them from wishing and hoping as they set upon a quest for grooms and grandeur of their own.

First Sentence
Though she wasn't much of a sleeping beauty, Fredegonde's eyes were sealed shut, as if she wished to sleep for the next hundred years.


I am not sure how to classify The Step-Spinsters...It's definitely not what one would call "NA", but also not really "YA" either...it's just a really good spin on the story of Cinderella (we'll just leave it at that). 
  • I am really excited to discuss Madina Papadopoulos' retelling, or new spin, on the classic Cinderella story. There were so many elements of the book that I really enjoyed; chief among them how she gave more depth to the overall story and the lives of Cinderella's stepsisters. It was a welcome change to an old tale and one that I think y'all will enjoy, too. 
  • If you know me, then you know that I enjoy historical books especially when the setting is done well. Which it was in this book. As I was reading, it really felt like the author was familiar with medieval France; it's all in the small details that show how much research was put into creating a believable medieval setting. I'm a stickler for world-building, be it fantasy or contemporary, as I want to see the world of the book come alive. I could go on about the setting, but I'll leave that for y'all to discover for yourself. 
  • I really enjoyed seeing a more in-depth look at Fredegonde and Javotte's personalities, as well, as their mother. It was really interesting to see their side of the story and how they differed so much from each other; let's not forget the relationship between them and Cinderella, it was explored in a totally different manner than most versions. Not only were their motives, Fredegonde's, marrying well to be more in charge of her house, and Javotte's, to marry for love, made them more real than any version of read/see of them. Especially when you read about their story in the context of the time that the book is set. 
  • Overall, the writing and storytelling in The Step-Spinsters were highly enjoyable! I'm not sure there's much more to discuss with this book without delving too far into spoilers. Just that I enjoyed it more than I thought I would!
Final Verdict: The Step-Spinsters- What if there was more to the tale of Cinderella than meets the eye. Well, that's what you'll see when you dive into this retelling that focuses equally on the three young women and their stories as they search for happiness. A rich setting adds so much to this already enjoyable read.

The Step-Spinsters earns


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

Friday, October 27, 2017

Spinning Pages (31): 7th Grade Revolution


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 a school somewhat different than others. One where the 7th-grade class has 'staged' a bloodless revolution putting them in charge of their grade; and searching for a long-lost Civil War-era relic that could change history. 

Keeping reading to see what song is going to make the cut this week on Spinning Pages. I'll you this, it was not easy finding a song that went well with this book. 

History by EXO-
Black and white, still north and south
The endless war scene
The despair of the sun split in half

I went round and round from far away
And I came back here to start again
I’m filled with errors
But as I learn, I can get stronger
The day we realize that the sun
Is one that is big and great oh oh
All together going toward our future

It took me a few hours to find the 'right' song for Liana Gardner's 7th Grade Revolution. One that would fit the mystery and the characters. I'm pretty pleased with this week's song and lyric selection to pair with it, though.

I chose Exo's History because the (above) lyrics made me think of the difficulties that their class went through during their 'rebellion' and how they almost let their differences prevent them from finding the treasure supposedly hidden within their school. It not only fits that aspect of the book but also how they were forced to look at each other in a way that went deeper than their surface. 

You can see my full thoughts on Liana Gardner's 7th Grade Revolution by checking out my review

You can also watch the music video for History by Exo!!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Non-Fiction Review: New York Street Style



New York Street Style by Zoé de Las Cases, August 29, 2017. 80 pages. Published by Clarkson Potter Publishers. Source: Blogging for Books.
Adult coloring gets a makeover with charming, fashion-forward illustrations from the city that never sleeps. 
Wherever you’re off to, take New York Street Style with you. Transport yourself to bustling New York, and give life to the city. Beautifully detailed outfits, accessories, and hairstyles complement iconic skylines and intricate street scenes. Embellish whimsical, full-page patterns with your own touch and window shop the elegant stores of New York 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 New York fashion week. With nothing more than some colored pencils, you'll be on your way to a perfect New York day.


You know how I said I really enjoyed the artwork from Tokyo Street Style, well I could not resist snagging a review copy of Zoé de Las Cases' New York Street Style, as well. Keeping reading to find out why!!
  • While it may take me ages to actually color in a single sheet, I'm really excited about the artwork in this coloring book. I actually enjoy Zoé de Las Cases' illustrations more than the ones in most adult coloring books. Usually, the designs are so busy that one I never know where to start; yet with hers, they're just really nice. The pages are detailed yet not overflowing with designs to the point where your head hurts just from looking at it.

  • I'm not all that familiar with New York, though I have driven through parts of it. So, I cannot vouch for the scenery and wardrobe in some of the illustrations; though I did find most of them to be very appealing to the eye as there's a wide variety of styles in what the people are wearing. 
  •  When it comes to the designs, other than the clarity of design in the illustrations, what really draws my eyes is the panels with a minimal feel. Like the ones that have just one person and a short message; it's panels like those that catch my attention because it is simple yet well done. Overall, I just really like the variety of panels with this coloring book. You have the busier designs that will take more work to finish, then you have the more minimal designs that you could color in a short time. It keeps the pages fresh and entertaining as you can choose the level of difficulty for your mood.

Final Verdict: New York Street Style- Zoé de Las Cases' designs are really vibrant and fresh! I love that there's such a wide variety of designs with her coloring books; you have your more difficult panels then there are the easier ones, too.

New York Street Style earns

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I Want to Read It (76): The Guggenheim Mystery



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 Guggenheim Mystery (London EyeMystery, 2) by Robin Stevens, August 3, 2017. Published by Puffin. 
My name is Ted Spark. I am 12 years and 281 days old. I have seven friends.
Three months ago, I solved the mystery of how my cousin Salim disappeared from a pod on the London Eye. 
This is the story of my second mystery. 
This summer, I went on holiday to New York, to visit Aunt Gloria and Salim. While I was there, a painting was stolen from the Guggenheim Museum, where Aunt Gloria works.

Everyone was very worried and upset. I did not see what the problem was. I do not see the point of paintings, even if they are worth £9.8 million. Perhaps that's because of my very unusual brain, which works on a different operating system to everyone else's.

But then Aunt Gloria was blamed for the theft - and Aunt Gloria is family. And I realized just how important it was to find the painting, and discover who really had taken it. 
Why

I actually just came across the London Eye Mystery series while browsing Goodreads-for this post- and knew that I had to feature it this week! I know, its the second one, but it's the most recent one and I really want to delve into this series...

Pretty much everything about both The London Eye Mystery and The Guggenheim Mystery has piqued my interest. What really makes me want to read this series is that Ted Spark sounds like a fascinating character, that and both mysteries sound entertaining. There really are no words to describe why exactly this series calls to me, just that it does. Though I am curious to see how Robin Stevens will continue the series, after I eventually read book one that is, that Siobahn Dowd began a decade ago.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: 7th Grade Revolution


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 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.
WHEN UNEARTHING A NATIONAL TREASURE BECOMES A NATIONAL INCIDENT
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.

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Liana Gardner. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com 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.
Why

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.
Why

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!

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