Review of Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits by James Clear

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of Atomic Habits by James Clear

I swear, everywhere I turned, James Clear was there talking about his book. I heard him on several podcasts, heard other people talking about it, and then I kept seeing his book everywhere. Well, it worked. All that promotion definitely caught my attention. I reserved Atomic Habits at the library and then waited. After a brief wait, I checked the book out and brought it home. I was super excited to read it. Then life happened—school, kids, house, other books—and I kind of forgot I had the book. That was, until I got an email saying it was due back to the library. Oops! I hadn’t even started it yet. Guess what I did? I started the book. Yep, I didn’t take it back. That was a couple of weeks ago, and I just finished the book. Ummm…yeah, I’m going to have quite the fine, but I had to finish! If you haven’t heard anything about this book, check out my book review of Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Blurb:

“No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for getting 1% better every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves not because you don’t want to change but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. In Atomic Habits, you’ll get a plan that can take you to new heights.

Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be readily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. Along the way, readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic god medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to vault to the top of their fields.

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and give you the tools and techniques you need to transform your habits—whether you are an athlete looking to win a championship, a leader hoping to optimize an organization, or an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, and achieve success that lasts.”

My Book Review:

I know you’re asking…was it worth the big fine at the library? In a word, yes! I have never thought about habits in this way. It is clearly a new way of thinking, and it takes a bit of a shift in perspective. However, once that shift is made, I think it will be difficult to go back to the old way of thinking. Clear makes it seem so easy!

This book is very well written. His writing is clear and to the point. His writing style is easy to read and understand. The book has a great progression from small to big-picture, and each chapter is well thought-out and full of ideas. I like the chapter summaries at the end of each chapter that give the reader quick bullet points to remember what was taught. There are also diagrams throughout each chapter that do a great job of illustrating his points.

I love the examples that Clear uses to show and explain his thoughts and ideas. He uses Olympic athletes, professional sports coaches, and important business people’s routines and processes to show how it all works, and it makes it seem so simple! He’s not naïve, though. Clear knows that it’s harder than it seems, so he does a good job explaining how easy it is to fall off the habit-train. What’s great is that he gives you ideas on how to make it easier to start, follow, and continue habits.

I feel so ready to start some habits! I’m pumped, and I’m also ready for the long-haul. This truly is a remarkable book. It’s filled with a new way of thinking about habits, and a simple shift in perspective that will allow people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and abilities to improve their lives. This book aims to make people the best they can be, and I’m excited to get started!

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There’s no profanity, “intimacy,” or violence in this book.)

Age Recommendation: YA (13-18+) and Adult

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

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

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

the seven habits of highly effective families by stephen r covey The Compliment Quotient by Monica Strobel does change have to be so hard
 
 

A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore

A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore

Have you ever thought of yourself as something unlovable or scary? It starts as a small idea and then festers into something uncontrollable and real. I think everyone has short moments where they may think that of themselves. Sophie thinks this of herself constantly. She’s convinced she’s a monster, which breaks my heart. No one should think that, especially a child. She got the idea from her favorite book—The Big Book of Monsters that she always keeps with her. Yes, it’s big and heavy, but that doesn’t stop her from carrying it everywhere. It’s how she determines which monsters or creatures are living around her—so she can protect herself. Find out more in my book review of A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore.

Blurb:

“Being the new kid at school is hard, but Sophie has a secret weapon: her vivid imagination and her oversized, trusted Big Book of Monsters—an encyclopedia of myths and legends from all over the world. The pictures and descriptions of the creatures in her book help her know which kids to watch out for—clearly the bullies are trolls and goblins—as well as how to avoid them. Though not everyone is hiding a monster inside; the nice next-door neighbor is probably a good witch, and Sophie’s new best friend is obviously a good fairy.

Sophie is convinced she is a monster because of the ‘monster mark’ on her face. At least that’s what she calls it. The doctors call it a blood tumor, and it covers almost half of her face. Sophie can feel it pulsing with every beat of her heart. And if she’s a monster on the outside, then she must be a monster on the inside, too. She knows that it’s only a matter of time before the other kids, the doctors, and even her mom figure it out.

The Big Book of Monsters gives Sophie the idea that there might be a cure for her monster mark, but in order to make the magic work, she’ll need to create a special necklace made from ordinary items—a feather, a shell, and a crystal—that Sophie believes are talismans. Once she’s collected all the needed ingredients, she’ll only have one chance to make a very special wish. If Sophie can’t break the curse and become human again, her mom is probably going to leave—just like her Dad did. Because who would want to live with a real monster?”

