Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fifo "50 States" by Hayley Rose

Inkwell Productions (November 16, 2010) 106 pages
Ages 4-8(and up)

Fifo has been bitten by the travel bug! Digging up diamonds in Arkansas, looking for fossils in Kansas, enjoying a delicious bowl of gumbo in Louisiana, and even seeing a Broadway show in New York. America is an exiting place! In Fifo's second book, told in rhyme, Fifo dreams about visiting all 50 states. A colorful reference-like book, Fifo discovers the wonders each state has to offer. He learns along the way each state's capital, shape, flag, motto, and much, much more. The possibilities are endless! So, come along with Fifo and you'll soon discover the beauty of America one state to another.

About the Author:
Hayley Rose grew up in the beach side town of Pacific Palisades, California, to a family of visual artists. In the early 90's she traveled the U.S. with her band Crush Violet. In 1994, after a family reunion, she was inspired to write a children's book. Her first book, Fifo When I Grow Up was published in 2002. Fifo 50 States is the second in the Fifo series. Along with writing children's books, Hayley has been working in entertainment business management for the past 15 years specializing in concert touring. She has worked with many A list musicians, and hopes to one day soon release an album of children's songs. She is currently a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Illustrated by Jessie B. Orlet

My Review:
As a mom who hopes to homeschool, I'm thrilled to have Fifo "50 States" on our bookshelf!! There is just so much information in it, and there's really something for all ages. I know it is mostly intended for ages 4-8, but I doubt most of us know all of the facts about each state. There's a great deal that I don't know, so it's a great lesson for me, too.

Each state has its own two pages. On the left side is a poem that teaches the state's number, capital, flower, tree, bird, and the state's motto is at the bottom. The poem for each one is basicly the same, except certain words are replaced for each state. You may or may not like this, but I loved that about it. I'm not a teacher, but it seems like it will make it easier to learn.
On the right page is a picture with all kinds of different highlights from that state, including the flag and a picture of the state. Of course, since each state has different things that make it stand out, all the pictures are very unique. I think it would be fun to let your child go on a "treasure hunt" in each picture and find all the different highlights of the state. For example, Pennsylvania has a groundhog and hersheys kisses in its picture, along with lots of other items! This isn't a book you would want to just read straight through.

The only somewhat complaint I have is that it is paperback. I would have prefered hardcover for this type of book, but I think it provides such a fun learning experience that I'd overlook the paperback part. :)

I just adored this book, and again, I'm so glad it is on our shelves. We will definitely make use of Fifo "50 States" when we start to study geography, whether we homeschool or not!

Click HERE to visit the website where you can learn more about the book. Click on the home link and you can actually take a peek inside the book, which I recommend! :)

*I was provided a review copy of this book through the Pump Up Your Book tour in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Part-Time Vegan by Cherise Grifoni

Adams Media (March 18, 2011) 256 pages

Adopt "Meatless Mondays"
Scramble tofu for brunch
Eat more beans--and less beef . . .
. . . or not. It's all good, according to Cherise Grifoni, your fearless guide to the seemingly complex world of no-meat, no-eggs, no-dairy. In this guilt-free cookbook, you'll discover how to go vegan without feeling any pressure whatsoever. But a warning: the mouthwatering recipes may have you transitioning to full-time much sooner than you anticipated!

Honestly, what's not to love when you're eating:

Purely Vegan Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread
Lean, Mean, Black Bean Guacamole
Very Vegan Potato Pesto Salad
Spicy Roasted Tomato Soup
Roasted-Garlic Mashed Taters
Spanish Artichoke and Zucchini Paella
Barley Pilaf with Edamame and Roasted Red Pepper
No matter why you want to go vegan--whether it's for health, the planet, or some other worthy reason--this cookbook makes sure you have fun in the process!

