Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: The Rosie Effect: A Novel by Graeme Simsion


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Rosie Project, starring the same extraordinary couple now living in New York and unexpectedly expecting their first child. Get ready to fall in love all over again.
Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back. The Wife Project is complete, and Don and Rosie are happily married and living in New York. But they’re about to face a new challenge because— surprise!—Rosie is pregnant.
Don sets about learning the protocols of becoming a father, but his unusual research style gets him into trouble with the law. Fortunately his best friend Gene is on hand to offer advice: he’s left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie.
As Don tries to schedule time for pregnancy research, getting Gene and Claudia to reconcile, servicing the industrial refrigeration unit that occupies half his apartment, helping Dave the Baseball Fan save his business, and staying on the right side of Lydia the social worker, he almost misses the biggest problem of all: he might lose Rosie when she needs him the most.
Graeme Simsion first introduced these unforgettable characters in The Rosie Project, which NPR called “sparkling entertainment along the lines of Where’d You Go Bernadette and When Harry Met Sally.” The San Francisco Chronicle said, “sometimes you just need a smart love story that will make anyone, man or woman, laugh out loud.” If you were swept away by the book that’s captivated a million readers worldwide, you will love The Rosie Effect.

MY TAKE:
The main reason I requested this book was because of the comparison of the first book to When Harry Met Sally.

In The Rosie Effect, it's Don and Rosie's first year of marriage and it's proving to be a challenging one for them. Don's friend Gene has been kicked out by his wife, so Don offers to help him move to New York and work at Columbia. Their friends Dave and Sonia are expecting their first child, and things aren't exactly going well with Dave's business so Don is trying to help him out as well. Add to that, Rosie's pregnant. Don tries to cope with everything his own way, but will it be enough?

I wasn't too sure about the book while I was reading the first chapter. Part of it was due to the fact that I hadn't read the first book so I was just getting to know Don and his quirks. The more I got to know him and his circle of friends, though, the more I liked him. He reminds me of two of my former classmates, one who might have had Asperger's (as observed by some Pediatrics residents) and one who is a self-diagnosed hypochondriac and narcissist but is also a genius. That's why I laughed after reading the part where Don was labelled by another character as having Asperger's and Don says he's thought about it. For those who haven't had interaction with someone who has Asperger's, I guess the character I think who comes closest to Don is Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.

Don was quite funny, and to be honest, I don't think his weirdness was disturbing in any way. It may be annoying in time, though, if he was your significant other. As a friend, though, he seems like a great guy to have around. I totally understand his adherence to scientific protocols and methodical approach to everything. His social awkwardness, on the other hand, was more endearing than embarrassing. He's not very perceptive, but that may be a good thing, considering his social skills.

Rosie, on the other hand, annoyed me. At first, she was okay. And I understood that she had some issues, which made her seem more like a three-dimensional character. The thing, though, that annoyed me was the fact that for someone who wanted a kid so much, she certainly didn't act like it. She drank and ate foods that aren't recommended for pregnant women, for one thing. I totally get that that part of pregnancy sucks, especially when you really want to eat something unhealthy. However, it's only for 9 months, or maybe more if you're planning on breastfeeding and you're planning on consuming alcohol. And the thing about unhealthy foods, I've always believed in erring in the side of caution.

Over the course of the book, I realized that I had Don's brain, but Rosie's heart. Don uses his brain to help others, but he thinks he can use it to help himself. It can, in a way, but what's more important in the long run, are the lessons he learns or realizes while interacting with people. Rosie's emotional here, probably because of the pregnancy, so she's not the easiest person to like. Her mood swings, however, do serve to propel the story forward, and in the end, I learned to begrudgingly accept her.

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. Don is funny in an unintentional way.
  2. There are plenty of truths about marriage and male-female interaction here.
  3. You'll learn a number of things about pregnancy. 

THE BAD:

  1. Rosie can be annoying and irrational. 

READ IT IF:

  1. Sheldon Cooper is your favorite character from The Big Bang Theory.
  2. You like novels that don't sugarcoat marriage.
  3. You are about to be a new parent. 

RATING:
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

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!

I had also, at various times, been labeled schizophrenic, bipolar, an OCD sufferer, and a typical Gemini.

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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Review: America's Most Wanted Recipes: Delicious Recipes from Your Family's Favorite Restaurants by Ron Douglas


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
Discover the secret recipes from your favorite restaurants and learn how to cook them at home for a fraction of the price.
MY TAKE:
I like eating out, but it's always nice to have the option to create your favorite restaurant dishes at home.

