Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review: Biggie by Derek E. Sullivan

Synopsis:

Henry "Biggie" Abbott is the son of one of his hometown's most famous athletes. His father was a baseball legend and his step-dad is a close second. At an obese 300+ pounds though, Biggie himself prefers classroom success to sports. As a perfectionist, he doesn't understand why someone would be happy getting two hits in five trips to the plate. "Forty percent, that's an F in any class," he would say. As Biggie's junior year begins, the girl of his dreams, Annabelle Rivers, starts to flirt with him. Hundreds of people have told him to follow in his dad's footsteps and play ball, but Annabelle might be the one to actually convince him to try.

Details:
Published May 15th 2016 by Aw Teen (first published March 1st 2015)

Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)


My Review:

This book follows Henry's journey as he struggles with his identity as a large kid in a small town. Being larger comes with prejudice all its own anyway, not to mention how the taunts and bullying resonate with an individual when there is literally nowhere else to go and when his father's athletic success precedes him everywhere. This story shows a heartwrenching and angering example of how mean and rude individuals can be to someone with a little extra weight. This issue is often approached from the side of how it affects young women, but it also is extremely harmful to boys and young men as well.

What I love about the book, however, is that Henry, "Biggie," does not wallow in his status as the big boy, though it does (for lack of a better term) weigh on him at times. He has decided he is going to do something different and change because of a health scare and because he wants to win the heart of the girl he has always loved. For him, this takes the form of achieving athletic success in baseball, playing the social game the jocks play, and losing weight to be able to do both better.

Through his attempts, Henry learns that nothing can be perfect, no matter how desperately he wants it to be. You can't pitch the perfect game. You don't always get the girl in a story perfect fashion. The person you end up with is not always the one you expect. Even some people you thought were complete jerks end up being decent human beings. I love that the characters had that sort of depth - they resist being demonized, even the guy who gave Henry the name Biggie way back in grade school.

This book will appeal to teens of all stripes. I love that it focuses on a male character dealing with his struggles authentically.

Young Adult Notes: strong language, teen substance use/abuse, mild violence.

Source: Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this title in exchange for a fair review.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Review: Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

Synopsis:

Imogen and her sister Marin have escaped their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, be it art or love.

What would you sacrifice in the name of success? How much does an artist need to give up to create great art?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire.

Details:

Published May 17th 2016 by Saga Press

Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)

My Review:


This book is a haunting book filled with longing, as the reader is invited into the world of two sisters with a troubled past. Two sisters with a somewhat but not quite rivalry, a distance between then yet a desire for the closeness that their mother always stunted.

The artist community they are both accepted to, Melete, is otherwordly seeming. An idyllic place for artists to work at their respective crafts away from the uninspired world without distractions. Yet Imogen, despite becoming enraptured with an almost perfect boy named Evan, sees periodic warps in the perfect that leave her questioning what her own eyes see, what her own intuition can sense.

As Imogen discovers more about what fuels this artistic community, the reader is likewise drawn in. In a manner almost as archetypal and symbolic as the fairy tales Imogen re-imagines for her writings while at Melete, the sisters are drawn into a heart-wrenching situation where the meaning of true love, inspiration, and art are all called into question.

There are so many echoes of many good, recent stories in this. I want to say more about the type of book this is, but to do so would spoil it for the reader. I was surprised and entranced by the world the author has created and the bond that these sisters hold.

Young Adult Notes: graphic sexual situations, expletive language, and mild violence, and suicidal topics

Source: Thanks to Wunderkind PR for providing a copy of this title in exchange for a fair review.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Review: We Were Never Here by Jennifer Gilmore

Synopsis:

In this exquisitely written, emotionally charged young adult debut, Jennifer Gilmore explores the bond that is formed between a hospitalized girl and the secretly troubled boy she falls in love with.

Did you know your entire life can change in an instant? 

For sixteen-year-old Lizzie Stoller that moment is when she collapses, out of the blue. The next thing she knows she’s in a hospital with an illness she’s never heard of. 

But that isn’t the only life-changing moment for Lizzie. The other is when Connor and his dog, Verlaine, walk into her hospital room. Lizzie has never connected with anyone the way she does with the handsome, teenage volunteer. However, the more time she spends with him, and the deeper in love she falls, the more she realizes that Connor has secrets and a deep pain of his own . . . and that while being with him has the power to make Lizzie forget about her illness, being with her might tear Connor apart.