My Review:
When I saw this book up for review, I became really excited! I've been a vegetarian for close to 13 years, and I've never had a problem without meat. Unfortunately, though, I've tried several times to cut out dairy products and my body doesn't do well. I don't know what I'm leaving out, because I'm not a nutritionist, but I can't seem to do it in a healthy manner. I strongly have the desire to cut out dairy products, though, and I thought this book could help me along a bit, or at least do it "part-time" as the title of the book suggests.
I was so disappointed. It became clear very quickly that this book wasn't what I was expecting. I was hoping for more down to earth recipes, and ingredients like beans and natural products. It seems like almost all of the recipes use ingredients like soy, or seitan, or nutritional yeast or some type of "fake meat". I've eat soy for years, but I've began to recently question how healthy all these processed soy foods are. My body has actually been giving me warning signs that it's not as healthy as it seems. I'm trying to cut them out of my family's diet and replace it with healthier products. This cookbook didn't help out with that goal. I do want to give the recipes some credit, though. You can use other ingredients to replace the soy, but then what's the point of it being a vegan cookbook when you have to add dairy products back in? There are SOME recipes that fit what I was looking for, but I really had to weed through to find them. I truly think if you are already a vegan and you use these types of ingredients, you'll enjoy this cookbook.
Another complaint I have is the language. It's a cookbook! Why the need to use profanity?! I know this isn't a Christian book or anything, but again, it's a cookbook and totally inappropriate.
There's also no pictures. It may just be me, but I like to have pictures with my cookbook recipes. I don't guess they are absolutely necessary, but I highly prefer pictures.
I really hate that I seem to be bashing this book, but I was just really diappointed.

*I received a copy of this book for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Celebration Week @ Live, Learn, Love

Annette @ Live, Learn, Love is having a Celebration Week full of giveaways. In celebration of what? A new baby-on-the-way! I'm so happy for her family!! :)

Make sure when you head over there to scroll down. I'm linking to the site, but her first giveaway is already posted.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley (The Angeleon Circle- Book 1)

WaterBrook Press (June 21, 2011)272 pages

The stranger’s cloak had fallen back, and with it, a long, white, blood-stained wing.

When Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of a stranger in the temple courtyard, age-old legends recited in song suddenly come to life. She discovers wings on the stranger, and the murderer takes the shape of both a hawk and a man.

Angels. Shape-shifters. Myths and stories—until now.

Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. When Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without settling an ancient debt—the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.

My Review:
I'm a huge fan of clean young adult paranormal books! I just love them!! The "clean" part is what makes them hard to find. I'm very much impressed by Karyn Henley's writing. This is only the 2nd book I've read on the subject of angels, but I found it very unique and very much unpredictible. And clean! Even though Breath of Angel is labeled as Christian, it had no Christian elements to it, so it can be enjoyed by everyone. The angels in this story are just as unreal as werewolves and vampires.

I immediately got caught up in the story and couldn't wait to find out what happened. While the story does have an ending, this is a series that will conclude as it continues. There's definitely a cliff hanger, but it's not so bad that you will be mad. :)I don't know when the next one comes out, but I hate that I don't already have it in my hands.

I mentioned earlier that this book is unpredictable. I don't mind predictable stories one bit, and I thought I had this one figured out pretty quick. Nope! I kept getting surprised over and over. So, for those of you who like surprises in your stories, this is a book for you.

There are a lot of characters mentioned throughout the story. If you don't pay close attention, you might get a bit lost with all of them. I don't want to really say anything about the characters, though, because you should definitely figure out for yourself who is "good or bad." If you like young adult paranormal books AT ALL, I highly recommend Breath of Angel!

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Top 10 Books I Just HAD To Have...But Are Still Sitting On My Bookshelf

I saw this post idea at Reading to Know. Click HERE for her post. I just love these kinds of posts. If you do it, please come back and share your link, so we can all see your books, too. :)

These are in no particular order and they are only the tip of the iceberg. This would be one long post if I put them all on here.

Alice I Have Been: A Novel [DECKLE EDGE] (Hardcover)
by Melanie Benjamin
-This one not only has a beautiful cover, but it seemed really interesting. Imagine my excitement when I got to trade for it...yet it's still waiting to be read on my bookshelf! I just love the look of it so much, that it will probably remain on my bookshelf whether I love it or hate it when I finally read it. I don't think I currently have any books like that, so this will be a first.

The Family
by J.R. Miller
-This is the cover and title that I have, but it's much easier to find if you look up the title The Family instead. From my understanding, The Family is the new title. (???)

by Kristen Cashore

A Great and Terrible Beauty (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy)
by Libba Bray

-I've heard this series is amazing, but I've yet to find out for myself. I also have the next two waiting, Rebel Angels (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy Book #2)
and The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, Book 3)

The Inn at Angel Island (An Angel Island Novel) by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer
I was really excited when this new series began, and even more excited when I won it, but I haven't even opened it up yet!

In the Company of Others: A Father Tim Novel by Jan Karon

-I waited almost 3 years for the next installment of this series, and I finally got the opportunity to trade for it. I absolutely can't believe it's still sitting here unread!!

Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier

-I think most of you know from reading my blog that Wildwood Dancing
is one of my absolute favorite books of all time! I can't believe I've made the second one wait so long to be read.

