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Saturday, March 30, 2013

I'm Blogging From A to Z Challenge, Are You?

Talk about cutting it close!  I finally decided on a theme for this challenge.  I had a year to prepare for it but of course I had to procrastinate.  Now I've provided myself a stressful April.  Oh well, it'll truly be a challenge since I don't have pre-posts done.  Like last year I'll be flying through this thing by the seat of my pants!!

For those of you who may not know about this challenge.  Well, it's an invitation to bloggers to post everyday except on Sundays for the month of April thematically (or not) from A to Z (4/1=A, 4/2=B, 4/3=C, etc.).  Go HERE to learn more and sign-up.  If you sign-up, let me know so I'd be sure to stop by ..there are over 1600 participants so I want to make sure I catch yours.

Oh, so what is my theme?  Well, I was looking through my Goodreads bookshelf that I've read that still needs to be reviewed and ran across Riordan's The Lightning Thief.  It gave me pause and got me thinking about Greek Mythology.  I can't say I recall learning much at school about it so here's my opportunity to gain some knowledge on the subject.  Hence, my theme will be Greek Mythology.  Wish me luck!!

See you Monday! 

Kindle Deal of the Day: Stephenie Meyer Books

I'm guessing to line with the premiere of the movie, "The Host", Amazon decided to have 6 of Stephenie Meyer's books on sale.  So here they are:


The Host; The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner


Twilight; New Moon; Eclipse; Breaking Dawn

I picked up "The Host" since I haven't read it yet and the rest I have.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Freebie Alert: Starseed by Liz Gruder

Sci-fi fans, look what I found browsing the Kindle freebie aisle ...

Kaila Guidry has always known she is different. After all, her mother insists Kaila hide her hair under a tin foil shield and a wig before leaving the house. When Kaila meets Jordyn Stryker one day at school, she starts to understand the origin of her mother’s seemingly irrational fears.

Jordyn Stryker was born and raised far from Earth, a starseed, one of six new students sent undercover to Louisina’s Bush High to learn human ways. When Kaila is pushed to her limit by high school bullying and cruelty, Jordyn steps in and awakens her to a new reality, and to love. Out of loyalty to him, Kaila looks the other way when the real purposes of the starseed begin to unfold.

As the horrific plan behind the starseed visit to Earth moves forward, Kaila and Jordyn, caught in an impossible love, must face who they really are and decide where their true loyalties lie. (Goodreads)
Get it now while it's free!  I haven't a clue when the promo ends.

Click link below to check it out.

Guest Review: Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki

Yay, my son David is back as a guest reviewer. You may remember his review of Scary School by Derek the Ghost, HERE.  Well, I read his "A" paper he did for this Mochizuki book and thought I'd share it with you all ..with his permission of course.  I haven't read it myself so the following is his rating and review of the book.  If you have the time, make his day and let him know your thoughts about his assessment of the book. Thanks. :0)

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki, YR, 1993, 32p, Rating=4.5

When a Japanese-American boy and his family are interned in a camp during WWII, they decide to combat their depression by building a baseball field. During a game the boy channels his humiliation--both from being a prisoner and from being a bad player--to anger, giving him the strength to hit a game-winning home run. (Goodreads)

Title: "Foul Ball"

This story "Baseball Saved Us" by Ken Mochizuki is a story about a war that changed a boy's life.  Let me tell you more ...

Once the attack of Pearl Harbor happened the Americans put the Japanese in camps.  The camps were hard to be in and small.  Then the people built a baseball field for something to use there time.  There were tower which was a big part in the book.  At the end of the book the boy hit a home run.

It was unfair that the Americans locked them up without a trial.  The camp also broke the families apart.  When they built the field it brought families together and made them enjoy their time.  There were towers that represented everything that was happening.  When Shortie hit the home run it represented that he got his life back.

Overall it was unfair what happened to the Japanese.  But it was amazing how they powered through the pain with baseball.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Brief Reviews: Picture Books Edition

Caarina the Cooking Fairy by Julia Dweck, YR, 2012, Kindle ebook, 26p, Rating=3.5
Source: own

Caarina is all set to create a delicious feast for the Fairy Queen. However, a pesky gremlin attempts to foil Caarina’s plan. Can Caarina “beat” him? Who will be “whipped,” gremlin or fairy? Young readers will enjoy this clever fantasy adventure, sprinkled with word play and more than a dash of fabulous fairy fun for all! (Goodreads)

Cute story about determination, persistence, and faith in one's abilities.  Really lovely illustrations, very girl friendly.

Zombie-Kids by Julia Dweck, YR, 2012, Kindle ebook, 22p, Rating=5
Source: own

Zombie-Kids is a ghoulishly fun rhyming adventure. Did you know that zombies are people that have feelings, too? They like to be loved just like me and like you. Join the Zombie-Kids as they bowl, dance, skate, and go to the movies in their unique zombie-way. The Zombie-Kids will tingle your spine and tickle your funny bone. (Goodreads)

The illustrations are ghoulish and dark but the rhyming story provided an entertaining and light look.  The zombies here are fun and kid friendly.  This is my favorite Dweck book I've picked up to date.

Surprise in the Kitchen by Mary Lee, YR, 2012, 32p, Kindle ebook, Rating=3.5
Source: own

Mia is a sweet little girl with a big imagination. She loves adventure, but cooking is just not is not her thing. To show her mom just how much she loves her, Mia decides that she will try anything. The consequences are hilariously delightful. (Goodreads)

One can't help but adore Mia's adventurous imaginations.  Here her mom invites her to make cookies.  Of course it's more fun to eat them than make them.  Also more fun to imagine sweet treats in the sea, on trees, etc.  Later she decides to surprise her mom and make her breakfast.  You can imagine how that went!  ~Cute read.

