Review of Promises and Primroses by Josi S. Kilpack

Promises and Primroses by Josi Kilpack

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Book Review of Promises and Primroses by Josi S. Kilpack

I always get excited when I hear that Josi Kilpack has another book out! She has such a fun writing style, and is good at allowing the reader into the hearts and minds of her characters. She has written about a wide variety of characters in different settings, and they always seem to become some of my best friends. When I heard about this new book I may have done a little happy dance. The cover art is beautiful, the title is fun with alliteration, and I couldn’t wait to meet the characters and delve into this world of primroses. So what did I think? Find out in my book review of Promises and Primroses by Josi S. Kilpack.

Blurb:

“Lord Elliott Mayfield has done his best to take care of his family, first his siblings and now his nieces and nephews. Unfortunately, he sees this new generation moving in the same direction of bad matches and scandalous relationships as the last. In hopes to change their course, he establishes a ‘marriage campaign’ to motivate them to improve themselves through making respectable matches. With his heart in the right place, what could possibly go wrong?

Peter, Elliott’s eldest nephew, thinks the entire idea is ridiculous. A widower with two young daughters, he simply needs a governess, not a wife. Julia Hollingsworth certainly has the credentials and the experience, but is altogether too young and pretty for such a job. So why can’t he stop thinking about her?

Julia loves working as a governess, despite the objections of her mother, Amelia. And as it turns out, Amelia has a lot to say about the Mayfield men—none of it good. But Julia dismisses the rumors of ruined reputations and instead concentrates on helping Peter with his children and his fledgling business in canine husbandry. His kindness and gentleness is endearing—and increasingly attractive.

But Amelia, whose heart was broken thirty years ago by none other than Elliott Mayfield, is determined to prevent any relationship from blooming either between Peter and Julia—or between herself and Elliott.

Hearts and history collide as both couples must face their pasts and decide if risking it all is worth the promise of new love and a new future.”

My Book Review:

Hahaha! Can you imagine your uncle coming to you and proposing that he will give you a very large gift (money or something else) if you decide to settle down and get married to a respectable person? I have to admit that it might be tempting–as long as I already had a fiancée. It might be a little weird otherwise. People just don’t talk like this anymore. Of course parents want their children to marry good people, but thankfully it’s not the same as it used to be. Again, thankfully, women have a lot more options now than they did back then. I’m so glad that times have changed on that one!

I love Julia’s character. She’s so sweet and tenderhearted. I loved how cute she was with the little girls in the story. It was fun to read about the tea parties, the games, and the love she had for them. I liked that she thought independently, she didn’t care what her mother thought, and she did what she thought was best for herself. After learning about Julia’s mother, I don’t blame her for wanting to get out from her mother’s thumb.

Peter seems like a good man. He may be a little too blinded to see what’s important sometimes, but I think he has good intentions. It was interesting learning about the dogs and some of the care that went into them. I know that scandals in families still happen, but thankfully, I don’t think they affect the whole family for generations like they used to. Peter worked very hard to prove himself despite his family’s reputation, and I liked that he put that effort into rising above his circumstances.

I liked the easy-going writing style of this book. It’s well written, has great character development, and is a sweet story. I did think it was a bit predictable and a little cheesy in parts, but honestly, that’s what I want in a romance. Right? Love stories need a little cheese and a few “awwww” moments! It’s fun and entertaining, and I enjoyed it. I liked how it all came together, and how the characters fit together in the story. It’s a fast, easy read; I read it in a couple of days, and loved that I could get sucked into this fun world of promises and primroses.    

Content Rating GContent Rating: G (It’s clean! There’s no profanity, violence, or “intimacy,” except for a few brief kisses.)

Age Recommendation: YA and up

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Promises and Primroses Blog Tour

 

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2QO44D2

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

A Heart Revealed by Josi S. Kilpack The Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack  Forever and Forever by Josi S. Kilpack
 

Book Review of Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard

Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard

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Book Review of Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard

I have to admit that I have been naïve. I’ve heard of things going on, but I always thought that it couldn’t really be true. People can’t really be that evil, right? It only happens in the movies, right? Unfortunately, it does happen. Too often. And not necessarily in some faraway land; it’s happening all over the world. Children and women are being sold into slavery. But this slavery is a different kind of slavery from what we’ve learned and studied about. These women and children are being sold, yes sold, into human trafficking. It’s absolutely horrifying. Find out more in my book review of Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard.

