Cash Valley: To Bring One Down (Book 2) by Ryan K. Nelson

Cash Valley To Bring One Down (Book 2) by Ryan K. Nelson

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Book Review of Cash Valley: To Bring One Down (Book #2) by Ryan K. Nelson

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Cash Valley, so when I heard there was a second book I was excited to read it. I As I stated in my review of the previous book, I graduated from Utah State University in Logan, UT. Logan is located in Cache Valley. See the play on words there? Mr. Nelson is quite the punnist. My husband and I LOVED it in Cache Valley! I wish we could have stayed, but there weren’t very many jobs there, so we reluctantly left. I had a good time reading this series because the location is so familiar to me, and I recognize many of the places in the book. It’s fun to have a connection to the book you’re reading. So, did I enjoy this second book? You’ll need to read my review of Cash Valley: To Bring One Down (Book #2) by Ryan K. Nelson.

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Blurb:

(From goodreads.com): “Agent Alex Travis returns to Cache Valley in search of an escaped prisoner, who bears a striking resemblance to one of the gang members Jack killed in the shootout in Green Canyon four years earlier. His instincts are leading him in the right direction, but he continues to be one step behind the man seeking revenge on Jack & Kate, and their young daughter, Emma. By not telling the whole truth of the missing bank money at the time of the recovery, Agent Travis has put them all in jeopardy. He must now decide if he can solve this case on this own, in time to save his friends, or if he risks asking for help from the Bureau and ruining his career in the process, a possibility that could land him in jail as well.

In a race to see who finds who first, the search shifts to nearby Logan Canyon, where Agent Travis will be tested by his own conscience as much as by the man he’s hunting.”

My Book Review:

Book #2 is a little darker than the first book, but I liked it. Agent Travis is back on the case, and strangely, it involves Jack and Kate again. Last time they may have left a little something undone, and now that little something is coming back to haunt them. There are quite a few tense moments in this book! You’ve got the bad guy, Donovan, and he is definitely a bad guy through and through. I love Jack and Kate, and of course Agent Travis. The character development in this book is so well done. You can just feel the evilness pouring out of Donovan. Jack can still be a bit of a mystery at times, and Agent Travis is so real. It’s good to see flaws and real-life thinking from a character like him.

I was hooked on this story from the beginning. It’s well written, I liked the writing style, and I felt like the book flowed well, transitioned well, and progressed well. There are lots of twists and turns in the plot, which made it exciting to read. I never thought I’d know so much about dye packs that bank tellers use to catch the robbers! Don’t worry—I will not be putting that information into practice.

I enjoyed watching the growth of the characters over the entire series. Each of them learned so much throughout the story. I also enjoyed learning about their relationships with each other: Jack and Kate, Jack and Agent Travis, Agent Travis and Kate, all of them with Donovan, and Agent Travis with Billy. You learn that good relationships do not just drop on your lap—they are earned with hard work, trust, and forgiveness.

Content Rating PG-13+Content Rating: PG-13+ (This book doesn’t have any profanity, but it does have an almost-rape scene. It also has quite a bit of violence and the graphic deaths of some of the characters.)

Age Recommendation: 16+

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I received 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/3fDCbtl

 

 

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Cash Valley by Ryan K. Nelson The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan
 
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The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

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Book Review of The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

As a lover of classic literature, I cannot believe that I haven’t read The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss! I watched the movie as a child, and from what I can remember, the book is not like the movie at all. That’s always how it goes though, right? What an adventure! Let’s just say that if my family were ever shipwrecked and stranded on an island, I would hope it would be the same island as the Robinsons. We would definitely not do as well as they did! What they accomplished is pretty impressive!

Blurb:

The Robinsons leave Switzerland in hopes of settling far away as missionaries, then afterward settling as citizens elsewhere. Their journey did not go as planned, and they ended up shipwrecked on a deserted island off the coast of New Guinea. They took from the ship what they could, including seeds and some animals. From the Preface: “…few books have obtained such deserved popularity. The gradual progress of the family from utter destitution and misery, to happiness and abundance, arising from their own labour, perseverance, and obedience, together with the effect produced on the different characters of the sons by the stirring adventures the met with, created a deep and absorbing interest.” The family learns together how to improve their lives. They work hard, endure many hardships, and thrive on the island.

