What is your reading goal this year?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Moving!

Moving!


Hi Everyone! I am in the process of moving my site from Blogger to Word Press (yay!)
So...
I have no idea what will happen. (Eeeek!) I don't know if you'll still be able to see my content here while it's updating, or if it will seamlessly take you to the new site once it's up and running. 
If you are one of my amazing followers, if you come here and I'm not here for some reason, please go to my new site:

thereadathon.com

I'm hoping to have everything up and running in the next few days. 
I'm excited and VERY nervous. I have nine years of content. NINE! What if I lose it all?
What if, what if, what if.....
It's going to be great, right? Please tell me I'm not going to lose everything in the move. 
Please come follow me on my new site; I'll keep you updated!

~Monica


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

[Book Review] Potion Masters: The Eternity Elixir (Book #1) by Frank L. Cole



Potion Masters: The Eternity Elixir (Book #1)

by

Frank L. Cole


Blurb:

"Twelve-year-old Gordy Stitser is one of the few people who knows the truth about the secret society of potion masters, called Elixirists, whose specialized concoctions have been responsible for three centuries of advancements, including hybrid cars, enhanced military weapons, and the cure for the common cold. Not only is Gordy's mom on the Board of Ruling Elixirists Worldwide (B.R.E.W.), but she has also been training Gordy in the art of potion-making. Gordy is a natural, and every day he sneaks down to the basement lab to invent new potions using exotic ingredients like fire ant eggs, porcupine quills, and Bosnian tickling juice. One afternoon, Gordy receives a mysterious package containing an extremely rare potion labeled 'The Eternity Elixir.' In the right hands, the Elixir continues to protect society. But in the wrong hands, it could destroy the world as we know it. Now, sinister potion masters are on the hunt to steal the Eternity Elixir. It's up to Gordy, his parents, and his best friends, Max and Adeline, to prevent an all-out potion war."

My Review:

What a fun book! I think it's almost every kid's dream to make potions, right? Didn't we all mix strange concoctions when we were little, hoping in our heart of hearts that it would make our parents forget about chores or bad grades or broken rules? No? So it was just me? Ok, then, moving on...Gordy is a fun character. He is smart (maybe not so much street smart as potion-smart), witty, courageous, and quick thinking. He's a good friend and a good son. I really like his voice in this book; it feels like your best friend is telling you this outrageous story of what happened to him last weekend. His friends Max and Adeline are great supporting characters. His mom is this super-secretive-awesome lady who is the CIA/FBI of the potion world; I liked her a lot. This book is very creative and unique. I love that you're reading about this skeleton with a rock head who travels thousands of miles on his own to accomplish his task, and you think that's normal and totally feasible. It's great. And the bad guys are definitely bad guys. They're a little scary with some evil plans. This book is a fast, easy read. It's quite entertaining, and I enjoyed it a lot. I can't wait to hand it over to my kiddos, I think they'll really like it. 

Rating: PG (There's no profanity, no "intimacy," and only some minor violence as they fight off the bad guys.)

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

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


Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Janitors (Book #1) by Tyler Whitesides   Fablehaven (Book #1) by Brandon Mull   Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog's Gold (Book #1) by M.L. Forman


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

[Book Review] Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong



Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World 

by 

Jennifer Armstrong


Blurb:

"In August 1914, Ernest Shackleton and 27 men sailed from England in an attempt to become the first team of explorers to cross Antarctica. Five months later and still 100 miles from land, their ship, Endurance, became trapped in ice. When Endurance broke apart and sank, the expedition survived another five months camping on ice floes, followed by a perilous journey through stormy seas to remote and unvisited Elephant Island. In a dramatic climax to this amazing survival story, Shackleton and five others navigated 800 miles of treacherous open ocean in a 20-foot boat to fetch a rescue ship. Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World vividly re-creates one of the most extraordinary adventure stories in history. Jennifer Armstrong narrates this unbelievable story with vigor, and eye for detail, and an appreciation of the marvelous leadership of Ernest Shackleton, who brought home every one of his men alive. With them survived a remarkable archive of photographs of the expedition, more than 40 of which are reported here."