America's Most Wanted Recipes: Delicious Recipes from Your Family's Favorite Restaurants features recipes that try to replicate some of the best-sellers for famous restaurants.

Since I don't live in the US, I'm not familiar with the taste of the food included here, even if I am familiar with their names. We do have at least a few like Burger Kind and Mcdonalds. Of the restaurants I know, I'm eager to try most if not all of the recipes here.

The recipes I wanted to try, even from restaurants I've never tried before, look easy enough to do. I can't vouch for how close their taste will be to the original, but at least you can use the recipes here as a starting point, if you feel like the taste isn't as close as you'd like. Plus, there are some easy recipes here that you can add to your repertoire to spice up your meals.

THE GOOD:

  1. It has recipes from famous restaurants you've probably tried.
  2. The recipes look delicious.
  3. The featured recipes are for bestsellers.

THE BAD:

  1. It may or may not be close to how you remember the dish to taste like.

READ IT IF:

  1. You like eating out.
  2. You want to save money.
  3. You want to recreate a dish you liked at a famous restaurant.

RATING:
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Sunday, December 28, 2014

In My Mailbox


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

WON:



By My Side by Wendy Lou Jones
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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Lexi’s Pathetic Fictional Love Life by Jo Noelle Book Blast

Today, we are featuring Lexi's Pathetic Fictional Love Life by Jo Noelle. Enjoy!

Lexi's Pathetic Fictional Love Life

Lexi's Pathetic Fictional Love Life

Lexi Middleton has been socially invisible to her classmates, but starting her junior year, that’s going to change. First, she’s determined to hook a boyfriend, ensuring dates with flowers and possible kisses on the doorstep. Second, she wants to be a writer for the school paper, even though it freaks her out to think of everyone judging her by her punctuation and metaphors.
High school is difficult enough—keeping up her grades, dealing with increasing sibling rivalry, and trying to stay out of the way of her personal nemesis, Amberlee—but when Lexi catches the eye of her long-time crush, she also becomes the focus of mean-girl tactics.
Caught between who she was and who she wants to be, Lexi must decide how to confront a bully, and choose who to let into her heart.
Purchase from
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Lexis


Jo Noelle

Author Jo Noelle

Jo Noelle grew up in Colorado and Utah but also spent time in Idaho and California. She has two adult children and three small kids. She teaches teachers and students about reading and writing, grows freakishly large tomatoes, enjoys cooking especially for desserts, builds furniture, sews beautiful dresses, and likes to go hiking in the nearby mountains. Oh, and by the way, she’s two people—

Canda Mortensen and Deanna Henderson, a mother/daughter writing team.

They began writing separately several years ago but found the process much more fun when they started collaborating. They are debut authors, with Lexi’s Pathetic Fictional Love Life as their first completed work. Other titles include Newbie and Damnation.

Deanna attended college before marrying and starting her family.

Canda received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a Reading Specialist endorsement, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Her day job focuses on teaching teachers and children about literacy.


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Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 1/18/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Review: Inferno (Robert Langdon #4) by Dan Brown


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
In his international blockbusters The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. In this riveting new thriller, Brown returns to his element and has crafted his highest-stakes novel to date.
In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.
Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.
MY TAKE:
I've been meaning to read this book for a long time now, but it was only recently that I was able to obtain a copy.

In Inferno, Robert Langdon wakes up in a hospital in Italy with no memory of how he got there. On top of that, there are people out to get him. With the help of a doctor he met at the hospital to rely on, Langdon must race around Venice to find out what's really going on and what it has to do with Dante's The Divine Comedy.

If you've read Dan Brown's other books, you'll recognize the Dan Brown formula present in this book too. That is, Langdon is dropped in the middle of a mystery + a female companion + architecture, art and symbols + threat to the world + not everyone is trustworthy + plenty of action.

That said, this is still an interesting read. It was mostly a page-turner for me, especially during the action-packed parts, and the parts wherein they learn another piece of the puzzle. There were also some interesting twists here that were a little unexpected.

The book's villain and his accomplice was a touch more complex than I expected. Yes, they're both nuts, in a way, but they also had a point. Funnily enough, the book's ending, while anti-climactic for me, didn't exactly made me angry either. It's a moral gray area, and I'm not sure if it's for everybody.

