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Book Review: Living With Jackie Chan

Title: 17262306.jpgLiving with Jackie Chan

Series: Jumping Off Swings

Author: Jo Knowles

Published: September 10th, 2013

Links: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Dates Read: September 27th, 2016 to October 4th, 2016

Rating: 3 stars

Source:
Digital copy

 

“I stand here, looking at it. At my new life. No more people staring at me when I walk down the hall. No more whispers behind my back. No one knows me here. No one knows what happened. What I did. I just have to get through the year, get into college someplace far away, and leave for good.”
Jo Knowles, Living with Jackie Chan

Goodreads Summary:

After fathering a baby, a teenager moves in with his karate-loving uncle and tries to come to terms with his guilt — and find a way to forgive.

This isn’t how Josh expected to spend senior year. He thought he’d be hanging out with his best friends, Dave and Caleb, driving around, partying, just like always. But here he is, miles from home — new school, new life, living with his Jackie-Chan-obsessed uncle, Larry, and trying to forget. But Josh can’t forget. So many things bring back memories of last year and the night that changed everything. Every day the pain, the shame, and the just not knowing are never far from his thoughts. Why is he such a loser? How could he have done what he did? He finds some moments of peace when he practices karate with Stella, the girl upstairs and his one real friend. As they move together through the katas, Josh feels connected in a way he has never felt before. He wonders if they could be more than friends, but Stella’s jealous boyfriend will make sure that doesn’t happen. And maybe it doesn’t matter. If Stella knew the truth, would she still think he was a True Karate Man? Readers first met Josh in Jumping Off Swings which told the story of four high school students and how one pregnancy changed all of their lives. In this companion book, they follow Josh as he tries to come to terms with what happened, and find a way to forgive.

“Saying good-bye to them was like saying good-bye to some people who used to know me when I was a little kid. Like saying good-bye to zombies. Good-bye to a memory. Good-bye to dust. The real good-bye happened a long, long time ago.”
Jo Knowles, Living with Jackie Chan

Lindsey’s review:

This is the second book in Jo Knowles Jumping Off Swings and comes after Living with Jackie Chan.

When I read the first book in the series I found myself not wanting to put it down but it was the opposite with this book. I found myself bored and not caring if I had to put my Ipad down. I was not as invested in the second book as I was in the first book. Now this book is a good book but it really was not what I was looking for in the second book of a series.

I did think it was an interesting way to take the second book and having it be from Josh and the aftermath of what happened in the first book. Found within the book are a few minor new characters that play roles in Josh’s life but for me where not that appealing. But I think that Jo writing this book to see how Josh ended up was great I would have also like a little insight into Ellie and the others to see how they all turned out. Maybe Jo plan on writing those but they would be nice to read.

Overall Jo has taken issues that are important and common in today’s society and she wrote a book that expresses the hardships that kids are forced with when thrown a challenge like the one thrown the kids in this series.

MY RATING:

 3 stars
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Review – Wee Alphas

As a nanny to young ones (4 under the age 0f 5) plus an aunt to a 5 year old (almost 6 year old) little girl and a future elementary special education teacher I’m always looking for new material that I can found and use with the kids I work with now and might be useful in my classroom.

And when I came across Wee Alphas on Blogging For Books I knew that it was something that I needed to check out. And I was extremely happy that I did.

They described Wee Alphas as

“This imaginative take on the alphabet features 26 Wee Alphas postcards, each created with a “hidden letter” to find.

Based on the award-winning Wee Alphas kids’ app, the postcards feature quirky illustrations of Biki the Buffalo, Ulysses the Unicorn, Yolanda the Yeti, and their furry, feathered, or finned friends. The cards are bound into a fold-out accordion format that can be displayed in its entirety, or they can be detached to separately display or share. Writing prompts on the back of each card will inspire any kid (or their grown-up) to pass along a super-special greeting.

The cover and back – When I opened the package I noticed that it was small, the size of postcards. Which was great because it would make these easy for the little ones to hold. The cover provided examples of the letters along with the animals that the letters were hidden within. The back provided an example of the post card and a quick look at several of the cards for each letter.