My Review:

I love this book! It is an amazing story! Seriously amazing, and I think it teaches wonderful lessons about hard work, determination, working together, and great leadership. It is so well written that it reads as fiction. I love the format with the pictures and the maps. I love to just look at the pictures because they capture the moment so well. I look up to Ernest Shackleton because of his great leadership ability. As you're reading, you know that no one dies, but you can't believe it!  These men go through so many trials and hardships, and not one of them dies. It is incredible! Ms. Armstrong did a great job with this book and I highly recommend it! I recommend it as a read-aloud and also as a personal read. This book is one of my all-time-favorite nonfiction reads!

Rating: PG+ (It is clean, but they do suffer through a lot of hardships, some of which are not pleasant to read.)

Age Recommendation: Fifth Grade and up. It is a great read-aloud for home or school, and is also a wonderful book for kids and adults alike to sit down and read. Parents may want to read it first just so they know if it is appropriate for their child.


Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:


The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown   1776 by David McCullough  Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand



*This post was first published on 8/8/12, and was updated on 1/10/18.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

[Book Review] The Sage Challenger by Chad Rasumssen

The Sage Challenger by Chad Rasmussen
Photo Credit: goodreads.com


The Sage Challenger

by

Chad Rasmussen


Blurb:

"The day Arian Coles stepped into the CUBUS his life would be changed forever. His scores were high enough to thrust him into the world's greatest and most dangerous competition. But this is no game, the winner will become one of the ten world leaders--a Sage. According to Sage Law there must always be Ten Sages, but the eldest, Kanja, is dying. He must be replaced. Unable to find a suitable replacement among their own people, the Sages turn to the working class populace and institute the Challenger Competition. Through their love of intelligence, athleticism, technology, and extreme sports they have created The Challenges--ten Challenges in the most dangerous locations on earth. Making friends and foes along the way, Arian must be on his guard at all times. He must decipher his feelings between Maria and Ciana and decide if one is his ally or enemy. At the brink of death, Arian will have to prove if he has the fortitude to make it through unimaginable adversity and be crowned a Sage. But is this the end goal for Arian? He must decide what his true purpose is." 

My Review:

Wow! What a ride! Full disclosure: Chad Rasmussen lives in my neighborhood. It always makes me a little nervous to review books for people that I know. What if I hate it? What if it's poorly written? Especially with first-time authors, you never know what you're going to get. So, when his wife asked if I'd read his book, I said, "Yes," and then I got worried. However, I needn't have worried. In his debut novel, Chad Rasmussen takes one part Hunger Games, one part The Amazing Race, and one part Olympics, and successfully mixes them all up into one crazy concoction of action, revenge, betrayal, amazing feats, and change for the Cive people. You can't help but like Arian. He's strong, determined, intelligent, easy to relate to, and courageous. The Challenges are insane! Racing on snowboard-type boards on sand dunes, capoeira to the death, soccer on water skates, and flying suits. I was really glad that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law introduced me to capoeira so that I knew what they were talking about. I watched them in a tournament once, and it was quite exciting! Here's a video of what capoeira is. It's 8.5 min, but you just need to watch the first couple of minutes to see what it is.  



What did you think? Pretty fun to watch, right? Now just picture them fighting to the death using capoeira. On a small platform. Thousands of feet in the air. Scary! Overall, I'd say that this book is well written. The characters are developed well, the story flows well, is easy to read and understand, and it's full of action. The Challenges are exciting to read about, and the relationships Arian has with Maria, Shen, and Komi add such a great element to the story. I loved how they supported him. I'd say that overall it was a bit predictable, but there were enough surprises along the way to keep me reading. I came to enjoy this sci-fi world that Chad Rasmussen has created. The ending was a bit of a drop-off-a-cliff, so I hope there is a second book to take us off the ledge we're hanging from.

Rating: PG+ (There was one swear word that I remember, so not terrible there, and there isn't any "intimacy," except for some brief kissing. It is quite violent though. A lot of characters die, and some of them quite graphically.)

Age Recommendation: Young Adult and up (12+)


Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, and Chad Rasmussen does live in my neighborhood; however, this did not affect my review.


Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Earth-Sim by Jade Kerrion   Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card   The Inventor's Secret by Chad Morris



Friday, January 5, 2018

Change of Address!!! Yippee!