Blurb:

“In the 1800s American South, Harriet Jacobs is enslaved and tormented by a cruel master. He relentlessly attempts to force her into [an intimate] union, and, when rebuffed, he separates her from her children and spends a lifetime trying to coerce her and then recapture her when she escapes to freedom. Jacobs outwits her tormentor and eventually reunites with her children, works in the cause of abolition and reform, and helps newly freed slaves with education and aftercare.

In 2009, Timothy Ballard encounters a grieving father in Haiti whose three-year-old son has been kidnapped and sold into slavery along with thousands of children who were orphaned after an earthquake devastated the country. He pledges to track down the missing child and leaves his job at the Department of Homeland Security to establish Operation Underground Railroad to infiltrate black markets in human trafficking, liberate victims, and provide a comprehensive aftercare process involving justice and rehabilitation for survivors.

Slave Stealers alternates these two riveting stories, weaving them together to expose the persistent evil of trafficking and sexual exploitation that has existed for centuries—and inspiring us to find a way to end it. Filled with heartbreaks and triumphs, miracles and disappointments, hair-raising escapes and daring rescues, this gripping book provides insight to this terrible evil and the good that can be done when caring people step up and stand in the light.”

My Book Review:

Wow. I read this book in two days. I couldn’t put it down. It pulls at every piece of humanity, motherhood, teacher, Christian, and sister that I have. And then some. I’ve read quite a bit about slavery and the Civil War, and I’m astonished every time by the brutality and inhumane treatment that the slaves endured. It’s incomprehensible. And then I learn that it’s happening today. Yes, today. And not in some place far, far away, but way too close to home. It may look slightly different, but there are many similarities between the transatlantic slavery of old and modern-day slavery.

I loved how Timothy Ballard wove the two stories together. It was seamless. It was powerful. Like everyone, I’ve heard of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas. I have learned about Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Unfortunately for me, I have not been as well acquainted with Harriet Jacobs. What a story! I loved hearing her story and learning about her. She was an amazing woman who inspires me to never give up, to stand up for my beliefs, and to take a stand against slavery.

Timothy Ballard also has an amazing story. He has seen and experienced so much. I also enjoyed learning about his story. He is such a good example of being a good citizen, of being compassionate, and of being aware of the needs of others. I love that he has dedicated his life to resurrecting the Underground Railroad. He uses many of the same principles today that the people who ran the original Underground Railroad used in the 1800s. His writing style just sucks you into the story. It brings the story to life.

Although old and modern-day slavery are heavy topics, Timothy Ballard does a great job of pulling out the inspirational moments. Instead of feeling weighed down and depressed after reading this book, I absolutely felt inspired. I want to help. I cannot imagine what those children and women have to endure, and Mr. Ballard has such a way with words that he broaches hard things and turns them into teaching moments. His writing is full of energy, it’s authentic, and it is bold. He doesn’t mince words, but it’s not off-putting; in fact, it has the opposite effect.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the modern-day conductors of the Underground Railroad. Their stories are also powerful and vulnerable. It’s very telling how highly Mr. Ballard thinks of them. Once again, it’s inspiring to hear what many of them have overcome, and how they have reacted to those heartbreaking situations.

I loved this book so much! I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to read and review it. I highly recommend Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard.

Content Rating RRating: R (There isn’t any profanity in this book, but it’s discussing human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. It is full of adult themes.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2xdnE2P

 

Slave Stealers Blog Tour

 

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Women of the Blue and Gray by Marianne Monson Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand  the immortal life of henrietta lacks
 

Review of Six Sisters’ Stuff Copycat Cooking Cookbook

Copycat Cooking by Six Sisters' Stuff

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Book Review of Copycat Cooking by Six Sisters' Stuff

I have reviewed a few of the Six Sisters’ Stuff cookbooks, and I have favorite recipes from each one. Their recipes are usually easy to prepare, turn out great, and I most likely have all the ingredients in my pantry. I’m super excited for this one because it includes some of my favorite restaurant dishes. You know, the ones where you’re saying, “I could make this!” And then you don’t because you’re really not sure how to? Well, they’ve got you covered! Without further ado, I introduce you to your new favorite cookbook: Copycat Cooking by Six Sisters’ Stuff.
 