Details:

Expected publication: June 14th 2016 by HarperTeen

Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)

My Review:

This book is one that has so many heartfelt issues in it, I wish I had written it myself. The pacing and Lizzie's voice keep the reader breathless in that feeling of teenage emotion, experiencing each moment with her as she learns of her diagnosis and meets this beautiful, unbelievable boy.

I love that this book has layers. There is, first, the immediate layer where Lizzie initially perceives everything that is taking place, but there is more below the surface with her and with Connor. Lizzie doesn't want to feel the pain of loss of what she has to give up because of her illness, so she stuff those emotions inside, opening up only for Connor, who seems to be a perfect, shining person to her when he spends time visiting her in the hospital.

But as she attains wellness, she learns that Connors has his own secrets and own sources of pain. The way it unfolds is very organic and at the same time (for me) quite surprising. I was so absorbed in just experiencing things with Lizzie that I wasn't even trying to do the critical reading thing and predict what I thought would happen, so certain events hit me almost as hard as they hit her.

I've seen others mentioned that they didn't feel a connection to either of the characters, but I think they were both displayed with depth and that their actions are very genuine for the things that they experience both together and separately. This is one book I won't forget for a while.

Source: Thanks to Goodreads and HarperTeen for providing a copy of this title through Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for a fair review.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Giveaway: Win a Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Totebag! #5PeculiarYears

Enter to win a Miss Peregrine Totebag from Quirk Books!
a Rafflecopter giveaway




To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Quirk Books is commissioning a limited edition poster composed of fan art and fan-made photos! You can submit by tagging your art on social media with #5PeculiarYears or submit via the widget here.

Everyone who sends in a piece of art will receive this special gift. Only fan-created illustrations and photography (of the book series or series-inspired costumes) are accepted. Additionally, depending on when you submit, you'll be entered to win the following prizes throughout the month of June! The earlier you submit, the more chances to win! 
  • Submit by June 10: Miss Peregrine's T-shirts from Out of Print + What’s Your Peculiarity Totes (5)
  • Submit by June 17: What’s Your Peculiarity Tote + Movie Tie-In Edition of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (10)
  • Submit by June 24: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Calendar 2017 + What’s Your Peculiarity Tote (5) 7/1
  • Submit by July 1: Signed 1st Edition of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children + What’s Your Peculiarity Tote (1)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Review: National Geographic Little Kids Book of Dinosaurs by Catherine D. Hughes; illustrated by Franco Tempesta

Synopsis:

Explore the rain forest, the ocean, and the icecaps with this personalized guide for your animal-lover! National Geographic Little KidsBook of Animals is a colorful introduction to some of the world’s coolest creatures. From blue morpho butterflies and red-eyed tree frogs to tigers and polar bears, this personalized guide is sure to indulge your junior explorer.

Each page features beautiful photos of the animal alongside quick facts about its size, diet, and habitat. Questions like “How fast can you run?” are woven throughout to keep your little one’s interest. 

Personalize this book with your child’s name, photo, and an encouraging dedication message to create a memorable keepsake. For a special surprise, check out the final pages, where your child can mark their favorite animal characteristics, then draw themselves as their favorite animal!

Details:

Originally published October 11th 2011 by National Geographic Children's Books

Available to be personalized: Hardcover $29.99 | Paperback $19.99 

Special related giveaway: here

My Review:

This book has all of the quality and factual information that one can expect from all of National Geographic's Books. My son really enjoyed seeing it personalized with his name and picture. He loves dinosaurs as a four-year-old, and he loves more sophisticated texts about them. The fact that this book personally asks him questions by name made him get creative with his answers, more so than if I just read a question that was addressed to a generic reader.

The dinosaurs featured were portrayed in simple, yet very interesting ways with beautiful illustrations that capture the imagination. For example - a dinosaur that had something in common with the mythical unicorn? Sign every kid you know up for that! My son took a stick and held it to his head on our next walk claiming to be the Tsinosaurus!

This is a book I definitely recommend. It is a beautiful gift for any science-minded kid, one that they will come back to again and again.