Can I get a big Woot! Woot!

Why, you ask?

I took a HUGE step today! After 9 years of blogging and reviewing books (yes, 9!), 

I finally purchased an actual domain name!!!

So now...

instead of going to: www.the-readathon.blogspot.com

go to...

thereadathon.com

www.the-readathon.blogspot.com is now thereadathon.com

I'm so excited! I dare you to try it! (Go type it in right now...just to make sure it works!)
P.S. Let me know if it doesn't! 

~Monica

[Book Review] Snow Crystals by W.A. Bentley and W.J. Humphreys

Snow Crystals by W.A. Bentley and W.J. Humphreys
Photo Credit: goodreads.com

Snow Crystals

by

W.A. Bentley and W.J. Humphreys

Blurb:

"Did you ever try to photograph a snow flake? The procedure is very tricky. The work must be done rapidly in extreme cold, for even body heat can melt a rare specimen that has been painstakingly mounted. The lighting must be just right to reveal all the nuances of design without producing heat. But the results can be rewarding, as the work of W.A. Bentley proved. For almost half a century, Bentley caught and photographed thousands of snow flakes in his workshop at Jericho, Vermont, and made available to scientists and art instructors samples of his remarkable work. In 1931, the American Meteorological Society gathered together the best of these photomicrographs, plus some slides of frost, glaze, dew on vegetation and spider webs, sleet, and soft hail, and a text by W.J. Humphreys, and had them published. That book is here reproduced, unaltered and unabridged. Over 2,000 beautiful crystals on these pages reveal the wonder of nature's diversity in uniformity: no two are alike, yet all are based on a common hexagon."


My Review:

Since I woke up to at least six inches of snow this morning, I thought this book would be very fitting for today. I love any nonfiction book that captivates and intrigues the reader, especially if that reader is a child. This book does just that. The text at the beginning is too difficult and technical for my girls (9 and 6), but that has not stopped them from pouring over each and every snowflake pictured in this book. When it was due at the library they begged me to renew it because they didn't want to let it go. It is fascinating! The beginning text is very interesting, yet a bit technical. It talks about the different types of snowflakes and how they are formed, it talks about how Mr. Bentley painstakingly photographed each and every snowflake, and it talks about different natural phenomena like dew, sleet, hail, and frost. I found it intriguing, but I read through it quickly because I couldn't wait to see all the beautiful pictures. It is amazing how intricate and detailed some of the snowflakes are! I had no idea that some snowflakes look like columns. Yes, they look like actual Roman columns, 3D and everything. There are many different shapes and configurations. No two in the book are the same. My favorite ones are the ones you think of when you think of snowflakes, with many delicate and intricate details. Frost is beautiful too! After reading this book, I can now look outside at all the snow this morning and not only see, but appreciate the beauty in it as well. This book would be fabulous for science teachers, art teachers, photography teachers, and all teachers looking to introduce more nonfiction books into the classroom. It would also be a great addition to any home library. I highly recommend this book.

Rating: G (Clean!)

Age Recommendation: Everyone! (For a silent read I would say 5th or 6th grade and up to be able to understand the text, but everyone can enjoy the photographs.)


Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong   I'm Possible by Jeff Griffin   Focused by Noelle Pikus Pace


*This post was originally published on 12/29/14; updated on 1/5/18.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

[Book Review] Devil in the Microscope by Ryan Decaria

Devil in the Microscope by Ryan Decaria
Photo Credit: goodreads.com


Devil in the Microscope

by

Ryan Decaria

Blurb (from goodreads.com):

"When “science-fair-geek” Anika goes to live with her scientist father in a town built around his mysterious genetics laboratory, she is determined to prove herself worthy of his legacy. But all preconceptions about her new life are thrown out the window when Anika discovers her father is a megalomaniac living in a town populated entirely by mad scientists. Now Anika will have to navigate her way through a high school filled with vindictive evil geniuses, deadly science projects, and unspeakable human experimentation. Relying on her wits, scientific know-how, and talented allies, Anika fights for her very life, and the lives of her new friends. Will Anika have to become like her mad scientist father in order to save the day?"