There were two things that bothered me though. One is the descriptions of the architecture and other art. Most of the time, it helped with visualization, but there were also other times wherein it felt like information overload. My second issue is more personal. One of the characters recalls a pivotal moment in Manila that changed her. I've lived in Manila my whole life so I feel qualified to at least comment on this. One, six-hour traffic jams is an exaggeration. Yes, there are traffic jams here, but the several-hour long ones rarely happen, and if you had to wait six hours, you were probably travelling from the northern provinces to the southern provinces via EDSA during rush hour, after a long thunderstorm. Yes, there's poverty here. Especially in the slum areas where she went. I'd go into more detail about economics and local politics, but that would take too long. What happened to her, though, yes, it's plausible, especially if you're a lone foreigner, a female at that, in a rough area. She should have known better to exercise caution. Thankfully, though, people like those men aren't as common as you'd think, and people like that old woman are more common than you'd guess if you've never been here.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's action-packed.
  2. You learn a lot about Venice and Dante.
  3. There were some unexpected twists. 

THE BAD:

  1. Some of the descriptions of buildings and scenery felt like a bit too much information to process. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Wow, either this is the most accomplished audience on earth, or this e-publishing thing is really taking off. 
READ IT IF:

  1. If you liked Dan Brown's other books.
  2. If you liked Dante's The Divine Comedy.
  3. You want to learn more about Venice. 

RATING:
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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Review: The Body Electric by Beth Revis


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
The future world is at peace.
Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift--the ability to enter people's dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother--to help others relive their happy memories.
But not all is at it seems.
Ella starts seeing impossible things--images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience--and influence--the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love--even though Ella's never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing...
Someone's altered her memory.
Ella's gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn't even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella's head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.
So who can she trust?
SPECIAL EDITION WITH EXTRA CONTENT AVAILABLE FROM BN, KOBO, and IBOOKS

MY TAKE:
Two things that made me request this ARC right away were the book's premise and that its author is Beth Revis.

In The Body Electric, Ella works at a place wherein people can relive their happiest memories. Her mother is very sick, and in her desire to help her, Ella does something that sets into motion some things she'd rather not know and results in some shocking revelations not just for her, but for a lot of other people as well.

I've never actually read Across the Universe, but I've always wanted to read it and I know that it got good reviews. I figured, this book must be good too, especially given that premise. While it's not perfect, this was definitely an interesting book that's worth giving a try.

Given the blurb, I expected that Ella had the abilities innately. That's not exactly true. The reality is more complicated and too spoiler-y for me to detail, but it was a lot more interesting than how I originally thought it would be.

I'm usually good at figuring out plot twists, and though I figured out a few in this book, like who the villain was, I wasn't able to guess three relatively major plot twists. One of them was a real doozy too.

There was a lot of world-building here, so I think this may be the first book in a series. However, while there's seeds of what could be used for a sequel, the book does feel complete.

My only real quibble with this book was Ella herself. Or at least, Ella during the first half of the book, and maybe until 3/4th of the book. She was incredibly impulsive, and there were moments wherein I wasn't quite sure if she had no sense of self-preservation or if she was just so emotional that she lost all sense. She was also so desperate to hold on to her family and friends that she refused to see reason. Perhaps most of my anger and annoyance at her was due to the fact that despite my appreciation of art and literature, I am a science geek at heart. I have an open mind, but I question everything as well. Ella wasn't really willing to do that at first. She didn't even ask the big question, "Why?"

After Ella finally accepted that what she found out was the truth, I started to like her more and the rants in my notes stopped. Of course, it helped that I sort of got why she acted that way after all the plot twists unfolded.

If ever there's a sequel, I'd definitely read that if the Ella in that book is more like Ella at the end of this one and not like the one at the start.

Thanks to NetGalley and Scripturient Books for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. There were a few unexpected, major plot twists.
  2. Jack is a sweetheart.
  3. The world-building is detailed and seems solid. 

THE BAD:

  1. Ella can be annoying at first. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"Don't try to dress this up as nobility," I snarl. 
READ IT IF:

  1. You are fascinated by androids and nanobots.
  2. You've wondered if robots can ever really think for themselves.
  3. You like science fiction. 

