Friday, March 22, 2019

Review: Nibbles

Title:  Nibbles
Author:  Emma Yarlett
Published: March 1st 2016 by Kane Miller EDC Publishing
Goodreads / Book Depository / Usborne

Thoughts: We've actually had this book for a while, but I tend to avoid paper (vs board) books when it comes to my little one. She's better now, but she used to roughly rip pages in books, and it drives me insane. Sure it's by accident, but I think the bibliophile in all of us can agree that we live our books pristine and as perfect as the day the were born printed. Anyway, my reading assistant grabbed this book off of the shelf last night and said "Read this to me.". Who am I to say no to her?  After all, she's in charge of our picture books department

Nibbles is about a little yellow monster who loves nibbling on books.  He gets out of his cage one day and begins nibbling his way through other stories.  Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, and even Jack and the Beanstalk!  Eek!

As the story goes on, you see yourself flipping through these books and finding the narrative has changed thanks to good ole Nibbles.  It's adorable.  Nibbles will scare some characters, anger others, and even possible save a few.  It really is a fun book, and C (my reading assistant) loved turning the pages to see where Nibbles wound up next.

It's an interactive book where you can search for Nibbles, try to catch him in his cage, and just smile as you read these "retold" classic tales to your wee one.  We both had huge smiles by the end, and now it's one of our favorite bedtime stories.  If you're interested, there's even a Nibbles plush out there to go along with your book.

Word of caution- My daughter thinks Nibbles is pronounced "Nipples", and lets me know she has two "Nibbles" on her body.  We laugh it off, but it definitely caught me off-guard when she pointed this out.  Too funny.

If you're looking for a cute, fun, entertaining book the entire family can enjoy, I highly recommend checking out Nibbles.  I do recommend it for children two and up though, because I don't think it would hold my daughter's attention if she were around the one year age range mostly due to the length of some of the pages.  It's not long, but it's not one year old attention span short (if you know what I mean). 


5 Stars

Monday, March 18, 2019

Audiobook Review: Broken Beautiful Hearts

Title: Broken Beautiful Hearts
Author: Kami Garcia
Published: February 6th 2018 by Imprint Make Your Mark
Audiobook provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / IndieBound / Book Depository

Review: You guys, I cannot rave about this book enough. It has everything anyone could want in a contemporary YA novel. Romance? Check! Complicated relationships? Check! Hilarious and amazing friendships as well as a strong family? Check! Leave it to Kami Garcia for writing, yet again, another brilliant novel.

The novel immediately starts off with Peyton, her crazy soon to be ex-boyfriend, her best friend (aka his sister), and the night that changed it all. Peyton uncovers a secret her ex has been holding and when she tries to break things off with him, he ends up doing the unthinkable. Now her town thinks she's a liar, her best friend sides with her ex, and the only people that believe her are her family. To protect Peyton, her mom sends her out to live with her uncle and twin cousins in a small country town in Tennessee. She keeps the story of what happened that night to herself, and decides to make the best of the situation. What she wasn't expecting was to find Owen- This brooding, rough yet sweet guy who also seems to be holding a secret of his own.

First off, I have to say how much I adored Peyton. She was the protagonist and the MVP of the Broken Beautiful Hearts show. There aren't a lot of women, much less teenage women, who would have the courage to face her abuser and stand her ground the way she did. On top of that, she's a great daughter, niece, cousin, and friend.

Next up, while her cousins weren't the star of the show, they were still some of my favorite characters. Their hilarity cracked me up, and they epitomized the everyday messy teenage guy. They obviously love Peyton and would protect her above all else. People are too quick to stereotype the high school jock. In the end, they might surprise you.

Lastly, Owen. Y'all, who wouldn't fall for Owen. He's complicated and brooding. For the superficial fangirl/fanboy in all of us, he's also devilishy handsome and has a killer body to boot. Though he could easily be the hero in the story, Peyton doesn't need him to be. She's her own hero, but it's nice to know there's a team out there who has her back, and Owen is the head cheerleader in Team Peyton.