My Book Review:

As a mom and a teacher, it breaks my heart to think of this darling girl thinking something so terrible of herself. She has a blood tumor on her face, and it’s big. You can see why she’d think of herself as an ugly monster. The problem is, she can’t figure out which kind. She’s read her book dozens of times, and she can figure out what everyone else is, but she can’t find a description that matches her monster-type. She must be one, though, because she’s ugly, and it would explain why her dad left her. Once again, it makes me so sad that she thinks of herself in this way.

This book is so well written. Sophie’s voice in the story is sweet, real, and protective of her secret. Her thought process is realistic and child-like, and it draws you into the story. The descriptions of the monsters are witty and clever. I love how quick Sophie’s mind worked to match a person to a monster. It works because we all tend to judge people by their appearance and actions (whether or not those judgments are accurate is a different story), Sophie just goes a step further and puts a monster description with it.

The character development in this book is fantastic. You feel like you know each of the characters personally, and they come to life on the page. Sophie is well developed, likable, imaginative, and spunky. Sometimes I cringe with her because she has a bit of temper sometimes. Autumn is so sweet and fun. Just like a fairy. Mrs. Barrett reminds me of my grandma and Sophie’s mom is realistic, has her flaws, and has her strengths. I think she’s really good for Sophie. I do feel bad that Sophie feels like she can’t tell her mom everything she’s feeling.

This is such a clever story. The way Sophie’s imagination puts everything together is so imaginative and unique. It’s like living in a whole imaginary world. Having four kids myself, I can see that she’s using it as a coping mechanism to help her deal with her reality. And, she’s using it as a way to hide. It’s a good lesson to learn, though. There are quite a few great lessons and values in this book: friendship, the importance of relationships, learning that everyone has trials to overcome, not being judgmental, and the importance of talking about your problems.

A Monster Like Me reminds me of Wonder. It’s important for children and adults to read stories like these because it tends to put things in perspective. Learning lessons from a book Is a lot easier and less painful than learning them in real life. I loved this book and think the middle-graders and YA will also love it! If you liked Wonder or Mustaches for Maddie then you will enjoy this book. I highly recommend A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore. This book would also make a great read-aloud.

Author’s Note

Sophie’s story is dear to my heart because I know how it feels to be bullied because I looked different from everyone else. When I was a child, I had a hemangioma on my forehead that stuck out so far my bangs couldn’t cover it, no matter how hard my mother tried. Because the tumor was made up of blood vessels, I could feel my heart beating inside it when I was playing hard or really upset.

The incident at the grocery store where the hydra lady says, “Hey, look kids! That girl doesn’t need a Halloween costume. She’s already got one!” is an exact quote of what a woman once said to my mother and me. Another woman told a classroom full of kids that I had the mark of the devil. Kids asked if it was a goose bump, or hamburger, or if my brains had leaked out. My dad had to chase away some bullies who had followed me home, called me names, and pushed me into the street. Sometimes, after a bad day of bullying, I wished I could just rip the mark off my face and be like everyone else—but it was a part of me, and wishing didn’t change that.

My parents decided to take an active role in educating the people around me so they would know what a hemangioma was and understand that it wasn’t icky, or gross, or contagious. Whenever we moved to a new place, my dad would go with me to the elementary school and talk to the kids about my mark and let them ask questions. After those talks, kids befriended me and noticed when bullies came around. Like Autumn, my school friends would speak up when they saw someone being mean to me, and sometimes they would stand between me and the bullies until they left me alone. I didn’t let the bullies stop me from doing what I wanted to do. I climbed trees, went swimming, wrote poetry, brought my tarantula and snakes to show-and-tell, and played in the tide pools.

This is my message to anyone who experiences bullying: Don’t let the bullies define you! I’ve been there, I know it hurts to be teased, but don’t let it stop you from doing what you want. Find something you enjoy—a hobby, talent, or challenge—and practice that skill. Know that someone out there, maybe even someone in your same school, needs a friend as much as you do. Be that friend. Stand up for each other. And know that you are not alone.

You can always find me at WendySwore.com, and I would love to hear your stories and what you thought of the book.

MLM blog tour Image

Content Rating PGContent Rating: PG (It’s clean! There’s no profanity or “intimacy.” There is some bullying and there are a few blown tempers with unkind words.)

