Wednesday, October 23, 2019

"Emmy in the Key of Code" Book Review

Emmy in the Key of CodeEmmy in the Key of Code by Aimee Lucido
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful book for older elementary or younger YA readers, especially kids who are struggling to embrace who they are and what they love in life. It is written in a free-verse style of poetry, and as Emmy learns to use Java code, those symbols are interspersed in the text. That is part of what makes reading it so delightful, but it could be challenging for younger readers. I know zero about coding, but I thought the use of it within Emmy's thoughts as she develops her skills and understanding was brilliant.

I especially loved the friendships that developed during the story, the integration of music, and the focus on girls in science and math and challenging that stereotype.

Highly recommend. And I can assure you that I will be checking out the code when I transfer this review over to my blog page. Not like I'll understand it all, but I will definitely appreciate it a bit more.


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Sunday, September 15, 2019

"The Garden of Small Beginnings" Book Review

The Garden of Small BeginningsThe Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is just ridiculously delightful in every way. As soon as I finished "The Bookish Life of Nina Hill," I requested everything else by Abbi Waxman from the library. I read this one first and was not at all disappointed. As a general rule, I don't read romance, nor am I romantic in my own life. But Waxman's love stories encompass so much for the characters than just the boy/girl relationship.

"Garden of Small Beginnings" is focused on recovery from loss and extreme grief (like at a level that puts you into a mental institution) for the main character, Lillian, four years after her husband is killed in a car accident. While the plot is well done and moves along at a lovely pace, my favorite part is her sense of humor, which is reflected in the sass of all of her characters, including the precocious children. Waxman makes me snort, chuckle, and outright laugh out loud (much to the dismay of my trying-to-sleep husband).

A story about moving on after the loss of a spouse could be heavy and deep, but Waxman lifts Lillian's journey to find the love and humor of realizing that life goes on, whether you want it to or not. And Lillian is surrounded by a full cast of varied characters going through their own journeys who you can also root for. Of course, it is a romance, so you can count on the happily ever after, but it's more about Lillian being happy with her life and herself than finding a guy. I love that more than anything.


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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Happy Birthday, Miss Fatty Cat and Slinky!

We're not sure on the exact birthday or the adoption date, but we've selected September 12th as Miss Fatty Cat and Slinky's birthday. Happy 14th birthday, ladies! Yes, 14 years old. Whew.


Miss Fatty Cat (aka Samantha) in her younger days.

Slinky (aka Tabitha) enjoying apartment life.

Slinky stepped out with our older daughter several years ago, and she now shares a home with three dogs (plus one foster dog at the moment) and two rabbits. The upstairs, apparently, is her quiet space, and she has a lot more to say than "eep" if someone bugs her.

It is also the Book Birthday for Miss Fatty Cat's Revenge (published in 2014). You know Miss Fatty Cat would think a perfect celebration of her birthday would be to read a chapter or share it with a friend! Amazon even has the hardcover on sale right now for $7.48. Crazy!




Now that she's 14, Miss Fatty Cat isn't really so fat anymore. It happens. But she's happy and still gets the zoomies at least once a day, during which she yowls for the world to hear.

Miss Fatty Cat, during a brief adventure of her own
when she lived on campus at the U of A with her mama.
That's all for now! We hope you have a wonderful day as we also prepare to celebrate our younger daughter's 21st birthday this weekend. Oh dear!










Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Problim Children: Carnival Catastrophe Book Review

Carnival Catastrophe (The Problim Children, #2)Carnival Catastrophe by Natalie Lloyd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Delightful once again, Natalie! This is the second book in what will clearly be a longer series about the Problim family. Kirkus Reviews equates her style to Roald Dahl, and it certainly holds true for this series. You have to be ready for serious levels of ridiculousness, as well as hundreds of toddler farts that can be identified by name and purpose via Toot Problim. As an adult reader, I'm sure my head comes at some of the family's antics with a bit more annoyance. They are really quite a terror to the city! I was definitely becoming concerned that some of their tricks were downright bullying, but that is all part of the story and the lessons that Mona especially has to learn. Revelations about friendship and loyalty, piles of silliness, circus spiders, a robot squirrel, the celebration of the unique wonderfulness of each individual, and some gasp-worthy twists at the end put this book on my highly recommended list for young readers.


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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

"The Line Tender" Book Review

The Line TenderThe Line Tender by Kate    Allen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story follows young teenager Lucy Everhart through a few rough weeks of her summer vacation at home on the coast of Massachusetts. Unlike most middle grade books, adults and older teens play a huge role in her experience. And sharks. There's lots and lots about sharks. Great white sharks, to be specific. Lucy's deceased mother was a shark researcher, and when a great white is captured not far off the coast, Lucy finds herself wrapped up in memories of her mother's life and work.

This was an interesting book, dealing with love and loss. If there were such a category, I'd put it in middle grade literary fiction. You don't have a big climactic event, and there are no bullies or really any other teens much at all. It's as much a character study of Lucy and her changes over a summer as Lucy also makes a study of great white sharks and what's inside of them, what makes them tick.

I thoroughly enjoyed "The Line Tender" and recommend it to readers young and old.


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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill Review

The Bookish Life of Nina HillThe Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is fantabulous!! I borrowed this copy from the library, but by page 100 I had ordered my own copy so I would have it forever and ever. I know my daughter will love it too. Nina is a delightful heroine full of doubts and anxiety and charming banter. The unabashed "Pride and Prejudice" theme works wonderfully (a favorite book about which I have actually taught classes), along with the message about what makes for true family in our weird world. And I love the REAL romance dramas that Nina finds herself embroiled in. Even meet-cutes can go wrong! I look forward to reading this book again and displaying it proudly on my shelves. Nina would like that, I think. Now I have to go out and get Waxman's other books too. (We won't even talk about how excited I am that she followed me back on Instagram!) Get "The Bookish Life of Nina Hill" now!!


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Monday, July 15, 2019

Hardcover Book Sale

Just a quick note to let you know that Amazon is offering some amazing discounted prices on a few of my hardcover titles. I have no control over this, so grab them while you can! Here's some links:

Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess $5.25 (regularly $24.99)

Why Kimba Saved The World for $5.03 (regularly $23.99)

Max's Wild Night for $4.75 (regularly $22.99)

Not quite as amazing but still great deals . . .

Miss Fatty Cat's Revenge $8.29 (regularly $24.99)

Slinky Steps Out $8.49 (regularly $24.99)   

Grab them. Share this!! Enjoy.