Monday, October 20, 2014

The Code Busters Club Series Giveaway! Win All Four Books!

Egmont USA is giving away the entire Code Busters Club series to one of my readers!  This is a mystery series for kids ages 8-12.

Praise for the Series:

“[A] fun series sure to appeal to graduates of Encyclopedia Brown and Ivy & Bean.”—Shelf Awareness

“This intriguing tale has vivid characters and such a tantalizing cliffhanger that readers won't be able to resist cracking the next Code Busters.”—Kirkus Reviews

About The Mummy's Curse (Book #4):

Egyptian secrets take center stage in this interactive mystery where boys and girls can solve codes and puzzles right along with the multicultural cast of characters.

Cody, Quinn, Luke, and M.E. love playing around with codes. In fact, they love codes so much they have their own club, with a secret hideout and passwords that change every day.

After learning about steganography, the study of concealed writing, the Code Busters discover that artists have been hiding secret messages in their artwork for centuries.

A clue hunt on a class trip to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum leads the Code Busters to an artifact that doesn't seem to quite fit with the rest of the collection. Could it be a forgery? The Code Busters code-cracking skills and new knowledge of hieroglyphic messages will help them get to the bottom of this mystery, but they better think fast before the criminal tries to frame them!

Winner of the 2012 Agatha Award for Case #2: The Haunted Lighthouse
Nominated for the 2011 Agatha Award for Case #1: The Secret of the Skeleton Key

Giveaway Details:

Win the entire Code Busters Club series in paperback (book 4 in hardcover)

Open to the US and Canada

Ends  Nov 3, 2014

Entrants must be 13 or older or have their parent/guardian enter for them.  Winner must respond to my email within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen.  Giveaway is void where prohibited.  Good luck!

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #26: Meet My New Books!

Welcome to Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  This is where I share the new books I've gotten recently.

I've only gotten a couple of books in the past few weeks.  I'm trying REALLY hard to read the books I already have for review before I add more to the stack, but here are two books that I couldn't say no to:

Picture Book:
SUCH a cute book!  I've already read it to my kids several times and they love it.  The illustrations are adorable.  I'll be posting my review soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

Young Adult Book:
I loved the first book in this series, and I've already started on this one.  It's such a fun series!  If you like historical fiction, mysteries, and espionage, try these books out.  Start with the first book, Palace of Spies.

That's it for me this week!  What new books have you gotten?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Chapter Book Review of Roxie and the Hooligans

Roxie and the Hooligans by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

Age Range: 8 - 10 years
Grade Level: 3 - 5
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (May 8, 2007)

Genre: Adventure/survival

Source: Library

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book:

Do not panic.

Lord Thistlebottom's Book of Pitfalls and How to Survive Them has taught Roxie Warbler how to handle all sorts of situations. If Roxie's ever lost in the desert, or buried in an avalanche, or caught in a dust storm, she knows just what to do. But Lord Thistlebottom has no advice to help Roxie deal with Helvetia's Hooligans, the meanest band of bullies in school.

Then Roxie finds herself stranded on a deserted island with not only the Hooligans but also a pair of crooks on the lam, and her survival skills may just save the day -- and turn the Hooligans into surprising allies.

My Thoughts:

Roxie loves listening to her uncle's adventures, but she has never done anything exciting until the day a she and a group of bullies accidentally get trapped on an island in the middle of the ocean. Thankfully, Roxie stays clam and remembers the advice her uncle gave her about survival.

The thing I liked about this book was that Roxie started off not particularly brave or adventurous. But she rose to the challenge and did what was necessary to survive, even when the other kids were too scared or too lazy to help out. By the end, she had not only turned her bullies into her admirers, but she also managed to save the day and get everyone home in one piece.

This book is perfect for kids ages 7-10 that like adventure and survival.

Content: Clean


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Two Books I Did Not Finish

Yesterday was a bad day for reading. I started two books and gave up on both of them for very similar reasons.  Usually when I quit reading a book, it's because I found it boring, poorly written, or it contains too much content I'm uncomfortable with.  For these two books, it was definitely content.

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
Based on the quirky cover and the back jacket copy, I expected this to be a humorous, somewhat lighthearted murder mystery.  I was thinking more along the lines of "cozy", but this book definitely didn't fit that description. 

