Tuesday, October 28, 2014

940 Saturdays, by Harley A Rotbart | Book Review

This book was provided by its author and/or publishers in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of this publication. 


Author: Harley A Rotbart, MD
Publisher: Potter Style
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 480 pages
Series: N/A
Genre: Non-Fiction; Crafts & Hobbies
Avg. Rating: ★★★✩✩

Amazon | Book Depository
There are 940 Saturdays between a child’s birth and the day he or she turns 18.

That may sound like a lot when there are adventures to plan and hours to fill. But as your child learns to walk, ride a bicycle, and drive, the years pass quickly. This beautiful package includes both a removable booklet with a thousand ideas for family activities that you and your child will love at every age, and a keepsake journal for preserving what you saw and did, thought and felt, so you can savor these memories in the years to come.
Obviously, I'm a little late to the game on this book (or the book is a little late on the game for me?) since my son was born in 2012 - so I've already missed the first (approximate) 104 Saturday opportunities to write about in this book. Nonetheless, I was very excited to receive this book and start on our memories together.

After getting this book and getting the chance to check it out firsthand.. I have mixed feelings about it. The best reasoning for my feelings, I think, is what I assume to be a missed connection that happened somewhere between the actual title of the book and the synopsis. It clearly states in the blurb that there is a removable booklet full of activities. But, after seeing the cover and full title of the book, wires got crossed and I thought that it was a book full of activities with a small journal area. Completely my fault. I might also note that this was the first time in YEARS that I didn't read any reviews before purchasing. Again, completely my fault. 

When you get this book, you get a book that is 480 pages. It's THICK - about 2 inches thick. And every single page of this book, aside from the booklet tucked neatly in an envelope on the inside of the back cover, is a journal page. You have room for two Saturdays on each page: each titled with the numbers 1-940 to represent every Saturday, along with a place for a date and about ten lines to write your journal entry on. Another hiccup for me - I write big, so I'm scared that the space provided may not be enough for me to write entire entries in. But it IS a beautiful book. The cover is what I call a soft hardcover, it's hard but has a padded feel to it. I do believe this book will stand the test of time. 

However, as I said, it's not what I expected. It's disappointing, but I can only blame myself. The booklet in the back IS full of ideas and you do have the added convenience of activities being divided into age groups. A lot of the ideas are what I would consider common and not very original, something that someone can think up themselves on a whim. In my opinion, I think this book would be more successful for me if the ideas in the booklet were written in the actual book itself - and they were a bit more creative and uncommon. Also, each entry for every single Saturday seems like it could get a little overwhelming after a while with trying to keep up with every single weekend day to write down what you did. But, again, this is just my opinion.

I'm giving this book 3 STARS out of 5, based solely on how I feel about this book - which is middle of the road and somewhat neutral. If you're one of those people that can keep up with weekly updates on your family and want something a little fancier than just a regular lined journal (with the restrictions of only writing on Saturdays), then I think you will REALLY like this book. Otherwise, with a retail price of $24.99, if you are NOT one of those people, then I might suggest otherwise. 

**Source: Publisher, via Blogging For Books


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Draw-A-Saurus, by James Silvani Book Review

This book was provided by its author and/or publishers in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of this publication. 


Author: James Silvani
Publisher: Watson-Guptil
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Format: Paperback, 160 pages
Series: N/A
Genre: Non-Fiction; Arts & Crafts
Avg. Rating: ★★★★✩

Goodreads 
AmazonBook Depository
This in-depth yet accessible dinosaur drawing guide combines humor, creativity, and the latest dino research to show artists young and old how to breathe life into drawings of their prehistoric favorites.  

Prehistoric Pencil Power!

Even though they lived some 65 million years ago, dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles continue to rule today. From movies to comics and cartoons, these ancient, giant beasts are everywhere you turn. Of course, who wants to just read about or watch these dinos when you can learn how to use pencils, pens, markers, and more to draw your very own? 

Cartoonist James Silvani combines easy-to-follow art exercises with the latest, greatest dino-facts to help you create fun and cool dinosaur doodles all by yourself. With lessons on old favorites like T-rex and stegosaurus, as well as lesser-known (but still awesome) creatures like the massive argentinosaurus, Draw-a-Saurus has everything the dinosaur fan could ever ask for (outside of their very own pet dino!).

Back in the day, I used to be somewhat of an artist. I loved to draw. I drew all the time.. took as many art classes and courses as I could. Then, I became an adult. Work and responsibilities made me put my art on the back-burner. Aside from random, boring doodles, I don't think that I've drawn in the better part of a decade. Then, I found out I was pregnant. Pregnancy sucked but, when I had time to myself, I always daydreamed about showing my son all of the things that I love. 

