Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Gossamer Ghost & Giveaway

Summary: Carmela Bertrand knows that Halloween in New Orleans means a week of rabble-rousing, costumed craziness—and she can’t wait to get the party started. But when a local antiques dealer turns up dead, Carmela suddenly finds herself in a real-life danse macabre…

An evening’s work deciding on the class schedule for her scrapbooking shop has put Carmela in the mood to kick up her heels. But after some strange noises draw her into Oddities, the neighboring antiques shop, Carmela’s night is abruptly put on hold when a bloody body falls out of a curio cabinet—and into her arms.

While shop owner Marcus Joubert was known for being an eccentric with a penchant for eclectic merchandise, Carmela never thought he was the kind of man who could inspire the passion required to kill. But when Marcus’s assistant—and fiancĂ©e—Mavis reveals that a priceless death mask was also stolen, it becomes clear that murder wasn’t the culprit’s sole intention.

Carmela can’t resist the urge to investigate the growing mystery, but as the list of suspects increases, she realizes it’ll take every trick in the book to unmask the killer thief before there’s another night of murderous mischief… -- Berkley Prime Crime

Halloween is quickly approaching and I have a great book that's sure to get you into the spirit of the season. It's a cozy mystery called GOSSAMER GHOST by Laura Childs, and it's the twelfth book in her Scrapbooking Mystery series. Fans of cozies and crafts will enjoy this fun new book.

GOSSAMER GHOST takes place in New Orleans and features scrapbook store owner (and part-time amateur sleuth) Carmela Bertrand. One day, Carmela hears a noise from the antique store next door, and she over to check things out. After a quick look around the store and in a curio cabinet, she is shocked to discover the owner Marcus Joubert's dead body!

Like many shop owners in New Orleans, Joubert and his store were a little unusual; however, Carmela would never have considered him a candidate for murder. Her boyfriend, who just happens to be a police officer, warns Carmela to stay out of the investigation, but it's almost as if she can't help herself from becoming involved... especially after she learns that a priceless death mask is also missing from the store.

The suspect list keep growing as Carmela begins asking questions about Joubert, his shop, and his relationships with buyers and other sellers. Can she find the murderer before he (or she) strikes again?

I found GOSSAMER GHOST to be a very cute murder mystery and it definitely set the mood for Halloween. Of course, one of my favorite things about this series is the setting -- a scrapbooking store in New Orleans; however, I also like the main characters and the dynamics between them. The murder had its fair share of twists and turns, but it wasn't too complicated to figure out. (I was able to figure out the who if not the why.) Overall, it was a very fun read!

Halloween in New Orleans might be a sight to behold! Or at least that's how I picture it after reading GOSSAMER GHOST. I loved the author's descriptions of the French Quarter with the various parades, fun runs, parties, and more. In addition, the costumes were described in great detail. I'm not the biggest fan of Halloween, but this book definitely captured my imagination with all of the holiday references.

I also really liked the characters in this story. Carmela is a wonderful amateur sleuth and I enjoy seeing how she interacts with her employee, fellow shop owners, and her boyfriend. Not only is she good at figuring out murder mysteries, but she also has some great craft ideas for her customers and for classes at her store. In this novel, she was particularly impressive at solving the mystery since it was pretty complicated.

And finally, I appreciated all of the crafty ideas and recipes that were in this novel. Naturally, there are a few scrapbooking suggestions, but I liked that this book gave examples of how to make ghosts as well as various costume ideas. The back of the book even included some craft tips -- like how to use old game tokens, how to make wine labels, how to make sachets, and how to design guest towels. In addition, there were a number of recipes for the various foods mentioned in the story including beignets!

GOSSAMER GHOST is the perfect book for October. Highly recommended to mystery/cozy fans and craft hobbyists!

Giveaway alert: I have two copies of GOSSAMER GHOST to share with two lucky readers. To enter, just fill out the form below before October 31st at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will randomly select and notify the winners the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. addresses only. Good luck!

Thanks to the author for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read. Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Kid Konnection: The Skywalker Saga

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a great gift idea for the Star Wars fans in your life!

Summary: Star Wars is an ever deepening, timeless, mythological tale of good versus evil, set in a galaxy far, far away. Filled with noble Jedi Knights, fearsome creatures, and cruel villains, the epic space fantasy introduced "the Force" into the global vocabulary, along with characters such as evil Darth Vader, wise old Yoda, idealistic Luke Skywalker, and lovable Chewbacca. The epic Star Wars saga continues to grow and expand, captivating new generations with its exotic worlds, iconic themes and unforgettable stories.

A new era in the rich history of Star Wars is about to begin with the announcement of a new trilogy of Star Wars movies, starting in 2015, and the announcement of a series of Star Wars spin-off movies, over the coming years

· Enjoy more than a hundred glossy, full-color images from Star Wars movies.