About Put Me In The Story


Put Me In The Story, the #1 personalized books site in the U.S., creates personalized versions of bestselling books and books where you star alongside your favorite characters. Our gifts capture moments that matter and memories that last. With each touching picture and special dedication message, our readers have become our most dynamic characters.

Put Me In The Story inspires a love for reading, across all ages and generations, through the experience of shared, personalized stories.

Source: I received a copy of this title from Put Me in the Story in exchange for a fair review.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Giveaway: Little Explorer Drawing Contest - Win a Trip to San Diego!

PUT ME IN THE STORY AND NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS PRESENT…





Help us celebrate the new National Geographic Kids personalized books and the San Diego Zoo’s 100th Anniversary!

Enter the contest for your chance to win a trip to the San Diego Zoo to celebrate their 100th anniversary!


The San Diego Zoo has an extra special year of fun planned and we want YOU to be a part of it! With displays on Centennial Plaza, new film experiences, new shows and more, this year will be one of the most exciting at the San Diego Zoo!


Contest Open: May 16 – July 8

To Enter: Adults 18+ can fill out the form on the contest page to enter.


For EXTRA entries: Download the free coloring pages on the contest page and share a photo of your child’s drawing on their coloring page with the hashtag #ColorAndExplore on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook! You can also upload the drawing to the photo gallery on the contest page.

*Social media posts must be public for them to be counted as an extra entry.


1 GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive:
  • Family vacation to San Diego to visit the San Diego Zoo for their 100 th Anniversary!
    • 4-days/3- nights for a family of 4! Includes flights, hotel, & zoo admission.

  • National Geographic Little Kids Book of Animals and National Geographic Little Kids Book of Dinosaurs personalized books.


2 RUNNER-UP WINNERS will receive:


  • National Geographic Little Kids Book of Animals and National Geographic Little Kids Book of Dinosaurs personalized books.

  • 1-year subscriptions to National Geographic Kids magazine and National Geographic magazine


ABOUT THE BOOKS


National Geographic Little Kids Book of Animals

Hardcover $29.99 | Paperback $19.99

Explore the rain forest, the ocean, and the icecaps with this personalized guide for your animal-lover! National Geographic Little Kids Book of Animals is a colorful introduction to some of the world’s coolest creatures. From blue morpho butterflies and red-eyed tree frogs to tigers and polar bears, this personalized guide is sure to indulge your junior explorer.

Each page features beautiful photos of the animal alongside quick facts about its size, diet, and habitat. Questions like “How fast can you run?” are woven throughout to keep your little one’s interest. 

Personalize this book with your child’s name, photo, and an encouraging dedication message to create a memorable keepsake. For a special surprise, check out the final pages, where your child can mark their favorite animal characteristics, then draw themselves as their favorite animal!



National Geographic Little Kids Book of Dinosaurs
Hardcover $29.99 | Paperback $19.99

Take a trip back in time with this personalized guide through the prehistoric world! With full-color illustrations, quick facts, and pronunciation guides, National Geographic Little Kids Book of Dinosaurs has plenty of information to captivate your paleontologist-in- training.

This kid-friendly reference book includes dinosaurs of all kinds: big and small, scaled and feathered, meat-eating and plant-eating. Your kiddo will learn fun facts about each dinosaur and answer questions like, “How many plates do you see on the Stegosaurus?” 

Personalized with your child’s name, photo, and special dedication message, National Geographic Little Kids Book of Dinosaurs will become a favorite read. On the final pages, your child can mark the dinosaur qualities they like best, then draw themselves as a dinosaur!



About National Geographic Kids

National Geographic Kids inspires young adventurers to explore the world through award-winning magazines, books, apps, games, toys, videos, events and a website, and is the only kids brand with a world-class scientific organization at its core. National Geographic Kids magazine (10 issues per year) and National Geographic Little Kids magazine (six issues per year) are photo-driven publications available on newsstands or by subscription in print and on tablets. National Geographic Kids Books is the leading nonfiction publisher for kids with more than 100 titles each year, including The New York Times best-seller “Kids Almanac.”


About Put Me In The Story

Put Me In The Story, the #1 personalized books site in the U.S., creates personalized versions of bestselling books and books where you star alongside your favorite characters. Our gifts capture moments that matter and memories that last. With each touching picture and special dedication message, our readers have become our most dynamic characters.