Age Recommendation: Middle-graders (4th-6th) and YA (13-18)

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

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

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2EO91Ik

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

mustaches for maddie Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown Wonder by R.J. Palacio
 
 
Featured Image Photo Credit: Goodreads.com

The Transparency Tonic (Book #2) by Frank L. Cole

The Transparency Tonic by Frank L Cole

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of Potion Masters: The Transparency Tonic (Book #2) by Frank L. Cole

When I grow up I want to be a potion master! Seriously. It sounds like so much fun! Brewing potions that make you weigh as much as a car or make ivy grow all around you sounds like so much fun! I really like this blind batching stuff. Who knew that some people are so smart that they can come up with new potions on the fly? Yep, I want to be a potion master. I’ve probably already passed the age of showing my ability, but who knows? It sounds so fun! I mean, you are always in danger, with evil forces constantly working against you, but that’s a small price to pay for all that fun, right? Right? Find out in my book review of Potion Masters: The Transparency Tonic (Book #2) by Frank L. Cole.

Blurb:

“It has been nine months since Gordy and his friends, Max and Adilene, stopped Esmerelda from destroying B.R.E.W. (the Board of Ruling Elixirists Worldwide) and the Vessel—the main source of power for the secret society of potion masters. Gordy is starting the eighth grade, and has been practicing new potion brewing techniques, but when he starts zoning out during practice, he knows something is wrong.

Gordy and his friends continue to work on their potions, but when Gordy chooses Max as his lab partner, Adilene starts to wonder if she still has a place with her old friends. She turns to a new friend, Cadence, who might know a way to help Adilene become a potion master on her own.

And in Greenland, Mezzarix has a chance to escape his Forbidden Zone—as long as he agrees to work with the mysterious Ms. Bimini and replicate an unusual solution known as ‘Silt.’ It could be just the weapon Mezzarix needs to destroy B.R.E.W. forever.

As Gordy’s potion-making talents increase, so do the frequency of his blackouts, which raises some troubling questions. With both B.R.E.W. and the Vessel in danger, and with the potion world in chaos, it’s up to Gordy, Max, and Adilene to rally the remaining Potion Masters before it’s too late.”

My Book Review:

First off, I love the cover of this book! Owen Richardson did a great job with the cover art. This series is so fun! I loved the first book and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second one. My kids enjoyed it as well. Even my big 15 year-old enjoyed this book. In my sixth grade classroom, many of my students have also read the first book and enjoyed it. Needless to say, I was excited to read book #2!

The book starts off with Gordy trying out a new potion called ‘Trapper Keeper.’ Fun stuff! I seriously love the creativity in this book! Frank Cole has quite the imagination! For example, Bolter’s car is hilarious! Estelle the cat car—she has many feline characteristics, but my favorite is the oily mesh and wire ‘hair ball.’ Haha! And the different potions that Gordy comes up with are so great! I love the potion that makes the person weigh as much as a car. I’m not sure when I’d use a potion like that, but I bet it could come in handy at times.

I love the characters. Gordy, Max, and Adilene are great characters. They have different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses, and yet they work well together. I like that they’re not perfect and they still act like eighth graders. Mezzarix is scary. Evil. Brilliant. Creepy. He makes a good bad guy! There are some of our favorite characters in this book, and there are a few new ones as well. They’re well developed and well written.

Frank Cole’s writing is witty, descriptive, captivating, and so creative. His writing style is engaging, and it pulls you into the story. There are a few different story lines in the book, and they all come together very well.  This book is well written—I  couldn’t put it down, and I’m a mom! The middle-graders are going to love this book! If your child has read and enjoyed the first book…run, don’t walk, to pick up this one!

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There is no profanity or “intimacy” in this book, but there is some violence. Good vs. evil battle it out, and although it’s not too graphic, it might be a bit scary for younger readers.)

Recommendation: Middle-Graders (4th-6th) and up

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

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

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Potion Masters book 1 by Frank L. Cole Dragonwatch (Book #1) by Brandon Mull  The Inventor's Secret by Chad Morris
 
 

Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Julie Wright

Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany's by Julie Wright

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany's by Julie Wright

I loved Julie Wright’s previous book Lies Jane Austen Told Me, so I was pretty excited to read this book. The only problem was that I am a huge Jane Austen fan, so the previous book fit me perfectly. I truly (gasp!) don’t know anything about Audrey Hepburn. I have not seen any of her movies, so going into it I hoped I could feel a connection with this book anyway. I needn’t have worried–Ms. Wright has a fun writing style that draws you into the story and makes you feel right at home. The only problem now? Now I really want to watch an Audrey Hepburn movie so I know what everyone is talking about! Anyone want to do an Audrey Hepburn marathon with me?

Blurb:

The Lie

Women in Hollywood are just pretty faces. But Silvia Bradshaw knows that’s a lie, and she’s ready to be treated as an equal and prove her worth as one of Hollywood’s newest film editors.