· Comprehensive look back at all six movies

· Collect nine full-size, pull-out posters.

Poster-A-Page delivers children's most popular characters, stories, and memorable moments to them in a unique visual format. With every page a poster, plus 9 supersize fold-out posters inside, this series offers kids ages 4-12 the opportunity to bring their favorite friends and stories into their homes, onto their walls, and become part of their world. -- Time Home Entertainment, Inc.

Booking Son is ten years old and has been a Star Wars fan for years. So you can imagine his excitement when STAR WARS POSTER-A-PAGE: THE SKYWALKER SAGA EPISODES I-VI arrived in our house. This gorgeous book is loaded with posters! And by that, I mean over 100 glossy, full-color images from all six Star Wars movies. In addition, there are nine supersize (also known as full-size) pull-out posters.

Star Wars fans of all ages will love this collection of posters. I can already see collectors decorating their basements with the pages from this book. Fan favorites like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, R2D2, Chewbacca, and my personal favorite Yoda appear in various movie scenes. The only problem might be deciding which side of the poster to display!

In addition to THE SKYWALKER SAGA, there are some other really cute poster books available in the series including:

MARVEL Poster-A-Page: Avengers Assemble in Action brings to life the most powerful superhero team in the world! Including Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, and the Black Widow, this book has all of the favorite Marvel characters showing off their skills and fearlessness.

Disney Frozen Poster-A-Page: Magical Moments relives the magic of the second highest grossing Disney movie of all time. With wintry scenes and cherished characters, this book follows Anna and Kristoff as they encounter Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman, in their epic journey to find Elsa.

Disney Junior Poster-A-Page: Let’s Play features the lovable characters from one of the highest rated children's TV series, including six-year-old Doc McStuffins; Mickey Mouse and his clubhouse friends Goofy, Donald, Minnie, Daisy, and Pluto; and Jake and his Never Land Pirates crew.

Sofia the First: Practice Makes Princess includes sweet images of Sofia, her family and friends, as well as lots of wisdom from the Princess herself.

Disney Princess: Fairy Tale Moments serves up the royal treatment with illustrations from some of Disney’s most beloved princesses, including Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, Rapunzel, Ariel, Mulan, Tiana, Aurora, Jasmine, Merida, and Pocahontas.

These poster books are the perfect gift idea because they retail for less than $13. Boys and girls alike are sure to find one that features their favorite characters. Highly recommended!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: Henna House

Summary: An evocative and stirring novel about a young woman living in the fascinating and rarely portrayed community of Yemenite Jews of the mid-twentieth century, from the acclaimed author of The Family Orchard.

In the tradition of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent, Henna House is the enthralling story of a woman, her family, their community, and the rituals that bind them.

Nomi Eve’s vivid saga begins in Yemen in 1920, when Adela Damari’s parents desperately seek a future husband for their young daughter. After passage of the Orphan’s Decree, any unbetrothed Jewish child left orphaned will be instantly adopted by the local Muslim community. With her parents’ health failing, and no spousal prospects in sight, Adela’s situation looks dire until her uncle arrives from a faraway city, bringing with him a cousin and aunt who introduce Adela to the powerful rituals of henna tattooing. Suddenly, Adela’s eyes are opened to the world, and she begins to understand what it means to love another and one’s heritage. She is imperiled, however, when her parents die and a prolonged drought threatens their long-established way of life. She and her extended family flee to the city of Aden where Adela encounters old loves, discovers her true calling, and is ultimately betrayed by the people and customs she once held dear.

Henna House is an intimate family portrait and a panorama of history. From the traditions of the Yemenite Jews, to the far-ranging devastation of the Holocaust, to the birth of the State of Israel, Eve offers an unforgettable coming-of-age story and a textured chronicle of a fascinating period in the twentieth century.

Henna House is a rich, spirited, and sensuous tale of love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness, and the dyes that adorn the skin and pierce the heart. -Scribner

My reason for reading HENNA HOUSE by Nomi Eve is a little out-of-the-ordinary for me. While I do love the gorgeous cover and the book's description, I admit that this book wasn't really on my radar until my husband asked me about it. That's right -- my husband who doesn't read novels (or many books for that matter.) He was on Facebook looking at Penn State stuff and asked me about HENNA HOUSE. I almost fell over! He explained that this novel was written by a Penn Stater and I had to read it! He even went so far as to contact Ms. Eve!

I was actually very glad he brought HENNA HOUSE and Nomi Eve to my attention. This novel was an intriguing story about Adela, a young Jewish girl living in Yemen during the 1920s. In many ways, it was a coming-of-age story for Adela (and you know how I love those!); however, it was also a rich story about family, traditions, and survival.