The Host: A Novel by Stephanie Meyer

Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
-I very much want to read this one, but I think I fear it may be a tough read. I like MOST of my books light and fluffy. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tales of the Dim Knight by Adam and Andrea Graham

Splashdown Books (November 22, 2010) 354 pages

Mild-mannered janitor and superhero fanboy Dave Johnson gets all his wishes at once when a symbiotic alien gives him supernatural powers. But what's he to do with them? Follow his laugh-a-minute progress as he fights crime and corruption while trying to keep his family together and avoid being sued for copyright infringement.

My Review:
A few months ago, I remember seeing Adam and Andrea featured at another blog. This isn't normally the type of book I read, but I was very intrigued. When I got the opportunity to read Tales of the Dim Knight, I was thrilled. While I was hoping to like the book, I was very surprised at just how much I did! I won't say this is a book for everybody, but if you like corny(I mean that in a good way!) heroes and all, or if you're wanting(or willing) to step out of your comfort reading level, this is the perfect book to read! While it may seem targeted towards those of you who like superheroes and comic books, I've only *looked* at one comic book in my life that I recall. I may have gotten some of the lines better if I was a comic book fan, but I was still greatly impressed as just an average reader. :)
I do have that childlike, sometimes weird sense of humor. My husband and I are completely different in what we find funny. At the beginning of this book, I think I laughed more than any book I've ever read. It does get way more serious and deeper as the book goes further, but it still kept its funny moments. You do have to have a good sense of humor to enjoy this book, I think. Christianity AND marriage both play huge roles in this book. While I'm not surprised about the Christianity, since that's what its labeled as, I was extremely surprised about the role of marriage and family.
I had so much fun reading this book, and a book that makes me laugh as much as I did doesn't deserve any less than 5 stars!! I very much recommend this book for anyone who wants a fun, entertaining escape, but be prepared for some seriousness, too!!

*I received this book from the publisher/author in exchange for my honest opinion.

Click HERE for the Dim Knight website.

Click HERE for Sample Chapter.

I also highly recommend THIS POST if you're a parent considering Tales of the Dim Knight for your children. While this is a clean book, I still think you should read the post.

Author Bios:
Adam Graham is a multi-talented author known for his wit and poignancy. His political column appears on and Renew America. He also has short stories published in the anthology Light at the Edge of Darkness, and in the Laser & Sword e-zine. He hosts the Truth and Hope Report podcast, as well as the Old Time Dragnet Radio Show, Great Detectives of Old Time Radio and the Old Time Superman Radio Show. Mr. Graham holds a general studies Associate of Arts degree from Flathead Valley Community College with a concentration in Journalism. He tweets at @idahoguy, @dimknight and @radiodetectives.
Andrea Graham co-authored Adam’s first novel, Tales of the Dim Knight. Her short story “Frozen Generation” also appeared in Light at the Edge of Darkness. She studied creative writing and religion at Ashland University. Visit her online at and Ask Andrea, or follow her tweets @povbootcamp.

Adam and Andrea live with their cat, Joybell, in Boise , Idaho . They are members of several writers groups, including Lost Genre Guild and American Christian Fiction Writers. Adam is president of their local ACFW chapter, Idahope.

Tales of the Dim Knight Tour Schedule:

3/17/ James Somers

3/20 and 3/27 David James

4/1/ April Erwin

4/3/ Phyllis Wheeler

4/4/ Noah Arsenault

4/4/ Sarah Sawyer

4/5/ Me :)

4/6/ Timothy Hicks

4/7 Joan Nienhuis

4/8 Carol E. Keen

4/11 Morgan L. Busse

4/14/ Emily LaVigne

4/15 Chawna Schroeder

4/22 Frank Creed

4/28/ Beckie Burnham

5/3/ Amy Cruson

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools Giveaways @ Reading to Know

Carrie, at Reading to Know is having LOTS of great giveaways today!! 10, to be exact!! All the winners will be very lucky indeed. :)

Here's the lineup:

Giveaway #1
The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog

Set of 4 Tuffbooks from NorthSouth Books

The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguirite Henry

The Nancy Drew Sleuth Book by Carolyn Keene

Set of 2 books from Tiger Tales Books

Hood by Stephen Lawhead

Tell Me The Day Backwards by Albert Lamb

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Pattilo

The Strictest School in the World by Howard Whitehouse

These giveaways end on April 7th.

Francine Rivers Giveaway @ Tyndale

I know a lot of us are Francine Rivers fans!! This is an awesome giveaway to check out.

Click HERE.

The Grand prize is a complete Francine Rivers collection. I can't imagine how exciting that would be!