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Monday, February 27, 2017

The Knights of Crystallia (Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians Book #3)

The Knights of Crystallia
(Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians Book #3)
Brandon Sanderson

Blurb (Taken from goodreads.com):

"When Alcatraz and Grandpa Smedry make a pilgrimage to the Free Kingdom city of Crystallia, the Smedry home base, Alcatraz is shocked to see that he is, in fact, a legend. When he was a baby he was stolen by the Evil Librarians, and his mother, a Librarian herself, was behind the whole scheme. Now, with his estranged father, who is acting indeed strange, Bastille, who has been stripped of her armor, and Grandpa Smedry, who is, as always, late to everything (that's his Talent), Alcatraz tries to save a city under siege. From who? Why, the Librarians of course!

My Review:

Seriously! These books are so much fun! I love the humor and wit, the creativity, and the imagination in these books, and this one is no different. It starts out different from the other books, saying that he's awesome; in the other books he makes it very clear that he is not a hero, that he's a liar, etc. I was intrigued from the get-go. It seems that fame has gotten to our non-hero in this book. Alcatraz begins to be just a bit arrogant and cocky. He lets the pride go to his head, and there are definitely consequences to that. The capital city of Nalhalla seems like such a cool place! I loved the descriptions of the buildings, the dragons that climb on buildings and act as taxis, and the technology they have there. Of course, there's trouble, and Alcatraz' mom is involved somehow. This time, however, the gang is not at the top of their game. They have to be doubly creative to make up for what they're lacking. This book has lots of action, danger, librarian schemes, surprises, books that sing, and more amazing Talents. If you enjoyed the first two you will love this one! My family always ends up hearing a lot of these books because I'll be sitting there reading and will burst out laughing; then they'll want to know why and I'll have to read it to them. It's awesome! I can't remember the last books that I actually laughed out loud at while reading. I love it; it's definitely a breath of fresh air!

Rating: PG (There's no profanity or "intimacy." There is some minor violence as they fight off those evil librarians.)

Recommendation: 3rd grade and up! This book would also make a great read-aloud!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Calling All Writers!!!

*Calling All Writers*

Occasionally I get asked what you need to do to get your book published. Well, here's a great solution!


has a writing contest going on right now.  The winner gets a publishing deal! Easy Peasy! All you need to do is click on the image below and enter your story into the contest. Your fictional story needs to be at least 20,000 words and it must be in English. Fanfiction is not allowed, and neither are short story collections. You may find all the rules on their site. Go enter your story!! I'd love it if one of my readers won!!

(Disclosure: I am an Inkitt.com affiliate, and do receive a monetary reward for stories submitted from my link. However, I really would love it if one of my readers won! ) 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Nina the Neighborhood Ninja

Nina the Neighborhood Ninja
Sonia Panigrahy


"Calling all Girls to find their inner Superhero! Smart. Strong. Speedy. Nina the Neighborhood Ninja is a creative and take-charge kind of little girl who possesses all of these amazing qualities. Fiona the Firefly is her loyal and trusty sidekick. Through teamwork and bravery, Nina and Fiona spend a typical day boldly rescuing animals in trouble: a baby bird fallen from its nest, a cat left out in the rain, and --just when Nina thinks her work is done--she's called to action again!"

My Review:

I love picture books!!! I don't think I'll ever stop loving them. I especially love the time spent sitting close together over a picture book; it's the best! This book does not disappoint! Move over Spiderman, Iron Man, Batman, and Superman, Nina is here to save the day! The story is so cute and fun. Nina is at all the right places at all the right times, just in time to help those animals who need her. There was one time that she was tired and wet and wanted to just go home, but she didn't give up and kept helping. That's a great lesson for children to learn! Fiona is a fun sidekick. I like that this book is positive and focuses on the inner qualities that make superheros. Rather than strong and speedy, I think kind and patient or caring and compassionate may have been a little bit better, but there's nothing wrong with strong and speedy! This is a great book for little girls, especially, but great for boys too! The illustrations are darling. They are bright and colorful, and oh so cute! This book would make a great addition to any picture book library!!

Rating: G (Clean!)

Recommendation: Everyone

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

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Runaway Midwife

The Runaway Midwife
Patricia Harman


"Midwife Clara Perry is accustomed to comforting her pregnant patients, calming fathers-to-be as they anxiously await the births of their children, and ensuring the babies she delivers come safely into the world. But when Clara's life takes a nose-dive, she realizes she hasn't been tending to her own needs and she does something drastic: she runs away to start over again in a place where no one knows her, or about the mess she's left behind in West Virginia. Heading to tiny, remote Seagull Island in Canada, Clara is ready for anything. Well, almost. She left her passport back home, and the only way she can enter Canada is by hitching a ride on a snowmobile and illegally crossing the border. Deciding to reinvent herself, Clara takes a new identity--Sara Livingston, a writer seeking solitude. But there's no avoiding the outside world. The residents are friendly, and they draw 'Sara" into their lives and confidences. She volunteers at the local medical clinic, using her midwifery skills, and forms a tentative relationship with a local police officer. But what will happen if she lets down her guard and reveals the real reason why she left her old life? One lesson soon becomes clear: no matter how far you run, you can never truly hide from your past."

