Friday, January 30, 2015


The wonderful folks at Macmillan sent over all of the lovely children's books pictured above, and with the holidays being over, we've finally had time to sit down with our little ones and read these beautiful books. Below, you'll find both Katie and Aubrey's thoughts on Hooray for HoppyWon Ton and Chopstick, and Power Down, Little Robot, as well as our own impressions of each title.


Title: Hooray for Hoppy!
Author/Illustrator: Tim Hopgood
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Source: ARC from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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When Hoppy the rabbit wakes up on the first day of spring, he discovers a world full of wonderful things. He uses all five senses to sniff the fresh air, listen to the birds sing, taste the fresh grass, watch the lambs in the meadow, and touch the warm ground. Illustrated in bright, bold collage, this story about seasonal change and sensory perception makes a warm and cozy readaloud.



Katie: Hoppy likes Spring and this book was about the five senses. I liked the pictures. They were detailed and colorful. I liked the last page where Hoppy sees all his friends after he stomped as hard as he could.

Jen:  Hooray for Hoppy! was bright and colorful and educational...all things I expect from a children's book. However, I think it was a little below Katie's reading level and knowledge base. I usually try to request books in her age range -- 6-7 years, 1st grade -- but I see that this book is actually rated for 2-4 years of age. Oops. She still enjoyed it and read the entire thing to me in about two minutes. :)

Aubrey: I liked when he hopped out and said his nose was cold. I liked seeing all the bunny's together playing at the end.

April: Aubrey and I really liked this one. We could definitely relate to poor Hoppy stepping out into the cold everyday. We laughed together and talked about how we wish we could just hop back to bed in the morning and sleep till Spring. Let me tell you, it was -1 degrees this morning on my way to work... boo.. Spring can't come soon enough.


Title: Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku
Author/Illustrator: Lee Wardlaw/Eugene Yelchin
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: March 17, 2015
Source: ARC from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Won Ton has a happy life with his Boy, until…

Ears perk. Fur prickles.
Belly low, I creep…peek…FREEZE!
My eyes full of Doom.

A new puppy arrives, and nothing will be the same. Told entirely in haiku and with plenty of catitude, the story of how Won Ton faces down the enemy is a fresh and funny twist on a familiar rivalry.



Katie: I didn't really understand it, but I liked that after a little while the cat and dog liked each other. I liked when the cat and the pup snuggled together and the pup was a good pillow.

Jen:  We haven't gone over haiku yet and I don't think they're even close to broaching the subject at school yet, so this one went a little over Katie's head in terms of how the story was told. But she got the gist of the story overall. She preferred when I read to her, but she enjoyed looking at the pictures and seeing the antics of the cat and dog as they got to know one another and become buddies.

Aubrey: I liked it because the kitty cat was all mad and that was funny. It was nice that they become friends at the end.

April: This one was pretty neat. I don't think I will ever understand Haiku poems. I never got them right in school when we had to write them. I liked that it made this story different, and I was able to explain to Aubrey that it was written in poems. She's always so inquisitive about stuff. Plus the story was pretty cute.


Title: Power Down, Little Robot
Author/Illustrator: Anna Staniszewski/Tim Zeltner
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Source: ARC from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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It’s time to power down for the night, but Little Robot isn’t ready! He quickly opens his stalling program. Luckily, Mom Unit knows exactly how to get him into his sleep module.From a debut picture book author and the illustrator of Little Boo, this funny twist on a familiar nighttime routine will click with bedtime avoidance experts everywhere.



Katie:  The robot never wanted to go to sleep...kinda like me. :) I think it was a pretty book and a good bedtime story. I thought the little robot was cute compared to his mom.

Jen:  We both enjoyed reading this one, I think, because we can both relate to it. Bedtime is always a battle, even when Katie is zonked, but there are nights like the one depicted in this story where she'll fight tooth and nail to keep from going to sleep. I think some of the language in this book was a bit hard for Katie to understand because it tended to be on the technical/robotic side, but she's probably closer to understanding that jargon than I was at her age. We've come a long way since then! :P Overall, it was a really cute story and probably our favorite in the bunch. Definitely a perfect bedtime story.

Aubrey: I thought it was so funny that the robot would not power down, and he kept giving him mom trouble about going to sleep. This was my favorite.

April: I have to agree with Aubrey, this was my favorite too. It's funny, because I've never had a problem with Aubrey going to bed. She's always the one to tell me she's tired. She really enjoyed watching the robot give him mom a hard time though. What I liked most about this one was the play on words. I loved when he said he wasn't tired because he was only on yellow. It made me think of all the times I probably should have plugged my phone in, but played with it till it was completely dead.