Put Me In The Story inspires a love for reading, across all ages and generations, through the experience of shared, personalized stories.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review: Static by Eric Laster

Synopsis:

When Curtis Brooks starts receiving phone calls from his older brother Wilt, who’s been dead a week, he’s sure it’s to help him find evidence that will lead to a murderer’s arrest. But Wilt claims he wasn’t murdered; his calling, meant to help him adjust, is standard protocol for newly deceased at the Aftermart—a kind of inescapable, ever-expanding Walmart filled with discontinued products.

Wilt’s death ruled a homicide, Curtis embarks on a dangerous plan to find the killer, which soon has him scheming against a billionaire and floundering toward love with his brother’s ex-girlfriend Suzy, all while struggling through high school and his single mom’s poor choices.

Why does Wilt help Curtis win over Suzy, even as he organizes a rebellion at the Aftermart? Who’d wanted him dead? Curtis risks his life to answer these questions, in the process forging a bond with his brother unlike any they’ve ever had.


Details:

Published April 12th 2016 by Automatic Publishing

Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)

My Review:

This heartfelt novel deals with a lot of serious and dark themes in a way that is poignant while retaining the darkish sense of humor of the protagonist. Curtis's main problem in the story is, on the surface, dealing with his brother's calls from a strange sort of after life that seem to be leading Curtis to find out how his brother passed away. It looks like murder at the hands of some seriously dangerous people involved in some dark and seedy activities.

The book engages readers by looking into some of the darker parts of human nature as Curtis encounters these individuals. It also explores topics that many young adults will relate to as he struggles with his parent's divorce when he was young, taking medications for conditions that are never quite explained to him - but that help with his hyperactivity and aggression. He also has to deal with his own choices. Will he compromise what he believes to be right or will he let the darkness and heaviness of it all draw him into the same bad choices of those around him?

Curtis's interactions with Wilt in his afterlife experience are interesting, but to me they weren't the driving force of the book. Though, in the context of the book, they actually did take place, they served the same purpose that hallucinations or dreams would have served. They helped him deal with his grief, solve problems, and provided and element of mystery and even humor to the dark life that Curtis is left to deal with.

Young Adult Notes: contains graphic mentions of sexual content, mild language, mild violence and graphic animal violence.

Source: I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Review: Pinpoint: How GPS Is Changing Technology, Culture, and Our Minds by Greg Milner

Synopsis:


In the tradition of The Information and The Shallows, Pinpoint tells the story of GPS and how it is affecting our brains, our technology, and our culture.

Over the last fifty years, humanity has developed an extraordinary shared utility: the Global Positioning System. Omnipresent, free, and available to all, GPS powers everything from your phone to the Internet to the Mars Rover. Greg Milner tells the sweeping story of GPS from its conceptual origins as a bomb guidance system to its present ubiquity. While GPS has revolutionized methods of timekeeping, navigation, and seismological prediction, it has also altered human behavior, introducing phenomena such as “Death by GPS,” in which drivers blindly follow their devices into deserts, lakes, and impassable mountains. Milner also shows the desperate vulnerabilities in the system we now use to predict the weather, track prisoners, and land airplanes. Delving into the neuroscience of cognitive maps and spatial recognition, Milner’s inventive and timely book is at once a grand history of the scientific urge toward precision and perfection and a revelatory philosophy of how humans understand themselves in the world.

Details:

Publication date: May 3rd 2016 by W. W. Norton & Company

Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)

My Review:

As someone always concerned about privacy while at the same time wanting to utilize the latest in technology, I found this book to be a fascinating and enlightening read. The ethics of GPS as regards privacy and Fourth Amendment rights had been something that had long been bothering me, and I was happy that Milner covered the topic in this book.

The author takes readers on a journey through the beginning of how humans navigated and saw the world into how the use of GPS began with mainly military intentions. Something that we take for granted today was something that many in the Air Force and other scientific fields had to find for in the arena of funding and at conception level.

The reason I was most interested to read this book and was not disappointed, was the coverage of how GPS is changing the way we think. My best friend lives 50 minutes away from me, and I would not be able to get to her house despite going there many times because I rely solely on my phone to get me there. I have mental maps of other places I frequent in the DFW metroplex area, but I am sure, like the test subject mentioned in several research cases, I could have a vaster and further reaching conception of the area if I didn't use GPS to get me to certain places at certain times.