Blurb:

 
“The popular Six Sisters’ Stuff bloggers come to the rescue with a new collection of more than 100 easy-to-make recipes of popular restaurant dishes and take-out favorites for busy families.
 
With more than fifty recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less, this cookbook can help you make meal planning a breeze as you  mix-and-match side dishes from one restaurant with main courses from another and finish it off with a dessert from a third.
 
Save money while spending more time with your family. Change dining-out to dining-in for a memorable experience your whole family will enjoy.
 
Includes copycat recipes for Texas Roadhouse Cactus Blossom, Panda Express Orange Chicken, Olive Garden Chicken Parmesan, Disneyland Monte Cristo Sandwich, Chili’s Molton Hot Lava Cake, Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcakes, and Universal Studios Butterbeer. “

 

My Book Review:

Ummmm……yummy! I’m so excited for this cookbook! It has recipes for some of my favorite restaurant dishes. And you know what? They’re actually doable! I could make these! They’re not too time consuming, they don’t have a million tricky steps, and they include ingredients that I can pronounce. I have most of the ingredients in my pantry already, or I know which isle they’re on in the the grocery store. It’s so refreshing to find good, easy recipes that my family will love and that I can actually prepare.

Here are some of my favorites (photo credits: amazon.com):

 

Mmmmmm!!! I love me some Olive Garden Chicken Parmesan! I can’t wait to try this one! And look, only five ingredients. I can handle this one! This is my husband’s favorite dish at Olive Garden, so he’ll be very excited!

 

Although I’ve never tried Disneyland’s Dole Whip Floats, I’ve heard they’re amazing. This one will be fun! I’ve never tried this Freckled Lemonade either, but I LOVE strawberry lemonade so I can’t wait to try it.

 

Chili’s Molten Lava Cake is one of my favorite restaurant desserts. Seriously. It’s sooooo good!!! I love how the melty chocolate and the ice cream melt together. Mmmmmm! This is making me hungry and it’s 7:30 in the morning! Now I need a chocolate fix. I’ll need to make this dessert this weekend!

As you can see, the Six Sisters have done it again! Copycat Cooking by Six Sisters’ Stuff is a fun, practical, and delicious cookbook that will make your whole family happy. Even the picky eaters will find new favorites. If those pics didn’t convince you, how about a few of these:

  • Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate
  • Chick-Fil-A Frosted Lemonade (One of my favorites!)
  • Nestlé Tollhouse Cookie Pie
  • The Cheesecake Factory Oreo Dream Cheesecake (Yes, please!)
  •  Cafe Rio Steak Salad
  • Applebee’s Honey Grilled Salmon
  • Kneaders Chicken Bacon Avocado Sandwich
  • Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana
  • Disneyland Clam Chowder

And the list goes on and on and on… Need I say more? This would be a fantastic birthday or bridal shower gift, or just a fun addition to your cookbook collection. We’ll be having fun with this one for a long time!

Want to buy Copycat Cooking by Six Sisters’ Stuff? Click on the image:

Content Rating GRating: G 

Recommendation: Everyone from the littlest chefs to the professional ones!

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

 Six-Sisters-Stuff-A-Year-with Six-Sisters-Stuff  celebrate-every-season-six-sisters-325x325
 
 

Book Review of The Caseroom by Kate Hunter

The Caseroom by Kate Hunter

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Book Review of The Caseroom by Kate Hunter

Wow! Two books about 19th century Scotland in two days! And to make it even better, it’s also two strong, female Scottish women in two days as well. After reading these two books I know more about the situation of women in 19th century Scotland than I ever thought I would. These two women live very different lives, but their fight for women at that time makes them one in cause. Once again, I’m thankful for women like Iza and Jess that paved the way for the rights women have today. What was Iza’s story? Find out in my book review of The Caseroom by Kate Hunter.

