Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: Dear Granddaughter Life Lessons From Your Grandmother by Judy Smith


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
A grandmother's wisdom with secrets of nourishing your soul, falling in and out of love, living with dignity and grace and most importantly - enjoying the journey.
Every grandmother is full of valuable wisdom. She can tell you the secrets of nourishing your soul, falling in and out of love, living with dignity and grace, and most importantly enjoying the journey. Listen closely to your grandmother when she speaks and hold on to each pearl, for therein lies tremendous wealth and wisdom.
Grandmothers are just antique little girls. ~Author Unknown

MY TAKE:
The main reason why I requested this book was because it reminded me of some of the books I saw in my grandmother's collection when I was a kid.

Dear Granddaughter Life Lessons From Your Grandmother contains life lessons on everything from finance to lifestyle.

The entries on each page are usually short but they make good points. The writing style feels similar to those New Age self-help books, but because the entries are short, even if that's not your style, you'll probably like this one anyway.

The layout, colors and pictures used are reminiscent of Hallmark Cards, which I found nice and fitting for the topic.

Thanks to NetGalley and Holland Publishing for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. It has some good lessons.
  2. The pictures, layout and fonts used are classy.
  3. It would make a nice gift.

THE BAD:

  1. The writing style may not appeal to everyone.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
What you save is more important than what you earn.
READ IT IF:

  1. You miss your grandmother.
  2. You like self-help books.
  3. You like books with pretty layouts.

RATING:
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Sunday, September 8, 2013

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:



The One Year My Princess Devotions Preschool Edition by 
Karen Whiting
Dear Granddaughter Life Lessons From Your Grandmother by Judy Smith
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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Review: The One Year My Princess Devotions Preschool Edition by Karen Whiting


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Princesses are a big attraction for most girls, especially preschoolers and early readers. The One Year My Princess Devotions is written for early readers and preschoolers. Each devotion sheds light on how the reader is a princess—a daughter of God, the King. The devotions also emphasize how little princesses should respond to being God’s children. Each devotion includes Royal Words (the Bible verse), Princess Thoughts (a short devotion written for early readers), a Prayer, and a Princess in Action section (an activity related to the devotion).
The devotions are thematic according to the calendar. For example, January features creation and February highlights love.
Little Princesses will look forward to learning more about their King each day.

MY TAKE:
If ever there was a book that could help young girls have a closer relationship with God, this book might be it.

The One Year My Princess Devotions contains the following for each day of the year: Royal Words (verses from the Bible), Princess Thoughts (explanation of the given verse), A Prayer for the King, and Princess in Action (an activity that girls can do that's related to the verse and its message).

The book may seem simple but as far as content goes, they are easy for young girls to understand and follow through with the activities and prayers. There are some days that have related verses, so that may also help girls who aren't that familiar with some of the Bible stories to become acquainted with them.

The book's text is in purple and pink, which might appeal to most young girls. I thought the idea of framing the text in different cute designs and a crown at the top was a nice touch that could help maintain or get a child's interest.

Thanks to NetGalley and Tyndale Kids for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The lessons are easy for young girls to understand.
  2. The layout and color scheme is cute and pretty.
  3. It covers nice range of topics.

THE BAD:

  1. It's hard to tell if girls can sustain their interest in reading the book and doing the activities from start to finish.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Your mother is a princess too.
READ IT IF:

  1. You have a little girl.
  2. You want your daughter to ease into devotions.
  3. Your daughter is becoming more curious about God.