My husband and I always joke about the incident in the office where Michael literally drives his car into a lake because the GPS told him to do it, but surprisingly incidents like this have happened, some with deadly results.

This book is definitely worth reading for those who are concerned about privacy, like the history of technology, or simply would like to know more about how the brain processes information. I liked that Milner, though his subject is heavily scientific, kept things mostly on an accessible level for all.

Source: I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Review: My Mad Fat Diary (Rae Earl 1) by Rae Earl

Synopsis:

It's 1989 and Rae Earl is a fat, boy-mad 17-year-old girl, living in Stamford, Lincolnshire with her mum and their deaf white cat in a council house with a mint green bathroom and a refrigerator Rae can't keep away from. She’s also just been released from a psychiatric ward. My Mad Fat Diary is the hilarious, harrowing and touching real-life diary Rae kept during that fateful year and the basis of the hit British television series of the same name now coming to HULU. Surrounded by people like her constantly dieting mum, her beautiful frenemy Bethany, her mates from the private school up the road (called “Haddock”, “Battered Sausage” and “Fig”) and the handsome, unattainable boys Rae pines after (who sometimes end up with Bethany…), My Mad Fat Diary is the story of an overweight young woman just hoping to be loved at a time when slim pop singers ruled the charts. Rae's chronicle of her world will strike a chord with anyone who's ever been a confused, lonely teenager clashing with her parents, sometimes overeating, hating her body, always taking herself VERY seriously, never knowing how positively brilliant she is and keeping a diary to record it all. My Mad Fat Diary – 365 days with one of the wisest and funniest girls in England. 

Details:

Publication date: April 19th 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin

Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)

My Review:

This diary will definitely resonate with teens who are always very critical and unsure of themselves. Rae has different struggles than those at her age and time period; she secretly deals with OCD while very publicly having to wade through the world as a bigger girl whose appearance every seems to feel free to comment on. Since this is Rae's real diary, we come to have a sort of intimacy with her that we may not have with a fictionalized account.

It seems as though every time something seems to be about to turn itself around and be right and okay, something else happens that destroys it and sends Rae into another emotional tailspin. This is mainly due to her, perfectly age-appropriate, problem of caring too much what others think of her and of desperately wanting to be in a relationship. Although the relationships of the kids around her are not necessarily amazing or healthy, she still yearns to have what they have and feels that her size is what is keeping her from it. This misconception causes her to make several big mistakes with others.

As a girl who also grew up dealing with OCD and feeling bigger than everyone else, this seemed to really hit home with some of the younger journals I kept, though my sense of morality and family is slightly different.

Young Adult Notes: sexual references, language, triggering overeating, references to abortion, mental illness struggles

Source: I received a copy of this titled from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Review: The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem by Sarit Yishai-Levi; translated by Anthony Berris

Synopsis:

The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem is a dazzling novel of mothers and daughters, stories told and untold, and the binds that tie four generations of women.

Gabriela's mother Luna is the most beautiful woman in all of Jerusalem, though her famed beauty and charm seem to be reserved for everyone but her daughter. Ever since Gabriela can remember, she and Luna have struggled to connect. But when tragedy strikes, Gabriela senses there's more to her mother than painted nails and lips.

Desperate to understand their relationship, Gabriela pieces together the stories of her family's previous generations—from Great-Grandmother Mercada the renowned healer, to Grandma Rosa who cleaned houses for the English, to Luna who had the nicest legs in Jerusalem. But as she uncovers shocking secrets, forbidden romances, and the family curse that links the women together, Gabriela must face a past and present far more complex than she ever imagined.

Set against the Golden Age of Hollywood, the dark days of World War II, and the swingin' '70s, The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem follows generations of unforgettable women as they forge their own paths through times of dramatic change. With great humor and heart, Sarit Yishai-Levi has given us a powerful story of love and forgiveness—and the unexpected and enchanting places we find each.

Details:

Published April 5th 2016 by Thomas Dunne

Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)

My Review:


This book, to me, just feels wise. It's one of those multi-generational stories that have depth and pathos that make them feel absolutely real rather than works of fiction. Yishai-Levi has made all the details of this time period come alive, from Ladino to Hebrew phrases that the characters would've used in the original translation to the the culture of Jerusalem around the time of the second World War.