Blurb:

“Set in the thick of workers’ lives in Edinburgh’s thriving print industry, The Caseroom follows Iza into the arcane world of the caseroom where she learns the intricacies of a highly-skilled trade.

As one of some 800 Edinburgh women who for a few decades did so, she becomes a hand-typesetter, work that had been, and was to become once more, a male preserve. Despite hostility to the cheap labour that women represent, Iza persists in work that allows her to feed her imagination on books. But holding on to her trade means hardening herself to the needs of those she loves. And when the men’s union moves to eliminate women from the caseroom and a We Women movement forms to oppose them, there is no middle ground. Torn between class and gender loyalties and embroiled in a bitter labour dispute, Iza must choose sides.”

My Book Review:

In all honesty, before I read this book I had never heard of a caseroom. I had no idea what it was or what it was used for. Oops! You’d think someone who loves to read and proofread would know some of the history of printing. But, no. Everything about the caseroom was new to me. I didn’t know what any of the tools were or what they were used for. The names of the different jobs there were also brand new to me. Needless to say, I learned a lot from this book.

I liked the writing style of the The Caseroom, and I thought it was well written. Most of the characters were well developed and seemed realistic. I couldn’t decide how I felt about Iza. Sometimes I liked her a lot, and sometimes she bothered me. That sometimes happens in real life, though, I suppose. I did admire her for her bravery in standing up for women’s rights. Just working in the caseroom was enough to make some of the men angry, including her brother. She persevered, though. Even without her brother’s blessing she went to work. I loved her determined attitude.

Iza’s family seemed, for the most part, like a good family. They had their problems, but seemed to usually work them out. Each of the family members brought a unique angle to the story.  I also liked her co-workers Netta and Margaret. Roddy Mac was a character that I never trusted or liked, for some reason.

I liked that this story was based on “the author’s father’s family history.” The story happens to be “based on real events and features some actual historical characters.” I think that it’d be fun to write a story about my ancestor’s lives.

The one thing that was hard for me with this book was the language. The author uses terms for things that I’m assuming were appropriate for the time period. I guess it’s a good thing, but consequently, I didn’t understand a lot of the book. Even my Kindle couldn’t define the words, so that’s not a good sign. I think it would be a great story for people who know the language a little better than I do.

Content Rating RContent Rating: R (Profanity, including at least one “f” word. “Intimacy,” including scenes and innuendos. A couple of characters died.)

Age Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2Pk6tnz

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The False Men by Mhairead MacLeod The Lost Family by Jenna Blum  A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner
 
 

The False Men by Mhairead MacLeod

The False Men by Mhairead MacLeod

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Book Review of The False Men by Mhairead MacLeod

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that takes place in 19th century Scotland. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be a woman during that time. It would be so confining to not have control of your life. Why anyone would think that a woman should not be able to choose her own path is beyond me. Reading this book made me especially grateful to live where I live in this day and age. It also made me thankful for all the women that went before me that have gotten us to this point. I hope you enjoy my book review of The False Men by Mhairead MacLeod.

Blurb:

North Uist, Outer Hebrides, 1848

Jess MacKay has led a privileged life as the daughter of a local landowner, sheltered from the harsher aspects of life. Courted by the eligible Patrick Cooper, the Laird’s new commissioner, Jess’s future is mapped out, until Lachlan Macdonald arrives on North Uist, amid rumours of forced evictions on islands just to the south.

As the uncompromising brutality of the Clearances reaches the islands, and Jess sees her friends ripped from their homes, she must decide where her heart, and her loyalties, truly lie.

Set against the evocative backdrop of the Hebrides and inspired by a true story, The False Men is a compelling tale of love in a turbulent past that resonates with the upheavals of the modern world. 
 

My Book Review:

I haven’t ever been to Scotland, but I’d like to go! It sounds like such a beautiful place. The author did a good job describing the setting. I could totally picture the layout of the land with the homes and farms. The descriptions made me want to go there; so I think they did their job!