My Review:

The best thing about this book is the characters, especially the secondary characters. They are well written and seemed like people that could live next door. I liked Molly Lou, Jed, Dolman, Nita, and Rainbow. Some of them are quirky and fun while others are more serious and deep. Nita is one of my favorites. I love her talent and her wisdom. Jed seems like a great friend, and Rainbow's free spirit is contagious. Unfortunately, that's about all I liked about this book. I wasn't a huge fan of Clara (She goes by Sara on the island-I'll call her Sara in this review), the main character. I could not relate to her at all. I could not fathom doing what she did. Lots of people go through tough times, and they go through things that are much worse than what Sara went through, and they don't run away. Most people stick it out and work through their problems. Most people deal with the hard things and become stronger, better people as a consequence. Yes, it's hard, but it's life. I just didn't feel like what she did was realistic or reasonable. I felt bad that she was having a hard time, but didn't agree with, relate to, or like how she dealt with it. Then she's on the island and I just felt like it was really slow and kind of pointless. I didn't get the point of it all. The writing felt disjointed. I felt like it just jumped from one event to the next without any transition. There were events that happened that left me wondering why they were even included in the book at all (the Nelson children??? Charity???). Also, I like birds, but I just skipped all the bird facts at the end of the chapters, once again-why? And why all the talk of missing persons that Dolman needed to check out? That one definitely didn't get resolved. You all know how I feel about politics in books. If I want to read a political book I will read one, but when I read fiction, I read it to be entertained and taken away from everyday life. I don't want to read about politics at all in fiction (whether I agree with it or not....). This book definitely has a political bias. I'm sick of politics at the moment, and I really just wanted to be entertained, not preached to. Also, I just felt like the ending was a little too perfect and tidy for the situation she was in. It didn't feel realistic at all. So there you go...this book was just not for me. 

There was some profanity in this book, including one "f" word. There isn't any violence, but there are multiple "intimacy" scenes. There are a few discussions about STDs as well, along with a homosexual couple. There is also the delivery and birth of a baby. It's not too descriptive, but it does use correct terminology, without mincing words. I actually liked that scene. I delivered all four of my babies in hospitals, but all without drugs, and it definitely brought back all the feelings and emotions from when my babies were born. 

Rating: R (This book is not appropriate for younger readers.) There is profanity, including an "f" word, along with multiple "intimacy" scenes. STDs are also discussed, and there is a homosexual couple. There isn't any violence, but there is the delivery and birth of a baby, and she does use correct terminology and does not mince words.

Recommendation: Adult

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

Friday, February 3, 2017


How a House Built a Family
Cara Brookins

Blurb (taken from amazon.com):

If you were inspired by Wild and Eat, Pray, Love, you’ll love this extraordinary true story of a woman taking the greatest risk of her life in order to heal from the unthinkable.
After escaping an abusive marriage, Cara Brookins had four children to provide for and no one to turn to but herself. In desperate need of a home but without the means to buy one, she did something incredible.
Equipped only with YouTube instructional videos, a small bank loan and a mile-wide stubborn streak, Cara built her own house from the foundation up with a work crew made up of her four children.
It would be the hardest thing she had ever done. With no experience nailing together anything bigger than a bookshelf, she and her kids poured concrete, framed the walls and laid bricks for their two story, five bedroom house. She had convinced herself that if they could build a house, they could rebuild their broken family.
This must-read memoir traces one family’s rise from battered victims to stronger, better versions of themselves, all through one extraordinary do-it-yourself project.

My Review:

Wow. Just wow. I can barely use a drill to hang a picture on the wall, let alone build a whole house! Cara's story is filled with heartbreak, fear, anger, heart, hard work, inspiration, and achievement. She has dealt with many hardships in her life, including domestic violence, and building a house was a way to bring herself and her children out of fear and paranoia and into strength and hope. The book is well written. It switches off between Rise chapters and Fall chapters, which describe their current situation of rising above the abuse and their past of dealing with domestic violence and abuse. It seems a little choppy at first, but soon finds a rhythm and seems to transition much more smoothly. Cara's writing style is easy to read and understand, and definitely catches your attention. I like her voice in this book. Her optimism is contagious, and helps to put things in perspective. Learning about her ex-husbands and the situations she was in was heartbreaking. I have to admit that her ex-husbands scared me, and I'm safe in my own home far away. There was one thing in the book that I didn't quite understand, and that was the whole Benjamin/Caroline aspect of it. Cara would meditate and would apparently see either Caroline or Benjamin during her meditation. I'm still not sure why they got those names, or why she saw them, but I thought that they almost distracted from the story. I would have loved to have seen pictures of the different stages of the build. I read an advanced reader's copy, and it did not have pictures except the back cover picture, and I think more pictures would be great. The published copy now for sale may have photos in it. If not, Cara's website has many photos that you may look at:  https://carabrookins.com/portfolio/ . This book is very inspiring! If they can build a house, then I can do____________(fill in the blank)! If they can overcome domestic violence and abuse then I can____________ (fill in the blank)! I love how building the house helped each of them individually and collectively. I wouldn't recommend doing what they did, but it definitely goes to show you that working together as a family and relying on each other will bring you together and make you stronger. 

There is some mild profanity in this book, but not a lot. There isn't any "intimacy." There are, however, some scary scenes. Most of them deal with domestic violence and physical abuse and situations dealing with those. There is a suicide mentioned and a murder also mentioned. Overall, the good definitely outweighs the bad in this book! I highly recommend it.

Rating: R (This book is not appropriate for younger readers-there is some mild profanity and domestic violence/abusive situations. A suicide and a murder are also mentioned.)

Recommendation: Adult