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Open it up – When I opened up the box I really liked the inside of the cover and back. They were covered in different letters inside their letter animal. Very cute.

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The Letters – Overall I really enjoyed the letters. They were creative and cute. Each letter was “hidden” within an animal that started with that letter and it was up to the reader to determine where each letter was located. Some were easy and some were a little harder to find. However I believe that some of the letters were hard for the younger kids to find at first but with some determination and looking the kids were able to find the letters.

The Postcards – I have mixed opinions on these. They are cute and would be fun. As a teacher I thought I could use these with my students and let them send the letter that their name starts with to a parent. However some of these seem a little hard for the younger children. As a nanny to younger children I don’t think I would use the postcards but would rather use these to help the students learn their ABC’s.

Overall – I really liked the product and have already used the letters with the kids I watch and my niece. I plan on keeping them and making sure that they make their way into my classroom.

 

I received a set of  cards from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. The fact I received a copy had no play in my review and opinion of the product.

Book Review: Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs

Title: 26192600Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs

Series: No

Author: Dave Holmes

Published: June 28th, 2016

Links: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Dates Read:August 14th to 18th, 2016

Rating: 4 stars

Source:
Blogging for Books

 

 

Goodreads Summary:

From former MTV VJ Dave Holmes, the hilarious memoir of a perpetual outsider fumbling towards self-acceptance, with the music of the ’80s, ’90s, and today as his soundtrack

Dave Holmes has spent his life on the periphery, nose pressed hopefully against the glass, wanting just one thing: to get inside. Growing up, he was the artsy son in the sporty family. At his all-boys high school and Catholic college, he was the closeted gay kid surrounded by crush-worthy straight guys. And in his twenties, in the middle of a disastrous career in advertising, he accidentally became an MTV VJ overnight when he finished second, naturally, in the Wanna Be a VJ contest, opening the door to fame, fortune, and celebrity—you know, almost.

In Party of One, Holmes tells the hilariously painful and painfully hilarious tales—in the vein of Rob Sheffield, Andy Cohen, and Paul Feig—of an outsider desperate to get in, of a misfit constantly changing shape, of a music geek who finally learns to accept himself. Structured around a mix of hits and deep cuts from the last four decades—from Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind” to LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge” and Bleachers’ “I Wanna Get Better”—and punctuated with interludes like “So You’ve Had Your Heart Broken in the 1990s: A Playlist” and “Notes on (Jesse) Camp,” this book is for anyone who’s ever felt like a square peg, especially those who have found their place in the world around a band, an album, or a song. It’s a laugh-out-loud funny, deeply nostalgic story about never fitting in, never giving up, and letting good music guide the way.

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Lindsey’s review:

Thank you to Blogging For Books for providing me with a physical copy in exchange for an honest review. By receiving a review copy had not baring in my review.

I received an email stating that Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs was available to read for review. After looking at the cover and reading the summary I decided that this was a book that I would enjoy.

I’m open to reading pretty much anything ( a few genres are not for me) and I don’t judge people for how they live their life. But I was interested in seeing how Dave was going to tell a memoir about his life by using 21 songs. And once I started reading I was pulled in and invested in his life and knowing more about how he grew up.

Now I’m a little young but I had a little time with MTV and the music videos they used to show rather some of the over priced, lame TV shows that they show now. I don’t really remember Dave or the other hosts but I was able to connect with some of the talk of songs and artists he spoke about throughout his book thanks to my mom who introduced my brother and I to while growing up.

I felt that Dave wrote about his life growing up and his time on MTV in a captivating and interesting way that as a reader I really enjoyed.

Overall a great read in my opinion.