As Gabriela discovers the secrets of her family through various sources, the reader experiences the heartbreak and confusion that are inherent in the struggles each woman faces. The focus is, of course, Luna, "the beauty queen of Jerusalem." Since all the men of the family have been cursed to marry women that are not the women they truly love, their true love and affection is poured out on their daughters, and in Luna's case, this extraordinary favor from her father turns her into a young woman who is spoiled and hateful, constantly at odds with her mother and many others. Yet, she herself falls into the exact trap as her own mother, even while swearing she will never do the same.

Gabriella has to deal with the scars left behind by all of this. Unlike the women affected by the curse unknowingly, she goes into life and relationships with her eyes open to this problem, pushing away her true love out of fear, living a life that is empty and hollow.

I fully enjoyed journeying through these issues with the characters, learning their life lessons along with them. Even though life is filled with profound disappointment and hardship for the men and women alike, they each have their moments of overwhelming joy, showing that life is never an all or nothing thing, constantly morphing with the choices we make.

Source: I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Review: I Love You Honey Bunny by Sandra Magsamen

Synopsis:

The perfect Easter treat to add to your little “honey bunny’s” basket! I Love You Honey Bunny by Sandra Magsamen is a fun and heartfelt story to remind your little one just how much you love and cherish them. Cuddle up close and enjoy something sweet together!

Celebrate your child by letting them know how they fill the world with love! Personalize this book with your honey bunny’s name, photo, and sweet message on the dedication page. You will also have the option to customize the pronoun in this book to become “I” or “We” Love You, Honey Bunny. A darling tale with a loving message that will stay with your little one forever!





Details:

Published January 1st 2013 by LB Kids

My Review:

When I chose this title, I was thinking mainly of the message I wanted to convey to my son - how loved he is and how much he contributes to the world even as a 3-year-old. I didn't even stop to think that the book seems to, if you're going to be stereotypy, focused more for girls. The traits praised and pointed out in this book, while more feminine, are still traits you would want any child to exhibit no matter their gender.

I loved that there was a place for a dedication and also a place to insert my son's face in a heart. He loved the flow of the book as well as getting to see himself in it and hear his name in it. This company is a wonderful company. This is a great place to get a personalized gift of any shade, and this book in particular is just cute, cuddly, and fun.

Source: I received a personalized copy of this title from Put Me in the Story in exchange for a fair review.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Spotlight and Giveaway: Hop Into Easter with Put Me In the Story Books!


Hop Into Easter! 

Personalized Books for Every Basket


Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter – New!
$29.99 personalized book

There’s only one rule in Larry’s book–don’t push the button. (Seriously, don’t even think about it!)

Even if it does look kinda nice, you must never press the button. Who knows what would happen?

Okay, quick. No one is looking... press the button.

Uh, oh.

Larry is a lovable monster, if a bit too curious for his own good. And now, you can join in on his fun adventure!

In the personalized version of this interactive story, your child will discover all the surprises around that big red button. Read, play, and laugh along while your little one investigates just how BIG one little push can be!



An Easter Surprise
$29.99 personalized book

This Easter, take your little one on an “eggs-traordinary” egg-hiding adventure around the world!

As fun and festive as an egg hunt, An Easter Surprise gives your child the chance to plan his or her very own Easter mission! Soaring as high as the moon in a hot air balloon, delivering eggs all over town, and stashing tasty treats all down the streets, your little one will be thrilled at the surprise twist in this Easter adventure!

Make Easter morning extra magical! Personalize this exciting Easter storybook with your child’s name and hometown, along with a special message and photo on the dedication page. A sweet Easter surprise your little one will cherish long after the holiday is over!



I Love You Honey Bunny by Sandra Magsamen
$29.99 personalized book

The perfect Easter treat to add to your little “honey bunny’s” basket! I Love You Honey Bunny by Sandra Magsamen is a fun and heartfelt story to remind your little one just how much you love and cherish them. Cuddle up close and enjoy something sweet together!

Celebrate your child by letting them know how they fill the world with love! Personalize this book with your honey bunny’s name, photo, and sweet message on the dedication page. You will also have the option to customize the pronoun in this book to become “I” or “We” Love You, Honey Bunny. A darling tale with a loving message that will stay with your little one forever!