I liked the writing style of this book. It was a little hard to figure out what was going on in some places because I’m not familiar with the language, but the more I read the easier it became. The writing is engaging and full of heart. Jess’ heart. She should have been born in the 21st century because she was a bit much for everyone else in the 19th century to handle. Jess believed that she could make a difference, and women didn’t really get that opportunity at that time. She thought she should be able to make her own decisions about her future, and that wasn’t really a thing either.

What Jess decided to do surprised me, and it took the book in a whole different direction than I thought it would. Jess is a great character. She is strong, opinionated, a bit crazy, and full of heart. Her character is well developed and realistic. It’s too bad she just didn’t fit in her time period. I’m sure it was women like her that got the ball rolling, though. I thought that all of the characters were well developed. Patrick, Catherine, and Lachlan were especially well developed, along with Jess’ father.   

Overall, I liked this book. I loved traveling to Scotland via The False Men Express. Maybe someday I’ll be able to actually travel there, but for now, I’m good reading about it.  

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, including at least one “f” word. “Intimacy,” including scenes and discussions about it. Violence including fighting, and the death of several characters.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2wpd7lz

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

the book thief by markus zusak the nightingale by kristin hannah  The Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack
 
 

Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos

Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos

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Book Review of Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos

I’m not a huge fan of graphic novels. Or comic books. I have to admit that I haven’t read many of them because they just don’t interest me. My kids, however, like them a lot. In an effort to be a good example and try a new genre, I offered to join the blog tour for this book. So what did I think? Did this book change my opinion of graphic novels? What about my kids? Did they enjoy it? Find out in my book review of Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos.

Blurb:

In this funny, action-packed graphic novel adventure, a science-obsessed girl finds herself in the middle of one of her favorite monster movies. Can she invent her way out of disaster while also saving the monster who has become her friend?

Zoe’s favorite thing to do–besides invent and build robots–is watch classic monster movies. She has never been comfortable with kids her own age, and so she pretends she doesn’t need friends while inside she’s longing for connection. And then one day, Zoe finds a mysterious ring on her way home from school. She puts it on, gives it a twist, and–FRZAAKK! There’s a massive burst of light! The next morning, a familiar monster appears at Zoe’s window. He’s from one of her favorite kaiju movies, and he likes Zoe–he wants to be her friend. Has her secret wish been fulfilled? But it turns out that Zoe’s ring has brought more than just this friendly monster to life. More monsters have arrived, and they are hungry! Now she’ll need to reach out to other people to help her save her town from destruction. Good thing she’s a robotics genius!

My Book Review:

Well, I have to say that Monster Mayhem is actually a pretty cute book. The main characters are super cute. Zoe is a darling character. I love how smart she is! She will be a great example to all the girls that read this book. Unfortunately, Zoe is dealing with something that is all too common: not having any friends. And then when she finally does make a friend, she gets hurt. Ouch! I think we all know how that feels. So, emotionally, she just shuts down.

Zoe’s parents and teachers express the importance of friends, and she won’t have anything to do with friends. She’s so anti-friend that she creates a robot to be her companion. And then the monsters start showing up. Oh no! Through a series of events (sorry, I’m not going to tell you what happens), Zoe learns some great lessons.

The illustrations in Monster Mayhem are so fun! They are bright, colorful, and well done. I particularly love the facial expressions of each of the characters. There are different fonts and font colors to distinguish the characters, so it’s easy to figure out who’s talking. I love Zoe’s goggles! As a mom, I know that sometimes you have to pick your clothing battles! Whether it’s the cowboy boots, the princess dress, or the goggles, you just have to roll with it.

This is a fun book! I did enjoy it, and I especially liked the lessons that Zoe learned. Two of my kids read this book as well. Here are their thoughts:

I liked the drawings and the moral of the story.

            ~15 year-old boy

The illustrations are adorable, cute, and sweet. It was a little strange at times, but still cute. I liked that the girl learned that friends are important.

            ~10 year-old girl

Girls will especially like this book, but boys will like it too! For those kids who are into comic books or who don’t like reading, this book will definitely be a great option for them! I still don’t love the graphic novel format, but this book opened my eyes to the potential of graphic novels. It’s a fun story with colorful illustrations and a great moral—what else could a mom or teacher wish for?