For anyone out there who has been called a liar when they weren't, who has had rumors spread about them, and who came out the better person in the end, this one's is for you.


5 Stars

Monday, June 25, 2018

Title: The Last To Let Go
Author: Amber Smith
Published: February 6th 2018 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: eARC courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Goodreads / Amazon/ Barnes and Noble / IndieBound / Book Depository

Thoughts: I'm easily becoming a fan of Amber Smith. She has this ability to write these captivating (yet uncomfortable) novels that draws you in until the very end. THE LAST TO LET GO is no exception. From the beautiful writing to the unforgettable characters, this novel is one where I might even say I had a hard time letting go of.

To be honest, I read this novel a while ago and have been procrastinating writing this review. How do I put into worlds a book that touched me deeply while also triggering emotions I wasn't sure I had? In the end, I sat down, thought it through, and let the words flow. Once they did, I started realizing how much THE LAST TO LET GO cut through my very core, and I'm so grateful I read it.

Brooke did not live an easy life. She grew up with an abusive father, and one day her mother just snaps, ultimately killing her father. What happened that day (much like Brooke's life) isn't exactly black and white. There's a huge gray area, and what's left in the wake is Brooke's life. Often times, the story is told through the mother's point of view. What happens when you're the child, and you're left with the broken pieces?

The story is beautifully written, there's no doubt about that. The only reason I'm not giving it five stars is, much like THE WAY I USED TO BE, I found many of the characters to be unlikable. There were so many times where I just wanted to jump into the book and scream at them. The thing is, this novel is courageous. It isn't afraid to tell the truth, even if that means hating the people themselves. Sadly though, I'm one of those people that simply gets TOO irritated if I don't love the characters all too much. I can't get over it, and it ends up effecting my relationship with the book.

Like I said, Amber Smith isn't afraid to get down, dirty, and real, and this novel is as real as it gets. I recommend this to those ready to explore novels outside of the happy-go-lucky realm.


4 Stars

Friday, April 6, 2018

Blog Tour: As She Fades Review

Hey, everyone! Lena here, and today I'll be covering AS SHE FADES by Abbi Glines. I originally discovered Abbi through a fellow blogger who truly adores her writing. Book Bloggers are the best resources when it comes to books, especially ones you personally know and trust. Needless to say, she was not wrong about this amazing author. Want to know my thoughts on Abbi Glines' latest? Keep on reading!

Title: As She Fades
Author: Abbi Glines
Published: April 3rd 2018 by Feiwel Friends
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository / IndieBound
*Review copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

"On the night of her high school graduation, Vale McKinley and her boyfriend Crawford are in a terrible car accident that leaves Crawford in a coma. They were supposed to spend the summer planning for college, for a bright future full of possibility. Together. Instead, Vale spends long days in the hospital, hoping Crawford will awaken.

Slate Allen, a college friend of Vale's brother, has been visiting his dying uncle at the same hospital. When he and Vale meet, she can't deny the flutter of an illicit attraction. She tries to ignore her feelings, but she's not immune to Slate's charm. Slowly, they form a cautious friendship.

Then, Crawford wakes up . . . with no memory of Vale or their relationship. Heartbroken, Vale opts to leave for college and move on with her life. Except now, she's in Slate's territory, and their story is about to take a very strange turn."

Review: Once again, Abbi Glines knocks it out of the park with another unputdownable (yes, I know this is not a real word) novel. AS SHE FADES is one of those books where you're completely drawn in from the first page to the very last. Their lives somehow become your life, and while you're itching to know how it ends, you simultaneous do not want it to. At last, it does have to end at some point, and the ending did not disappoint.

Vale and her boyfriend Crawford (aka the "it" couple) are on their way to celebrate their high school graduation when they get into a car accident leaving Crawford in a coma. Vale spends all of her time in the hospital waiting for Crawford to wake up. What's a girl to do when the love of your life is somewhere between life and death? It is here that she meets Slate, a fraternity brother of her real brother. Slate is in the hospital visiting his dying uncle, and he's everything Vale hates. He's cocky, a player, and just everything a dad warns his daughter about. It isn't until Vale decides to go move on with her life and go to college that she starts to think maybe she was wrong about him.