RATING:
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Review: Rogerson's Book of Numbers by Barnaby Rogerson


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
THE STORIES BEHIND OUR ICONIC NUMBERS
Rogerson’s Book of Numbers is based on a numerical array of virtues, spiritual attributes, gods, devils, sacred cities, powers, calendars, heroes, saints, icons, and cultural symbols.
It provides a dazzling mass of information for those intrigued by the many roles numbers play in folklore and popular culture, in music and poetry, and in the many religions, cultures, and belief systems of our world.
The stories unfold from millions to zero: from the number of the beast (666) to the seven deadly sins; from the twelve signs of the zodiac to the four suits of a deck of cards. Along the way, author Barnaby Rogerson will show you why Genghis Khan built a city of 108 towers, how Dante forged his Divine Comedy on the number eleven, and why thirteen is so unlucky in the West whereas fourteen is the number to avoid in China.

MY TAKE:
I like trivia books a lot so this book got my attention right away.

Rogerson's Book of Numbers contains trivia about different phrases and things that are associated with certain numbers.

When I read trivia and general knowledge books, there are two things I look for. One is if it has a lot of things that are new to me. Second, if the information is delivered in such a way that I don't get bored.

This book certainly had quite a few things that were new to me. For instance, I thought that "A Thousand and One" was always called that, but it turns out, it was originally called "The Thousand Nights." That makes me think of sequels, and I guess, in a way it was, although it was more of an extended version sequel since it added new stories to the original ones.

A lot of the information wasn't new to me, though, specifically the ones that were related to different religions. My World Religions professor in college was very thorough, so I recognized a lot of the names and other things.

I did appreciate, though, that the book included numbers that were relevant to different countries all over the world, and not just those in America and Europe.

As for the overall tone of the book, it wasn't too textbook-like and there was some effort to make it conversational. However, since the layout and format was almost list-like, my mind had a tendency to wander. I think this book would benefit from a bit more graphics or change in layout to break the monotony.

Thanks to NetGalley and Picador for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. You'll learn a lot.
  2. It doesn't just focus on American and European culture.
  3. There's pop culture references too.

THE BAD:

  1. It can tend to get monotonous. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You like the Mental Floss series.
  2. You like trivia.
  3. You are fascinated by numbers. 

RATING:
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

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!



Long known as 'The Thousand Nights,' the collection did not become 'A Thousand and One' until the twelfth century.
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Monday, December 22, 2014

Review: Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes by Dominique Ansel


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
How do you catch lightning in a measuring cup?
Dominique Ansel is the creator of the Cronut™, the croissant-doughnut hybrid that has taken the world by storm. But he’s no one-hit wonder. Classically trained in Paris, responsible for a four-star kitchen in New York, and now the proprietor of New York’s highest rated bakery, Ansel has become a modern-day Willy Wonka: the creator of wildly creative, extraordinarily delicious, and unbelievably popular desserts.
Now, in his hotly anticipated debut cookbook, Ansel shares the secret to transforming the most humble ingredients into the most extraordinary, tempting, and satisfying pastries imaginable. Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes reveals the stories and recipes behind his most sought-after creations and teaches lovers of dessert everywhere how to make magic in their own kitchens.

MY TAKE:
The copy I received from NetGalley contained only the first 20 pages of the book, but based on what I say, this is one book that is definitely worth adding to your collection.

Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes contains stories from his youth, his thoughts on food as well as a number of recipes, most of which for desserts.

Where do I even begin to express how much I loved the little I read of this book?

Aesthetics-wise, I loved the fonts, graphics and colors used. Everything was very classy. The food photography was superb and the photos looked like they belonged to an ad campaign. Seeing the photos of the mini madeleines and flourless chocolate pecan cookie made me want to head off to the kitchen to find something to eat.

The essays I saw were interesting. When Mr. Ansel waxes poetic about food and the way we perceive and enjoy them, I got shades of Paulo Coelho. He becomes almost philosophical, and while some may think it a little strange, I think it goes really well with the tone and feel of the book.

The recipes I saw for mini madeleines and flourless chocolate pecan cookie are classified as easy. It does look easy enough, especially since the recipes include: time (prep time, overnight [if required], and cooking time), serving size (in number and grams each, if applicable), ingredients (in both grams and cups/teaspoons/etc.) and tools. There are also tips, serving instructions and storage instructions.

Oh, and for those who are curious, I checked the table of contents. This book contains the recipe for the well-known cronut. It's filed under advanced, though, so you may want to go through the other recipes in the book first. Personally, the recipes I'm most excited about are: popcorn choquette, cotton soft cheesecake, perfect little egg sandwich, baked "apple pie" alaska, and, of course, the cronut.

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the e-sample.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's an elegant-looking book.
  2. The food photography is gorgeous.
  3. The recipes look easy enough to do. 