Happy reading! :D



Thursday, January 29, 2015

Title: Never Never
Author: Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
Series: Never Never #1
Publisher: Hoover Inc
Publication Date: January 7th, 2015
Source: purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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#1 New York Times bestselling author of Hopeless joins forces with the New York Times bestselling author of Mud Vein. Together, they have created a gripping, romantic tale unlike any other.

"How odd to be made of flesh, balanced on bone, and filled with a soul you've never met."

Charlize Wynwood and Silas Nash have been best friends since they could walk. They've been in love since the age of fourteen. But as of this morning...they are complete strangers. Their first kiss, their first fight, the moment they fell in love...every memory has vanished.

"I don't care what our real first kiss was," he says. "That's the one I want to remember."

Charlize and Silas must work together to uncover the truth about what happened to them and why. But the more they learn about the couple they used to be...the more they question why they were ever together to begin with.

"I want to remember what it feels like to love someone like that. And not just anyone. I want to know what it feels like to love Charlie."


Hmmmm, What can I say about Never Never? There isn't a whole lot to say, really, because there's not much too it. lol. Jen loved this one, I saw she blew through it rather quickly. Me however, it was just alright.

When the buzz first started about Never Never, it was supposed to be a full size novel. Standalone even, I think. But then it was changed. My pre order was canceled and it was now to be a series. You can read more about that here. Never Never preorder cancellation . Which is no big deal. I like standalones and I like series books.

Never Never is pretty darn short. Like 156 pages short. In her post, it reads that they knew they couldn't wrap this story up in one piece. Um... Hopeless was 410 pages. I'm not understanding. Of course it can't be wrapped up in 156 pages. Hell it barely even got started. A full size standalone book would be lots of pages...??? huh.

Which is my biggest issue with Never Never. It's starts off in the thick of things. You're totally confused, your characters are totally confused, you have no idea what the hell is going on. Just when I started to become mildly interested I was faced with the dreaded...

To Be Continued

So maybe I get that it couldn't be wrapped up in one installment, but maybe a dualogy? I'm now wondering how many books will be in this series, since they are so tiny. Some would say this just a ploy to bring in more money. I'm not saying that's the case here, but I've seen these "Novella" series books becoming a thing. But hey, what do I know. 

On top of that, I wasn't really feeling the characters. They were kind of assholes. I didn't feel as invested in what was happening to them. Either of them. It's told from two point of views btw. Sillas and Charlie. I'm not sure if it was because Fisher was a part of this project, or what. I don't think so though, maybe it's just a matter of preference. I won't go into any detail as to why I didn't like them, you will see for yourself if you read it.

As far as the writing goes, It seemed on par with how Colleen Hoover usually writes. I didn't notice any difference, like where Tarryn Fisher fit into it all, but it did have a darker feel to it, so maybe that was her contribution. I bought her book Mud Vein a while back, and I've been wanting to pick it up.

So I didn't hate Never Never, by all means. I just wish it had been longer. I think the length was part of why I couldn't connect with the characters. I mean, so much is going on and then bam, it's over.

Will I buy the next one? You bet your ass I will because Colleen Hoovers name is on it, and I have hopes that she can make me fall in love with this story at some point. I'm just not there yet.







About the author:

Tarryn FisherI would like to write a novel that every, single person loves, but not even J.K. Rowling
could do that. Instead, I try to write stories that pull on people's emotions. I believe that sadness is the most powerful emotion, and swirled with regret the two become a dominating force. I love villains. Three of my favorites are Mother Gothel, Gaston and the Evil Queen who all suffered from a pretty wicked case of vanity (like me). I like to make these personality types the center of my stories. I love rain, Coke, Starbucks and sarcasm. I hate bad adjectives and the word "smolder". If you read my book-I love you. If you hate my book-I still love you, but please don't be mean to me; I'm half badass, half cry baby.

Find Tarryn:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads

About the author:

Colleen Hoover is the New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, and This Girl. Colleen lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys.

Find Colleen:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 with 9 comments
Title: A Wicked Thing
Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Series: A Wicked Thing, book #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.


I'm on a roll with fairy tale retellings lately! This one isn't my favorite -- it's not even based on my favorite tale -- but I loved how this retelling turns the original on its head. The Disney version of Sleeping Beauty would have us believe that the happily ever after begins with the kiss, but A Wicked Thing explores how Aurora might feel at being awakened from a long slumber by a handsome prince and finding her entire world has changed.

I think the aspect I appreciated the most in this story was Aurora's characterization. She is not the damsel-in-distress we've been led to believe. Aurora wakes up from a hundred year slumber, unaware of how long she's been asleep or that she's essentially alone in the world. And yet, she refuses to accept that her only choice is to marry the handsome prince who awoke her, even if his family and their subjects all believe that her waking and subsequent marriage to the prince who made it happen is what will save the kingdom.