What I loved about this book is all of the tension. Vale and her family is fantastic and understanding, especially her brothers. They all think she's spending too much time at the hospital and not enough with her family (especially with the little ones), but Vale never waivers. She wants to be there when Crawford wakes up. I'm glad Vale met Slate in the hospital. It added an extra layer to the romantic tension that boiled between them.

There's a twist in the book that, if I'm being perfectly honest, I saw after reading the first chapter. I kind of had a hunch whenever I saw the book (If you really want to know how I figured it out, email me or tweet me. You'll think to yourself, "Duh! How did I not?"). This aspect didn't take away from the story though, and I loved seeing how everything unfolded.

The only reason this isn't a 5 Star grand slam for me is I do wish there was MORE romance in it. There's hints and loads of maybes, but it wasn't the all-out YES I've come to expect from Abbi. Also, thought Crawford plays a role in the story, I never really swooned over him. I never had a reason for wanting Vale to stay with him other than the whole she's-been-with-him-forever factor. Slate, though? He's the guy you love to hate then hate to love.

All in all, fans of Abbi Glines will not be disappointed. If you're looking for a fast, fun, make you randomly smile books, this is for you.


4.5 Stars

Abbi Glines is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Rosemary Beach, Sea Breeze, Vincent Boys, Field Party and Existence series. She never cooks unless baking during the Christmas holiday counts. She believes in ghosts and has a habit of asking people if their house is haunted before she goes in it. She drinks afternoon tea because she wants to be British but alas she was born in Alabama. When asked how many books she has written she has to stop and count on her fingers. When she’s not locked away writing, she is reading, shopping (major shoe and purse addiction), sneaking off to the movies alone, and listening to the drama in her teenagers lives while making mental notes on the good stuff to use later. Don’t judge.

You can connect with Abbi online in several different ways. She uses social media to procrastinate.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

How to Say I Love You in 5 Languages

Title: How to Say I Love You in 5 Languages
Author: Kenard Pak
Published: February 14th 2018 by Wide Eyed Editions
*Copy sent courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository / IndieBound

"Learn to say, “I Love You” in French, Japanese, Mandarin, English and Spanish with this press and listen board book! Meet a child from each country who loves a different person, from George in England who loves his dog to Jia in China who loves her brother. Buttons on the side of the book allow children to listen to the phrase in each language. "

Review: This is one of those sweet children's books where the illustrations are lovely, there's a great meaning behind them, and it also teaches your children other cultures as well as languages. The book teaches you how to say I Love You in English, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, and French. My daughter and I have flipped through this one several times. She's only 16 months old, but she loves that she can pick it up with ease (it's very lightweight), and turn the pages. I will say she struggles a bit with pressing the speaking buttons. They're a little harder than other "musical" button books we've tried. Also, the audio is a bit muffled and difficult to understand. It takes a bit, but you end up getting used to it.

All in all, I do recommend it mostly for the learning experience as well as the illustrations. They're simple but gorgeous.


4 Stars

Monday, February 26, 2018

A Wrinkle In Time Blog Tour

Hey, all! Today I'll be sharing with you guys some of my favorite quotes from A WRINKLE IN TIME. For the past week, my little assistant (my Mrs. Whatsit if you will) and I have been reading a chapter a night (sometimes more, sometimes less- all depending on her attention span). This is one of my all time favorite novels, and it feels like a blast from the past. I love that we're able to have these moments together and showing her how books can take her to a whole other universe. Granted, sometimes we have to switch over to one of her Touchy-Feely books, but she mostly listens and takes it all in.

As you can see, she very much is a bibliophile in the making:

“Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. - Mrs. Whatsit”

“If you aren't unhappy sometimes you don't know how to be happy.”

“Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point. French. Pascal. The heart has its reasons, whereof reason knows nothing.”

“Qui plussait, plus se tait. French, you know. The more a man knows, the less he talks.”