THE BAD:

  1. I would have liked to have a few more recipes.

READ IT IF:

  1. You love cronuts and want to make your own.
  2. You're a fan of Dominique Ansel's creations.
  3. You want to see why people are so enamored by the cronut and Dominique Ansel. 

RATING:
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Sunday, December 21, 2014

In My Mailbox


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

FROM NETGALLEY:



Rogerson's Book of Numbers by Barnaby Rogerson
The Body Electric by Beth Revis
Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes by Dominique Ansel
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Beenie's Search Book Blast

Beenie's Search by J.J. Schousboe

About the Book

Title: Beenie's Search | Author: J.J. Schousboe | Publication Date: March 20, 2014 | Publisher: Friesen Press | Pages: 48 | Recommended Ages: 3 to 8


Book Description: Join Beenie, the friendly bear, as he searches for his family after hibernating for the long winter. Spring arrives and Beenie discovers that he is all alone. In search of food, friends and his family, Beenie gets side tracked and lost. When he remembers what he was taught by his parents, he overcomes his fears and sets off in the right direction. Beenie's Search teaches young readers the importance of listening and following directions as they join Beenie in his adventure.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Friesen Press

J J Schousboe Designs | Google Play | Goodreads


About the Author: J.J. Schousboe

J.J. Schousboe

JJ Schousboe migrated from the lovely island of Trinidad, in the Caribbean. She has been writing poems as a teenager and began writing stories for her children. A preschool teacher since 2007, JJ currently lives in Largo, Florida.

Twitter | Facebook | YouTube




* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash (winner's choice)

Contest closes: January 2, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open to: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, J.J. Schousboe and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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Review: Go Buckeyes Activity Book by Darla Hall


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
The college and professional activity books are packed full of games, mazes, puzzles, trivia, mazes, dream team player cards, team songs, writing prompts and other interactive challenges. The book challenges kids of all ages to be creative and use their imaginations. Some things are easy, some are hard. This book will keep your child engaged for hours. Whether you are taking a road trip, hanging out at home or getting a gift for someone, the team sports activity books are sure to be a TOUCHDOWN!Every college book also has an accompanying app that can be downloaded through iTunes on any ipad, iphone or ipod.
MY TAKE:
I don't watch US college sports coverage, but I thought this was an interesting book nonetheless.

Go Buckeyes Activity Book contains drawing activities, crosswords, word searches, coloring pages, etc., majority of which are centered around Ohio State University's Buckeyes.

If your child is a Buckeyes fan, or you or your spouse are Buckeyes fans and want to share that with your child, then you should definitely get this book. It's the perfect book for long car trips or while you're at a restaurant and you're waiting for your food to arrive. There's tons of different activities here, so kids won't get easily bored. They can draw, color, do crosswords, come up with an imaginary dream team, play with cut-outs, and write, among others. The activities are non-gender-specific, so little boys and girls can both enjoy them. The book doesn't just center around football too. Some of the activities are about basketball, baseball, and one has blank cards so you can choose your own sport.

This book also has an accompanying app, if your child likes playing with your gadgets, or when they've finished the book.

While this book is best-suited for Buckeyes fans, your child doesn't have to be one to enjoy the activity. He or she might even learn a few new things since there's Buckeyes and Ohio State University trivia on some pages of the book.

Thanks to NetGalley and In the Sports Zone for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. There's a variety of activities to choose from.
  2. You can learn more about OSU and the Buckeyes.
  3. A portion of the book's profits goes to local hospitals in the form of activity books for children.

THE BAD:

  1. I would have preferred more colors or brighter colors than the ones used (aside from the Buckeyes colors).

READ IT IF:

  1. Your child is a Buckeyes fan.
  2. Your child likes watching college football/basketball/other sports.
  3. You are looking for an activity book for your child to use while at restaurants. 

RATING:
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Friday, December 19, 2014

The Heroes of the Himalayas Book Blast

BOOK SALE: You can grab a copy of Book 1, "Ghost Leopard" for 99 cents from Amazon between December 18 and 24, 2014. PURCHASE NOW!