Find more personalized gifts for Easter here: 




For Easter Delivery from Put Me In The Story…
  • Order USPS/Media Mail by March 9, 2016
  • Order UPS ground by March 14, 2016
  • Order 2nd Day Air by March 17, 2016
  • Order Overnight Shipping by March 21, 2016


Enter the giveaway!

Enter Put Me In The Story’s giveaway for a chance to win a personalized Easter Book Bundle!

Giveaway ends 3/10/2016 at 11:59pm CST
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Review: Dinosaurs Living in My Hair by Jayne M. Rose-Vallee; illustrated by Anni Matsick

Synopsis:

Sabrina has curly hair and a problem. Tangles and knots make her mornings difficult. Try as she might . . . To make her hair "cool," . . . . The curls make it tricky . . . To comb out for school. At the top of her head . . . Where it's simply a mess . . . Do creatures hide out there? . . . The answer is YES! 

Rose-Vallee's whimsical rhymes combined with the beautiful watercolor illustrations from Anni Matsick make this a children's book not to be missed! A Florida Authors and Publishers Association (FAPA) 2015 President's Book Award Finalist for Poetry and Book Cover Design. `






Details:

Published April 16th 2015 by RoseVallee Creations, LLC

My Review:


I was interested to read this book because my three-year-old son's current obsession is dinosaurs. He loves any book or show relating to anything with dinosaurs, but I was curious to see how he would react to a book with a girl protagonist. This did not phase him in the least. He thought the idea of the dinosaurs in the girl's hair was hilarious and made me read the book four times in a row. He often does that, but usually not four times in a row!

I think the very playful idea of dinosaurs or creatures being lodged in a girl's very curly hair is one that is engaging to all children. It lends an aspect of mystery that keeps kids interested. Also, the playful rhyming verse is almost hypnotic. I think that's part of what my son wanted to hear again and again.

The artistry of the illustrations truly is beautiful. The pictures are stunning, and the imagination that Anni Matsick lends to Rose-Vallee's verse makes the book that much more of a rewarding experience.

I honestly think this is a book we will be reading for quite some time. My son mentioned it again on the way to the library today.

Source: Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this title in exchange for a fair review.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Review: Midnight in St. Petersburg by Vanora Bennett

Synopsis:

St. Petersburg, 1911: Inna Feldman has fled the pogroms of the south to take refuge with distant relatives in Russia's capital city. Welcomed by the flamboyant Leman family, she is apprenticed into their violin-making workshop. She feels instantly at home in their bohemian circle, but revolution is in the air, and as society begins to fracture, she is forced to choose between her heart and her head. She loves her brooding cousin, Yasha, but he is wild, destructive and devoted to revolution; Horace Wallick, an Englishman who makes precious Faberge creations, is older and promises security and respectability. And, like many others, she is drawn to the mysterious, charismatic figure beginning to make a name for himself in the city: Rasputin.

As the rebellion descends into anarchy and bloodshed, a commission to repair a priceless Stradivarius violin offers Inna a means of escape. But which man will she choose to take with her? And is it already too late? A magical and passionate story steeped in history and intrigue, Midnight in St. Petersburg is an extraordinary novel of music, politics, and the toll that revolution exacts on the human heart. 

Details:

Published January 19th 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books

Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)

My Review:

This complex, historical novel was a satisfying read. It read a little differently than many novels do these days in that the third-person point of view switches among all of the main characters, leaving a limited amount of time in the main character's perspective. This was an interesting difference that made me feel like I was reading a more classic novel for some reason.

I was also interested in the setting, since I have not read much about Russia during this time period - the Great War and thereafter. Many of the political and social changes left me a little confused but also educated me about what was going on at that time.

The main character, Inna, is very idealized through all of the eyes that view her - surviving against all odds. The love triangle that exists between Inna, Yasha, and Horace is frustrating to me at times. I can see why Inna makes the choices that she makes, but at time she seems to have no shame and her rationale for acting in that way is not necessarily developed enough for me to understand her motivation.

Seeing how the characters change and survive over the years in St. Petersburg makes this worth reading.

Source: Thanks to the publicist for sending a copy of this title in exchange for a fair review.