The Love

She and Ben Mason had worked together as editors before Silvia got her big break, so he’s the perfect person to ask for feedback on her first major film. But even as their friendship begins to blossom into something more, a lawsuit surfaces, jeopardizing both Ben and Silvia’s jobs—as well as their fledgling romance. Audrey Hepburn one said: ‘The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.’ Silvia agrees. Or she used to. It’s one thing to risk her job and her heart, but can she really risk Ben’s too? Does she have the right to make decisions for her own happiness when they affect so many other people?

The Breakfast

With everything to lose, Silvia meets Ben for breakfast at his favorite diner, Tiffany’s, for one last conversation before the credits roll on true love.”

My Book Review:

First off, I love the cover of this book! I love the classic red dress with the gloves and hat—so fun! It’s very Audrey Hepburn-ish. I think. Haha! I had to Google “Audrey Hepburn” because I had no idea. Here’s a pic from IMDB.com:

Audrey Hepburn (IMDB.com)

She is beautiful! Here are a few of the movies she’s known for, and that are mentioned in the book:

   


Silvia is a film editor at a major production company. It turns out that it’s quite the accomplishment for a woman because there aren’t many women film editors out there. She routinely recognizes that she is the only woman in the room. Many of those good ol’ boys still have an antiquated view of women, and it isn’t a good one. They aren’t very accepting of women in their space. She holds her own, though! She works hard and does a very good job. In fact, she does such a good job that she may even be recognized for her work.

Then, one fateful night, a drunk boss and a looming deadline collide. What is she going to do? How will she get the finishing touches on the film ready for the next day’s meeting? I’m not telling. Nope, you’ll need to read it. I don’t want to give anything away. Just suffice it to say that what happens next changes the course of her life. No biggie.

Silvia is such a fun character. She is relatable, personable, real, and likable. She’s a strong female character, which I love. Silvia is not perfect, by any means, and that’s one of the things that makes her such a great character. She can be a little clueless when it comes to recognizing how others feel about her, but she eventually catches on. I love her voice in the book. I don’t know anything about editing movies, but all of that seemed legitimate to me. It was fun watching her growth over the course of the book.

I loved many of the other characters as well. Silvia’s grandma is a darling lady, and I loved her spunkiness. I liked Emma’s character because she reminds me of my bestie. She’d do anything for Silvia, but she also tells her like it is. Walt seems like a genuine gentleman, and I thought it was great when he came into the picture. Ben is well developed, and seems like such a great guy—for most of the book. There were a few times that I wanted to scream at him, but he’s a guy. They’re a little clueless sometimes.

When I had about 45 pages left, I seriously doubted that everything could be figured out by the end of the book. “Ahhhhh!!!! What.Just.Happened? No. What?” Those were just a few of my thoughts. Yep, there’s quite the revelation, and it threw me for a loop, for sure! I didn’t want to believe it, but there it was. Keep reading. That’s my advice. I won’t say anything more…don’t throw the book out the window. Keep reading.

There were a couple of things I noticed that were missed by the editors–they didn’t quite fit, but I have an ARE (Advanced Reader’s Edition), so they should hopefully be fixed in the for sale copy. 

I liked this book a lot! I stayed up too late last night finishing it, but I couldn’t put it down. The characters are well done, relatable, and realistic, and the writing style just draws you in. It’s a fast, entertaining, weekend read. Even though I don’t know anything about Audrey Hepburn, I still enjoyed it.

Lies-and-Love-Blog-Tour

Content Rating PG+Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity or violence. There’s not any “intimacy” except for some kissing. There is scene with a drunk boss.)

Recommendation: YA and up

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2Tt6WXf

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright  Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden  Forever and Forever by Josi S. Kilpack
 

 

Wrath of the Dragon King (Book #2) by Brandon Mull

Dragonwatch Wrath of the Dragon King (Book #2) by Brandon Mull

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of Dragonwatch: Wrath of the Dragon King (Book #2) by Brandon Mull

I reviewed Dragonwatch (Book #1) about a week ago, so I’m super excited to be able to share my book review of Dragonwatch: Wrath of the Dragon King (Book #2) by Brandon Mull with you today! It’s great when you can read book 1 and book 2 within a week of each other because then you don’t forget everything in between! I had to read this book quickly because as soon as it arrived I had three kids fighting over who got to read it next. And they’re all teenagers! That’s the sign of a good book, for sure! All three of them read and loved Fablehaven and have been Brandon Mull fans ever since.

Blurb:

“After a humiliating defeat at the hands of Kendra and Seth, Celebrant, King of Dragons, prepares to unleash his fury and take control of his native preserve. Two of the seven dragon sanctuaries have already fallen. Will Wyrmroost be next?

Armed with secret information from a new ally, Celebrant seeks a talisman that will guarantee victory in the war against the humans. With a cursed castle and traitorous creatures standing in the way, Kendra and Seth must attempt to foil Celebrant’s plan and beat him to his prize.