My son isn't too old (he'll be two next month), but he's already very artsy and loves doing fun activities with his mom throughout the day. One of the things that we love to do together is draw - well, doodle. But having a child so willing to learn has inspired me to push myself and make time for those creative outlets and education that I loved so much when I was younger. Draw-A-Saurus: Everything You Need To Know To Draw Your Favorite Dinosaurs was actually on my radar and on my wishlist for some time. Having the opportunity to review it was just a fun little surprise that I'm grateful for. 

No matter if you're a child or adult, beginner or expert, everyone can have fun reading and following the instructions of this book. Before you get into drawing, you can read the first chapter, titled "Getting Started" which gives you details of items you need and tips to help you with your dinosaurs. The chapters that follow are categorized into dinosaur suborders like Theropods, Sauropods, Armoured, etc etc; and this is followed with chapters that covers topics like fine tuning your drawings and environments these dinosaurs lived in. 

Being a huge fan (mainly because I have no choice) of the popular PBS show, Dinosaur Train, I knew that the first dinosaur I wanted to try to draw for my son was the Tyrannosaurus. Conveniently, it was one of the first dinosaurs covered - obviously, since T-Rex is the king and all. Sitting down with the book (and supplies), I found it amazingly easy to follow along with the step-by-step instructions that you're given. Every dinosaur pretty much starts out as a stick figure - yes, a stick figure y'all! Saying this book simplifies for even the most novice of drawers would be an understatement - this book breaks down every single detail for you and turns it into a fun activity that actually ends in realistic (and detailed!) drawings that you will be proud of, no matter what your age. As if that wasn't enough, this book is FULL of scientific facts on almost every page. Being a tomboy growing up and having been obsessed with dinosaurs for many years, I thought I knew all there was to know about dinosaurs but it seems my knowledge didn't even scratch the surface of what this book has.

Obviously, this book was an absolute home run for me. Though my son may not be old enough to actually be able to follow along, I'm confident that he'll be able to pick this book up in just a few short years and be able to draw some of our favorite dinosaurs just following the easy instruction in this book. Until then, I will happily draw all the dinosaurs he wants me to - with confidence. And I'm sure I'll be able to impress him with my newly-found vast dino-knowledge. Mommy bonus! 

I'd recommend this book for anyone and everyone. If you have a passion for dinosaurs, drawing and/or even a curiosity for science, I believe you'll enjoy this book. On my usual five-star scale, this book will definitely be receiving 5 STARS

**Source: Publisher, via Blogging For Books

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hello, World!

Hey, guys! How's it been?

I have to make a thousand apologies for being so inactive for the past year and so many odd months. I'm so ashamed to say that it's been that long but life got REALLY hectic for me and, unfortunately, this blog had to suffer because of it. 

So, what's been going on? Well keeping up with a toddler, for one! My little Riley will be TWO in just a couple months and it's making me so sad. I miss my tiny little Peanut but it's so exciting to be able to experience every little milestone with him. But he's not the only thing that's kept me busy. My husband has decided to become a volunteer firefighter, which re-ignited his passion of wanting to one day become a full-time firefighter. Aside from working, he's been taking as many classes as possible to make that dream come true -- which means I see very little of my husband. He gets off of work, comes home to eat and change, then he's out the door again. Even if he has a night off, it's rare we get to see much of each other since he's on-call as a volunteer and he goes on as many calls as he possibly can. I am so very proud of him... HOWEVER, having my husband away so much really puts the burden of all household and child-related activities on me. And THAT is truly why this blog has suffered. 

I have been extremely overwhelmed with all of it thrown on me kind of all at once. But I have found a method to all of the madness. And now that I've [hopefully] got it all mostly under control, I can get back to something for me -- this blog!

Although I've been away, my love for reading has never waned.. and I'm almost certain that it's slowly (but surely) growing on my son as well. I still read a lot of YA but I have been reading a lot of other books in many other genres also. I predict this will more than likely influence the types of posts and reviews that show up on this blog. Hope you all don't mind!

Overall, I'm truly excited to be able to get back to this blog and my love of reading. I apologize for being away for so long and I do feel horrible.. but I can't exactly say that I regret it since it's given me the quality time I needed away from the computer and with my family. 

Expect reviews to start popping up soon!

Until then.. here's my most recent favorite picture of my little guy! :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Blog Tour: 2013 Your New Astrology Horoscopes (& Giveaway!)


