Tuesday, January 31, 2017

TTT: 10 Favorite Picture Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme features 10 of my favorite picture books.  Here we go!

Flotsam by David Wiesner
A camera gets lost in the ocean.  Wordless.

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming
Three bunnies get into so much trouble.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
Classic mouse book. 

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Bear loses his hat.

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle
A wordless book about a little girl dancing with a penguin.

Maple by Lori Nichols
A little girl plays with a tree that she is named after.

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett
Two boys dig to find treasure with hilarious results. 

Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood
Cat hates nothing more than Valentine's Day, but will he find a Valentine in Dog?

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes
What happens when Spring comes? 
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
How other animals see cat.

Do you have any favorites?
Leave me a list or link in the comments!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Published by Jimmy Patterson in September 2016
Stalking Jack the Ripper #1

"Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world." - From Goodreads

Will you like it?
If you like murder, Victorian London, mysteries, mayhem, or horror, you will love this book.  I listened to the audiobook version, and I loved the narrator's accent.  She made the whole book come alive for me.

There was one part that mostly gave away who Jack was, so that wasn't as entertaining as I thought it was going to be.  Also, the ending was not entirely realistic.  I think Audrey would have been bound by society's rules for learning about the forensic sciences.   I still really enjoyed this book, and I will add the rest of the series to my to-read shelf on Goodreads.

Disclosure: I borrowed the audiobook from my local library via Overdrive.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

January Picture Book Round-Up

Instead of combining all of my challenges together into quarterly update posts, I've decided on doing a monthly picture book round-up for my picture book challenge hosted by Becky's Book Reviews.  So here are the books I've added to my challenge list in January.

3. Concept book: shapes or numbers or opposites or colors
Big Bear, Small Mouse by Karma Wilson

4. A book set on a farm or in the country
Otis and the Kittens by Loren Long

8. A book with animal characters
Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

17. A book about pets (cats, dogs, fish)
Cat on the Bus by Aram Kim 

28. A book by Margaret Wise Brown
Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

39. A new-to-you illustrator
A Greyhound, A Groundhog by Emily Jenkins
Illustrated by Chris Appelhans 

60. A book by Kevin Henkes
Egg by Kevin Henkes

84. A book about the seasons
Hap-pea All Year by Keith Baker

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Published by Algonquin Books in August 2016
2017 Newbery Medal

"Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule--but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her--even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known." - From Goodreads

Will you like it?
This book was so awesome!  I loved the characters.  They were so well thought out that even the ones with the smallest roles you felt you knew.  How they also weaved together was also pure genius.

I also enjoyed the magical aspects of this story.  At its roots, this story was about good versus evil.  To defeat the evil, Luna and Xan did not have to use their magical powers.  The townspeople were able to crack the witch's power by having hope.  Luna in the end uses her magical powers for protection, not for injuring.  Love that!

This is definitely a book that I'm going to recommend to a lot of people.  This Newbery will translate well over ages and even over genres.

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore

How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore
Published by Imprint in January 2017
2017 Debut Author Challenge

"Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do--through intimidation and manipulation.

After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change--but it's impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne's war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won't go down without a fight--not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what's left of herself." - From Goodreads

Will you like it?
I loved this book.  I struggled with this book.  Olivia and Adrienne are total mean girls.  They enjoy breaking down other people, and take pleasure in humiliating others.  Until Olivia's brother dies, and that event gives Olivia a wake-up call.  She knows wants to go away to college, but without a great SAT score that's not going to happen.  Whit DuRant comes in and helps her, but then becomes the focus of Adrienne's wrath.

I was astounded by the lengths that each girl would go to one-up the other.  I was flabbergasted by the lengths they would go to to get back at people.  Everything that happens in the book is because of grief.

I would recommend this book to anyone that loves contemporary.  I can't wait to devour anything else Laurie Devore writes.

Disclosure: I received an electronic galley of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Daughter of the Pirate King

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which shines a light on eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.  This week, my pick is:

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Date: February 28, 2017

"A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King." - From Goodreads

I'm beginning to really enjoy reading about pirates!  I can't wait to read this one; it's been getting a lot of buzz lately!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

TTT: Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is books I wish I could read again for the first time.  Here we go!

Who wouldn't want to read Harry Potter for the first time?

Alanna: the First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
I first read this series when I was in middle school, and I love it now just as much as I did back then. 

