Friday, November 30, 2012

Must-Have Children's Books (Ages 0-5)

I recently wandered into a bookstore looking for a baby gift for a friend.  As much as any book lover can get lost in a library or bookstore, I will always get sucked into a good children's section!

I saw so many books that I felt MUST be in a child's library, it was difficult for me to choose just one...or four.  This inspired me to put together yet another list over at Skinny Scoop - Must-Have Books for Children (Ages 0-5).

I have a few lists over there so far, and I will link to them from time to time.  I am currently working on the Must-Have Books for Children (Ages 5-9).

Feel free to click on the link and let me know what you think, or if you have a favorite you can tell me here too!

Happy Reading to our Future Readers!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Leeza Hernandez!

If you have never taken the time to visit the little town of Clinton, New Jersey, you should do so during their Dickens Days celebration of the holiday season.  You never know what you'll see or who you'll meet - as I found out when I popped into my favorite Indie Bookstore, CLINTON BOOK SHOP.

They had several children's authors coming in and out of their store all weekend, and I was lucky enough to meet author and illustrator, Leeza Hernandez!

Leeza was in the spirit of the season on Sunday and was a joy to talk to.  She is originally from England, but she now lives in New Jersey!

Here are the two books I brought home with me. I hope my nieces will love them!

  • Dog Gone! by Leeza Hernandez
  • ISBN-13: 9780399254475
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/14/2012
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 556,683
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years

Eat Your Math Homework by Ann McCallum, Illustrated by Leeza Hernandez
  • ISBN-13: 9781570917806
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 719,693
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Movie Trailer: City of Bones

Book to Movie News!  Cassie Claire's The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is coming to the silver screen August 23, 2013. This gives you enough time to read the book...and then get sucked in to the rest of the series!  Don't say I didn't warn you, Cassandra Clare has created three series of books based on her Shadowhunters World: there are six books in The Mortal Instruments series; three books in The Infernal Devices series; and the third series, The Dark Artifices, publishes its first book in 2015.

Author Website

Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Perfect light YA...but expect to get sucked in.

Aislinn has the gift of sight.  She can see faeries, both those who choose to remain invisible, as well as see through the glamour which some faeries hide behind.  Her gift is a secret, as it puts her in great danger.  As long as she stays off of their radar and keeps her distance, she should remain safe.  She is safe, until one of the faeries talks to her. Unfortunately, Keenan, who is unlike any faerie she has seen before, approaches her openly and boldly.  From that moment on, the faeries don't seem to leave her alone and she must find out what it is they want from her. Only, when she finds out what they want, can she give it to them?  At what cost?  

I had read a string of great, but heavy, books, and needed an audio to give me a bit of a break.  WICKED LOVELY was the perfect book at the perfect time.  It was light, as many paranormal YA can be, but the characters were extremely likable keeping me interested.  

Melissa Marr's CARNIVAL OF SOULS knocked my socks off, so I had high expectations for her Wicked Lovely series. While Carnival of Souls was dark and violent, Wicked Lovely was mysterious and light.  Two very different vibes, yet they both work, which highlights the varied talents of this author! 

I am especially glad I chose to listen to the audio, read by Alyssa Bresnahan.  She did a wonderful job with the voices in the book, especially that of the Winter Queen - so very wicked!

My only complaint was that, at times, it felt like the first in a series.  There was a decent amount of setting and background, and not as much action as I had expected.  That being said, I already have the second book in the series, INK EXCHANGE, ready to go for my next car ride!  

Many thanks to Beth Fish Reads for helping me decide on Wicked Lovely!  

Book Extras:
Melissa Marr website, Facebook, Twitter

About the  AudioBook:

  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 9 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Harper Audio
  • Release Date: April 29, 2008
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0018OQ2KO

About the Book:
  • Reading level: Ages 13 and up
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061214671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061214677

About the Author: (From publisher)
Melissa Marr grew up believing in faeries, ghosts, and various other creatures. After teaching college literature for a decade, she applied her fascination with folklore to writing. Wicked Lovely was her first novel. Currently, Marr lives in the Washington, D.C., area, writes full-time, and still believes in faeries and ghosts.

It's Monday...What Are You Reading?

Good Morning!  

Today is Monday, November 26, 2012...What Are You Reading?  
This weekly meme is brought to you by the always lovely Sheila from Book Journey!

I figured since my goal was to spend most of the weekend participating in Jenn's Bookshelves' annual Thankfully Reading Weekend, I would write one post that covers the weekend, as well as the last week. Two turkeys, one get the idea. Turns out, I was the big turkey this weekend!

Unfortunately, I stayed up way too late on Friday night at my 20th High School Reunion (I know, right?) and nothing, not even YA could keep my attention on Saturday, so I caught up on Revenge.  Hey, even an avid reader likes to watch some television now and then! 