My Book Review:

You know the game where you’re stranded on a deserted island and you can only take 3 things? One of my things would be this family. Seriously. If you’re going to get stranded, get stranded with the Swiss family Robinson! The book is fairly well written. You can tell by the way the father (the narrator) addresses and talks about his wife that this book was written a long time ago. Another clue is that he uses the Biblical name for their donkey (if you know what I mean), which is different than most people speak today.

The characters are well developed, and I liked them. I found the father to be a bit much sometimes. He seriously knows everything: what all of the plants are and what to use them for; how to plant crops; how to hunt, skin, and save the meat; how to build buildings and bridges and carts and canoes; how to navigate in the ocean; how to raise animals; how to build canals for fresh water drinking, bathing, and crop watering. You get the picture. The mother miraculously knows how to spin cotton to make clothing and how to cook.

Each of the boys has a unique personality and talents. I liked that they were able to find roles in the family to make those talents shine, and to improve them. Another thing I loved about the boys was how well they took care of their mother. They loved her so much they would spend days or weeks building things for her to make her life easier or more comfortable. Kids today could definitely do more of that!

I liked how they prayed and observed the Sabbath Day; you don’t read about that a lot today. I also liked how hard they all worked, and the good attitudes they had about their situation. It’s a little slow at points, but there’s some good action interspersed to make up for it.

There were a couple of things I didn’t like or that I noticed. They killed quite a few animals (some out of necessity–some not). We all know they need to eat, so that’s not the problem. One of the children, especially, killed some animals he didn’t need to. It’s a magical island—did you know that? On this one island there are flamingos, bears, bison, and penguins.

Overall, I am impressed with how they thrived on the island–didn’t just survive. Positive attitudes, hard work, gratitude, and working together helped them achieve this. During this difficult pandemic, I think we could all learn some lessons from this family. Yep, if you’re going to get stranded on a deserted island, make sure the Swiss family Robinson family is with you!  I did like the book and think it’s worth reading.

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There is minimal profanity in this book. They do use the Biblical name for the donkey, which technically isn’t a swear word in that context, but my kids consider it one. There’s not any “intimacy,” and very little violence. They call the native people “savages,” which isn’t too PC, but it was written a long time ago.)

Age Recommendation: YA+

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/32o1ooa

 

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No Slam Dunk by Mike Lupica

No Slam Dunk by Mike Lupica

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Book Review of No Slam Dunk by Mike Lupica

This is my first Mike Lupica book, so I was excited to read it! My boys played basketball when they were younger, and I loved watching them play. They loved playing the game itself, but did not like the politics that came with it, so they both lost interest. Now we cheer for our Jazz and enjoy basketball from the couch. I miss watching my boys play basketball, but now I get to watch them mountain bike, and that’s fun too! Check out my review of No Slam Dunk by Mike Lupica.

Blurb:

“Wes’ father always told him that there was only one ball in basketball. That you had to know when to take it yourself and when to give it up, that finding the right balance was key. So at every practice and game, Wes tries his best to be a good basketball player and, above all, a good teammate.

As the season kicks off, Wes finds that not everyone on his team has the same idea. All-star player and the Hawks’ point guard, Danila “Dinero” Rey seems determined to hold the spotlight—and the ball—even if it means costing his team the game. If Wes is to lead the Hawks to the playoffs, he’ll need to find new ways to dish out an assist—even if it means his most important one comes off the court.

In No Slam Dunk, #1 New York Times bestseller Mike Lupica demonstrates once again that there is no children’s sports novelist today who can match his ability to weave a story of fivid sports action and heartfelt emotion. A touch story about teamwork and family, of selfishness and generosity, No Slam Dunk shows that even in the face of adversity, giving your best is the surest way to victory.”

My Book Review:

I liked this book a lot! I think the YA boys will love it! The book is very well written. The characters are well developed, stay true to themselves throughout the book, and each have their own characteristics. They are relatable and make you feel like you’re great friends. Dinero is a little harder to relate to at first, but he comes around. I think the same thing with Wes’ dad. He seems a little rough around the edges at first, but as the story progresses, you begin to see him in a different light. The story is good, but the characters make the book.

Most sports movies or books I’ve read or seen seem to have the same story line. Poor team, struggles, has some hardship, overcomes, and wins it all. I loved how there was more to the story than just winning the championship. It wasn’t even about the sport as much as it was about the relationships. The relationship between Wes and his dad; between Wes and Dinero; between Dinero and his dad; the relationship Wes has with Mr. Correa. The older I get, the more I realize how important relationships are in life; I love that relationships, hard work, patience, and never giving up are such prominent themes in this book.