Will the two young caretakers rally enough support from the creatures of Wyrmroost to quell the uprising and protect the world from draconic dominion? One thing is certain—dragons are deadly foes, and one wrong move could bring swift defeat. It will take more than Kendra, Seth, and their current allies have ever given to endure the wrath of the Dragon King.”

My Book Review:

What’s not to love about two children stepping in as caretakers of one of the biggest and most dangerous dragon preserves in the world? This book has everything: dragons, other exciting creatures, deception, battles, journeys, friends, foes, victories, defeats, and castles. There are some new friends and, unfortunately, some new enemies. There’s action, adventure, and—something I’m excited about—the Tiny Hero is back!

Kendra and Seth get invited to a dinner party at Celebrant’s castle, and suddenly everything they’ve hoped for gets dashed to pieces. One declaration from Celebrant changes everything, and not for the better. How will they rise above the challenge? Will they be able to save themselves and the preserve?

Let me tell you—there are some tense moments in this book! Be prepared! Jump on your griffin and hang on for the ride! As always, Brandon Dorman did an amazing job with the cover art! A flying bunny—what? I love his art, and the kids do too. Yes, we all judge books by their covers (admit it), and judging by this fantastic cover, this book is, well…fantastic!

Brandon Mull does a great job of setting the stage and putting you inside the story. As Kendra and Seth sit at dinner at Skyhold with the other inhabitants of Wyrmroost, you’re right there with them. As they travel through the preserve, you’re right there with them. As they face challenges and their skills are put to the test, you’re right there with them.

He also does a great job with character development. Kendra and Seth are such great characters. They make mistakes, but try their hardest. I love that Tanu is back, and Eve and Calvin are such fun additions to this new series. I also love the talking animals in the Zowali Protectorate. The bear that finds Kendra has a funny dry wit. Doren and Newel are still hilarious, and watching the Somber Knight in action is pretty awesome.

This is such a fun book! I really enjoyed it. It’s fast-paced, full of action and adventure, and has some fun surprises. The characters’ abilities are tested every step of the way, and I love the lessons they learn in the process. I also love some of the new “tech” introduced, like the cloak of innocence and the bow that can shoot 100 arrows at a time. Yep, fun stuff! If you liked Fablehaven or the first Dragonwatch then you will love this book. If you haven’t read them yet, definitely read them before you read this one! And do it quick so you can get to this book quickly!  

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy.” There is quite a bit of violence. It isn’t overly graphic, but they’re fighting a war against dragons. Dragons die and other characters die.)

Recommendation: Middle Graders (4th-6th) and up

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2PCvTR5

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Dragonwatch (Book #1) by Brandon Mull fablehaven book #1 by Brandon Mull  caretakers guide to fablehaven
 
 

Book Review of Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright

Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright

I’m not going to hear the end of this one for awhile! I am a very strict, “No Christmas until after Thanksgiving!” kind of gal. My kids want to listen to Christmas music right now, in October, and I say no. So, when they find out that I just read and am now reviewing a Christmas book, well, yeah, they’re never going to let it go. I know they’re going to think it’s okay to put up the Christmas decorations and start going Christmas-crazy. Ummmm…..yeah no. This is a fun little book, though. It’s not all about Christmas—there’s a love story in there too! Want to know more? Read all about it in my book review of Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright.

Blurb:

“There are no accidents where love—and Christmas—are concerned. Carter is an insurance adjuster whose longing for creative expression spills over sometimes into his accident reports. Abby works for her adoptive father, Uncle Mannie, in the family bookstore, the ReadMore Café. Carter barely tolerates Christmas; Abby loves it. She can’t wait past October to build her favorite display, the annual Christmas book tree stack, which Carter despises.

When an automobile accident throws Carter and Abby together, Uncle Mannie, who is harboring secrets of his own, sees a chance for lasting happiness for his little girl. But there are so many hurdles, and not much time left. Will this Christmas deliver the miracles everyone is hoping for?

Camron Wright holds a master’s degree in writing and public relations. He says he began writing to get out of attending MBA school, and it proved the better decision. He is the author of the award-winning novels Letters for Emily (a Doubleday Book Club selection), The Rent Collector, and The Orphan Keeper.”

My Book Review:

Besides the fact that this is a Christmas book, and it’s October, it’s a cute story. I like the writing style because it’s easy to read. It’s hard to describe, but I would say that it’s laid-back and easy-going. Although there are a few intense moments, you never feel rushed through the story. I like it. He describes things well, and even while you’re reading about a car accident as it’s happening, you kind of feel like it’s happening in slow motion. It’s as if he takes the time to notice details that one would never recognize in such an intense moment, and it slows everything down for the reader.  