MY RATING:
4 stars

Book Review: Snow White: A graphic Novel

Title: cover83269-medium.pngSnow White: A graphic Novel

Series: no

Author: Matt Phelan

Published: September 13th, 2016

Links: Amazon * Barnes & Nobel

Dates Read: August 11th, 2016

Rating: 4 stars

Source: Netgalley and Candlewick Press

Goodreads Summary:

The scene: New York City, 1928. The dazzling lights cast shadows that grow ever darker as the glitzy prosperity of the Roaring Twenties screeches to a halt. Enter a cast of familiar characters: a young girl, Samantha White, returning after being sent away by her cruel stepmother, the Queen of the Follies, years earlier; her father, the King of Wall Street, who survives the stock market crash only to suffer a strange and sudden death; seven street urchins, brave protectors for a girl as pure as snow; and a mysterious stock ticker that holds the stepmother in its thrall, churning out ticker tape imprinted with the wicked words “Another . . . More Beautiful . . . KILL.” In a moody, cinematic new telling of a beloved fairy tale, extraordinary graphic novelist Matt Phelan captures the essence of classic film noir on the page—and draws a striking distinction between good and evil.

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(photo from Matt Phelan’s video trailer for the novel)

Lindsey’s Review:

I was given a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley and Candlewick Press

Recently I have gotten into reading comics/graphic novels. Therefore I was excited to have a chance to read a graphic novel with a Snow White twist and with the novel being set in New York.

Now what I noticed right away was the fact that there was very little writing. Therefore it was a quick read. But what it lacks in writing it shines in illustrations. The illustrations are stunning and beautiful.

I think that Matt Phelan has created a retelling of the classic Disney tale of Snow White in the style of a graphic novel in a wonderful way. It provides twists and turns with each page. And with a few recasting but I won’t so more because……spoilers.

I could see myself getting this for my niece when she gets a little older. I would love to introduce her to different takes of the Disney movies she loves.

 MY RATING
4 stars

 

Book Review – The Bear Who Couldn’t Sleep

Title: 9780735842687.jpgThe Bear Who Couldn’t Sleep

Series: no

Author: Caroline Nastro

Published: October 1st, 2016

Links: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Dates Read: August 3rd, 2016

Source: Netgalley

 

 

Goodreads Summary:

There s no place like home when it s time for bed. When Bear can t sleep, he goes on an adventure and discovers the wonders of New York City a parade, Central Park, hot dogs, and more! But when he finally gets tired and looks for a place to rest . . . he learns why it s called the city that never sleeps. What s a bear to do? Caroline Nastro s gentle adventure and Vanya Nastanlieva s engaging illustrations are sure to comfort and delight!”

 

Lindsey’s Review:

I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley and North South Books inc in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s one of those books were I found myself smiling throughout the whole story.

The story is about a small cub who found himself unable to sleep in winter while his family took their winter nap. Therefore the young cub did what all young children do and that was went on an adventure. The young cub traveled to the city and did a little exploring on his own.

Overall the plot was easy to follow and even the youngest listener (at bedtime maybe) will be able to follow along with the story.

The illustrations are beautiful and simple at the same time.

I really liked this book and either when I’m a teacher or a parent I most likely will invest in this book. Children will enjoy it and I believe adults will too. After all I’m an adult…..but a kid at heart.

 MY RATING
5 stars

 

Book Review – Tarzan of the Apes

Title: tarzan.jpgTarzan of the Apes

Series: Tarzan

Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs

Published: October 1912

Links: Amazon * Barnes And Noble

Dates Read: July 3 to 8, 2016

My Rating: 4 stars

Source: owned book

Challenge:

“I am Tarzan of the Apes. I want you. I am yours. You are mine. We live here together always in my house. I will bring you the best of fruits, the tenderest deer, the finest meats that roam the jungle. I will hunt for you. I am the greatest of the jungle fighters. I will fight for you. I am the mightiest of the jungle fighters. You are Jane Porter, I saw it in your letter. When you see this you will know that it is for you and that Tarzan of the Apes loves you.”


Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes

Goodreads Summary:

In 1888 Lord and Lady Clayton sail from England but to West Africa and perish on a remote island. When their infant son is adopted by fanged, great anthropoid apes, he is Tarzan of the Apes. His intelligence and caring mother raise him to be king. Self-educated by his parents’ library, Tarzan rescues genteel Jane Porter from the perils of his jungle.

“For myself, I always assume that a lion is ferocious, and so I am never caught off my guard.”
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes

My Review:

I wanted to read this before seeing the new movie and I also wanted to read it because I have not actually read the book before.