I may not be the biggest sports enthusiast, but I enjoyed this book. It has some very valuable lessons in it, and I think the YA boys will love it. As a mom and a teacher, I love it when there are books to fit every child’s interest. This book will be especially great for those YA boys who love sports.

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy.” There isn’t really any violence except for a description of a scene in Afghanistan during the war. There’s also a character that drinks, and there’s some discussion about that.)

Age Recommendation: YA+

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 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/3emo9eh

 

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Leather Horizons by Laverty Sparks

Leather Horizons by Laverty Sparks

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Book Review of Leather Horizons by Laverty Sparks

Let’s just say that Misty and Rebyl live lives completely different than mine. I am pretty much 100% opposite of them. That’s ok, though, right? Reading is fun because you get to experience different lives and experiences. They don’t live like I do, but that’s ok and I can learn from them and their life experiences. We’re not all alike, and it’s ok! Check out my review of Leather Horizons by Laverty Sparks.

Blurb:

“Television journalist Mist Briscoe helps produce a weekly Chicagoland broadcast, but it’s her own life that could be showcased. Playing the leading role in her own performance, she ad-libs through the prologues and soliloquies of life.

Backstage is her married boss who would like nothing better than to make their friendship intimate. Should she pull the curtain on this drama or exit stage left? Neither choice is without sacrifice.

Back in Misty’s hometown in southwestern Michigan, the other important supporting cast members, her family, face their own monologues. Adding intrigue to the plot, her elderly grandfather has disappeared shortly after his wife’s funeral and Misty’s parents are at a loss with the mystery. Last, but not least, Misty’s best friend shines in the footlights and deals with her own perplexing script.

As each of their stories unfold and reality sets in, every impending choice possesses a strong alternative, incentive, and circumstance. But the obstacles aren’t so high this ensemble can’t get over them or so deep they can’t get around them when they take their final bows.

After many rehearsals and run-throughs, Misty meets a leading man who becomes he number-one fan. Will his audition prompt her in the direction of happiness?”

My Book Review:

Misty has a job in broadcasting, but isn’t too happy with her situation there. Her friend Rebyl owns a resort, but has a secret even she won’t admit yet. They have been friends for a long time, yet haven’t seen each other in awhile. Misty takes a trip home and finds that she is needed there more than she thought. Since she isn’t happy with work, she begins thinking of other options, and hopes that she’ll meet someone.

The characters in this book are well developed and have big personalities, especially Misty and Rebyl.  I had a hard time relating to them because they are so different from me, but I did like them as characters. I liked the writing style and thought it was well written. There are some twists and turns that made the story interesting and gave it some more depth.

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, “intimacy,” including scenes and innuendos, and suicide.)

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/2ZgBJLP

 

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The Sage Challenger by Chad Rassmussen The Other Side of the Bridge by Camron Wright A Tangled Mercy by Joy Jordan-Lake
 
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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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Book Review of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I have had four children go through elementary school (My baby goes into seventh grade this fall—crazy!), so I have heard and seen a lot! I also teach in an elementary school, so I’ve seen and heard even more! The group of parents in this book makes my experiences seem so mild! Wow, we parents need to up our game and make things a little more exciting, I guess! I don’t know if I’d want my children to go to this particular school (too much drama), but I’d love to be a fly on the wall!! Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty will fill your gossip cup for a long time, and make you glad you don’t live there!

Blurb:

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal.

A murder…A tragic accident…Or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare, but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.”

My Book Review:

My children and students could recite my mantra from heart because they hear it all the time…NO DRAMA! Haha! Everything this book is, is 100% opposite of me. That’s okay, though, because that is why I read! I get to experience the drama without dealing with it! When I read about all the gossip and drama, my thoughts are confirmed, and I say my mantra even more. You’ll laugh after I just made a big point of all that, but I loved this book!

The writing in this book is top notch! It is very well written. It’s told from the viewpoint of several different women, and each is unique, individual, and very well developed. Each woman also stays true to herself and her character all the way through. I liked the writing style and was hooked from page one.