Content Rating PGRating: PG (Clean! There are some monsters, and they might scare some very small children, but they aren’t too scary. There’s some minor violence when they’re fighting the monsters.)

Recommendation: As a silent read: 2nd-3rd grade, as a read-aloud: K and up

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2nYHRVN

 

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The Golden Plates 1 Adapted by Michael Allred Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl  Mr Poppers Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
 

Book Review of How To Be A T. Rex by Ryan North

How To Be A T.Rex by Ryan North

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Book Review of How To Be A T. Rex by Ryan North

When my boys were little, they loved dinosaurs. They could tell you the names of all the dinosaurs, and they could even tell you all about them. Was it a carnivore or an herbivore? They could tell you that. I loved it. Of course I tried to encourage it by giving them dinosaur books and toys. I even made a valance for their window out of dinosaur fabric. Long story short, they would have loved this book! Although most of our dinosaur books are now torn and well-loved, we still have them. This will make a fun addition to our collection. Read all about it in my book review of How To Be A T. Rex by Ryan North.

Blurb:

“Sometimes being a regular human is a REAL DRAG. That’s why, when Sal grows up, she’s going to be a…

TYRANNOSAURUS REX!

What’s that you say? Humans can’t become dinosaurs? Well, I’ve got some news for you…”

 

My Book Review:

 As I said before, this book will be a fun addition to our dinosaur book collection. It’s so cute! The illustrations are well done; they are bright, and colorful, and funny! The characters have great expressions. I also like the formatting with the fonts and the speaking bubbles.

The story is clever and funny. Sal wants to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex when she grows up. Who doesn’t, right? I mean they’re big and scary and they probably get anything they want because of it. And they can get away with lots of stuff us normal humans can’t. They ROAR whenever they want to, they eat whatever they want to, and they’re not afraid of anything.

But apparently there are also a few downsides to being a T. Rex. What?!?! There are consequences for not being nice? There are consequences for not caring about the little humans’ feelings? Dinosaurs can be sent to their rooms? Are you kidding me??

Is it too much to ask to be 100% awesome 100% of the time?

(Haha! I LOVE that line!)

Maybe there are a few things that the precious humans can learn from awesome dinosaurs, and ferocious dinos can learn from the little humans. Sal learns some great lessons in this book! I love how witty this book is. It’s fun, it has some important lessons in it, and I think the kiddos will love it! My book even came with a super fun poster! This is a very fun book and I think it would make a great addition to any home or classroom library. Beware, though—this may be the next book that you read over and over and over!   

Content Rating GContent Rating: G (Clean!)

Age Recommendation: Everyone

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

 

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2BFJ5z3

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Nina the Neighborhood Ninja by Sonia Panigrahy The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood  The Nantucket Sea Monster by Darcy Pattison
 

Women of the Blue and Gray by Marianne Monson

Women of the Blue and Gray by Marianne Monson

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Book Review of Women of the Blue & Gray by Marianne Monson

When I was in high school, I took AP history from an amazing teacher. Her name was Kristie Pitts. Because of Mrs. Pitts, I passed the AP history test. Not only did she teach me about American history, she served as an example of an amazing woman. Mrs. Pitts was intelligent, engaging, compassionate, and caring. After I took her AP history class, she opened a new class. I am proud to say that I attended the very first Women in History class at my high school. It was an amazing class! We spent hours reading about the accomplishments of women in American history. There were women I had never heard of that accomplished so much. I loved that class, and I still look back at that time with fondness. I wish we had had this book back then! It would have been a great addition to the class. If you’re out there, Mrs. Pitts, this book review of Women of the Blue & Gray by Marianne Monson is dedicated to you!

Blurb:

“Hidden amongst the photographs, uniforms, revolvers, and war medals of the Civil War are the remarkable stories of some of the most unlikely heroes—women.