While it's well written, it had too much content that made me squirm uncomfortably.  There was a lot of gruesome horror in the book, along with strong language (f-words), domestic violence, and discussion of sexual acts that happened between the murder victim and her boyfriend.  I only made it about 50 pages in before I quit reading. 

The right person (one who isn't bothered by mature content) will have better luck with this book.  It's quirky, different, and it sucks you in, but it just wasn't for me. 

Chaos Born by Rebekah Turner
I downloaded this book when it was free on Amazon and I started reading it yesterday because I was in the mood for an adult thriller (not "adult") that didn't play a heavy romance card.  Unfortunately, Chaos Born was more than I bargained for and I only made it through one chapter.  The first chapter describes the gruesome assassination of an undressed man at a brothel.  Not my thing.  I deleted the book from my Kindle.

So there you have it.  I quit reading both books yesterday.  I'm going to keep going with my list of books for the month and see if I don't have better luck with the rest of them.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blog Tour and Giveaway of Daisy to the Rescue

Welcome to my stop on the True Stories Blog Tour!  I'm featuring Daisy to the Rescue by Jeff Campbell.  Make sure you scroll all the way through the post to read my own animal rescue experience as well as enter the giveaway for a copy of the book.  Happy reading!

About the Book:

Daisy to the Rescue: True Stories of Daring Dogs, Paramedic Parrots, and Other Animal Heroes by Jeff Campbell

Age Range: 12 and up

Genre: Nonfiction

Hardcover: 224 pages

Publisher: Zest Books; Original edition (October, 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-13: 978-1-936976-62-1

Source: From publisher for tour

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars!


With their love and companionship, animals of all species help to make human lives better every day. But sometimes, to our utter amazement and everlasting gratitude, animals literally save our lives. This heartwarming book collects over 50 real-life stories in which the actions of animals have meant the difference between life and death.

Today, scientists vigorously debate questions regarding the sentience, intelligence, and emotions of animals. In particular, they want to know whether animals share with humans the highest emotions of empathy, compassion, and altruism. Daisy to the Rescue poses these questions for readers to consider, and examines these extreme life-saving situations for possible evidence. Gathered together, these stories make a compelling case for the presence of altruism in animals.

Daisy to the Rescue provides dramatic, thrilling, and moving stories that convey a hopeful message about our world. But these stories also provide startling evidence of the mental and emotional capacities of animals, those beings we share the world with.

About the Author:

An editor and writer for over twenty years, Jeff Campbell has specialized in books on animal intelligence and emotions. A former writer for Lonely Planet, Campbell coauthored guidebooks on Hawaii, Florida, the Southwest, and other US destinations. He lives in Northern New Jersey and also teaches creative writing to students in elementary school.

About the Illustrator:

Ramsey Beyer grew up on a farm in Michigan before escaping to city life. The award-winning author and illustrator of Little Fish: A Memoir of a Different Kind of Year, Beyer is also in much demand as an animal/pet portraitist, and lives in Philadelphia.

My Thoughts on Daisy to the Rescue:

This book has some of the most touching animal rescues I've ever read.  Some were heartwarming, like the pony that lost a leg and became an inspiration to sick people of all ages.  Some, like the African lions that chased off a young girl's kidnappers and stood guard until the police arrived, defy explanation.  One of the stories that got to me the most was about a young veteran that almost took his own life, but stopped himself when his sweet dog showed him unconditional love.

The stories in this book are beautiful, inspiring, and a must read for any animal lover. This is the kind of book I would have devoured as a young adult.  I devoured it as an adult, so what does that tell you?

If you or your teen likes animals and want to read something that will warm your heart, pick this book up. It is like Chicken Soup for the Pet Owner's Soul.

Content: Some intense situations and a few mild curse words.

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


My Personal Animal Rescue Experience (with illustrations!)

If my parents knew how much danger reading put me in as a child, they would have piled my book collection in the backyard, doused it in gasoline, and lit a match. 

When I was eight, I read White Fang, Call of the Wild, and Lassie.  With each page I turned, I became more and more convinced that I had a special connection with dogs.  I'd always loved animals, and dogs were SO friendly.  After all, our family dog was a collie (just like Lassie!) and he and I were the best of friends.  So that grouchy dog down the alley that barked and snapped as I took the shortcut to school?  Well, he just hadn't met me yet.  Not properly anyway.

"You stay away from that dog," my mom said when I told her my plan to befriend him. "Not every dog is like our Foxy here, and I don't want you getting hurt, or killed."