My Review:

Anika is a fun character. She's smart, witty, sassy, and doesn't put up with anything. She's a good, strong, female leading character. I liked her voice a lot, and thought she was well developed. It's always good to have a science nerd as a main character. Her mom isn't in a lot of the book; even though she's a bit mysterious, you find out more about why she is the way she is as the story goes on. I did think that Anika was a bit quick to disregard her mom after all they'd been through together, but teenagers are never predictable. I liked Billie a lot, and felt so bad for her and the situation she was in. Anika's father is quite the interesting guy. I didn't feel like he was developed as much as Anika was, but part of that is the mystery that surrounds him. Anika doesn't know him very well either, so I guess it's fair that the reader is also kept in the dark. I liked the story line a lot at the beginning, with the science fair and all that. It was when Anika got to Moreau that the story became a little unbelievable to me (you may not feel the same way). It's sci-fi, and you know I love a good sci-fi, but this definitely bordered on fantasy, and was a little hard to believe. I liked her friends at school, especially Misty and Sasha, and I did think they were well developed and likable characters. Victor is scary, creepy, and intimidating, but his situation is a bit on the unimaginable side. Well, honestly, a bunch of the characters have sides of them that are unimaginable. On one hand, it gives the story a lot of action. It's definitely full of action, Anika is a go-getter for sure! On the other hand, some of the scenarios are a tad on the strange/inconceivable side. I liked that the teenagers took matters into their own hands because they really didn't have anyone they could turn to for help, but at the same time, that included them doing some things that I don't think teenagers should have to do. I wanted to scream at their parents for putting them in that situation. You never really heard anything about their mothers, either. Where were they in all of this? The ending wasn't my favorite, either. It just ended. I'm assuming that means that a second book is in the works, but there were still quite a few things that could have been tied up a little better. Overall, the book was ok for me. There were some parts of it that I really enjoyed, and some parts that I had a hard time believing. If you're a science nerd then you will definitely enjoy this book. 

Rating: PG-13 (There is some profanity, and there are times where they don't actually say the "f" word, but they say a word that is VERY similar, so you know that's what they mean, which is a tactic I don't particularly care for. There isn't any "intimacy," but there is a lot of violence. There are a few characters that are killed, and there is a lot of fighting.)

Age Recommendation: 14 years-old and up

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Also, the author is the son of my good friend. 


Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card   Mysteries of Cove: Fires of Invention (Book #1) by J. Scott Savage  Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from The Readathon

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful readers! I am so thankful to you for reading my blog, supporting me, and being patient with me. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my reviews and other ramblings. I'm going to be spending the next few days with my family, so I will not be posting anything new until after Christmas. I promise I'll be back next week! I have a few more reviews to post before the new year. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Love,
 Monica

Thursday, December 21, 2017

[Book Review] Christmas Jars-The Collector's Edition by Jason F. Wright

Christmas Jars Collector's Edition by Jason F. Wright


Christmas Jars - The Collector's Edition

by

Jason F. Wright


Blurb:

"Hope Jensen is a young, single woman and an aspiring newspaper writer, and when she receives a much-needed but anonymous Christmas gift, she's determined to find her benefactor. That search leads her to an unusual family with a longstanding Christmas tradition. Sensing a front-page feature article, Hope desperately wants to publish their story, but doing so would be a breach of trust. What she decides to do will changer her life forever. Destined to become a classic Christmas tale, Christmas Jars is a heartwarming story that will restore your faith in mankind and make you want to start your own Christmas Jar tradition."

My Review:

Over the years I have read a lot of Christmas books, and have loved many of them. This book is definitely somewhere at the top of my favorite list! It's well written and engaging, and the characters come to life on the page. I felt as if I were there with them; we are best friends now, and I'd love to meet them! Not only that, but the story serves a larger purpose in that it explains what a Christmas Jar is and how Christmas Jars help both giver and receiver. I'd never heard of this before, but what an amazing idea! At the beginning of the year you take an old, empty jar and put it in a safe spot. Then each day when you get home from school or work, you take the change out of your pockets and you put it in the jar. You do this every day all year long. Then the week before Christmas, you take your now-full jar, and you secretly deliver it to someone in need (you could also put a copy of the book with the jar to explain it, but it's not necessary). It could be a financial need, but it could also be someone who needs a gift of hope or love. Sometimes the receiver could be someone who needs to know she's not alone. The possibilities are endless! I love this idea so much! I've already talked to my husband about starting our own jar for next Christmas. I'm going to read this book to my kids after Christmas, and we're going to start a new tradition of a Christmas Jar. My only problem is that I never have cash or change on me, so maybe I'll need to begin using cash more. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story is heartwarming, and the real experiences at the back of the book are just as good! I loved reading them. You'll need a box of Kleenexes handy, but it's worth it! And who knows? Maybe you'll want to start your own Christmas Jar tradition!