Once again, Suzanne White brings us her ingenious “New Astrology” Predictions for the next 12 months. This exciting new book is offers lengthy, detailed, month-by-month horoscopes for every sign (Western and Chinese). 

We each have two signs – AN ANIMAL YEAR SIGN AND A WESTERN SUN SIGN. Suzanne White’s brilliant NEW ASTROLOGY™ is the fusion of both. With this amazing book, a Leo born in an Ox year will know what will happen to her all throughout 2013 as well as what will be going on in the life of her Scorpio born Goat sweetheart and for her kids, her boss, her family, her friends and her enemies. Suzanne White is the world renowned high priestess of Chinese and Western astrologies. She is always fun to read. And… she is uncannily accurate. This dazzling book offers readers over 100,000 words of crucial information about and forecasts for each and every astrological sign both Chinese and Western. Find out what’s in store for you and yours in the sultry, highly charged and charming WATER SNAKE YEAR 2013. 


Purchase your copy:
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About the Author: Suzanne White is an American author. She lives in France. She has been a college professor, a fashion model, a journalist, an interpreter, a novelist, a fireworks salesperson, director of a Parisian Couture boutique, an elevator operator, a shoe salesperson, a single mother and a simultaneous translator. In between she has written books. Lots of books. About Astrology. The New Astrology – a blend of Asian Animal Signs and Sun Signs. Suzanne’s readers have dubbed her “The High Priestess” of Chinese and Western Astrologies. 2013 NEW ASTROLOGY HOROSCOPES BOOK – CHINESE AND WESTERN PREDICTIONS FOR THE SNAKE YEAR 2013 IS # 1 ON AMAZON’S ASTROLOGY BOOK BEST SELLER LIST. 

Visit the Author:
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Pump Up Your Book and Suzanne White are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card plus a paperback and e-copy of her book, 2013 Your New Astrology Horoscopes!


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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Midwinterblood, by Marcus Sedgwick


Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover; 272 pages
Series: N/A
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal
Avg. Rating:

Goodreads | Book Depository
Seven stories of passion and love separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined—this is a tale of horror and beauty, tenderness and sacrifice.

An archaeologist who unearths a mysterious artifact, an airman who finds himself far from home, a painter, a ghost, a vampire, and a Viking: the seven stories in this compelling novel all take place on the remote Scandinavian island of Blessed where a curiously powerful plant that resembles a dragon grows. What binds these stories together? What secrets lurk beneath the surface of this idyllic countryside? And what might be powerful enough to break the cycle of midwinterblood? From award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick comes a book about passion and preservation and ultimately an exploration of the bounds of love.

Midwinterblood is one of those books that you have to let stew in your head for a little while before actually judging - or, in my case, reviewing. As the description says, there are seven stories in this book. All of these stories revolve around two main characters - the same main characters - and what happens to them in each time period. The stories go from the future to the past in order to tell a more clearer account of the events that unfold during each life. 

Now, it sounds a little confusing.. but it's not all so bad. A perk to this book is that the same characters are used in each story, although who they are and who they are to one another changes from story to story. The overall feel and theme to Midwinterblood is a little tragic, as all stories are centered around the idea of love requiring some type of sacrifice. There is also a plot that intertwines each story to one another that really ties everything together, although the stories could actually be read separately.

This book has a great gothic feel to it and the island itself is ten shades of creepy. The writing was nothing short of fabulous and it definitely kept me reading from the beginning to the very end in one sitting. Books that are compiled of multiple short(er) stories are usually harder to grasp since they're like novellas - where you don't get as invested in the characters and you don't get as much background information as you think you need to really get into the stories. Since these stories are tied together, there was more that was fleshed out.

If I had to say anything "bad" about this book, I would say that there was still a little sparseness to the information you receive in the writing. I don't think it will deter anyone from the story, it just leaves the reader a little curious on a few points throughout the book.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I think it's a wonderful read that deserves more recognition than it may receive, considering I haven't seen much about it on the internet. 


Rating:
Source: Purchase

Marcus Sedgwick (b 1968) was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He used to play for two bands namely playing the drums for Garrett and as the guitarist in an ABBA tribute group. He has published novels such as Floodland (winner of the Branford Boase Award in 2001) and The Dark Horse (shortlisted for The Guardian Children's Book Award 2002).

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5/26/2013: If you're here and you're reading this.. thanks for sticking around! I know I've been gone for a while but I am definitely coming back. This blog will be going through some crazy transitions (layout and such) for the next few days, but I should be back up and ready to review VERY soon. Thanks so much for your patience and support!! xoxo, Missy
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