 I think I related most to Madeline because she is a mom of older children. She’s been through the elementary scene before, and nothing throws her…or does it? She’s feisty, hilarious, and kind of a mother-figure to the other moms. I don’t relate to the ex-husband part of her, but that’s ok. I like her heels and her “I don’t care” attitude. Celeste was a bit harder for me to relate to, but she’s a very complex character, and I still liked her. I can’t imagine being in her shoes, so no judgment from me. Jane has NO idea what she is getting into when she moves into the neighborhood. Poor girl! The decks are stacked against her before the school year even starts. I liked Jane a lot also.

I liked how Ms. Moriarty told the story. It begins with something happening, but you don’t know what. There are some eyewitness accounts from different people, and then she takes you back six months previous. I liked the eyewitness accounts throughout; I learned some things, but I also found that I had more questions, so it kept me reading.

I liked this book a lot; it’s a page-turner for sure! You get your gossip fix, your murder-mystery fix, and you learn how not to behave at the school trivia night. You also see how little lies can quickly become some of the most dangerous lies.

Content Rating RContent Rating: R (Profanity, including at least one “f” word. “Intimacy,” including scenes and innuendos. Domestic violence and murder.)

Age Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2W4btT6

 

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Photo Credit: goodreads.com

The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister

The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister

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Book Review of The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister

I consider my sister one of my best friends. We talk often, our kids are close in age, and we enjoying spending time together. We have watched each other’s kids over the years, and I love the relationships I have with my nieces and nephew. I cannot imagine my sister and I going through what Martha and Becky went through in this story. It’s heartbreaking. It comes down to relationships, trust, patience, and love. Who would you believe—your sister or the police investigators and the court? The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister puts sister against sister, family against family, and leaves you wondering what in the world could have happened.

Blurb:

“When Martha Blackwater finds herself struggling to balance early motherhood and her growing business, her sister, Becky, steps in to babysit without a second thought, bringing the two women closer than ever. But then the unthinkable happens, and Becky is charged with murder. Nine months later, Becky is on trial and maintains her innocence—and so does Martha.

Unable to shake the feeling that her sister couldn’t possibly be guilty, Martha sets out to uncover exactly what happened and how things could have gone so wrong. Fault lines deep in the sisters’ relationship begin to show, threatening the family each has worked so hard to build. With incredible empathy and resounding emotional heft, The Good Sister is an electrifying novel that will lead readers to question everything they know about motherhood, family, and the price of forgiveness.”

My Book Review:

I really enjoyed this book! I loved the relationship between Martha and Becky, especially. Maybe I related to them because of the relationship I have with my sister, but I really enjoyed being a part of their story. It’s not a happy story, but there are a few happy moments. This book is well written, and I liked the writing style of the book. It definitely sucked me in from the very beginning.

The book is written from many different view points, and as each person tells his or her story, you learn more about the events that occurred. Sometimes this is confusing for the reader, but I thought Ms. McAllister did a good job with it. The story doesn’t feel choppy, and you can tell the difference between each unique person.

If you have followed me for awhile you know that I do not try to figure it all out before I get to the end. I just read and enjoy the story. Usually. With this book I couldn’t stop trying to figure it all out. I’d read something and change my mind, then I’d read something else and change my mind again. I liked that there were differing viewpoints because it allowed me to see it all from different perspectives and try to see the situation from different angles.

Although this book is not happy, it doesn’t feel too heavy. There always seems to be a bit of hope ahead, which I felt grateful for. There are some twists and turns in the story, which kept me reading. I wouldn’t recommend reading this book if you are pregnant or have a newborn.  Other than that, it’s a good read. The Good Sister will keep you turning pages, and hooked until the end.

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, including at least one “f” word. There is a death of a character and adult themes.)

Recommendation: Adult

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/2BUd1Is

 

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Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras, Ph.D.

Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras, Ph.D.

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Book Review of Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras, Ph.D.

As a mother and a teacher I have seen many children who seem very dependent on technology. It’s interesting because when I get them in school they don’t know how to format a spreadsheet or put together a Google Slide presentation, but they can find memes and gifs and games no problem. I have witnessed with my own self and my children how reliant we can be on technology to cope with boredom and to numb out the feelings. When I heard about this book I knew I had to read it. The information in this book shocked and terrified me. It’s so important. What book am I discussing today? Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras, Ph.D.