I barely contained my eye roll at my mother's antics.  She obviously didn't understand.  I had a connection with animals!  They understood me and I understood them.  It wasn't MY fault my brother had his face bitten.  If he'd had a connection with dogs the way I did, his face would be tooth mark free.

I read books on dogs and breeds until I knew everything there was to know about them.  Armed with this information, I decided it was time to befriend the snarling dog in the alley.

I lingered by the unfenced yard on my way to and from school for several weeks.  He strained against his chain and gnashed at me, just like Buck in Call of the Wild.   But I knew he would come around eventually.  After all, White Fang was a wolf, and he came around.

The dog was a doberman pinscher, a misunderstood breed.  They appeared mean on the surface, but were quite loyal once they got to know you.  And I'd been standing just out of reach of those snapping teeth for a few weeks now.  We were practically on a first name basis.

Then one day, he wasn't chained up.

The doberman spotted me and started running like he hadn't eaten in a week and I was a roasted duck.  My heart dropped through my stomach as I watched those gleaming fangs fly at me.  My life was over.  My mother (darn it all!) was right.

I stood paralyzed with fear as the doberman raced toward me.  Then he leaped.  A flash of orange streaked past me and barreled into the doberman.  Foxy had intercepted him!

I screamed.  Boy, did I scream.  Foxy and the doberman tangled together in a snarl of orange and black. Their teeth flashed in the sunlight. Some small part of my eight year old brain shouted at me to run.  But I couldn't leave Foxy, and my feet refused to move.

Then there were shouts and hands coming from every direction.  Blessed, beautiful man hands grabbed the doberman and pulled him away.  Foxy immediately came to me and licked my shaking fingers.

"Whose dog is this?" the man's voice asked.

I pointed numbly at the back of the house the doberman came from.

"Take your dog and go home," the man said.

I grasped Foxy's collar and stumbled away.  We got home and collapsed on the back porch.  I put my arms around Foxy and watched my tears make trails through his fur.

I never tried to befriend another doberman.  I also stopped taking the short cut to school.  But I didn't stop reading.

We moved to the country shortly afterwards and I read The Black Stallion, Black Beauty, and King of the Wind. I realized the wild black horse in my neighbor's pasture needed a rider...

Giveaway Time!

Win a copy of Daisy to the Rescue!

US only please

Ends Oct 29, 2014

Entrants must be 13 or older or have their parent/guardian enter for them.  Winner must respond to my email within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen.  Contest is void where prohibited.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit the official TOUR PAGE to find other true stories stops and more chances to win!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop! Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Welcome to the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!  This hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. I'm giving away a $10 Amazon gift card so you can purchase any spooky book you want!  If you need a few suggestions, check out these awesomely creepy middle grade reads.

Of course, you are perfectly welcome to purchase any book you want, it's a gift card for a reason!

Giveaway Details:

Win a $10 Amazon gift card

Open internationally (as long as you can accept the gift)

Ends Oct 31, 2014

Entrants must be 13 or older or have their parent/guardian enter for them. Winner must respond to my email within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. Please play by the rules and be honest so it's fair to everyone. Contest is void where prohibited. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now that you've entered my giveaway, hop on to the next blog on the list for more giveaway fun! There are a lot of blogs participating, so there are a lot of chances to win!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weekly Update (10/13/14): What I'm Reading Now

I have been a horribly slow reader these past few weeks.  I'm normally a slow reader, but it's been taking me a lot longer than usual to finish the books I start.  Even so, I've managed to read a couple of books this week.

What I read last week:
I liked Destined for Doon much better than the first book, and Daisy to the Rescue was fantastic.  Look for my blog tour stop and giveaway coming up on Wednesday!

What I'm currently reading:
I'm almost finished with Etiquette and Espionage and I love it!  It's so much fun and really quirky.  No One Else Can Have You is interesting.  I just started it, but I'm not sure I'll finish it.  It has a lot more horror in it than I anticipated, and I don't really feel like losing a lot of sleep because I'm scared out of my wits.

What I plan to read in October:

I added Dangerous Deceptions to my list for October.  I absolutely LOVED the first book in the series, Palace of Spies, so I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel. At the rate I'm reading, I won't even finish half of these books this month, but I hope to at least get a few of them read, like the rest of the Finishing School series.

What are you reading?

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