The Wizard of Oz by Big Red Balloon, YR, 2013, p, Rating=3
Source: own

Based on the original L. Frank Baum's classic, this newly illustrated picture book is perfect for sharing with pre-and beginning readers. It's full of bright colorful pictures and short enough to hold their attention. This retelling even includes scenes like the giant evil spider and the land of porcelain dolls rarely seen from the original book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. (Amazon)

A synopsis kind of story telling.  For example, "Once there was a happy girl ... one day a tornado came ...then this happened, then that, ...".  A child friendly summary of the original Wizard of Oz story.  My only qualm was the size of the framing of the picture pages.  It was a bit too small (upper 1/3 of my Kindle screen) so I had to squint to read the words.

Not Just a Princess! by Mary Lee, YR, 2012, Kindle ebook, 32p, Rating=3.5
Source: own

Mia is a sweet little girl with a big imagination. She has lots of fun playing pirate, having tea with a mermaid and flying with rainbow-swans. In this adventure filled story, a girl has no limits on what she can be. (Goodreads)

Mia is not all pink, fairies, and princesses.  No, her imagination takes her to a world of pirates, mermaids, and flying swans.  This girl wants to explore.  Good for you Mia!

Amazon Spring Deals

Several promotions going on at this season and thought I'd provide you the links to check them out. Perhaps you'll find something there that catches your fancy.

Happy shopping!

Shop Amazon - Children's Books for Easter --ends 3/31/13

Shop Amazon - Gifts for Easter in Toys   --ends 3/29/13

Shop Amazon Easter Shop - Candy, Clothes, Décor   --ends 3/31/13

Shop Amazon - April Fool's Day Shop - Books, Toys  --ends 4/1/13

Shop Amazon - Spring Cleaning Event  --ends 4/27/13

Shop Amazon Outlet - Clearance, Markdowns and Overstock Deals  --ongoing

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes

Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes, AF, Plays, 2012, 104p, Hardcover, Rating=3.5
Source: library
Adult content: foul language, drugs

Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
"A beautiful, heartbreaking knockout of a play, as startling and innovative and human on the page as on the stage."?Junot Díaz
A soldier returns from Iraq and struggles to find his place in the world, while somewhere in a chat room, recovering addicts forge an unbreakable bond. The boundaries of family and friendship stretch across time and cyberspace in this second installment of Quiara Alegri Hudes' The Elliot Trilogy.

I got mixed up at first trying to figure out who was who but once I got that squared out in my head then things got pretty interesting.  There were a couple main stories: 1) Elliot's battle to find life after returning from service in the Iraqi war with the help of his cousin Yaz, and 2) Online chat room adventures of recovering drug addicts.  It was fascinating how the two stories ended up intermingling.  Elliot wasn't suffering from a drug addiction but his mother was the founder of the Online support group and so the discovery made for the crossing of the two narratives.  However, the interplay was more than physical but emotional as well.  The raw conflicts of each characters provided a universal bond.  Meaning, whether it was Elliot fighting demons caused by his time in the war or the drug addicts (Orangutan, Chutes&Ladders, and Fountainhead) wrestling to stay sober, the struggles in any form were equally draining and human.  This causes a true support group and one that could not stay in the world of cyberspace but stretches out to personal intervention and  reciprocity.  Overall, this play was entertaining and moving. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Reviews: How To Draw by Amit Offir

How To Draw ... by Amit Offir, YR, 2013, Kindle edition ebooks, 32p each (lesser for Forest Fairies), Rating=3
Source: own

"everybody can draw and now you can too!
a unique technique that will give you great drawing tools and lead you to success.
recommended for age 6 and all ages (for adults that want how to draw easily also)
the author and illustrator Amit Offir teaches you to draw and succeed in a short time even if you don't know how to draw at all!"

I got these How To Draw ebooks by Amit Offir when they were free.  My 10yo likes to draw and thought he'd get a kick out of these (the "forest fairies" one was for my daughter).  They were fairly simple steps illustrated in segments of progression ..oddly enough read from right to left (oppose to the normal left to right), except for Forest Fairies.  The illustrated segment progression where in black outlines and the end product colored in.  My son was able to follow the steps and some turned out quite well and some frustrated him or wasn't interested in.

Virtually all the drawings were quite intricate ..most specifically the forest fairy (btw, that book only had very few items to draw) but doable with patience. 

Currently $1.99 each (many others to choose from as well)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Yay, I Can Reply Now!

I just found out that my REPLY button on the comment section works for me now!  I've been having problems with it since August of last year when I enabled the comment/reply thread.  For some reason the reply button wouldn't go anywhere.  Anyway, I'm jazzed that it's functioning correctly now.  I don't know what sparked it to operate.  The only thing I can think of that I changed in my settings was clicking on "Registered Users" when asked who can comment (because I had been getting tons of spam comments and a blogger suggested to do that ..worked by-the-way).  I did that at least a couple months ago.  If that was it, shoot I could have replied way back then! 

Oh, the joys of Blogger!!  Now the upcoming of end of Google Reader is another to hurdle.  Any suggestions there?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Book Loot Giddy

Here's my loot this week.  ~How about you?  Get anything you're super giddy about?

Bought (print):

Borrowed from the library:

Kindle Freebies:

Smashwords Freebie:
Sliding on the Edge

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