So, even though I didn't finish nearly as many books as I had originally hoped, it was a nice, quiet weekend!

Books Completed:

Still Working On:

Plan For This Week:

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving!!

I'm not sure I ever shared this little fact with you before, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It's about family and friends, and giving thanks, without any of the stress or expense of gifts (although, I do love to give gifts!).  It is the calm before the hectic frenzy that the holiday season has become.

This year, Thanksgiving has come a little too early this year for those of us in the Hurricane Sandy zone.  My area of NJ was without power for two weeks, so for us, it feels like it should only be November 1st.  And while some people who did not lose power, or only did for a short time, are fully ready for Thanksgiving, I'm not quite there yet.  I usually host a big Thanksgiving feast for my extended family, welcoming aunts and uncles and cousins I don't get to see very often, especially now that my weekends are filled with soccer games, little league, and school commitments.  This year my sister has graciously taken it over, and on a smaller, more intimate scale.  I have to admit, I think it's going to be perfect for where we are emotionally this year. 

New York and New Jersey are still recovering, and too many families are without a home today.  I am overwhelmed by the generosity of  businesses and communities all over the tri-state area helping out those areas most affected by the storm.  We know friends who are doing what they can - both big and small acts of kindness - to make life a little easier for others.  We are doing what we can as well, and encourage you to do the same.

In the meantime, I would like to take a moment to thank God for the safety of my family and friends, for my home, which is still standing, and for the love, friendship, and kindness that is all around me.  For these things I am so very blessed and so very Thankful. 

Bless you and your family on this Thanksgiving Day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Thankfully Reading Weekend is here!!

This Thanksgiving weekend, join me, as well as my hostesses, Jenn's Bookshelves and Jennifer from Literate Housewife, in a fun-filled weekend of reading, giveaways and bookish delights!

 Here's the skinny from Jenn:
There are no rules to the weekend, we’re simply hoping to devote a good amount of time to reading, and perhaps meeting some of our reading challenges and goals for 2012. We thought it’d be fun if we cheered each other on a bit. If you think you can join in, grab the button  and add your sign in post to the link-up below. If you don’t have a blog, you can sign up the comments! 
We’ll also be checking in on Twitter using hashtag #thankfulreading. Join in for the weekend or for only a single day. No rules, no pressure!

Below are the books I would like to read before the end of 2012, and this weekend I'm hoping to tackle at least three of them!  

THE SHOEMAKER'S WIFE by Adriana Trigiani
SHADOW OF NIGHT by Deborah Harkness
WILD by Cheryl Strayed
INSURGENT (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth
CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein
THE LOST PRINCE by Julie Kagawa
FLIGHT BEHAVIOR by Barbara Kingsolver

Review: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

A new favorite!

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons. Told in Dinah's voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood--the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers--Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah--the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through a hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past. Deeply affecting, The Red Tentcombines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women's society

How do I review this book, seriously??!  THE RED TENT came to me highly recommended, and now it is included in my favorite books of all time. Go read it.

It only took me 2-3 days to read, but THE RED TENT went with me everywhere - planes, trains, and automobiles, everywhere! There was no way I was putting this book down!  Unfortunately for my friend and fellow book-lover, Fran, who loaned me this book, I owe her another copy, because this poor book looks like it crossed continents and went through customs. I'm so sorry, Fran!

Let me start from the beginning.  A few months ago, I was invited to join a new book club.  During our first meeting, we thought it would be fun to discuss our  favorite books. Listed among the group were:  A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, East of Eden, The Glass Castle, Little Women, The Kite Runner, Pillars of the Earth, Room, Still Missing, and other books that were among my favorites as well.  Among the books, there was one book I had not read, THE RED TENT. Everyone was shocked that I had not yet read The Red Tent, nor had I heard of it before (I know, I know!), so a copy of the book was thrust into my hands with the assignment to read it post haste!

It took me a little while to pick it up, because I was a bit intimidated by the plot.  I know the story of Jacob, Joseph and his brothers (thanks to Andrew Lloyd-Webber) but my overall knowledge of bible stories is severely lacking.  Once I got rolling, it didn't matter.  Anita Diamant took Jacob's bible story and expanded it to include details of his wives and his only daughter, Dinah.

THE RED TENT is a celebration of women - their bodies, their minds, their hearts, and the bonds that tie them together.  Brilliantly written!

It was highly recommended to me, and now I highly recommend it to you!

(Now I can't wait to read her DAY AFTER NIGHT.)