“It seemed to travel with her, to sweep her aloft in the power of song, so that she was moving in glory among the stars, and for a moment she, too, felt that the words Darkness and Light had no meaning, and only this melody was real.”

“A book, too, can be a star, “explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,” a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”

"It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?"

If you haven't yet, be sure to snag a copy and check out A WRINKLE IN TIME. The movie comes out soon, so you'll want to be prepared for all of the epic adventures!

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository / IndieBound

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Blog Tour: This Heart of Mine Excerpt

Hey, all! I'm excited to share with you guys an excerpt from THIS HEART OF MINE. It's a fantastic read with an interesting set of characters and so much heart. I don't want to keep you guys waiting, so without further ado...

One month earlier
April 13th

“You lucky bitch!” I drop back down on my pink bedspread,
phone to ear, knowing Brandy is dancing on cloud nine and I’m
dancing with her. I glance at the door to make sure Mom isn’t
hovering and about to freak over my language. Again.
She isn’t there.

Lately, I can’t seem to control what comes out of my mouth.
Mom blames it on too much daytime who’s-the-baby-daddy
television. She could be right. But hey, a girl’s gotta have some

“Where he’s taking you?” I ask.

“Pablo’s Pizza.” Brandy’s tone lost the oh-God shriek quality.

“Why . . . why don’t you come with us?”

“On your date? Are you freaking nuts?”

“You go to the doctor’s office, you could—”

“No. That’s hell no!” I even hate going to the doctor’s office.
If people stare long enough they see the tube. But this isn’t even
about me. “I’d die before I get between you—”

“Don’t say that!” Brandy’s emotional reprimand rings too
loud. Too painful.

“It’s just a figure of speech,” I say, but in so many ways it’s
not. I’m dying. I’ve accepted that. The people in my life haven’t.
So, for them, I pretend. Or try to.

“But if you—”

“Stop. I’m not going.”

There’s a gulp of silence. That’s when I realize my “lucky
bitch” comment brought on the pity invite. Brandy’s worried
I’m jealous. And okay, maybe I am, a little. But my grandmother
used to say it was okay to see someone in a beautiful red dress
and think, I want a dress like hers. But it wasn’t okay to think,
I want a dress like hers and I want her to have a wart on her

I don’t wish Brandy warts. She’s had the hots for Brian for
years. She deserves Brian.

Do I deserve something besides the lousy card fate dealt to
me? Hell yeah. But what am I going to do? Cry? I tried that. I’ve
moved on.

Now I’ve got my bucket list. And my books.

The books are part of my bucket list. I want to read a hundred.
At least a hundred. I started counting after I got out of
the hospital the first time I survived an infection from my artificial
heart. I’m at book twenty-eight now. I won’t mention how
many of them were romance novels.

“Leah,” Brandy starts in again.

The chime of the doorbell has me glancing at the pink clock
on my bedside table.

It’s study time. Algebra. I hate it. But I kind of like hating
it. Because I hated it before I got sick. Hating the same things
as before makes me feel more like the old me.

“Gotta go. Ms. Strong is here.” I bounce my heels on the
bed. The beaks on my Donald Duck slippers bob up and down.
Lately, I’ve been into cartoon-character slippers. They make
my feet look happy. Mom’s bought me three pairs: Mickey,
Donald, and Dumbo.

“But—” Brandy tries again.

“No. But you’re gonna tell me everything. All the sexy
details. How good he kisses. How good he smells. How many
times you catch him staring at your boobs.”

Yep, I’m jealous all right. But I’m not a heartless bitch. Well,
maybe I am. Heartless, really heartless, but not so much a bitch.
I carry an artificial heart around in a backpack. It’s keeping me

“I always tell you everything,” Brandy says.

No, but you used to. I stare up at my whirling polka-dot ceiling
fan. Even Brandy’s walking on eggshells, scared she’ll say
something to remind me that I got a raw deal, something that
will make me feel sorry for myself. I’m done doing that. But I
hate hearing that crunch as people tiptoe around the truth.