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
I love Princess Mia.

All girl spy school?  Count me in. 

I love this trilogy about first love and first loss.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
This story has evolved greatly from it only being about bad-ass female assassin, and I love it even more!

What are some books you wish you could read for the first time?
Leave me a list or link in the comments?

Monday, January 23, 2017

[January 2017] What I'm Watching

The BF & I are currently watching the Office again.  We just recently finished season 2 again.

Watching the Office is like visiting old friends.  I love watching Jim and Pam's romance blossom.

Is there anything that you've been watching lately?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
Published by Disney-Hyperion in January 2017
Passenger #2

"All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them." -- From Goodreads

Will you like it?
I had a hard time with this book.  Without spoiling too much of the book, Etta and Nicholas find themselves separated by time.  Again.  They are apart nearly the entire book, which I found to be a complete drag.  Etta and Nicholas have amazing chemistry when they're together but they're complete Debbie Downers when they are apart.  Bracken has them do a lot of internal self-reflection, and it was getting to be a bit too much in this book.

I feel like the time traveling rules changed a bit from book to book.  I don't know if I could even put my finger on what felt different, but something felt off.

Honestly?  I'm glad I read this book.  I'm glad that I read Passenger and Wayfarer back to back, but I don't know if I would have finished Wayfarer had I waited more time.  If you like character driven stories, this one is for you.

Disclosure: I won the Kindle edition in a Twitter giveaway.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Library Loot [4]

Here are some books that I've received from the library lately!

Cook It In Cast Iron by the editors of Cook's Country
The BF got a cast-iron skillet for Christmas, so now we need to figure out what to cook in it!

Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich
Love Stephanie Plum!

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
This is for a book club I think I'm going to participate in on Facebook.

Have you brought home any goodies from the library lately?
Leave me a list or link in the comments!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cookbook Nook: The Pioneer Woman Cooks

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From an Accidental Country Girl by Ree Drummond
Published by William Morrow Cookbooks in October 2009

"Paula Deen meets Erma Bombeck in The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Ree Drummond’s spirited, homespun cookbook. Drummond colorfully traces her transition from city life to ranch wife through recipes, photos, and pithy commentary based on her popular, award-winning blog, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, and whips up delicious, satisfying meals for cowboys and cowgirls alike made from simple, widely available ingredients. The Pioneer Woman Cooks—and with these “Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl,” she pleases the palate and tickles the funny bone at the same time." - From Goodreads

I love love love love love the Pioneer Woman.  I have followed her blog for many many years, and I was so excited that she came out with a cookbook.  The recipes in this cookbook are ones that do not use weird ingredients.  There is a nice variety of cowboy vs. cowgirl food, which I appreciate.

Pictures: The recipes in this book come with step-by-step pictures!  It's amazing!  I love knowing what things are supposed to look like during a certain point in the recipe.

You must buy this and keep it in your rotation of normal weekly recipes.  You won't be disappointed!

Disclosure: I purchased my own copy of this book, because it's so awesome!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Last of August

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which shines a light on eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.  This week, my pick is:

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Date: February 14, 2017

"Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring—the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers.

So begins a dangerous race through the gritty underground scene in Berlin and glittering art houses in Prague, where Holmes and Watson discover that this complicated case might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other." -- From Goodreads

I loved the first in this series, and I can't wait to see the trouble Jamie and Charlotte get into.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

TTT: 10 Hidden Gems of 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is books I wish would turn into movies.  Here we go!

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Geocaching for books.

The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude
Ivy's cousin gets murdered in a weird whodunnit.

Underwater by Marisa Reichardt
After Morgan is in a school shooting, she becomes a recluse.

With Malice by Eileen Cook
Jill has amnesia after a school trip, and may have accidentally killed her best friend. 

I am Princess X by Cherie Priest
After the death of her best friend, May now sees images of Princess X, a character they created together.

Zero Day by Jan Gangsei
Ten years after getting kidnapped, a girl is reunited with her family.  Her father just happens to be POTUS.

Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers
Lea must exact revenge on the people who killed her family.

The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin
After a series of mistakes, Harper must learn to forgive herself.

The Girl I Used To Be by April Henry
Olivia must solve her mother's murder before she's another victim.

The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright
An American studies abroad and meets her Prince in England.

What were your hidden gems of 2016?
Leave me a list or link in the comments!