North, South, black, white, Native American, immigrant—the women in these micro-drama biographies are wives, mothers, sisters, and friends whose purposes ranged from supporting husbands and sons during wartime to counseling President Lincoln on strategy, from tending to the wounded on the battlefield to spiriting away slaves through the Underground Railroad, from donning a uniform and fighting unrecognized alongside the men to working as spies for either side.

This book brings to light the incredible stories of women from the Civil War that remain relevant to our nation today. Each woman’s experience helps us see a truer, fuller, richer version of what really happened in the country during this time period.”

My Book Review:

I have always loved learning about history, especially American history. The Revolutionary War is my favorite, but I also enjoy learning about the Civil War. I haven’t ever read a history book devoted solely to the contributions of the women of that era. When I heard about this book from the publicist, I immediately jumped in. Yes, of course I’ll review it!

I’m so glad I did. It is such a good book! I read it almost all in one day because I couldn’t put it down. I found it fascinating to learn about each of the women portrayed in the book. Although some women helped in conspicuous ways, others served in the background, never gaining recognition for her service. Some women worked as nurses and tended to the wounded, and others sacrificed their homes to the armies. I found it fascinating that women disguised themselves as men and fought on the front lines.

This book is very well written. The stories are engaging, and the women come to life on the page. There are some well-known women like Harriet Tubman and Clara Barton, and then there are lesser-known women like Anna Ella Carroll or Cornelia Peake McDonald. I love that women of all backgrounds, colors, and sides are discussed. It doesn’t matter whether the woman is from the North or the South, is black or white, or is Native or an immigrant, each played an important role.

I learned so much from this book! It was fun, and yet sobering, to look into the lives of each of these women. The amount of research Ms. Monson must have done is staggering. This book is well thought-out, well researched, and well written. Women of all kinds are highlighted, and there’s no judgment regarding her viewpoints.

I highly recommend this book for all junior high and high school American history classes, and for personal libraries. It’s important to remember the past so we don’t repeat it. And it’s important to hear voices from all sides. I loved hearing from these women! I’ll end with a quote from Ms. Monson because I think it sums everything up quite nicely:

…people on every side often need, more than anything else, an opportunity to be heard. They need to be heard even if they don’t look like us, think like us, and especially if they disagree with us. They particularly need to be heard if the dominant discourse tends to ignore their voices.

Sometimes, I think one of the most important acts of kindness we can do for one another is to listen—really listen—to each other’s stories.      

Content Rating PG-13Rating: PG-13 (No profanity and no “intimacy.” This is a book about the Civil War, so there are stories of atrocities, death, disease, fighting, etc.)

Recommendation: YA and older

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2nRA9wr

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

1776 by David McCullough Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick  The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
 
 

Book Review of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

The Poppy War by RF Kuang

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Book Review of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

I had heard a lot about this book from other book bloggers, so I put it on hold at the library. It took awhile, but I was finally able to pick up the book. This book had such high ratings from everyone, so I was excited to read it. What did I think? Did it live up to the hype? Check out my book review of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang to find out.

Blurb:

“When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to study at the academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who always thought they’d be able to marry Rin off to further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was now finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in the Nikara Empire—was even more surprising.

 But surprises aren’t always good.

Being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Rin is targeted from the outset by rival classmates because of her color, poverty, and gender. Driven to desperation, she discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over her powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For even though the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied the Nikara Empire for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people in the Empire would rather forget their painful history, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away.

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god who has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her her humanity.

And it may already be too late.”

My Book Review:

So, what did I think? Well, honestly, I have very mixed emotions. I kept reading. I kept turning pages, so that means something. The writing style is engaging and it sucks you into the story. I thought the character development was really good. The characters come to life on the page, and that always makes a book better because you’re invested in the characters. At the beginning, especially, I found myself routing for Rin. I understood why she wanted to do well on the test.

I’m not sure why I didn’t put this book down. It was intriguing, but more in a watching-a-train-wreck sort of way. There were many things in the content that I just didn’t like; I especially didn’t think they were appropriate for teens to be reading. While Rin was studying she would harm herself; she said the pain helped her. As a mom, I definitely don’t want my daughters or sons reading that and thinking it’s ok to self-harm. No, no, no, no.

