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https://www.joffebooks.com/the-huge-giveaway
So this is happening now, a little something for our wonderful readers in a tough time (and huge thanks to our lovely authors)
#sharebooks #theHUGEgiveaway

 

 

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https://www.joffebooks.com/the-huge-giveaway?fbclid=IwAR1GsBECOpJ6MCMoIMbKR5fmp_MubCzb56GmAaebNtg2PM4zmW49sjYDXQo

Weekend break

I spent my weekend, helping the less fortunate during this crisis so I didn't get to read anything.  A group of us women, deliver the Sunday supper, the last Sunday of the month, to a temporary shelter which typically house up to 40 individuals including children.  Currently,  they have 23 adults and children staying at their two locations and their need is great now, as we're to practice social distancing and many places in the city are closed. 

 

They were asking for supplies, activities for the kids, crafts, games, in addition to food on their social media page so Instead of helping with the meal this month, I decided to help in the other areas. I really didn't think it would take all weekend but it was worth it. 

 

I located a woman who was moving in the town next to us and she was having a sale by appointment.   I went on Saturday morning and shopped while she stood off in the distance and watched.  Wearing gloves, I held up items and she told me prices and I made a pile., my truck was full when I left, with items that were $1-$3 each.  When I got home, I then sanitized each item and left them outside to dry.  I washed each Memory card in the Memory games, each puzzle piece, and  I soaked every block, and washed out each box.  I got other games, toys, and stuffed animals. So many goodies!  It was time-consuming but gosh, I had to keep everyone safe.  I purchased some games, colors, coloring books, cards, soap, and cleaning supplies at Walmart and added them to the pile.

 

I found some extra crafts that I have done with the kids at the library's summer program, so I printed out some directions for them and added them to the growing pile.  To finish it off,  I added some children's chapter books, nonfiction books, picture and reader books that I had in my basement.  I had quite a huge stack of stuff!  I was really excited that the kids would have something fun to do to keep them busy and the adults would have some supplies for a while.  It felt good to do something to help someone else.  And now,  I can get back to reading......

The Crossover

The Crossover (Graphic Novel) (The Crossover Series) - Kwame Alexander

This was fantastic!  You could really feel the energy and the emotions in this graphic novel which is an adaptation of the original novel with the same name.  I think kids will love this book.

 

This is not your typical graphic novel with text boxes, this graphic novel’s illustrations and text fill up the entire page.  Whether the page includes one illustration or four, it is the exact amount that is needed to get the point across.  With varying sizes of text, you will find yourself catching the rhythm of the book, as the story unravels. Using only shades of orange, black, and white, throughout the book, it’s amazing how captive you will become to Josh’s story.

 

You see, they were twins, Josh and Jordan.  Great basketball players who did a lot together.  Their father was a legend, on the court, many years ago.  Lately though, Jordan’s eyes have not been on the ball so much.  His eyes are on a girl and Josh feels ignored/left out/abandoned. Josh wants his father to intervene but his father won’t. Dad has some health issues that mom has been riding him on but dad says he’s fine.  I love the word play this couple speaks to one another. 

 

You can feel the energy soaring through the pages, the pain that’s growing inside of Josh, and witness the relationship that’s building between Jordan and his new friend.  The words were carefully chosen, they fit, they fit like a glove to make this graphic novel pulse.  

 

Then, he does it.  Josh unleashes his frustration and I hope that he feels better because everyone else doesn’t.  He’s done more harm then good and the repercussions of his anger, he’s paid a price for it. 

 

Excellent graphic novel!  Very powerful and is one that is definitely worth reading.   

Making Friends

Making Friends - Kristen Gudsnuk

Have you ever read a book and even though it stretches your imagination, you’re actually liking it, and then…...bam, they’ve totally lost their minds and you wished, you could undo what you’ve just read?  That’s what I felt as I read Making Friends. This middle school graphic novel was dealing with some typical teen issues in a unique way when suddenly the main character cracked.

 

Dany’s Aunt Elma died, leaving the family to sort out her estate on their own.  Dany finds herself in the possession of one of her aunt’s sketchbooks, one of the few items the family didn’t fight over. Labeled, “handle with care,” Dany finds many of the pages empty and after a hard day at school, she begins to sketch in it.

 

Life was easier in elementary school when Dany had Joan and Leah at her side but now in middle school, it was getting more complicated.  Dany decides to draw Prince Neptune, yet she stopped after only drawing his head.  Neptune would protect her, if he was real.  Dany talks to her drawing as her pencil slides over the paper. Admiring her finished drawing, Dany is stunned when the image pops off the paper and becomes a living thing! Remember, she only drew his head so the Prince is now a talking head.

 

Prince Neptune is immediately head-over-heels in love with Dany and calls her Princess Dany and boy, how fun is this!? Dany is enchanted and scared at the same time.  What has just happened?  The prince is compassionate, caring, and supportive to Dany (even though, sometimes his ideas are a bit extreme) but you need to remember that he’s just a head, that was drawn to protect Dany and he doesn’t know that much about this world and then you’ll understand why he says what he does. 

 

Having the prince around does help Dany but it’s not like the prince can be out and around everyone else.  Dany wants other friends and she wants to fit in, but how? You guessed it!  She takes her pencil and she begins drawing in her aunt’s sketchbook. I see the dangers of this right away but Dany, she thinks it’s going to work out wonderfully.

 

Now, Dany is on a roll and she can’t stop now.  It’s as if someone has taken over this girl and she has become a different person, who is she? Dany is this loud, screaming individual who rants and yells. Her face takes up the whole text box.  Someone, please push her off button.  I was liking this book until Dany got greedy.

 

Overall, it was a fun book that I was enjoying until things got out of hand.  Why Dany had to go extreme, I have no idea but it was a turn-off for me. 

Vacation - Sci Fi

I don't read that many Sci Fi books or movies but on vacation this vessel caught  my eye. It looked like something out of a science fiction book,  I was fascinated by it.  I could not for the life of me, take my eyes off it.  It looked like a hodge podge of miscellaneous items put together to make a boat.  I know, I get excited about strange things :)

 

 

I saw this while walking on the beach on vacation in Mexico and I had to stop and watch it.  We didn't see anyone aboard it and I went back a couple times that day and it was still there.  It was actually there for the three days, I had to check.  I finally approached a man, who was walking up along a resort's fenced-in area and he informed me that he didn't speak English but I tried to ask him anyway, what that thing was in the water and what I could understand was, that it had something to do with the seaweed from the ocean.   They do have an issue with the seaweed in the ocean washing up on the beaches there.  I'll have to do more investigating on that.   

 

Hallmark Movies

If you're a Hallmark movie fan and you missed any this Christmas,  here is your chance to catch them.  

 

 

Hallmark Channel Schedules Christmas Movie Marathon During Self-Quarantine (Exclusive)

 

 

 

https://www.etonline.com/hallmark-channel-schedules-christmas-movie-marathon-during-self-quarantine-exclusive-143313?fbclid=IwAR1DUG7myU-zhD5BKthkO8YJiQYHZcIPlsc2m_TRacQu3feQ1K7D6pOdVCI

Best Friends

Best Friends - Shannon Hale

Are your actions and feeling based on how you actually feel or are they based upon how you’re supposed to feel?  It was all so confusing and to Shannon, it seemed that the rules keep changing. 

 

It’s their last year in elementary school and Shannon thought this year would be great yet it’s not starting out that way. She thought that she fit in with her girlfriends but now, she just doesn’t.  Why is it that there’s a difference between what Shannon thinks and what her girlfriends think now? How had they become so different? Shannon starts to second guess everything about herself and it’s painful to see how much she’s working at this. I had to wonder why Shannon was the only one who was excluded in this bunch of girls and why?  The girls, I thought, were mean sometimes to Shannon, yet she didn’t want to be excluded from this group so she worked harder to try to fit in.

 

I didn’t read the first book in this series but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this graphic novel. I could totally understand how Shannon felt in this book although, I’m not the targeted audience.  I believe many individuals understand this frustration.  It’s only when you start feeling comfortable and accept who you are, do you start doing your own thing and you don’t worry so much about fitting in. I’ve even met older women who still worry about what others think too much. 

 

Shannon tries to be cool like her friends, she tries to figure out the correct way to act and feel yet, just when she thinks she has it figured out, the rules change!  One minute it’s one way, another minute it’s another way – Shannon just can’t keep up!

It’s a terrific graphic novel with wonderful, colorful text boxes. The flow of the story was easy to follow also.  This graphic novel is definitely one that’s worth reading.   

The Last Book Party

The Last Book Party - Karen Dukess

I liked how the author’s writes but I didn’t like how this book developed. The author had some great points in this book but her main character, I thought, was a mess.  The longer I read this book, the more irritated I became with her and I wanted to slap her.

 

Eve considered herself a writer, yet all her accomplishments amounted to, were a few small pieces that she’d written many years ago.  For years, Eve struggled to finish anything that she’d started to write. I’m thinking that she really needs to do is to talk to a few people about writing or move on, what is really going on here? Eve also worked as an editorial assistant for The New Yorker Magazine.  Growing up, Eve had wanted to become a writer and it’s as if, she can’t let go of this dream. 

 

Eve doesn’t get the promotion at The New Yorker but she hears about the possibility of a job back in her hometown.  If she heads back home, Eve realizes this position will not a step-up but it just might be what she’s looking for. 

 

Eve starts to fall in-and-out of love with just about everyone after she went back home. Perhaps she had relationships before then, I don’t know, but she flies through them now.  Her last love affair though pushed me over the edge.  Perhaps, she’s insecure or it’s some other issue but I just didn’t understand why her last guy?  Come on!

 

There were a few interesting reveals in the story and I did enjoy them. When Eve moves back home to start her new job, we learned about her family and her relationship with them. They had a great impact on her. 

 

Overall, it was an okay read, I just think that Eve’s social life needed to take a different direction. 

 

I want to thank MacMillan for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Cook's Herb Garden

The Cook's Herb Garden - Jeff Cox, Marie-Pierre Moine
What more can I say than then, I checked this book out from the library and after looking through it and reading a lot of it, I ended up buying a copy of it today. As I was reading it, I was amazed at how much I was enjoying it and then, I flipped the book over and saw DK on the back cover, and no wonder I loved it so much. DK Books are fantastic!

This book is a great reference book if you like to work with herbs. I like to plant a variety of herbs in pots outside in the summer and try to keep them alive in the winter, inside my home. Living in the Midwest, this is tricky and sometimes, I am successful and sometimes I fail. I love the smell and taste of fresh herbs and I'm hoping this book will help me be more successful.

What I love about this book is that it lists a variety of different fresh herbs, the varieties of them (if there are any), how to grow them successfully, how to use them, and there are some nice colorful, realistic pictures of the herbs. An example is Basil: there is a two page spread on basil. The author mentions how to grow basil, how to harvest and cook it. It also states that his herb prefers sun and is a hardy herb (frost wise). On the two pages, there are eight different varieties of basil mentioned with 8 different pictures and details describing theses varieties. I usually plant the Sweet Basil which is strongly scented with large, bright,green leaves. The description lists how the plant usually grows including size (in. and cm) and also how you can cook with the herb. I grew Greek Basil last year as it looked different and I have seen Lemon Basil being sold but the cinnamon basil looks interesting., now if I can find that.

The herbs are listed from A to Z and not all herbs have varieties with them. There is also a small section that I am going to try this year which is about planting a herb pot/basket. It's a "culinary-themed window box" that produces a "whole store cupboard of flavors in one pot." They have a few examples of herbs placed together in a pot and they labeled these pots based on what they contain: Everyday Essentials, Salad Herbs, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Hardy Herbs, and Herbal Teas. They explain with each pot why each herb was selected, how to water and harvest instructions. Now, how fun is that!

There is also information in this book about growing herbs from seeds vs. plants, controlling weeds, getting the best harvest and what to do with your herbs, as they grow. We have in the past frozen the herbs in bags but I have now purchased plastic trays so I can try freezing some in liquid. The book continues with information on preparing your herbs for cooking and actual recipes. There is a ton of great information in here! I can't wait to get my copy to start adding some post-its to the pages.
 
 

Book Mail on Vacation

 

When I arrived home from vacation, I had received two packages in the mail.  I always wait to open them last, after opening all the other mail.  They were both books and the covers on them were fantastic!  

 

The book, The Only Good Indians, I won from Bookish First.  I fell in love with this book the minute I read the synopsis, way back when.   Black Leopard, Red Wolf sounds very interesting with a shape-shifter and a mixture of other different individuals tracking down a missing child.  This book has mixed reviews and it's huge, at least for me it is, with 640 pages.  I won this book from a Goodreads Giveaway.

 

Someone Knows

Someone Knows - Lisa Scottoline

I enjoyed this book even though I thought I knew what was going on.  Thinking about this book, what I believe enticed me were the characters and the book’s timeline. I really needed to know the “why” behind the threads of this story, what was the motive?  

 

When Allie hurt her leg during cross-county tryouts, Sasha came back to help her.  Sasha had never said much to Allie before then, which to me was a red flag.  Sasha points out the two boys, Julian and David, who were in the distance, and wouldn’t you know it, they ended up talking to them.

 

There seemed to be quite a bit of trauma and drama in the lives of these four teens before they even got together.  Between the four of them, they had a recent divorce, a close family death, one teen already living alone as the parents were never home and one teen who, I thought, was too controlling. These teens become an instant four-some as they hung out together.  I started to dislike a few of them, their attitude and concern for others turned me off.  Looking into the lives of these individuals and their families, I got a good understanding of them and their situations.  I appreciated how the author included this information in the text. 

 

When Kyle moves into the area, Sasha invites him to hang-out with them.  Imagine that! Oh, did I mention that Kyle is nice to look at. I feel that adding him to the mix isn’t going to be good but I didn’t anticipate what actually occurred.  I have to give credit to Kyle though, he acted smart when he was first approached by the group.  They offered to let him become a member of their gang and Kyle was hesitant. I thought they were all getting along okay but I could feel some tension was building.  Three boys and two girls, that just doesn’t sound like a good combination especially when you add in their personalities. 

 

They don’t know what went wrong.  At least, that is what they are saying.  The four who fled the area that night, all take that same position.  The one who was left, they don’t even know what happened.  Was this a game or murder? 

 

We time travel in this book, as the author takes us forward in time.  One of the individuals from that night has now passed away and individuals are gathering for the funeral.  Friends are gathering and reacquainting themselves with one another. Will the three others who were in attendance that night gather and discuss what happened 20 years ago?  Will I learn anything different than what I already know?  The book is not over my friends, it’s only just beginning. 4.5 stars

 

Thank you, G.P. Putnam’s Sons for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review. 

You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone  - Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

The deeper I got into this book, the more intense and captivated I became in finding out the truth behind this sisterhood. As the pages turned, the more my curiosity and adrenaline rose.

 

I loved the connection that these “sisters” had but the more that I read about them, the more removed I became to their alliance. Oh, I totally understand how they felt and the reasoning behind it BUT, there is line that they had crossed.  

 

When Shay witnesses a suicide on the subway, it changes her life.  Spying a piece of jewelry nearby, Shay is now connected to Amanda’s “sisters,” as Shay picks up the jewelry and takes it with her.  Shay needs to find out more about the suicide victim meanwhile, the “sisters” can’t believe that Amanda would commit suicide.  On a collusion course, Shay ends up meeting the “sisters” and to her, this is destiny. 

 

Shay feels a connection with the “sisters” and her life finally starts to turn around.  The “sisters” are there for Shay and take Shay under their wings.  Shay loves how everything is working out for her but dang, if only Shay knew the truth. The pages aren’t turning fast enough but I don’t want to miss a word on the pages.  

 

Slowly, the author reveals the details of the sisterhood and how each member became involved. It’s crazy good but it’s wicked at the same time. There’s time travel involved as we hear each member’s story but that’s important as I needed to know when these events took place.

 

Wow, that was an excellent, invigorating story that had me hooked from the beginning.  I have enjoyed all the books that Hendricks and Pekkanen have written together and I hope that they continue to write together! Breathe……

 

This book is now available and I highly recommend it.  Thank you, St. Martin’s Press and Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review. #YouAreNotAloneBook

Last Things

Last Things - Jacqueline West

I really enjoyed the author’s use of language in this book.  I liked how they slowly explained the events occurring, without revealing too much, letting me become totally immersed into the drama.  I could feel the intensity and the energy of this book which I didn’t put down until I had finished it. 

 

I also liked that there weren’t many individuals to keep track of in this book.  Reading this on vacation, I didn’t want to have to resort to keeping a lot of notes on it while reading it.  I found that, I got so involved in reading it, I forgot to write down anything about it except for the first few pages.

 

The book centers around a girl named Thea who moved to Greenwood and lives with her Aunt Mae.  Aunt Mae has a reputation around town as being witch, or perhaps a lunatic.  Yeah, not a good one to have.  Some think it’s because she’s a drunk and when she’s like that, she likes to talk.  Her talking is not pleasant either.  Aunt Mae tries to warn individuals about things that she has seen, things that haven’t yet occurred and that doesn’t settle too well with some individuals.  Aunt Mae doesn’t move much from the couch, she keeps her bottle close to her and Thea makes sure that her aunt has a fresh supply.  

 

When we meet Thea, it’s Friday night and she’s headed off to the Crow’s Nest to hear the band, Last Things.  It’ll be a mixed crowd of high school kids to heavy metal fans.  Last Things is a local band and they’re becoming quite popular.  Anders started the group and when he plays, he gets lost in his music just like their fans get lost when he plays on stage. They put on quite the show and lately, the place has been packed.  

 

Thea stays off to the side when she watches the group perform, she hasn’t missed a show, since she got in town. Back at Aunt Mae’s, Thea has been stockpiling items outside, taking great care to secure these items, hidden from sight.  Why she’s doing this, I have no idea but the idea that she doing this to “lock them out,” intrigues me. Thea attends high school, where she doesn’t really fit in but she watches and she’s aware of her surroundings.  She keeps an eye on Anders, he’s different than the guy who everyone loves on stage on the weekends. Is this a crush or it is something else?  Does Anders even know about Thea?  I was beginning to wonder what their connection was.

 

Thea doesn’t spend much time at home but when she does, she talks with her aunt.  Thea and her aunt have a bond with “them.” Thea feels that “they” are becoming bolder and closer and Aunt Mae understands this.  What they are talking about and how this all ties in with Anders was getting quite interesting as Thea’s behavior was getting stranger. I was all in and I couldn’t put this book down.   

 

Thank you to Harper Collins and Epic Reads Insiders   for supplying a copy of this book to me for an honest review. 

Game of Thrones - bottles

As always, on our way home from vacation, we stopped at the Duty Free Store, and we came across some unique bottles. This so happens to be my favorite brand of scotch but I only bought one of these unique bottles as I had already had my heart set on another of their bottles before I even walked into the store. I had to take some pictures though, as I loved how these bottles came together to make these pictures.
 
 

The sales clerk gave us a sample from the White Walker, which we both liked, so this is the bottle we bought. The White Walker bottle changes color when it's cold. My husband is big Game of Thrones guy and this scotch is my favorite, so purchasing these sets in the future might be an option. I know there are some Game of Throne fans out there so I thought you might enjoy these.

 

Last Things

Started this book this morning and I’m enjoying how the author is keeping things moving.  I’m not quite sure who “they” are but Aunt Mae is fears they’re moving closer and Thea’s knows they’re being bolder.  What’s with the dead mourning dove, “they” left for him? I know what he has stockpiled isn’t enough for the two of them. One more day of vacation and it’s back to reality. 

The book exchange

I bought some books with me to leave at the book exchange and I’m glad I did. There were only a handful of English titles, amongst the bookshelves. The book exchange has grown in the two years since we’ve been here, we’re turning into a world of book readers I was so excited to see the vast number of great authors and titles in all the different languages and some new titles too! Wow, how exciting and the book covers on some were different too.