Blurb:

“We’ve all seen them: kids hypnotically staring at glowing screens in restaurants, in playgrounds and in friends’ houses―and the numbers are growing. Like a virtual scourge, the illuminated glowing faces―the Glow Kids―are multiplying. But at what cost? Is this just a harmless indulgence or fad like some sort of digital hula-hoop? Some say that glowing screens might even be good for kids―a form of interactive educational tool.

Don’t believe it.

In Glow Kids, Dr. Nicholas Kardaras will examine how technology―more specifically, age-inappropriate screen tech, with all of its glowing ubiquity―has profoundly affected the brains of an entire generation. Brain imaging research is showing that stimulating glowing screens are as dopaminergic (dopamine activating) to the brain’s pleasure center as sex. And a growing mountain of clinical research correlates screen tech with disorders like ADHD, addiction, anxiety, depression, increased aggression, and even psychosis. Most shocking of all, recent brain imaging studies conclusively show that excessive screen exposure can neurologically damage a young person’s developing brain in the same way that cocaine addiction can.

Kardaras will dive into the sociological, psychological, cultural, and economic factors involved in the global tech epidemic with one major goal: to explore the effect all of our wonderful shiny new technology is having on kids. Glow Kids also includes an opt-out letter and a “quiz” for parents in the back of the book.”

My Book Review:

To say that this book shocked me is definitely an understatement. I first heard about it from a man named Collin Kartchner. He came and spoke to my school district about the harmful effects of cell phones and social media to children. I now follow him on Facebook and Instagram, and he recommended this book. He said after he read the first chapter he and his family got rid of the smart phones. After hearing that, I knew I needed to read it.

My husband and I have always been quite strict with our kids and technology. We did get our older boys smart phones the summer before they entered high school. My two girls (9th and 7th) do not have smart phones. I collect the phones each night, and they are locked with an app blocker, so nothing can be accessed on the phone. They never have access to the internet on their phones. None of them have social media, and I also turn off the wi-fi at night. They may not have Snap Chat or Tik Tok. You see, we were quite strict to begin with. Then I read this book.

Oh boy! Wow. To say that I was shocked when I read this book would be an understatement. I knew screen addiction could be bad, but I had no idea how bad it could really be. Dr. Kardaras cites study after study that backs up his claims. Video game creators write addiction codes into their games so children become addicted, and the dopamine the children receive while playing these games mimics the dopamine rush from a drug addiction. Yeah, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This book is well written. It reads well, and isn’t too full of jargon or scientific language. Its message comes across loud and clear. There are some reviews that suggest Dr. Kardaras is fearmongering, and I disagree. Yes, some of the examples he uses are extreme, but to me it shows how bad the addiction can get if left untreated. Dr. Kardaras cites studies to back up his research, and also gives anecdotes to give the reader a clear picture of what glow kids are. I always take things with a grain of salt anyway; each person is different and will react to situations and stimuli differently.

After I read this book I added even more time restrictions to my children, and I am more strict about no phones during dinner, family time, parties, etc. At school I changed a lot of things. Prior to reading this book I had my students practice their multiplication facts on a computer program because I thought it would be more fun. After reading this book I went old school and made flashcards (my daughter and I cut out flashcards for hours). My students now practice multiplication with a partner using flashcards. I also stopped using the Chromebooks for frivolous activities. As a teacher I understand that I still need to teach the students to use computers (spreadsheets, word docs, presentations, etc), but I no longer use them for things that can be done without tech.

Well, I did. Then the COVID-19 pandemic ruined all my plans about three weeks after I changed everything up. And we went to using nothing but technology. Ugh. Well, I tried. Going forward, I have no idea what will happen, but I plan to limit tech as much as possible.

If you have children or work with children in any way, you need to read this book. I see toddlers staring at phones now in grocery stores and I want to scream, “NOOOOO!!!” I don’t of course, but I want to. I like that this book has solutions in it, and they are practicable and doable. Here is an example:

A refocusing in education, at home and school, on the essentials of a healthy childhood: strong bonds with caring adults; time for spontaneous, creative lay; a curriculum rich in music and the other arts; reading books aloud; storytelling and poetry; rhythm and movement; cooking, building things, and other handcrafts; and gardening and other hands-on experiences of nature and the physical world. (pg 244)

Here are some of the quotes that stood out the most to me:

What’s more, an ever-increasing amount of clinical research correlates screen tech with psychiatric disorders like ADHD, addiction, anxiety, depression, increased aggression and even psychosis. (pgs 3-4)