I like the characters in the story. They’re all likable and easy to relate to. I think they’re well developed and realistic. Abby is my favorite. If I weren’t a teacher, I think I’d be a librarian or work in a book store. Abby gets to work in a book store (I wish it were real because I’d love to try out their treats!) and loves to read, which makes her my new best friend. She doesn’t seem to engage in girl-drama, which is good. She has her priorities straight. I love the relationship she has with Mannie.

Carter kind of floats through his life. He doesn’t seem to have any motivation or ambition. He’s not happy, but not upset enough to change either. I do think it’s hilarious that Carter embellishes his accident reports and makes them sound like intense novel story lines. It’s fun to watch him grow throughout the story.

This is a fun book. It’s not too Christmassy; it could be read any time of the year, but it would be fun to read at Christmas. It’s a little cheesy in some parts, but not too bad. It’s an easy, fun, entertaining read. I liked the little lesson nuggets thrown in throughout the book: honesty, family, love, forgiveness, being brave and going for it, prayer, and miracles. It does have a touch of faith and prayer in it, but it’s not the main focus.    

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity or violence, except a couple of car accidents, and the descriptions aren’t overly graphic. There isn’t any “intimacy” except a couple of brief kisses.)

Recommendation: Young Adult and up

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 Star Rating

Christmas By Accident 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/2CHyHFx

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright The Other Side of the Bridge by Camron Wright  The Evolution of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill
 
 

 

Book Review of Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull

Dragonwatch (Book #1) by Brandon Mull

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of Dragonwatch (Book #1) by Brandon Mull

My kids and I were so excited to hear that Brandon Mull would be writing a break-off series to Fablehaven! As soon as this book came out, we had it in our hands. And they all read it. And they all read it again. “Mom! You need to read Dragonwatch!” “Mom, why haven’t you read it yet?” “Mom, when are you going to read Dragonwatch?” So, here I am, finally getting around to reading it. Just in time because I get to review book #2 very soon! So…drumroll please…I (finally) present my book review of Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull.

Blurb:

 

“In the Hidden Dragon sanctuary of Wyrmroost, Celebrant the Just, King of the Dragons, plots his revenge. He has long seen the sanctuaries as prisons, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow his captors and return the world to the Age of Dragons, when he and his kind reigned without borders. The time has come to break free and reclaim his power.

No other person is capable of stopping Celebrant and his dragon horde. It will take the ancient order of Dragonwatch to save the world from destruction. Long ago, Dragonwatch was a group of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who confined the majority of dragons into sanctuaries. But nearly all of the original Dragonwatch members are gone, and so the wizard Agad reaches out to Grandpa Sorenson for help. As Kendra and Seth confront this new danger, they must draw upon all their skills, talents, and knowledge to battle against forces with superior supernatural powers and breathtaking magical abilities.

How will the epic dragon showdown end? Will dragons overthrow humans and change the world as we know it?”

My Book Review:

I’m so excited to get to spend more time with Seth and Kendra! I have to admit that I really hoped Brandon Mull would write more about them! This adventure is a bit overwhelming for them, but I’m sure they’ll live up to the challenge! I love that Seth is still Seth. He’s curious, mischievous, a boy, and has a difficult time listening to (and following) instructions. Sometimes this works to his benefit, but other times it gets him in big trouble.

Kendra is more relatable because she is more like me: a rule follower. I cringe every time Seth talks or walks or gets an idea. Kendra, on the other hand, reminds me a little too much of me. She can be a little bossy (this for sure doesn’t describe me at all—just so you know), kind of a know-it-all, and she follows the rules with exactness. It’s interesting to see how these qualities benefit her, but they can also sometimes, just sometimes hinder her. I like that she is a strong character, though, and she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Even if it’s to a big, scary dragon!

There are a few new characters in this book, and my favorite of the new characters is the Tiny Hero. He is awesome. Henrick the alcetaur is also pretty cool. I didn’t even know what an alcetaur was, do you? He’s like a centaur, but he has the body of a moose. There you go, you learned something today! The Somber Knight is…yep, you guessed it—somber!  

This book is so fun! Seth and Kendra have a huge task ahead of them, but they have good attitudes, are willing to work hard, and they are very brave. I like that they need to do it together. They each have a role to play, and they are very good at those roles. I like that they each have time to shine individually as well as together. The book is well written and so much fun. I loved the challenges they faced, and the solutions they came up with.

It does kind of follow the same pattern as the Fablehaven books, but that’s not really a complaint because I liked those a lot. If you enjoyed Fablehaven, you will definitely enjoy Dragonwatch! I highly recommend both series, especially for middle-graders and early YA. Oh yeah, and anyone who loves a fun story! I just have one question: when does book #2 come out? Oh yeah…next week! Stay tuned next week for my review of Dragonwatch book #2!!

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy.” There’s not really any violence either. There is an angry dragon, but he doesn’t hurt anyone in this book.)

Age Recommendation: Middle Graders (4th-6th) and up

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

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

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Fablehaven book #1 by Brandon Mull fablehaven book of imagination  caretakers guide to fablehaven
 
 
Featured Image Credit: Goodreads.com

Book Review of Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

I have worn glasses since second grade, and contacts since seventh grade. Pretty much, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t need glasses to see. I’ve never been made fun of or teased because of my glasses, thankfully, but the cover of this book totally had me curious! I loved Mustaches For Maddie, so when I saw that Squint was written by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown I knew I needed to read it. And I’m so glad I did. They have become quite the duo!

Blurb:

“Flint loves to draw. In fact, he’s furiously trying to finish his comic book so he can be the youngest winner of the ‘Find a Comic Star’ contest. He’s also rushing to finish because he has keratoconus—an eye disease that could eventually make him blind.

McKell is the new girl at school and immediately hangs with the popular kids. Except McKell’s not a fan of the way her friends treat this boy they call ‘Squint.’ He seems nice and really talented. He draws awesome pictures of superheroes. McKell wants to get to know him, but is it worth the risk? What if her friends catch her hanging with the kid who squints all the time?

McKell has a hidden talent of her own but doesn’t share it for fear of being judged. Her terminally ill brother, Danny, challenges McKell to share her love of poetry and songwriting. Flint seems like someone she could trust. Someone who would never laugh at her. Someone who is as good and brave as the superhero in Flint’s comic book.

Squint is the inspiring story of two new friends dealing with their own challenges, who learn to trust each other, believe in themselves, and begin to truly see what matters most.”

My Book Review:

What a great book! As I stated above, I love the way that Chad Morris and Shelly Brown write together. The voice in their stories just draws you in. It’s so real. It is full of emotion, expectations, and energy. It’s easy to read and understand, and yet it has an underlying depth to it. Although it’s not all rainbows and unicorns, it has such a positive feeling to it. The voice fits the characters and situations in the book perfectly.

This book feels similar to Wonder by R.J. Palacio. There are some similarities there as well. Flint, the main character, has a disability and the kids at school make fun of him, tease him, and stay away from him. Then someone is brave enough to look past the thick glasses and quirky habits. McKell wants to fit in with the popular crowd, but she doesn’t like how they treat Flint, also known as Squint. Her brother gives her these challenges to do, and since she’s afraid that the popular crowd will make fun of her for doing them, she asks Squint to accompany and help her.

Squint is not used to people actually paying attention to him and being nice to him. At first he doesn’t trust McKell because he expects it all to be a prank. But then it’s not. She genuinely wants to be with him. Now, she may still want to also be a part of the popular gang, but she makes it clear to Squint that she doesn’t like how they treat him. She’s nice, caring, talented, friendly, and kind. She has the ability to look past the glasses and quirks to find the real Flint.

Flint is also a great character. He used to be normal like everyone else. He played football, had friends, and could see perfectly. Then one day he began losing his eyesight. The diagnosis was keratoconus. It’s an eye disease. This is how Flint explains it in the book:

“It’s called keratoconus,” I said. “It’s not like super rare or anything. There may even be someone else in the school with it, but mine is pretty bad. Well, really bad. My corneas are getting thinner and thinner, and that makes my eyes bulge. It’s like the windshield of my eye to too weak to hold its shape ball…It makes everything look a bit like a funhouse mirror.”

I won’t complain about my poor eyesight after reading about Flint’s disease!

I think it’s great how Chad Morris and Shelly Brown use their books to bring attention to different situations in people’s lives. The more we talk, the more we realize how similar we are. The more books kids can read about how being different is ok, the better. If kids can read more books on how to treat people, the better off we’ll all be. We like to think we’re different. We’re unique, for sure. But we’re the same. We all want to fit in, have friends, be loved, and not be made fun of or teased. I think everyone wants to feel safe and acknowledged. It’s the relationships and the connections that matter.

I love books that teach such valuable lessons in such a great way. It’s a great reminder for readers of all ages that how we treat people is important. Everyone has a story. Everyone is fighting a battle. Some battles are front and center while others are more hidden. Learning to look past differences and see the real person behind the façade is a skill we can all improve in. Learning to accept and love despite differences is also something needed today. Also, there are always two sides to every story. Many times we get caught up in our own thoughts and feelings, and forget that others are involved, and they have feelings too. Thank you Chad and Shelly for writing stories that inspire, teach, and uplift!  

Content Rating PGRating: PG (It’s clean, but there is some minor violence with fights, mean words, and bullies.)

Recommendation: Middle Graders (4th-6th) and up

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/2y9OCsu

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

mustaches for maddie Wonder by R.J. Palacio  the hundred dresses
 

Women of the Blue and Gray by Marianne Monson

Women of the Blue and Gray by Marianne Monson

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

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 What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean

What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean

If I could go back in time and live for a week anywhere I wanted, I’d choose Victorian England. Of course, I’d be picky and choose to be a wealthy person. I’d love to walk the sprawling gardens of the grand estates. It’d be amazing to dance at the balls and wear the beautiful gowns. Just for a week, I’d love to write with a quill pen and ride in carriages. What do you think? Where would you go? I love the Jane Austen era, and am so excited about this book! I hope you enjoy my book review of What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean.

Blurb:

England, 1813 – Nineteen-year-old Catherine Bennet lives in the shadow of her two eldest sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, who have both made excellent marriages. No one expects Kitty to amount to anything. Left at home in rural Hertfordshire with her neurotic and nagging mother, and a father who derides her as ‘silly and ignorant’, Kitty is lonely, diffident and at a loss as to how to improve her situation.

When her world unexpectedly expands to London and the Darcy’s magnificent country estate in Derbyshire, she is overjoyed. Keen to impress this new society, and to change her family’s prejudice, Kitty does everything she can to improve her mind and manners – and for the first time feels liked and respected.

However, one fateful night at Pemberley, a series of events and misunderstandings conspire to ruin Kitty’s reputation. Accused of theft – a crime worse almost worse than murder among the Georgian aristocracy – she is sent back home in disgrace. But Kitty has learnt from her new experiences and what she does next will not only surprise herself, but everyone else too.

Based on Jane Austen’s much-loved characters, this is the story of one young woman’s struggle to overcome the obstacles of her time and place and truly find herself.

My Book Review:

Oh, how I love Jane Austen! I know several friends who cannot stand her writing (you know who you are…), but I love it. I love the crafted language. I love the detail in the characters and their descriptions. It may bore some people, but I love that the stories are NOT action-packed. The people are the main focus, and I love how the stories play around the people and their experiences and thoughts.

What does that have to do with today’s book review? Well friends, I think we may have found a book that is as close to a Jane Austen as we’re going to get in today’s world! Today’s books are marked by action. My own kids have been sucked in, much to my chagrin! If it’s not one action scene followed by another, it’s boring. Well, they’ll be bored if they read this book, but I loved it!

The language was very well crafted. I read it on my Kindle and it turned out to be a good thing because of all the definitions I had to look up. My kids asked if I felt stupid needing to look up so many words and I definitely said, “No!” I loved it! They think I’m weird, for sure. I may not be the “cool” or “hip” mom anymore, but that’s ok with me. I’m smarter because of it.

The time Ms. Kablean took to develop the characters showed off. Each of them were well developed, realistic, and unique. Each had his or her own personality that was different from everyone else’s. They had their own voices. And they each had their own journey to take in the story. I loved watching them grow and come into themselves as the story went along.

I’ve read all of Jane Austen’s books, and have loved them. This book comes as close as I think I’ll get to more Jane Austen stories. They may be Carrie Kablean stories, not Jane Austen stories, but the feeling is the same. The crafted language is very similar, and the attention to detail is mighty close. The only thing I didn’t love was the title. It was not my favorite; I think it could have been better. Other than that, I loved this book. I just got caught up in the feeling of the story, the language of the story, and the characters’ lives.

If you like Jane Austen books, and even if you don’t, you’ll enjoy this book. It’s not fast-paced or action-packed. It’s not about the superhero that swoops in to save the day, or the super powers, it’s about life and the people in it. It is about truth, friendship, trust, love, care, concern, honesty, values, and family. It’s about falling in love and having your heart broken, and it’s about picking yourself up, learning from it, and moving forward. Life. I loved it.

Content Rating PGRating: PG (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy” in this book. There is some brief sibling fighting, along with talk of gambling and stealing. One character does die-you don’t see it, you just hear of it after.)

Recommendation: YA (12-18) and up

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 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/2lCwZeW

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Forever and Forever by Josi S. Kilpack Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite  Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden
 
 
This book review is dedicated to my good friend Andy who passed away this week after a six year battle with brain cancer. He leaves my dear friend Betsie and their three beautiful daughters behind. He was an amazing guy and will be greatly missed. Love ya Andy!