When going into the book I never knew that it was first published in 1912 and was part of a large series! However that fact that there were so many in the series made me happy. Just more to read if I enjoy the book. And I did enjoy the book now to just work on reading the rest in the series.

From the first page to the last page I was pulled in. I did find a few parts to be a little boring but overall the book was great.

I have to say that my one experience with Tarzan really is the Disney Movie. As a kid I LOVED that movie and would watch it over and over. I loved the story and the music. However with Edgar’s story there is no sweet little Disney movie hidden within the pages and words. In fact its the opposite of a sweet Disney movie. It had a gruesome story line that has a strong sense of beauty and wonder in it.

Knowing that the movie was coming out had me picturing the actors while I read. Which was not bad since Alexander plays Tarzan.

MY RATING
4 stars

 

Book Review – The Awakening of Sunshine Girl

Title: The Awakening of Sunshine Girl  the awakening

Series: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

Author: Paige McKenzie

Published: March 1st, 2016

Links:
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Dates Read: July 1 to 2, 2016

My rating: 4 stars

Source:Owned book

Challenges:

“I open my eyes. That’s when I discover what that wailing sound was. My mouth wasn’t frozen shut after all. When I finally understand why Aidan and Lucio sounded like they were arguing from miles away: I was straining to hear them over the sound of my own voice. This whole time I’ve been screaming.”

  • Paige McKenzie, The Awakening of Sunshine Girl

Goodreads Summary:

Sunshine Griffith can communicate with ghosts. Even more amazing, she recently discovered—with the help of her would-be boyfriend, Nolan—that she’s a luiseach, one of an ancient race of creatures who have lived among humans for centuries, protecting them from dark spirits and helping them move on to the afterlife. Now, Sunshine’s powers are awakening and she feels spirits everywhere—intense and sometimes overwhelming.

Eager to get her supernatural abilities under control, Sunshine agrees to begin training with her mentor, her estranged father Aidan. He takes her to an abandoned compound deep in the Mexican jungle. But what she learns there about her powers, and her family history, turns out to be more terrifying than Sunshine could have imagined. Can anything—Aidan’s experiments, her friendship with another luiseach named Lucio, even Nolan’s research—prepare Sunshine to face the frightening woman who haunts her dreams, and to finally learn the truth about the rift that threatens the future of the luiseach and all of humankind?

The stakes grow ever higher in this sequel to The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, revealing that Sunshine has to protect more than her own friends and family—she may be the key to saving the entire human race.

the awakening 2.jpg

“A horror movie. The kind you’re not supposed to watch before you go to sleep at night. Despite”

  • Paige McKenzie, The Awakening of Sunshine Girl

My review:

The second book in the The Haunting of Sunshine Girl written by Paige McKenzie.

I discovered this series by accident. I ran into Target to find one book and ended up picking up this book. However at the time I did not know it was a series so before reading I had to find the first book. Which I did and after reading it I was able to read the second book. And I have to say that I was surprised with how much I enjoyed both the first and the second book. Looking forward to more from the author in this series.

The Awakening of Sunshine Girl picks up pretty close to were the first book left off. Which as a reader I like because it allows us to see what happens next with the characters we fell in love with in the first book.

Something else the author does that makes this a great book is that she has written it in a way that is easy to follow but adds a interesting twist. It’s told from the point of view of Sunshine and a few other “characters.” Can’t go into too much detail without giving anything up.

The characters are interesting. I have to say that at times I disliked Sunshine. I felt that she could be childish and immature. However when its needed she can be strong and a great female character. Other characters such as Nolan and Lucio I enjoyed and excited to see where they go in the next book.

I love the whole supernatural aspects of TV and books. Therefore after reading the summary for this I knew I would enjoy it. A girl who can see ghosts?!? With the second book the author takes what we learned in the first book and adds more to it. Plus some new characters.

After reading this I felt that the two books are different. I enjoyed the first book more then the second book but in the end I was still able to really enjoy this. And I’m excited to see where the author takes the story and the characters in the next book.

MY RATING

4 stars

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