…video games for the alienated kid and social media for the cheerleader are both just as addicting as heroin is to a junkie. With every burst of virtual gunfire, every text and tweet, there is a release—a little squirt—of dopamine, just as surely as cocaine tickles our dopamine neurotransmitters. (pg 14)

Dr. Dunckley came to believe that the unnaturally stimulating nature of an electronic screen, regardless of its content, wreaks havoc on the still-developing nervous system and mental health of a child on a variety of levels—cognitive, behavioral and emotional. (pgs 115-116)

Content Rating PG-13+Content Rating: PG-13+ (This book does not have any profanity, but it does discuss some violent/graphic situations, and does talk about “intimacy.”)

Recommendation: 16+

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2O5sRCn

 

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Little Bella’s Nighttime Wonderland by Joy Fernandez

Little Bella's Nighttime Wonderland by Joy Fernandez

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Book Review of Bella's Nighttime Wonderland by Joy Fernandez

You know me—I love children’s books, so I always jump on the chance to review children’s books. My own children may be older (12, 14, 16, 18), but they love children’s books just as much as I do. I also teach sixth grade, and even though they pretend to be all tough and old, they still enjoy being read to. Reading books before bed is the best! I loved that time each night where we all cuddled up and read books together. This book will be a fun addition to bedtime reading.

Blurb:

“As Little Bella snuggles down for bed, she looks out her window and can’t believe what she sees! Fireflies illuminate a nighttime wonderland that unfolds right before her eyes.”

My Book Review:

What a cute story! I love children’s books and nature, and this book brings them together. As Little Bella (cute name!) gets ready for bed, she looks out the window. She sees the stars, the moon, and some amazing creatures outside. She can also hear some fun night-time sounds, as well as feeling the breeze. I want to live where Little Bella lives! It would be awesome to be able to see all those things outside your window at night!

The illustrations in this book are so cute! I love Little Bella’s beautiful, bright eyes! The nature pictures seem so peaceful and serene. I love the creatures, the clouds, and the nature scenes.

This is a very cute book. I wish my children were little so we could snuggle up and read this book together before bed tonight. If you’re looking for a new book (I know you’ve read the same book about 500 times in the last week!) you should check this one out! It’s super cute.

Content Rating GContent Rating: G (It’s clean!)

Age Recommendation: Everyone!

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 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/31SqOK2

 

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The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood Remember the Ladies by Callista Gingrich Nina the Neighborhood Ninja by Sonia Panigrahy
 
Photo Credit: Goodreads.com

Six Sisters’ Stuff: Healthy Eats Cookbook

Six Sisters' Stuff Healthy Eats Cookbook

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Book Review of Six Sisters' Stuff Healthy Eats Cookbook

Over the years I have reviewed several of the Six Sisters’ Stuff cookbooks. Consequently, I have tried many of their recipes. Some of those recipes are new family favorites—can you say lunch lady peanut butter bars? Yummm!  Now fast forward to this spring…and quarantine. What came with that? Oh, lots and lots of eating. Please tell me I wasn’t the only one! Now fast forward to today…what do I now need? Oh, yeah. Healthy things to eat. I need some good, new, healthy recipes so I stop eating cookies and brownies all.day.long. And, in steps the Six Sisters’ Stuff new cookbook: Healthy Eats. Six Sisters’ Stuff to the rescue!

Blurb:

When it comes to preparing meals, choosing between healthy and convenient can be a real struggle. Until now.

 

Popular bloggers and cookbook authors Six Sisters’ Stuff have gathered more than 100 of their top most-requested healthy recipes that combine their fast-and-easy cooking style with fresh ingredients for delicious and family-friendly meals. Whether you are serving a full three-course meal, grabbing a quick afternoon snack, or need to take a dish to a potluck, there is a recipe here that will fit your lifestyle and busy schedule as well as satisfy your taste buds.

 

With each recipe coming in at under 500 calories, this cookbook offers a great place to start for people who are looking to lose weight, who would like to prepare meals using more natural foods, or who are simply working to maintain a more balanced lifestyle.

 

With Healthy Eats with Six Sisters’ Stuff, it’s never been easier to provide healthy snacks and meals for on-the-go families.”

My Book Review:

With six people to feed, two being teenage boys, I need some good, easy, inexpensive, and healthy recipes. They need to be kid-friendly, too, because I have a VERY picky eater! We’ve tried a few recipes out of this cookbook, and so far so good!