RATING:
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Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: 365 Guide New York City: Drink. Eat. $ave. Every Day of the Year. A Guide to New York City Restaurants and Bars by Monica DiNatale


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
You're in New York City. You're hungry. You're thirsty. You don't want to spend a fortune. Now what? Drink. Eat. Save. Every Day of the Year with 365 Guide. The most comprehensive guide to the best restaurant and bar deals anywhere in the city! Compiled by New York Food Host and Deals Expert, Monica DiNatale, you get the inside scoop on where to go at a fraction of the price. Inside 365 Guide there is a deal a day for every day of the year! This is the only New York City guide that tells you where you can find: free, yes, FREE food specials throughout the city, $2-$3 drinks any day of the week, the best happy hours where you can nosh to your stomach's content and more deals than any other guide on the planet! From five-star restaurants to the best dive bars, Monica DiNatale is your savings guru. Whether you live here, hope to live here, or are visiting, if you want to know all about New York City's restaurants and bars-at a discount-then 365 Guide is the book for you! www.365guidenyc.com
MY TAKE:
I don't live in New York, but I thought this would be a good read since I do like the idea of going to New York.

365 Guide New York City features different New York restaurants and bars that have great food and drink deals.

I was surprised to find that the book did not have pictures or a colorful layout. I expected the book to look like travel guide books. Of course, I've read some guide books which, like this one, didn't have pictures, but I think adding pictures would have made this book better and more interesting.

There were also instances wherein for restaurants with more than one location, the entire entry was repeated, with only the heading and location changed. I would have preferred if the main entry just had the two or three locations or if the different locations had different content.

That said, the book covers the important things for each establishment, that is: time and details of the deals, location, hours, contact details, recommendations and observations and extras.

Thanks to NetGalley and Hugo House Publishers, Ltd. for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It covers the important stuff for each restaurant and bar.
  2. It has a section on cheaper foods like pizzas, hot dogs and desserts.
  3. There are indexes which allow you to search the restaurants and bars by type, alphabetically, or by area.

THE BAD:

  1. There are no pictures.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Even if you don't think you like banana pudding, give theirs a try.
READ IT IF:

  1. You like good deals.
  2. You live in or will be visiting New York.
  3. You don't mind it if guide books don't have pictures.

RATING:
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review: Baby Santa and the Lost Letters by M. Maitland DeLand


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Only a week until Christmas, and the last delivery of children's Christmas letters to Santa have not arrived at the North Pole!
Santa and his elves are ready to finish making presents . . . but where is the last batch of Christmas letters? For the first time in history, the mailbox at the North Pole is empty. If Santa can't find the missing letters, Christmas will be ruined for children across the world.
Just when it seems that all is lost, out jumps Baby Santa. The youngest member of the Claus family relies on his quick wits, his winning attitude, and his endless energy to solve the mystery of the lost letters with help from remarkable animal characters around the globe.
Responding to a cry for help, penguins, kangaroos, and even a three-toed sloth cooperate with friends on every continent in an amazing race to save the holidays.
With a boundless spirit of cooperation, Baby Santa proves that Christmas is for every living being. Children and their parents will thrill to this exciting holiday adventure guided by the youngest member of the Claus family, Baby Santa.

MY TAKE:
I really enjoyed the other Baby Santa book I read so I was looking forward to reading this one.

In Baby Santa and the Lost Letters, the last batch of letters to Santa are missing and Santa has to find them. Baby Santa and Prancer the Reindeer work together and help get Prancer's animal friends to help find and bring the letters to the North Pole.

I think it's because I'm more of a travel lover than an animal lover that I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first one I read. However, I still found this book to be quite cute. I mean, I'm not sure how plausible it is that the animals were able to deliver the letters that quickly, but if you stop thinking about the science, it just becomes a nice story. I also liked that Santa gave the animals who helped out a little gift as a thank you.

Thanks to NetGalley and Greenleaf Book Group Press for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. The illustrations are nice.
  2. It's a fun read.
  3. The animals are charming.

THE BAD:

  1. Some might question or get bogged down wondering if it's really plausible for animals to move that quickly.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"Yes, Baby Santa. Christmas is for animals, too."
READ IT IF:

  1. Your child is an animal lover.
  2. You like Christmas books.
  3. You are looking for a book to read to your child on Christmas Eve.

RATING:
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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Review: Baby Santa's Worldwide Christmas Adventure by M. Maitland DeLand


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
What in the world is Santa going to do when his sleigh breaks down?
The presents are packed up, Santa is ready . . . but where is his magical sleigh? For the first time in history, Santa's sleigh is broken. Santa is grounded on the most important night of the year. How will children around the world get their presents?
Baby Santa, the youngest member of the Claus family, comes to the rescue. With his boundless energy, bright smile, and bouncy enthusiasm, Santa's son hatches a plan to save Christmas and have a traveling adventure at the same time.
Baby Santa takes his father on a great Christmas race around the world. Leaping into jeeps, cavorting on camels, and balancing in balloons, Baby Santa and his dad rely on local transportation to help them deliver presents to each and every locale.
With ingenuity and insight, Baby Santa saves Christmas and shows what sons and fathers can accomplish when they work together. This inspiring story will liven up the holidays as children (and their parents) experience the wonders of traveling the globe with the youngest adventurer from the North Pole.

MY TAKE:
Christmas may be months away but it's always fun to read Christmas books so I gave this one a try.

In Baby Santa's Worldwide Christmas Adventure, Santa's sleigh is broken and he must quickly come up with a way to deliver the gifts to kids all over the world.

I like the idea of Santa's kid being a child genius and helping his father out. Reading about how Santa and Baby Santa were able to travel the world was nice, but it was the illustrations that really tied the story together and gave it oomph. They're pretty much exactly how you'd expect a children's Christmas book illustration to look like, but with a little bit more humor and lightness.

The only thing that didn't work for me was the look of Baby Santa. He reminds me a little bit of human Chip from Beauty and the Beast and I didn't really find him cute. Other than that, this book brought a smile to my face.

Thanks to NetGalley and Greenleaf Book Group Press for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. The illustrations are nice.
  2. You do feel a little bit like you're visiting the different countries with Santa and Baby Santa.
  3. Santa and Baby Santa's disguises are cute.

THE BAD:

  1. Baby Santa may not be how you'd imagine or prefer he would look.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"Don't forget your earmuffs, Baby Santa," Mrs. Claus said.
READ IT IF:

  1. You like reading Christmas books.
  2. You or your child like travelling.
  3. You are looking for a book you can read to your child on Christmas Eve.

RATING:
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just 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!

"You're right," Santa said, a smile spreading across his face. "We just have to be creative."
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Monday, September 2, 2013

Review: Ultimate Fighting The Brains and Brawn of Mixed Martial Arts by Patrick Jones


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
What if…? In decades past, fans could only wonder what would happen if a boxer and a wrestler stepped into the ring together. Or a karate expert and a judo master. Then came ultimate fighting, and fans’ questions were answered. Author Patrick Jones takes the reader deep inside the world of mixed martial arts and shows how its beauty and brutality have turned it into a worldwide sensation. 
MY TAKE:
I normally only watch MMA when my husband watches it, and I thought that this would be an interesting way to learn more about MMA and its origins.

Ultimate Fighting has information on the origins of MMA, classic MMA fights and moments, MMA legends and the future MMA superstars.

As far as children's sports reference books, this one's pretty complete. It's kind of boring when books are all about the history of a sport and usually only mention the popular athletes. I liked that this book featured not only the legends and future superstars, but also made the distinction between classic fights and memorable moments. In sports, there are great games that are worth remembering and there are mediocre games that have amazing moments within them that are worth a place in history too.

Thanks to NetGalley and Millbrook Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Ultimate Fighting The Brains and Brawn of Mixed Martial Arts is on November 1, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's chockful of information.
  2. MMA fans will have a fun time going over and agreeing or disagreeing with the books list of classic fights and moments.
  3. It's a good beginners' guide to MMA.

THE BAD:

  1. The amount of text and the vocabulary of the book may be more suited to older kids and teenagers.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Just because a fighter finds himself on his back, that doesn't mean a fight's over.
READ IT IF:

  1. You want to learn more about MMA.
  2. Your kid is an MMA fan.
  3. You are an MMA fan.

RATING:
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Sunday, September 1, 2013

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:



Ultimate Fighting The Brains and Brawn of Mixed Martial Arts by Patrick Jones
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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review: Animal Planet Atlas of Animals by Jinny Johnson


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Take in a spectacular view of our planet's animal life thorough this book's colorful maps, fascinating facts, and stunning imagery. Travel the globe continent by continent, then explore each habitat to discover what wildlife lives in that region.
How do the creatures of the Arctic tundra, the Sahara, or the Himalayas survive in extreme environments? How do they find food and shelter and rear their young? Discover the answers to these habitat-related questions and more.
You'll also learn interesting details about a wide variety of animals, from the endangered mountain gorillas in Africa's Congo to deep-sea dwellers at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
An amazing world of animals is ready for you to explore!

MY TAKE:
I don't think I've seen an atlas of animals as jam-packed with information as this one.

Animal Planet Atlas of Animals features animals, both common and uncommon, that are found all over the world. The animals are divided by continent and region.

If you're familiar with the layout of other kids' atlases, then you'll have an idea of what the inside pages of this book look like. Some people might find the layout cluttered, because almost every space has something there, whether it's a picture or trivia. Most kids, especially those who have short attention spans, won't be bothered by this, though.

At first, I was really happy with the amount of animals that are featured and the trivia that was included. This makes the book really worth the price. However, since I tend to like finishing books in one sitting, this book became a little bit overwhelming and info-overload-ish after awhile. I don't think this is the type of book you read in one go, unless you're not likely to get info overload.

Thanks to NetGalley and Millbrook Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Animal Planet Atlas of Animals is on October 1, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. There are plenty of information and pictures.
  2. The book mentions a lot of animals.
  3. It's worth the price.

THE BAD:

  1. The amount of information can be overwhelming.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Hawks and falcons are adaptable birds, and many are taking to city life.
READ IT IF:

  1. Your child likes animals.
  2. Your child likes reference and trivia books.
  3. You are looking for a nice reference book about the different animals in a certain region or continent.

RATING:
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Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History by Lois Miner Huey


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
In history class, you've studied people who lived long ago. But do you know just how gross daily life was in the United States around the time of the American Revolution?
• People rarely bathed.
• They didn't wash most of their clothes regularly.
• Their teeth were rotting.
• Bedbugs feasted on people as they slept.
• Lice crawled through their hair (and their wigs) day and night.
Ready to step out for a breath of fresh air? Well, look out, because the streets were filled with poop. Don't believe it? Hop in a time machine and travel back to June 1770 in the pages of this book! 

MY TAKE:
If your child likes gross stuff, he or she might like this book.

In Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History, kids can learn about the past and how our ancestors had some pretty gross habits and had to live in gross conditions.

I'm not super squeamish so I had no problem with the material at all. I was already familiar with a lot of the stuff mentioned in the book, but there were still some trivia that were new to me. I liked that the book presents the facts as though you traveled back in time and experienced the places and times for yourself. It might not work for everyone as it feels a little bit like choose-your-own-adventure books do, but overall, it shouldn't be too bothersome for most readers.

I'm not a fan of orange, especially dark orange, but otherwise, I liked the layout and pictures used for this book. The old pictures and illustrations, in particular, were fun to look at.

Thanks to NetGalley and Millbrook Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History is on October 1, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. The pictures and illustrations are nice to look at.
  2. The anecdotes are fascinating.
  3. The text is very descriptive.

THE BAD:

  1. The you-traveled-back-in-time premise used may or may not work for readers.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
The family who lives here eats fresh meat, vegetables, and fruit in summer.
READ IT IF:

  1. Your child likes gross things.
  2. Your child likes reading about history.
  3. Your child likes reference and trivia books.

RATING:
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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: Navy SEALs Elite Operations by Patricia Newman


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Trained to fight at sea, in the air, and on land, U.S. Navy SEALs tackle whatever missions come their way. They must master skills such as combatting enemies under water, fast-roping from a hovering helicopter, and demolishing enemy weaponry. Learn how Navy SEALs are taught to think like scientists and perform like soldiers as they track down terrorists, rescue hostages, and venture into enemy territory to gather critical information.
The Military Special Ops series:
With vivid photos and engaging text, this series covers exciting information about the U.S. military’s special operations forces – highly trained units that perform unconventional, often high-risk missions. Each book introduces one group’s position in its military branch, as well as its key functions. Each book also details the group’s uniform, special equipment and gear, and techniques and tactics. A final chapter covers the training and skills needed to excel in each special ops group and how to pursue a career in this area.

MY TAKE:
Most people know that it's difficult to become a Navy SEAL, but few actually know exactly what becoming a SEAL entails.

In Navy SEALs Elite Operations, readers learn more about the history of the SEALs, their training and recruitment, their kits, etc.

While I've seen documentaries of the training that SEAL candidates have to endure before they become SEALs, I had no idea that becoming part of Navy SEAL Team Six have to undergo another selection process after they have completed a few combat missions. I was under the impression that SEALs were just divided into teams and it just so happened that Team Six got the most coverage.

There are plenty of interesting and useful information here for civilians who only have a passing knowledge about SEALs. The layout and pictures help make the book easier to read too.

Thanks to NetGalley and Lerner Publications for the e-ARC. Publication date of Navy SEALs Elite Operations is on September 1, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's chockful of information about Navy SEALs.
  2. It's not boring.
  3. There are plenty of pictures about Navy SEAL life.

THE BAD:

  1. It would be even better if there had been more anecdotes about actual missions.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Slow candidates get the "sugar cookie" treatment. They have to dive in the surf and then roll on the beach to cover themselves with sand, like a sugar cookie, before returning to their group to try harder.
READ IT IF:

  1. Your child is interested in joining the Navy SEALs.
  2. Your child is interested in anything combat-related.
  3. Your child likes reference and trivia books.

RATING:
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Review: Numbed! by David Lubar


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Logan was sure that following Benedict into the math museum's restricted lab was a bad idea. After they're zapped by a robot that's being developed, the boys notice something funny. They're not sure what time it will be in two hours. They can't measure ingredients for pancakes. They can't count money. They can't do math at all!
Logan and Benedict need their skills back for a big math test in school—and, as they discover, for lots of everyday tasks! To recover, they'll have to solve several zany puzzles back at the museum. Can they prove their smarts in time? Or will they remain numbed? 

MY TAKE:
Most of us don't realize how often we use math in our daily lives.

In Numbed!, Benedict and Logan lose their ability to do math after they are zapped by a robot at the math museum. With their math test coming up soon, Benedict and Logan must race against time to get their abilities back.

During the first chapter or so, I wasn't sure I would like this. The story is told from Logan's point-of-view, and for some reason, it just didn't speak to me. However, as the story progressed, I started to become more comfortable with Logan's style and was able to focus more on his and Benedict's adventure.

The best part of this book, for me, were the problems that Logan and Benedict had to solve in order to regain their math abilities, as well as the shortcuts they discovered in order to solve the problems quicker. I think most kids and adults wouldn't be aware of most of their tricks, so that in itself makes this book worth a read.

Thanks to NetGalley and Millbrook Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Numbed! is on October 1, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. Kids and adults can learn new math tricks.
  2. Kids may be able to appreciate math a little better.
  3. The plot is new and interesting.

THE BAD:

  1. Some kids may find the topic boring.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
The orange-banana Slush Monster with extra honey is about as perfect a drink as you can get.
READ IT IF:

  1. Your kid likes math.
  2. You want your child to appreciate math more.
  3. Your kid likes learning math shortcuts.

RATING:
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just 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!
"The Mobius strip is easy to make but amazing to explore," he said.
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Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: Pope Francis First Pope from the Americas by Stephanie Watson


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
On March 19, 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina became Pope Francis, the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church. His election to the papacy was notable in many ways. He became the first pope from the Americas, the first pope from the Southern Hemisphere, the first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years, the first Jesuit pope, and the first pope to choose the name Francis.
Pope Francis was not the person that most people expected to ascend to the papacy when Pope Benedict XVI resigned from the role in late February 2013. While serving as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Cardinal Bergoglio was known for his dedication to helping the poor and admired for his modest lifestyle. After his inauguration, Pope Francis retained many of his humble ways. People around the globe eagerly watch to see what changes he might bring about in the Catholic Church.
Follow Pope Francis's journey to the papacy, from his days as a young chemist to his studies of theology. Learn more about his beliefs and hobbies—including his interests in soccer and tango dancing. Find out the true story behind the man who became the 266th pope.

MY TAKE:
Pope Francis is one of the most famous people in the world, but how much do you know about him?

In Pope Francis First Pope from the Americas, readers learn about Pope Francis' life from his childhood until he was named Pope Francis.

What I know of Pope Francis, I learned from newspapers. This book contains a lot more information than your average newspaper and there's a lot of interesting tidbits in the book. There are also anecdotes and quotes from different cardinals who have met and worked with Pope Francis.

The layout, color scheme and font used are all simple but a perfect fit for the subject. There's roughly one picture a page, but that's okay as the text isn't boring and the pictures are well-chosen.

Thanks to NetGalley and Lerner Publications for the e-ARC. Publication date of Pope Francis First Pope from the Americas is on October 31, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. The book tells the story of Pope Francis' life from childhood.
  2. The layout and color scheme work well with the subject.
  3. The pictures are fascinating.

THE BAD:

  1. Younger kids may find the simple color scheme and layout boring.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"So he greeted each of us as brothers, literally on the same level as we were," said Cardinal Dolan.
READ IT IF:

  1. You're curious about the life of Pope Francis.
  2. Your child wants to learn more about the life of the pope.
  3. Your child likes reading biographies.

RATING:
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:



Pope Francis First Pope from the Americas by Stephanie Watson
Numbed! by David Lubar
Navy SEALs Elite Operations by Patricia Newman
Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History by Lois Miner Huey
Animal Planet Atlas of Animals by Jinny Johnson
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Review: The Godfather's Revenge by Mark Winegardner


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS.COM:
The third, and final, installment in Mario Puzo's epic chronicle of the Corleone crime family-one of the most enduring lineages in American literature and cinema-achieves a stunning crescendo with a story that imagines the role of the Mafia in the assassination of a young, charismatic president.
It's impossible to overstate the influence of Mario Puzo's "The Godfather," which has become an essential part of our cultural lexicon. Puzo's novel about the secret world of organized crime became a megabestseller and an instant classic. The book inspired the Francis Ford Coppola films-unprecedented successes in their own right-and launched a national obsession with the Mafia that continues unabated today.
In "The Godfather's Revenge"-again authorized by the Puzo Estate-Mark Winegardner moves the Corleone family onto the biggest stage of all: the intersection of organized crime and national politics. A subordinate to Michael Corleone, New Orleans underboss Carlo Tramonti is publicly humiliated when the U.S. Attorney General-President Danny Shea's brother-has him arrested and deported to Colombia. Tramonti eventually returns, hell-bent on settling scores, and triggers a series of events destined to change the course of American history. Corleone, though haunted by the death of his brother Fredo, knows that this is no time for weakness-and so, with fearless consigliere Tom Hagen leading the way, a new path for the future is forged.
As the dramatic twists of "The Godfather's Revenge" take the reader from Las Vegas to Miami to New Orleans, from the power alleys of Washington, D.C., to the remote jungles of Colombia, the puppet master behind the curtain remains Michael Corleone, the tortured prodigal son who is determined to redefine his family's legacy and make his father-the original Godfather-proud.

MY TAKE:
For me, this book was an okay ending to the trilogy.

The Godfather's Revenge wraps up the questions left unanswered from the second book. Michael Corleone and his associates are growing older. He's got a lot on his plate, with the biggest problem being Nick Geraci.

I liked this book better than the second one. There were less characters to focus on so it was easier to keep track of who was doing what. The number of subplots was also more manageable so it felt more cohesive. There were also plenty of surprising plot twists that made the book more interesting.

THE GOOD:

  1. The plot feels more cohesive.
  2. There aren't too many characters whom you have to focus on so it's easier to keep track of them.
  3. There are interesting plot twists.

THE BAD:

  1. The supporting characters take a lot of page time away from Michael.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
After the pasta course, came a standing rib roast.
READ IT IF:

  1. You are a fan of the Godfather movies.
  2. You've read the first two books.
  3. You want to know what happens to Michael Corleone.

RATING:
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Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: The Godfather Returns by Mark Winegardner


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS.COM:
THE MISSING YEARS FROM THE GREATEST CRIME SAGA OF ALL TIME
Thirty-five years ago, Mario Puzo’s great American tale, The Godfather, was published, and popular culture was indelibly changed. Now, in The Godfather Returns, acclaimed novelist Mark Winegardner continues the story–the years not covered in Puzo’s bestselling book or in Francis Ford Coppola’s classic films.
It is 1955. Michael Corleone has won a bloody victory in the war among New York’s crime families. Now he wants to consolidate his power, save his marriage, and take his family into legitimate businesses. To do so, he must confront his most dangerous adversary yet, Nick Geraci, a former boxer who worked his way through law school as a Corleone street enforcer, and who is every bit as deadly and cunning as Michael. Their personal cold war will run from 1955 to 1962, exerting immense influence on the lives of America’s most powerful criminals and their loved ones, including
Tom Hagen, the Corleone Family’s lawyer and consigliere, who embarks on a political career in Nevada while trying to protect his brother;
Francesca Corleone, daughter of Michael’s late brother Sonny, who is suddenly learning her family’s true history and faces a difficult choice;
Don Louie Russo, head of the Chicago mob, who plays dumb but has wily ambitions for muscling in on the Corleones’ territory;
Peter Clemenza, the stalwart Corleone underboss, who knows more Family secrets than almost anyone;
Ambassador M. Corbett Shea, a former Prohibition-era bootlegger and business ally of the Corleones’, who wants to get his son elected to the presidency–and needs some help from his old friends;
Johnny Fontane, the world’s greatest saloon singer, who ascends to new heights as a recording artist, cozying up to Washington’s power elite and maintaining a precarious relationship with notorious underworld figures;
Kay Adams Corleone, who finally discovers the truth about her husband, Michael–and must decide what it means for their marriage and their children and
Fredo Corleone, whose death has never been fully explained until now, and whose betrayal of the Family was part of a larger and more sinister chain of events.
Sweeping from New York and Washington to Las Vegas and Cuba, The Godfather Returns is the spellbinding story of America’s criminal underworld at mid-century and its intersection with the political, legal, and entertainment empires. Mark Winegardner brings an original voice and vision to Mario Puzo’s mythic characters while creating several equally unforgettable characters of his own. The Godfather Returns stands on its own as a triumph–in a tale about what we love, yearn for, and sometimes have reason to fear . . . family.

MY TAKE:
I didn't enjoy this one as much as I thought I would.

The Godfather Returns continues from where The Godfather left off. Michael Corleone has taken over the Corleone family. However, things aren't coming along nicely for Michael and he must deal with not only his family's issues, but his Family as well.

While I liked the Mark Winegardner's writing style a little bit better than Mario Puzo's, I enjoyed the pacing and plot twists of The Godfather more than this one. During the first half or so of the book, I was a little bit confused with the different characters, a lot of whom were only supporting characters in the first book. It also felt like too much was happening at once.

Once I got settled in and could keep track of the characters, I found that the plot wasn't really my thing. There were some twists that were interesting and unexpected, but I found the subplot at the end a little boring. I would have preferred if the focus had been kept on the Vegas or the New York plots so that the book feels more streamlined.

THE GOOD:

  1. There are some interesting plot twists.
  2. Michael has some cunning moments.
  3. Some supporting characters get more screen time.

THE BAD:

  1. It seems like there are too many things going on.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Clemenza ordered and devoured an antipasto crudo, a plate of caponata, two baskets of bread, and linguine with clam sauce.
READ IT IF:

  1. You liked the first Godfather novel.
  2. You liked the Godfather movies.
  3. You like novels with lots of characters and subplots.

RATING:
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