“Leah.” Mom calls me.

“Gotta go.” I hang up, grab my heart, and get ready to face

I really hate it, but it’s number one on my bucket list—my
last hurrah. Well, not algebra, but graduating high school. And
I don’t want a diploma handed to me. I want to earn it.
I spot Mom standing in the entrance of the dining room
turned study. She’s rubbing her palms over her hips. A nervous
habit, though I have no idea what’s got her jittery now. I survived
the last infection and the one before that. She hears
my footsteps, looks at me. Her brow puckers—another sign of
serious mama fret.

I stop. Why’s she so nervous? “What?”

“Ms. Strong couldn’t make it.” She’s rushes off faster than
her hurried words.

I hear someone shuffling in the dining room. I’m leery. Hesitant.
I move in. My Donald Duck slippers skid to a quick stop
when I see the dark-haired boy at the table.
“Shit.” I suck my lips into my mouth in hopes I didn’t say it
loud enough for him to hear.

He grins. He heard me. That smile is as good as the ones I
read about in romance novels. Smiles described as crooked,
mind-stopping, or coming with a melt-me-now quality. I swear
my artificial heart skips two beats.

He’s one of the Kenner twins, either Eric or Matt, the two
hottest boys in school. I used to be able to tell them apart, but
now I’m not sure of anything. If I combed my hair today. If I
brushed my teeth. If I have on a bra?

I close my mouth, run my tongue over my fuzzy-feeling
teeth, trying to quietly suck them clean.

Glancing down, away from his eyes, I rock back and forth
on my heels, my Donald Ducks’ bills rocking with me. Should
I run back to my room? But how pathetic will I look then? And
if I do, he’ll leave. Lifting my gaze, I realize I’m not sure I want
him to go. I kinda like looking at him.

“Hey,” he says.

“Hey,” I mimic and realize I’m hiding the backpack behind
my leg. I give my bright red tank top a tug down to cover the
tube that extends from the backpack and pokes into me under
my left ribcage. A hole that kinda looks like a second belly button.

Yup, I’m hiding the very thing that’s keeping me alive.
“Ms. Strong couldn’t make it,” he says as if reading my
mood and realizing he needs to justify his being here. “She
asked me to sub.”

“For how many extra credit points?” I wait for him to tell
me he did it just out of kindness. And, if true, it would mean
he did it out of pity. I’m not sure I’d enjoy looking at him
anymore. I’d rather be someone’s means to a better grade.
Brandy told me that everyone in school knows about my dead

“Fifteen. I got lazy and didn’t turn in some homework.
You’ll pump me up to a B.”

“You should have held out for twenty.”

He smiles again. “I don’t think it was negotiable.”

Moving in, I try to guess which twin he is. I try to figure
out how to ask, but everything I think of sounds lame. Let him
be Matt.

I had a thing for Matt since seventh grade. It might have
been wishful thinking, but in tenth grade I thought he liked me
too. Not that it ever went anywhere. He was football, I was book
club. He was popular, I was . . . not. Then I started dating Trent.
A guy in book club. A guy I let off the hook as soon as I found
out my heart was dying.

“Your books?” he asks.

I don’t understand the question, until I see he’s pointing to
my backpack.

Crap! I freak a little. I have several pat answers in my head
that I came up with when Mom, afraid I was turning into an
agoraphobe, insisted I get out of the house. But I can’t remember
them. The silence reeks of awkwardness.

So I go with the truth. “No. It’s my . . . heart.”

“Shit.” He spills my favorite word.

I laugh.

His eyes meet mine and he smiles again. Yup, it’s kinda
crooked. My mind’s not working. And I’m melting.
“Oh, you’re joking,” he says. “Right?”

I nod yes then shake my head no as if I don’t know the

His smile fades like a light on a dimmer switch. “Seriously?”

Add it on Goodreads

A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living, took more courage than dying?

About the Author

C.C. HUNTER is a pseudonym for award-winning romance author Christie Craig. She is lives in Tomball, Texas, where she’s at work on her next novel