For a story that starts with a kiss, there was a distinct lack of actual romance in the book. There are actually three would-be suitors in the story, but of them all, I preferred the one that Aurora probably found the most vile. I just love a helpful rogue...sue me. Of the other two, one is the sweet but guileless Prince Rodric who awoke her from her slumber and the other is an acquaintance she made in secret outside of the castle. Two of the three presume to use Aurora for their own purposes, though there may be real feelings involved. It's hard to tell so early in the game. The other is simply a good friend and wishes to do whatever is necessary to save the kingdom from its current blight. I liked and despised one and all at least once at some point throughout the story.

When I started this novel, I'd seen nothing indicating that this would be a series. That always irks me a bit, to be reading and getting closer and closer to the end of the novel and still see no resolution in sight. But, with this novel, I didn't mind quite as much because of Aurora's considerable growth as a character over the course of the book. She wakes up, and instead of resigning herself to the role set before her, she questions the future of the kingdom at the hands of the current king. Aurora wants her kingdom to return to the magnificence she knew before the curse struck, and she knows that she must trust her heart in order to make it so. She is good at heart, but Aurora must make some hard decisions in order to ensure the safety of her kingdom in the future.

A Wicked Thing started off slow. Okay, painfully slow, with Aurora cowing to her kingdom's current rulers at first and walking around for the first third of the book in complete indecision. But I'm glad I forged through that because seeing Aurora break free of that damsel-in-distress fa├žade was worth it. This story is not the uplifting, romantic story from your childhood. It's tragic and sad in equal parts, but Aurora's determination to set things right left me hopeful. And her story is only going to get more interesting now that she's taking charge of her future.

GIF it to me straight:




About the author:

Rhiannon Thomas is a recent graduate from Princeton University, where she studied English and Japanese, and smuggled bubble tea into the library on a regular basis. She now lives in York, England.

As well as reading and writing YA fiction, she runs the blog FeministFiction.com, where she discusses TV, books, and all kinds of fannish things from a feminist perspective.

Find Rhiannon:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr







"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's WoW selections are...








's Pick:




23009402Title: Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Series: n/a
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015

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Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.
Last year, I listened to a few of Dessen's books in audio. I became a quick fan. So far, my two favs are Just Listen and Lock and Key. Really looking forward to this one. :)




's Pick:



Title: Lying Out Loud
Author: Kody Keplinger
Series: stand-alone, companion to The DUFF
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: April 28, 2015

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Kody Keplinger returns to the world of The DUFF in this brand-new companion novel!

Sonny Ardmore is an excellent liar. She lies about her dad being in prison. She lies about her mom kicking her out. And she lies about sneaking into her best friend's house every night because she has nowhere else to go.

Amy Rush might be the only person Sonny shares everything with -- secrets, clothes, even a nemesis named Ryder Cross.

Ryder's the new kid at Hamilton High and everything Sonny and Amy can't stand -- a prep-school snob. But Ryder has a weakness: Amy. So when Ryder emails Amy asking her out, the friends see it as a prank opportunity not to be missed.

But without meaning to, Sonny ends up talking to Ryder all night online. And to her horror, she realizes that she might actually like him. Only there's one small catch: he thinks he's been talking to Amy. So Sonny comes up with an elaborate scheme to help Ryder realize that she's the girl he's really wanted all along. Can Sonny lie her way to the truth, or will all her lies end up costing her both Ryder and Amy?

I didn't think I would like any of Kody Keplinger's books when I first read the summaries, but I've ended up really enjoying all of them. They're cute and comical and just plain fun. And I know that The DUFF movie really seems nothing like the actual book, but I still want to see it. =) And now there's going to be another book set in the same school with some old favorites, too? SIGN. ME. UP!


What are you desperately waiting for this Wednesday? Let us know in the comments or share a link to your own WoW post!



Tuesday, January 27, 2015




Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the awesome ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. Apparently, they are overly fond of list-making and love to share their bookish lists with the rest of us book nerds.  =) We're game.







This week's topic is the Ten Books I'd Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club (or you could pick a specific kind of book club -- like if you had a YA book club or an adult book club or a science fiction book club etc.):


April's Picks:

There are two kinds of books I love to discuss. Books that make me cry, because not a lot makes me cry so it must have effected me deeply. And of course, end of the world stories. I could discuss the earths demise for days at a time. There are so many things that could do us in!





Jen's Picks:

Basically, I'm taking this topic to mean books I could sit around and discuss for hours with like-minded individuals. =) And I could definitely do that with all of these titles:




Which books would be on your book club TBR? Be sure to share a link to your TTT post so we can visit!



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