Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #27: 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 been very good at not adding a lot of books to my TBR pile lately, but I did add two this week.  I've been excited to read both of these since I first saw them.  Now, I can hardly wait until I finish my current reads so I can dive into these.

Young Adult Book:

Thank you to the Book Look Blogger program and Harper Collins Christian Publishing for sending me The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson! I'm SO excited to read this book. I own every book that Melanie has written, but this will be the first one I've actually read.

Adult Book:

Thank you to Random House for sending me The Woman Who Would be King by Kara Cooney.  This is a non-fiction book about Hatshepsut and her life.  I know I'm not alone in my fascination with Egypt's mysterious female Pharaoh, and I'm excited to dive into this biography about her.  I've perused through the book a little bit, and it seems interesting, but also very speculative.

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

Review of The Fran with Four Brains (Franny K. Stein: Mad Scientist)

The Fran with Four Brains (Franny K. Stein: Mad Scientist) by Jim Benton

Age Range: 7 - 10 years
Grade Level: 2 - 5

Series: Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist (Book 6)
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (August 28, 2007)

Source: Library

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book:

Being a mad scientist in the modern world is very hard work. With so much that needs to be done in such a short period of time, multitasking can get way out of hand. Franny needs some additional help. But for Franny there is only one person in the world she trusts to help her with her experiments -- herself. So she acquires assistance the mad-scientist way, by building a few real, live, steel-plated Franbots.

My Thoughts:

If you are looking for an early chapter book that breaks the norm, give this series a try. Franny is a mad scientist that kids will love. Kids that enjoy creepy things will especially like this series.

When Franny feels overwhelmed with her school and extracurricular activities, she makes a few Franbots to take her place. When Franny decides the Franbots are too active for her mother, they hatch a plan to turn Franny and her family into food. Franny must find a way to stop the bots before they take over the world.

This is a super cute and fun chapter book with black and white illustrations on every page.

Content: Some mild violence (she destroys the robots)


Thursday, October 23, 2014

YA Review of Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Series: Finishing School (Book 1)
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (October 8, 2013)

Genre: Steampunk/humor

 Source: Bought

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book:

It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners--and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage--in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.

Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail's legions of fans have come to adore. 

My Thoughts:

This book was such a fun surprise! I expected to like it, but I didn't expect it to be so quirky and funny. It's a steampunk novel intended for younger YA readers, although older teens will like it too.

The characters are hilarious and they all have distinct personality traits to make them memorable. I loved Sophronia, Monique, and Soap the most, but Vieve, Dimity, and Pillover were wonderful additions. I also loved the setting—an airship suspended over the moors of England served as a unique and unconventional school where young ladies learn to "finish" whatever or whoever needs finishing.

If you are looking for a clean, fun book for your teen to read, you'll definitely want to investigate this series.

Content: a (very) small bit of innuendo


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Picture Book Review and Giveaway! Bad Dog Flash by Ruth Paul

Bad Dog Flash by Ruth Paul

Age Range: 3 - 8 years

Genre: Picture book

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (October 7, 2014)

Source: From publisher for review

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the Book:

Read along with this playful pup as he chews, digs, and slobbers his way into trouble

Sniff shoes. Lick shoes.
Gnaw shoes. More shoes!
Uh oh...your shoes?
Bad dog, Flash!

When it comes to mischief, there are some things Flash just can't resist. From shoes to sticks and mud to licks, Flash gets into all kinds of trouble that elicits some (tough) love from his owners. But as all dog lovers know, you can only scold your puppy for so long...and then it's back to giving them lots of love and affection!

My Thoughts:

What a cute book!  My kids and I read this several times before bed and they loved it.  It accurately portrays the experience of owning a puppy and all the chaos that comes with it.  Flash gets into trouble time and again, but in the end, the thing that matters most is the love between a child and a dog.

The illustrations are very cute and well executed.  I really like the author/illustrator's style and I hope to see more of her work in the future. 

The book is written in a simple, easy to read format so it works well for young children or for kids that are reading independently.  My first grader loves reading this book to her younger sister. 

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


Giveaway Time!

Win a hardcover of Bad Dog Flash!

Open to the US only

Ends Nov 5, 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 void where prohibited.  Good luck!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review of Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood From America's Presidents

Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood From America's Presidents by David Stabler, illustrated by Doogie Horner

Age Range: 9 - 12 years

Grade Level: 4 - 7

Hardcover: 224 pages

Publisher: Quirk Books (October 28, 2014)

Genre: Non-fiction

Source: From publisher for review

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book:

The kids who grew up to be president were like a lot of other children. Some struggled with schoolwork and got into fights; others pranked their teachers and infuriated their parents. William Howard Taft was forced to take dance lessons. Gerald Ford struggled with dyslexia. Teddy Roosevelt had a bedroom “museum” full of dead animals. Kid Presidents features 20 captivating true stories from the childhoods of American presidents, complete with lively text and more than 200 cartoon illustrations. Laugh-out-loud funny and packed with cool facts, it’s the perfect read for all young future leaders of the free world.

My Thoughts:

What a fun book! I read this out loud to my kids at bedtime and they loved it. It tells true stories of US presidents from when they were children. Some of the stories are funny, some inspiring, and all of them are interesting. Even presidents struggled with their weight, bullies, and disabilities.  Many of the presidents had passions for things other than politics, like animals, baseball, and arrowhead collecting.  The stories in this book made our political leaders more human in the eyes of my kids. 

This book does not focus on the presidents' time in the White House other than a brief mention in each story. It focuses on their childhoods and one or two traits that made them unique.

This is a good book for kids interested in learning more about the American presidents and what they were like as children.

Content: clean

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


Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekly Update (10/20/14): What I'm Reading Now

I'm seriously moving at a snail's pace when it comes to reading.  I had some terrible luck with books this week and it threw me off my game.  I'm also working on a new service for authors to help them get more reviews, and hopefully I'll have the bugs all worked out soon and will be sharing that with you. 

At any rate, here's what I'm reading.

What I read last week:
Such a cute book!  My review will be up this week.  If you have a daughter who is starting to move up from middle grade, but isn't ready for lots of YA (like Hunger Games, Throne of Glass, or The Fault in Our Stars) then this is a great series.

Books I Did Not Finish:
To be fair, I barely started these.  You can read my reasons for quitting No One Else Can Have You and Chaos Born in THIS POSTA Discovery of Witches sounded promising, and after reading several reviews that swore up and down to it's sex-free content, I decided to give it a try.  Turns out, that was a technicality and now I have half a mental image that I wish I didn't.  In other words, it's not clean like some reviewers claimed it to be. 

What I'm currently reading:
I'm almost half way through Dangerous Deceptions, and it's fantastic.  I love this series and the characters.  I am half way through the first chapter in both Deep Blue and Curtsies and Conspiracies.  Like I said before, I am moving at a snail's pace.  But that's not always a bad thing.  Sometimes I like books better when I don't feel rushed and I can just enjoy them.

My October TBR Pile:

I've been waiting patiently by my mailbox every day for The Woman Who Would be King.  Unfortunately, my copy didn't get sent out right away and I got an email from the Blogging for Books program saying sorry, and that they would get it sent off.  So I probably won't get to read it in October, but I'll add it to my November TBR pile.  Most of these books will probably end up as November reads anyway.

What are you reading?

Giveaways to Enter:

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop (win a $10 Amazon gift card!)

Daisy to the Rescue (win a copy of the book!)

The Code Busters Club (win the entire series!)

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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