HENNA HOUSE begins in 1920 when Adela Damari is a young girl. The Orphan's Decree has recently been passed allowing orphaned Jewish girls who were unbetrothed to be adopted by the local Muslim community. Adela had pretty bad luck when it came to finding spouses, and the health of her parents wasn't exactly optimal either. As a result, things weren't looking good for poor little Adela until her mother tricks her cousin Asaf into an engagement with her. The two have a sweet childhood romance until Adela's uncle leaves with her cousin.

A few years later, Adela's life is turned upside down when a different uncle moves to her town bringing with him his wife Rahel, who is both a dealer and a henna artist, and their daughters. Adela becomes very close to Rahel and her cousin Hani. Adela becomes inthralled with her aunt and cousin who teach her how to read and do henna drawings and finds some semblance of happiness in her otherwise pretty bleak life.

And then.... drought and illness hit Adela's town. When Adela is 15, she moves to Aden with Hani's family and eventually discovers her long lost cousin Asaf. At this point in her life, Adela is forced to quickly grow up as World War I threatens to erupt, and she finds that she has many difficult decisions to face concerning love and family.

I really enjoyed HENNA HOUSE for a number of reasons -- from the history aspects of the story, to the intriguing characters, to the cultural traditions. The story was beautifully written and I especially loved the focus on women and family. Despite taking place in an entirely different time, this book reminded me of THE RED TENT with the religious and Jewish culture references as well as the way female relationships were portrayed.

I probably shouldn't say this for fear of sounding ignorant, but I knew very little about the Yemen Jews and what occurred in the 1920s. Reading HENNA HOUSE was definitely an eye-opener for me.  I wasn't familiar with the Orphan's Decree and the entire concept of a Jewish child being pulled from her family to live with a Muslim family is just appalling. I thought the author did a fabulous job of creating the sense of desperation that Adela and her family had concerning this threat.

In addition I appreciated so many of the characters in this story... especially the female ones. Of course, Adela was a special girl and I loved her voice as the storyteller in this novel; however, I also loved her aunt Rahel. What made this book so special to me was the interactions between the various women in the story. Adela and her mother had a strained relationship which was perfectly juxtaposed by Adela's relationship with her aunt. In addition, it was interesting to see how Adela and Hani's relationship evolved throughout the course of the story.

And finally, I really enjoyed learning about the unique Jewish traditions in this novel. I honestly had no idea the Yemen Jews had henna as part of their traditions, and I found the parts of this novel featuring the henna drawing to be absolutely fascinating. In addition, I loved the aspects of the story which dealt with Rahel and her interest in healing. It was apparent that Ms. Eve did a huge amount of research to get her facts straight.

HENNA HOUSE would make an excellent book club selection. There is a reading guide with twelve discussion questions and some ideas to enhance to enhance the meeting. I've probably already mentioned many of the discussion topics, but you might want to talk about family, customs, religion, faith, persecution, survival, love, friendship, female relationships, marriage, betrayal, forgiveness, and redemption.

I enjoyed HENNA HOUSE and I highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction.

Thanks to the author and publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: You Were Meant for Me

Summary: Thirty-five-year-old Miranda is not an impulsive person. She’s been at Domestic Goddess magazine for eight years, she has great friends, and she’s finally moving on after a breakup. Having a baby isn’t even on her radar—until the day she discovers an abandoned newborn on the platform of a Brooklyn subway station. Rushing the little girl to the closest police station, Miranda hopes and prays she’ll be all right and that a loving family will step forward to take her.

Yet Miranda can’t seem to get the baby off her mind and keeps coming up with excuses to go check on her, until finally a family court judge asks whether she’d like to be the baby’s foster parent—maybe even adopt her. To her own surprise, Miranda jumps at the chance. But nothing could have prepared her for the ecstasy of new-mother love—or the heartbreak she faces when the baby’s father surfaces…. -- NAL

YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME by Yona Zeldis McDonough has an adorable cover! I know I shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I have a hard time resisting shoes. When you add polka dots to the mix as well as those adorable baby shoes, it's pretty much a done deal. Because the cover is so darn cute, you might think YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME is a light read. That's not really the case. It deals with some very serious issues centering around an abandoned baby, and it is both tragic and touching.

YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME tells the story of Miranda, a 35 year old woman who has a great job and great friends. She is trying to move on from a recent breakup when she discovers a newborn baby on the platform of the subway station. Miranda immediately does the right thing and takes the baby girl to the police, but she can't get this little one out of her mind.