Book Extras:
Goodreads Page
Author Website, Blog,

About the Book:
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reissue edition (August 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312427298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312427290

About the Author:
Anita Diamant is a prizewinning journalist whose work has appeared regularly in the Boston Globe Magazine and Parenting magazine. She is the author of six books about contemporary Jewish practice, one collection of autobiographical essays (Pitching My Tent) and three prior novels. The Red Tent, her first novel, was a national bestseller and the Booksense Book of the Year. Good Harbor and The Last Days of Dogtown were both national bestsellers. Diamant lives in Massachusetts with her husband and daughter

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Releases!

If you are a Jersey girl looking for something hilarious to read - do yourself a favor and read Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series.  Please, whatever you do, don't judge the book by the movie!  

For those of us who were in love with Morelli and Ranger long before there was an Edward and Jacob, you'll be happy to know that Notorious Nineteen is available today!  (Of course, if you're like me, that sucker has been on your eReader since midnight)

Happy Reading!

  • Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19) by Janet Evanovich
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (November 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345527747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345527745

Other new book releases today:

The Forgotten by David Baldacci (Grand Central, $27.99; ISBN 978-0-446-57305-4).

The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 days by JJ Virgin, CNS, CHFS, (Harlequin Nonfiction, $25.95; ISBN 978-0-373-89271-6)

Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein (Grand Central, $16.99 paper; ISBN 978-1-4555-2058-9). 

The Buzzard Table by Margaret Maron (Grand Central, $25.99; ISBN 978-0-446-55582-1)

The Prince by Tiffany Reisz (Mira, $13.95 paper; ISBN 978-0-7783-1410-3).

Fox Tracks by Rita Mae Brown (Ballantine, $26; ISBN 978-0-345-53297-8).

The 4-Hour Chef by Timothy Ferriss (New Harvest, $30; ISBN 978-0-547-88459-2).

Grace by Grace Coddington (Random House, $30; ISBN 978-0-8129-9335-6).

This Living Hand by Edmund Morris (Random House, $32; ISBN 978-0-8129-9312-7)

Life is a Gift by Tony Bennett (Harper, $28.99, ISBN  9780062207067).

B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs Volume 4 by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Guy Davis, andDave Stewart  Dark Horse | 9781595829740 | Published November 20, 2012

Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2013: Every Recipe...A Year's Worth of Cooking Light Magazine by Editors of Cooking Light Magazine Oxmoor House | 9780848736583 | Published November 20, 2012

Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland by Bill Willingham, Jim Fern, Craig Hamilton,Ray Snyder, and Mark Farmer  Vertigo | 9781401224790 | Published November 20, 2012
Interview with the Vampire: Claudia's Story by Anne Rice and Ashley Witter
Yen Press | 9780316176361 | Published November 20, 2012
Ragemoor by Jan Strnad, Scott Allie, and Richard Corben
Dark Horse | 9781595829641 | Published November 20, 2012
Thermae Romae, Vol. 1 by Mari Yamazaki
Yen Press | 9780316229197 | Published November 20, 2012
Zoo: The Graphic Novel by James Patterson and Andy McDonald
Yen Press | 9780316127608 | Published November 20, 2012

Scholastic Gives Back for the Holidays

The publishing industry never fails to inspire me. This holiday campaign was brought to my attention last week and I wanted to share it with all of you. 


Call to action for families to read books to and with their kids, and Scholastic will donate books to children in need –with a minimum of 50,000 books committed

Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, The UPS Store and Marine Toys for Tots Foundation are launching a READ EVERY DAY holiday campaign to promote the love of reading and encourage all families to help give books to kids who need them most, including those who lost books due to Hurricane Sandy.  This holiday literacy drive is part of Scholastic’s global literacy campaign, Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life, an effort to help all children experience the love of reading and owning a book.

Here is how families can help to contribute books to kids in need this holiday season:
1)      Download Storia®, Scholastic’s new teacher-recommended children’s ereading app, and help pass on the reading to kids in need. Upon downloading Storia, families will receive five free children’s ebooks to start a home digital library. For every additional ebook purchased on Storia now through Dec. 31, 2012, Scholastic will donate a children’s book to a child in need through the Toys for Tots Literacy Program (with a minimum of 50,000 books committed).                                                                                                                                      
2)      Visit a participating The UPS Store location across the U.S. now through Dec. 31, 2012 to purchase a donation card to benefit the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, a year-round initiative of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Every dollar donated helps provide new books from Scholastic for less fortunate children in local communities throughout the U.S. Customers can also donate online at The UPS Store Facebook page.  As part of the longstanding collaboration with Scholastic Literacy Partners, The UPS Store location that raises the most money during the holidays will receive 500 books to share with families in their local community.      