We tried the Scrambled-Egg Breakfast Muffins, and they were delicious! Even my picky eater loved them…of course, she was the one that made them! I liked that I had all the ingredients for these as well. We took out the spinach and the mushrooms because my family doesn’t like them, but I like that they’re versatile enough to personalize them.

We also tried the No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies. They tasted like pretty much every other no-bake cookie I’ve had, but I did like the addition of peanut butter in them.

Another recipe we tried was the Easy Banana Cookies. Unfortunately, they were not our favorite. There isn’t any flour in them, and the texture suffered, which was why I didn’t like them. However, you may love them! The Dark-Chocolate Zucchini Cake felt the same way. It looks really good in the picture, but we didn’t love them either.

The Easy Marinated Pork Chops look delicious, as does the Lemon-Garlic Salmon. I can’t wait to try the Parmesan Crusted Asparagus and the Cheesy Zucchini Sticks.

I’m so glad to have more healthy options for my family, especially with all of the veggies I have from my garden. It’s going to be fun trying more of these recipes. If you’re looking for some healthier options for your family, check out the Healthy Eats  cookbook from Six Sisters’ Stuff.

Content Rating GContent Rating: G 

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/3e8WiOC

 

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Catastrophes and Heroes by Jerry Borrowman

Catastrophes and Heroes by Jerry Borrowman

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Book Review of Catastrophes and Heroes by Jerry Borrowman

I have witnessed (on tv) many man-made disasters in my lifetime. One of the first to come to my mind is the explosion of the space shuttle when I was in third grade. I watched it live with the rest of the third grade, and it was traumatic, to say the least. I can also remember hearing about or watching trains derail, airplanes crash, decks collapse, and dams fail. It’s scary every time something like this happens. Lessons are learned, amazing people are there to help, and situations become safer because of these disasters. That is what Catastrophes and Heroes by Jerry Borrowman is about. Borrowman takes the reader through eight man-made disasters, the decisions that led up to them, the heroes that helped, and the lessons that were learned.

Blurb:

 
“A century of the industrial age saw unprecedented leaps in technology and engineering, from the first flight of an airplane to the first flight of humans to the moon. But alongside these awe-inspiring achievements were horrible disasters caused by faulty engineering or careless judgment. Catastrophes and Heroes explores eight such disasters and recognizes the unheralded heroes who stepped up to save others in times of great danger–and the policies that changed as a result.
  • Eight disaster stories spanning the globe and listed in chronological order from 1865 to 1963.
  • Each chapter contains such sections as: The Human Cost of Tragedy, Overview, Fateful Choices, Victims and First Responder Heroes, and Professional Heroes.”

My Book Review:

This well written book goes into great detail about each of these eight disasters. There are train derailments, dam failures, bridge collapses, boat fires, and more. It’s obvious that Borrowman has put a lot of time and effort into his research for this book. For each of the disasters he discusses the people involved, the safety standards of the time, the engineering knowledge of the time, and many of the decisions made leading up to the disaster. He then walks the reader through the disaster, the aftermath, the heroes that helped, and the safety standards that changed as a result.

I had never heard of any of these disasters. I’m even a history lover, and I did not know about any of these situations. As I read, I did find it interesting to learn about what happened in each of these experiences. I especially liked reading about the people who jumped right in to help the victims in their time of need. Another point of interest was learning about the safety changes that occurred because of these catastrophes. Often times we don’t know what needs fixing until it’s too late. Unfortunately, many people lost their lives in these tragedies, but fortunately, changes were made that made all of us safer today.

I liked this book, but it was a bit too depressing for me. Borrowman definitely focused more on the catastrophe part than the hero part, and reading somber story after somber story was a bit much for me. I could only read it a little bit at a time. That being said, I did like learning about the history of it and learning about the heroes who helped in the aftermath. I’m glad that we have record of these disasters so that we do not repeat the mistakes going forward.

Content Rating PG-13Content Rating: PG-13 (There is minimal profanity; just a couple of words. There isn’t any “intimacy,” but there is quite a bit of violence as many people were killed or injured in these disasters.)

Recommendation: 16+ (I don’t think children younger would be interested in this topic anyway.)

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/2AuTYnu

 

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Invisible Heroes of WWII by Jerry Borrowman Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard