Book Review - Windy City Magic: The Best Kind of Magic

Monday, June 26, 2017 / Leave a Comment
"Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love..."

The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Windy City Magic, Book 1 - The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari is an honest to goodness, sweetheart of a story. YA + the pure kind of romance + mystical beings = a fun, fun weekend read!

Written from our sassy heroine's point of view, you get a taste of the magical world through the eyes of a teen with sharp wit and a good heart. Though she may not be a full witch like her mother, Amber's matchmaking skills are certainly a special gift.

I absolutely enjoyed Amber's interactions with the non-magical but super charming Charlie, her best friend/clairvoyant Amani, her Wiccan mother and even the dreaded siren Ivy and the untrustworthy witch Victoria. Oh, Ivy and Victoria... Cestari sure knows how to whip up the perfect villains!

Amber is likeable and, in a way, relatable. I may have no magical, matchmaking abilities but we've all shared similar (sorta) snide thoughts. I love Amber's fearlessness to speak out and do what she feels is best to protect the ones she loves.

There was nothing about this read that was too much or too little. It was a breezy, refreshing story with a bit of drama, a dash of danger and a taste that leaves you thirsty for the "what next."

Seriously, though... what's next?! Looks like we find out February of 2018 and I'm looking forward to it. Windy City Magic, Book 2 - The Sweetest Kind of Fate has already been added to my TBR list!

Thank you, NetGalley and Disney Book Group/Disney-Hyperion for the opportunity to read this digital ARC in exchange for my honest feedback and review!


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Father's Day & It's Great Being a Dad

Sunday, June 18, 2017 / Leave a Comment

This year, for Father's Day, we picked up It's Great Being a Dad - story Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Gina Perry. It was an early gift for daddy (gifted Saturday night), mostly because mommy couldn't wait... we do love our books in this house! Every night we read together as a family and I couldn't have found a better book for this Father's Day (weekend) read. We loved the story and the fantastic illustrations!!

It's Great Being a Dad by Dan Bar-el
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a beautifully written book that demonstrates the vivid imaginations of children through fantastic story-telling and artistry. My daughter loved the colors, the characters and every illustrated page. My husband and I loved the honest and familiar tale, told with great humor for everyone to enjoy.

Truth be told, mom and dad loved the pictures as much as our little reader.

This was a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful children's family book!

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Happy Father's day to my love, my dad and the rest of you awesome dads!!


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Book Review - Trusting You and Other Lies

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 / Leave a Comment

Trusting You and Other Lies
by Nicole Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Trusting You and Other Lies by Nicole Williams is an enjoyable summer read written from the perspective of an almost–adult teen girl.

Our main character, Phoenix, is dealing with complex family issues, change and love. You can't help but to root for her as she tries to figure out life, while at the dreaded family camp, during the summer before her final year of high school.

Trusting You and Other Lies is sweet, sometimes a little serious but never boring or too predictable. I found myself breezing through this book and enjoying every moment!

If you enjoy YA, I highly recommend Trusting You and Other Lies. Take this one to the beach, or to camp, or the lake, or anywhere you will be doing your summer reading!

p.s. I'm in love with this cover!!!

Thank you NetGalley and Random House Children's Crown Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read this book at no cost, in exchange for my honest feedback and review.

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Book Review - Internet Famous

Monday, June 5, 2017 / Leave a Comment
Internet Famous by Danika Stone
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Internet Famous by Danika Stone

Usually, I adore YA books and I thought the concept around this one was great. The problem for me and where it fell short was it just did not feel believable. I really had a lot of trouble with the characters and the parental figures. Honestly, I don't know if it improved but I had to stop reading halfway through. It was just impossible for me to get into. I have read a lot of other great reviews of this book, so maybe it just wasn't for me.

Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.


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Book Review - The Lives of Desperate Girls

Friday, May 26, 2017 / Leave a Comment
The Lives of Desperate Girls by MacKenzie Common
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Lives of Desperate Girls by MacKenzie Common was a fantastic read! The characters were well thought out, easy to identify with, and easy to connect with. The storyline was written in the appropriate pace and kept me well interested throughout.

Some parts of this book might be a bit difficult for some people to digest. This book hits on a lot of heavy subjects like sex, rape, murder, racism, bullying, and suicide. That being said, some of the subject matter opens up to meaningful dialogue.

Written in a first person narrative, the approach of storytelling was somewhat different than others I've read in the same genre. And even though some elements of the story may appear familiar, it is truly special and unique in its own right.

I absolutely enjoyed this read and would recommend it to others who enjoy YA/mystery type books.

I received this book at no cost, courtesy of NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada, for my honest feedback and review.

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Mini & Me - Bookish Stuff

Thursday, May 11, 2017 / Leave a Comment
One thing you must know about Mini & me... we absolutely love books, as if that weren't already apparent! As the momma, I plan on encouraging that love.

Reading has always been a huge part of my life. When I was a little girl, many moons ago, my father read to me each night. He lit a fire in my heart for stories of all genres. I can recall hiding away in my bedroom to get lost in the worlds that Judy Blume created or trying my luck with a series of Choose Your Own Adventure books. Heck, I even read my father's Reader's Digest because even those stories fascinated my 8 year-old mind.

Reading Rainbow was my favorite show on the television and I couldn't wait for the school book fair. The Scholastic order sheets would come out and I would go bananas over all the books I dreamed of owning. Library hour was the best hour. Highlights for Children was a fun distraction. And when I hit my teens, V.C. Andrews was cooler than Vanilla Ice.

I've always loved to read.

When I found out I was pregnant with Mini, I knew that I would want to make reading a huge part of her life as early on as possible. I asked my girlfriends to please, please be sure to make building a baby library a part of my baby shower. I want to expose my little one to as many books as possible, I reminded them. I didn't want to just make a wish list of books, I wanted the books I never heard of - I wanted to discover with my little one.

Needless to say, Mini has a beautiful library of books already. She has several shelves worth of picture books, fairy tales, books for today and books for when she is a little bit older. I've read many and there are many more that I can't wait to explore for the first time with her. So, each night, my husband and I pluck a book from a shelf and read it to her before bedtime. First we read, then we allow her to explore the book herself - just for a few moments so she can take in the illustrations.

Reading time isn't just for bedtime anymore. Though my Mini is still just a wee thing, she loves books more than any child I know. She flips through the thick pages of her board books, her fingers examine the colors, shapes and letters... she's not reading yet but she's finding the story her own way.

You will see we do talk a lot about books! And if there is a book that you think that we might love, please don't keep it to yourself. We'd love to hear about it!!






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Book Review - How to Make Friends with a Ghost

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 / Leave a Comment

How to Make Friends with a Ghost
by Rebecca Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green is by far one of the most surprisingly sweet and most original children's books I have read in a long time. Honestly, I really was not sure what to expect upon receiving this advanced copy, but you can bet I loved every single page and every illustration in all it's detail.
Rebecca Green has put together an enjoyable book for all ages with silly recipes, tips and helpful info on caring for your own ghost. How to Make Friends With a Ghost is quirky, cute, and every bit fun! I know of at least two or three people who will be receiving this treasure once it is published!
...And who knows, maybe I'll be lucky enough to have a ghost of my own one day that I can care for, make mud tarts for and grow old with! One thing is for sure, I'll be well prepared!

I received this book at no cost, courtesy of NetGalley, for my honest feedback and review.

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Book Review - A Bedtime Yarn

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A Bedtime Yarn
by Nicola Winstanley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Bedtime Yarn by Nicola Winstanley is a very charming tale about a little bear named Frankie who has trouble going to sleep. To help him overcome fears of being in the dark alone, his mother gives him a colorful ball of yarn to hold tight while he sleeps and dreams of adventures.

Each colorful ball of yarn Frankie holds marks a different adventure for this little bear. And while each adventure is beautifully illustrated, the special prize is at the end of this very sweet book.

This is a wonderful read for children and for parents, or even grandparents, who enjoy knitting and crocheting for their loved ones.

I received this book at no cost, courtesy of NetGalley, for my honest feedback and review.

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Book Review - Meatless?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 / Leave a Comment
Meatless?: A Fresh Look At What You Eat by Sarah Elton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Meatless? A Fresh Look At What You Eat by Sarah Elton is a fantastic and easy read for any person who is considering vegetarianism, veganism, or plant-based diets.

This book would be great in a public library or available in schools for younger readers who are seeking honest answers to alternative ways of eating. There is no obvious bias from the writer in this book. She simply offers interesting facts and information regarding the food that we eat and why we eat it.

I am impressed by the amount of information available in this book regarding the environmental effects of eating meat and the costs of eating meat.

For readers who do want to remove meat from their diets, there are easy to follow suggestions and recipes available in this book. The glossary and index with source information and further reading titles also make for a handy guy for those who want to really consider a plant-based diet.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in a meatless diet. For vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based diet parents, this is a great book to share with your children!

I received this book at no cost, courtesy of NetGalley, for my honest feedback and review.

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Book Review - The Map That Leads To You

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 / Leave a Comment

The Map That Leads to You
by J.P. Monninger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"A romantic, vivid novel that takes place in the tender time of a young woman’s life: Heather has graduated from college and is traveling around Europe with her two best friends. She’s left school responsibility behind and adult responsibility is looming, but this is her one, ONE last summer to be free. Heather doesn’t expect to even meet Jack, let alone fall in love with him. Jack is an enigmatic Vermonter a few years older than she is, who is following his grandfather’s journal to various cities around Europe. But in the same way that forces are bringing Jack and Heather together, life and duty are pushing them apart. And Jack has a secret that is going to change absolutely everything."

I am willing to admit that I am a sucker for a good love story and though there were moments where I wasn't sure how I initially felt about the relationship between Heather and Jack, my heart was rallying for them in a big way.

Heather and Jack are such like-able characters. They have wit, charm, and a fabulous sense of humor. The dialogue/banter between them is enjoyable to witness and though it moved quickly, their love was beautiful to watch take shape. Of course, with every great love story, there is always something else lurking in the shadows. Jack's secret is that something else.

In addition to the sweetness of the Heather and Jack romance, you have the friendships that Heather has with Amy and Constance. How she speaks of her friends gives you everything you need to see how pure Heather's heart is and how much you want her to find her happy ending - whatever that may need to be.

Aside from the obvious love story, I also wanted to point out how beautifully the writer takes you through each city in this romantic European adventure. You are absolutely there with the characters, experiencing the culture in a new way.

This story flows naturally and does not disappoint. If you are a fan of NA/chicklit, I highly recommend this read.

I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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