Zoe and Zak Collage

About the Books

Move over Percy Jackson. Find out what everybody is talking about!Have you ever gotten hopelessly lost in a strange land?
Talked to an elephant?
Ridden a magic carpet?
Been jailed by an angry parrot?
And discovered that you have the power to change the world?
Zoe & Zak hadn’t either. But that was before their lives were turned upside down by a mysterious creature called the Ghost Leopard. Now, they find themselves attending a strange school high in the Himalayan foothills, where nothing is what it seems and anything is possible.
The Zoe & Zak Adventures contains the first three full books of the middle grade fantasy adventure series, where two semi-normal kids begin to live absolutely extraordinary lives.
In Book One, The Ghost Leopard, Zoe & Zak take their first trip to India where they learn that they’ve been chosen to protect a mythical creature from a terrible fate.
In Book Two, The Yogi’s Curse, Zoe & Zak are back in India, this time to attend Moonstock Academy, a strange and sometimes frightening boarding school where weird events seem to occur on a regular basis.
And in Book Three, The Tiger Temple, Zoe & Zak take on their second semester at Moonstock and their most terrifying challenge yet.
If you love to laugh out loud, if you like adventure, and if you’re dying to go on the wildest ride on this side of the Himalayas, pick up the Zoe & Zak Adventures today.
Now Available as a Compendium: The three book collection contains the complete text of first three books in the Zoe & Zak series. Together, these books are guaranteed to bring you to a magical world unlike any you’ve experienced before. Find out what everybody is talking about.


Book 1: Zoe and Zak and The Ghost Leopard

Ghost Leopard by Lars Guignard

The Buzz

Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard BLOG TOUR

"Love Love Love! This book had me from the first chapter. This book overflows with top-notch character development, culture, adventure, and FUN!" ~ Sunshine, Bubbles and Books
"This is adventure with a capital ‘A’ and the kind that middle grade readers will love." ~ Word Magic: All About Books
"Once Zoe and Zak are off on their adventure, the pace never lets up. There are constant dangers lurking all around them and they are pretty much constantly fighting for their lives. Throw in some really interesting mystical creatures and you have a recipe for a great MG novel!!" ~ Best Kids' Reads

Amazon (Print) | Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Audiobook) | iTunes (Audiobook)

Book 2: Zoe & Zak and the Yogi's Curse

Yogi's Curse by Lars Guignard

The Buzz

Zoe & Zak and the Yogi's Curse BLOG TOUR

"Lars Guignard keeps up the pace with this second installment in the Zoe and Zak Adventure series. I recommend this series to tweens and teens who love a great adventure steeped with magic and mysticism. Ages 8+." ~ Mother Daughter Book Reviews

"Fantasy, action, adventure, wonderful characters and some fun mysteries has me hooked... 5 Stars!" ~ Brooke Blogs

I loved the faster pace of this second book. Zoe & Zak's adventures kept me turning pages to see what was happening next.
" ~ Carpinello's Writing Pages

Amazon (Print) | Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Audiobook) | iTunes (Audiobook)

Book 3: Zoe & Zak and the Tiger Temple

Tiger Temple by Lars Guignard

The Buzz

Zoe & Zak and the Tiger Temple BLOG TOUR

"Zoe and Zak’s adventure in the Tiger’s Temple nerve-wracking and enjoyable all at the same time! Magic flies high in this story. Guignard continues not only to entertain his young readers but also to educate them on the exotic culture of India. Readers learn about everything from food to mythology. I love all the magic and mystery in his books, and you can’t help but love Zoe and Zak with their self-destructive behavior." ~ Jump Into a Book
"The great thing about this book, besides the fun adventure, is the exposure kids will get to different cultures, mythologies, and ways of life." ~ Nik's Picks
"Lars Guignard’s writing is easy to read and the story flows well and he has a great sense of humor. Zoe & Zak and the Tiger Temple is another must read for readers of all ages. I can’t wait for more books in the Zoe & Zak series! " ~ Bound 4 Escape

Amazon (Print) | Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Audiobook) | iTunes (Audiobook)

Purchase all Three!

The Heroes of the Himalayas Book Set by Lars Guignard

PURCHASE: Amazon (Kindle)


About The Author: Lars Guignard

Lars Guignard

Prior to writing novels, Lars Guignard wrote for film and television. As a teenager he attended boarding school in the Indian Himalayas and his experiences there provided the inspiration for the "Heroes of the Himalayas" series which now include: Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard, Zoe & Zak and the Yogi’s Curse, and Zoe & Zak and the Tiger Temple.

He lives in the Pacific Northwest where he dodges bears and cougars while hiking & skiing the magnificent Coast Mountain Range.

For news about new releases, please join his email list by contacting the author: Zoe&ZakAdventures@gmail.com

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash (winner's choice)

Contest closes: January 1, 11:59 pm, 2015

Open to: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Lars Guignard and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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