Available for free download on PC and iPad, and on select Android tablets, the Storia eReading app is designed to captivate kids while helping them become better readers. Storia offers thousands of curated titles for kids from toddlers through teens, of which many are enriched with vocabulary and comprehension activities and video. Storia has been recognized by Warren Buckleitner with the Editor’s Choice Award for children’s eBook apps in Children’s Technology Review, awarded 2012 Best Toy of the Year award by Dr. Toy and received glowing reviews in The New York Times and School Library Journal.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley

Grab your tissues!

Matt Beaulieu and Elle McClure have loved one another for as long as they can remember. Elle was the girl next door and Matt was her first love. Being together so long, it's hard to imagine there is anything they don't know about each other.  They fought and struggled trying to have a baby, but Elle's rare health condition made their dream of becoming parents unrealized.

Matt, a young neurosurgeon, knows all too well what a catastrophic brain injury means. But when Elle takes a fall from a ladder and is pronounced brain dead, he is ready to say goodbye, until he finds out she is pregnant with the child they had always wished for.  Matt and Elle's father want to prolong Elle's life until the baby is viable, but Matt's mother vehemently disagrees and brings her argument to court.  It's a battle that can tear a family apart, and one that has no definite right or wrong side.  Who will win? Will it be the right decision?

THE PROMISE OF STARDUST drew me in very quickly, and I tore through the pages in one day, but the story and Matt's struggle stayed with me much longer.  I found myself wondering, what would I want my husband to do if I were in Elle's position?  What if Elle was my best friend, what would I want for her and her family?

In the book, Elle is an astronaut and her story quickly becomes a lead story in the press.  The right-to-life and the pro-choice groups get involved, complicating the issues of when life begins.  Then there is the issue of dying with dignity.

An emotional story, yes, but Priscille Sibley carefully brings her readers into this story, slowly unfolding the story of Elle and Matt's long and complicated relationship. I shed more than a few tears reading this book, but every one of them was well earned. I felt like I knew Matt and Elle by the last page, they became so real to me, and I both mourned and celebrated with them every step of the way.

I highly recommend THE PROMISE OF STARDUST, available February 5, 2013.  (It's worth the wait!)

Book Extras:
Goodreads Page
Author Website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

About the Book:

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062194178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062194176

About the Author: (from author's website)
A few people always know what they want to do when they grow up.  Priscille Sibley knew early on she would become a nurse.  And a poet.  Later, her love of words developed into a passion for storytelling.

Born and raised in Maine, Priscille has paddled down a few wild rivers, done a little rock climbing, and jumped out of airplanes.  She currently lives in New Jersey where she works as a neonatal intensive care nurse and shares her life with her wonderful husband, three tall teenaged sons, and a mischievous Wheaton terrier.

It's Monday...What Are You Reading?

Today is Monday, November 19, 2012...What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by the lovely and talented Sheila at Book Journey.  She probably forgets who I am since it has been so long since I have come to this party.  But here I am!

Since we were living without power for so long, and I have a nightstand drawer full of battery-powered itty bitty book lights, I got some reading done! Keep your eyes out for reviews - unfortunately, those bad boys don't write themselves and require not only electricity and Internet capability, but time, so I'm catching up!

Books Completed:


REBEL HEART (DUST LANDS #2) by Moira Young (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
THE PROMISE OF STARDUST by Priscille Sibley (William Morrow PB)
NUMBER THE STARS by Lois Lowry (Sandpiper)
THE RED TENT by Anita Diamant (Picador)

THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB by Will Schwalbe (Knopf)
RED RAIN by RL Stine

Currently Reading:

REACHED (Matched #3) by Ally Condie (PenguinTeen)

Currently Listening To:

WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr (HarperCollins/Harper Audio)

Plan to Read This Week Before the End of 2012:

THE SHOEMAKER'S WIFE by Adriana Trigiani
SHADOW OF NIGHT by Deborah Harkness
WILD by Cheryl Strayed
INSURGENT (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth
CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein
THE LOST PRINCE by Julie Kagawa
FLIGHT BEHAVIOR by Barbara Kingsolver

Happy Reading!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

World Book Night US

April 23, 2013 is World Book Night and the books have been announced!

The 2013 Books
The Handmaid's Tale
City of Thieves
Fahrenheit 451
My Antonia
Girl with a Pearl Earring
The House on Mango Street
La Casa en Mango Street
The Alchemist
El Alquimista
The Language of Flowers
The Worst Hard Time
Still Alice
Looking for Alaska
Playing for Pizza
The Phantom Tollbooth
The Tender Bar
Devil in a Blue Dress
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
Good Omens
The Lightning Thief
Population 485
Montana Sky
Look Again
Me Talk Pretty One Day
The Ladies’ No. 1 Detective Agency
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Salvage the Bones
Favorite American Poems

To fill out a book giver application, go here.
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