If you want to read more about this book, learn about the author, or read more amazing Christmas Jar stories, head over to: http://christmasjars.com/  
Or you may go to the Christmas Jars Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/christmasjars/

Rating: G (There's no profanity, "intimacy," or violence.)

Recommendation: Everyone!

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

Other Christmas Titles You May Enjoy:

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler   The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson   A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens







Tuesday, December 19, 2017

[Book Review] Celebrate Every Season With Six Sisters' Stuff Cookbook

Celebrate Every Season with Six Sisters' Stuff Cookbook by Six Sisters' Stuff

Celebrate Every Season With Six Sisters' Stuff Cookbook 

by 

Six Sisters' Stuff

Blurb:

"From New Year's Eve to Christmas Day, there is always a good reason to celebrate! Whether you're highlighting a favorite holiday of the month, hosting a party, planning a summer picnic outing, or simply wanting to create a few family memories, Celebrate Every Season with Six Sisters' Stuff is the perfect one-stop resource for great food, new traditions, and family fun. Every month includes flavorful and delicious recipes as well as fun, fast, and easy ideas for celebrating the season with your family, from hosting a 'New Year's Eve Family Countdown' to 'A Summer Bucket List of 50 Fun Things to Do' to '12 Days of Hot Cocoa for Christmas.' Along with some of the Sisters' most popular recipes are all-new creations for refreshing beverages, delicious snacks, succulent entrees, and decadent desserts. So invite the Six Sisters to your next celebration with this low-stress, go-to guide that can help your family enjoy every month of the year."

My Review:

I have reviewed a couple of the Six Sisters' Stuff cookbooks, and I have to say, I think this one may be my favorite! It's such a fun idea for a cookbook! There are fun recipes for New Year's, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Summertime, Back to School kid favorites, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! One thing I love about Six Sisters' Stuff recipes is that they are real. Right? They use ingredients that I know, and I usually have them in my pantry. There's none of the "What is that?" recipe frustration. I can't wait to try some of these out! I'm going to start on the Christmas recipes this week! Chocolate Reindeer Cookies, Christmas Tree Brownies, and Egg Nog French Toast, need I say more? I love that at the end of each category there is a page or two of fun traditions. For example, at the end of the Christmas recipes the tradition is "12 Days of Hot Cocoa." What?? I LOVE hot cocoa. Seriously love it. I know I'm too late to do all 12 days, but I'm starting that this morning for sure! Raspberry Hot Chocolate, Caramel Hot Chocolate, S'mores Hot Chocolate, Candy Cane Hot Chocolate...I think I'm in Heaven! And then after next week I can plan my family's New Year's Eve party. On New Year's we usually have what we deem our "Processed Food Extravaganza." We go to Costco and buy all the processed stuff we don't buy the rest of the year: corndogs, egg rolls, chicken nuggets, pigs in a blanket, french fries, you name it! Then yes, we totally pig-out! This year, however, we may need to break tradition and try these yummy Shrimp Taco Bites, Sweet Polynesian Meatballs, Cowboy Caviar, and the Snowmen on a Stick. Or better yet, does anyone want to make them and invite me over? I am excited to delve into this cookbook! 

Click the link below for a cute, short video about this fun cookbook!  
https://www.facebook.com/ShadowMountainPublishing/videos/1879585068737568/

Rating: G (Clean!)

Recommendation: Everyone!

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

Also by Six Sisters' Stuff:

A Year With Six Sisters' Stuff Cookbook by Six Sisters' Stuff   Six Sisters' Stuff Cookbook by Six Sisters' Stuff