I got that it was a military training facility, and so I understood the fighting and practicing, but what I didn’t like was the use of opioids (hence, The Poppy War). We have enough trouble right now with people being addicted to opioids; I don’t think our teens need to see fictional characters using them to find gods. I just didn’t like that whole premise, and it’s a huge part of the story.

When I read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, I finished and felt sick to my stomach. I just felt yucky. That is also how I felt when I finished this book. It’s not happy or inspirational–it’s dark and disturbing. I was intrigued, but it didn’t live up to the hype. I especially don’t think it’s appropriate for YA. This book definitely wasn’t for me. However, if those things don’t bother you then you’ll probably enjoy it.

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, including dozens of “f” words. There isn’t an “intimacy.” Violence including war atrocities, rapes, murder, bombings, fighting, and the death of many characters.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 2.5/5

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2OM3tQF

 

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Jade City by Fonda Lee Twisted Prey by John Sandford  DEAD OF NIGHT by Michael Stanley
 

Book Review of Kitty Stuck by Emma Pullar

Kitty Stuck by Emma and Beth Pullar

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Book Review of Kitty Stuck by Emma Pullar

Even though my kids are older and I’m not teaching first graders anymore, I still love children’s books. My niece and nephew came and stayed at my house this week. It was so fun! My nephew is four and my niece is two. They are adorable! My kids had a lot of fun playing with them. We went to the lake and played in the water and sand, and we spent hours swinging and jumping on the trampoline. Night time was super fun because each of them chose a picture book to read before bed. I was in heaven! I’m still reading The Princess Bride to my kids—it’s taking us forever to finish—and that’s fun, but it’s not the same as the picture books! So I was excited to join the blog tour for Kitty Stuck. I hope you enjoy my book review of Kitty Stuck by Emma Pullar.

Blurb:

“Here kitty kitty…
Kitty is a calamitous cat who keeps finding himself in sticky situations. Luckily, his loving family helps him get unstuck.”

Kitty Stuck is Emma Pullar’s second children’s book. Her first, Curly from Shirley, was a national bestseller and named best opening lines by New Zealand Post. Upon her return to the UK, Emma shifted her writing focus to writing dark novels for adults. Recently, when inspired by her 12 year-old daughter Beth’s drawings of the family cat Rupert, she took up her pen and wrote Kitty Stuck.

Beth, a talented and dedicated young illustrator, hopes to use her royalties to develop her work by investing in art supplies, software and education.

A Spark in the Sand is dedicated to encouraging young people to pursue their dreams, both by publishing works created by young people and through books which engage their imagination and inspire them to ‘Dream Big and Work Hard’. Kitty Stuck, being illustrated by 12 year-old Beth, was a perfect fit for the publishing company’s ethos. We hope to encourage more young people to pursue their passion in this way.”

My Book Review:

I think it’s darling that a mom and daughter duo wrote this book! How fun! Wouldn’t it be exciting at 12 years-old to tell your friends you’re a published illustrator? Kitty Stuck is a cute story about a cat that keeps getting stuck. He gets stuck in so many places! I would get frustrated if I had to keep getting my kitty out of sticky situations, but not this family! They calmly pick him up, unwrap him, untie him, and get him out of wherever he’s stuck. They all seemed patient except for Dad. He did yell, “Drat!” at one point. That’s more realistic.

My favorite place he was stuck was in the bowl. That illustration is super cute. The illustrations and words are very simple, but they’re cute. My daughter loved finding the little mouse on every page; she thought that was a fun idea.

I didn’t love reading the book on my Kindle, though. Children’s books are 100 times better to read when holding a real book. You’re in luck! I checked on amazon and this book is out in paper, so hooray! I’d get it in paper for sure. The littles will love the cute pictures of the kitty.

This is a cute book that little children will enjoy!

Content Rating GRating: G (Clean…unless you count the muck they have to clean off the cat–haha!)

Recommendation: Everyone

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 Star Rating

Kitty banner

https://www.asparkinthesand.co.uk/

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest revew.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2OoCcne

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

What are You Thinking by Valerie Ackley Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs by David Soman and Jacky Davis  Laura's Star by Klaus Baumgart