Miranda feels an immediate bond with the baby and keeps checking on her status with the foster care system. When the judge asks Miranda is she'd be interested in fostering the baby, or maybe even adopting her, Miranda goes "all in." She has no idea of the many ways a baby can change her life, yet she embraces them and falls in love with her little girl.

Needless to say, Miranda's story capture the attention of the local New York media. She decides to do a story with a human interest journalist, and the biological father Jared discovers that this little girl might be his. Jared wants to do the right thing and parent her, so Miranda reluctantly gives the little girl to him.

The baby's father discovers that parenting a baby is a lot more difficult than he ever imagined... and it cramps his style as a single guy. As he tries to navigate parenting, Miranda tries to move on with her life as she deals with the loss of her baby.

I enjoyed YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME, and I appreciated how it looked love and parenting. The book was definitely very sad at times and it did cause a fair amount of emotion in me. I felt both sad and mad for Miranda, yet I also thought the book did have elements of hope. It was a really sweet story!

One thing I liked about YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME was how the story was told. The book alternated between various characters' stories, and I enjoyed getting the different viewpoints. In addition to showing Miranda and Jared's stories, the book also featured Miranda's love interest Evan's story. I truly think this format benefited the reader (or at least this one!) because I was able to see what they were thinking. Since many of Jared's actions were questionable to say the least, I felt as if the author made him more complex; and while I did get very angry with him, I was able to (kind of) understand where he was coming from.

Another fun aspect of this story that did make it a little lighter was Miranda's job. She worked at Domestic Goddess magazine as a food writer/editor. As a result, the author was able to do some very interesting things with her descriptions of food. Miranda could pretty much prepare a gourmet dinner on the fly, and I loved all of the vivid details about the meals.

Finally, my most favorite aspect of this novel was how it delved into the complexities of love and parenting. Even though Miranda didn't give birth to this little girl, she still loved her every bit as much as a woman who carries a child for nine months. I truly loved how the book showed that Miranda became a better person once she became a mother, and my heart swelled as I saw how many sacrifices she was willing to make for her baby.

YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME would make an interesting pick for book clubs. There is a conversation guide included in the back of the book with eleven discussion questions and an interview with the author. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a link to the guide. Some of the themes you might want to discuss include parenting, responsibilities, fate, friendship, love, mental illness, and sacrifice.

YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME is a novel that will definitely resonate with mothers. Recommended for readers who enjoy women's fiction.

Thanks to the publisher and author for providing a review copy of this novel.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Guest Review: Tokyo Kill

Summary: In the second thriller of this new series from “a fresh voice in crime fiction” (Kirkus Reviews), antiques dealer-turned-P.I. Jim Brodie matches wits with an elusive group of killers chasing a long-lost treasure that has a dangerous history.

When an elderly World War II veteran shows up unannounced at Brodie Security begging for protection, the staff thinks he’s just a paranoid old man. He offers up a story connected to the war and to Chinese Triads operating in present-day Tokyo, insisting that he and his few surviving army buddies are in danger.

Fresh off his involvement in solving San Francisco’s Japantown murders, antiques dealer Jim Brodie had returned to Tokyo for some R&R, and to hunt down a rare ink painting by the legendary Japanese Zen master Sengai for one of his clients—not to take on another case with his late father’s P.I. firm. But out of respect for the old soldier, Brodie agrees to provide a security detail, thinking it’ll be an easy job and end when the man comes to his senses.

Instead, an unexpected, brutal murder rocks Brodie and his crew, sending them deep into the realm of the Triads, Chinese spies, kendo warriors, and an elusive group of killers whose treachery spans centuries—and who will stop at nothing to complete their mission. -- Simon and Schuster

Now that I've read my dad's review of TOKYO KILL by Barry Lancet, I feel a little guilty for giving him the second book in the series. I'm thinking that he might have enjoyed starting this series from the beginning with JAPANTOWN. It doesn't seem like he missed a beat though. Here are his thoughts:

Jim Brodie is an antiques dealer who inherited his father’s Tokyo based investigation and personal protection agency. Brodie must juggle these two careers and still find time to raise a six-year-old daughter. While in Tokyo searching for a famous ink painting by Japanese monk/artist Sengai, Brodie and his investigation firm take on the case to protect a Japanese WWII veteran who is bothered by the recent brutal deaths of several surviving veterans who served with him as part of the Japanese occupation of China. Initially believed to be revenge killings from the brutal treatment of the Chinese, Brodie focuses on Chinese Triad gangs. However, when a badly beaten body is discovered in an alley and identified as the old soldier’s son, the case becomes more personal to Brodie and he takes the investigation in a different direction. With the help of a young attractive female Tokyo police officer, Brodie discovers a much more sinister plot than includes a Japanese crime ring and the Sengai painting he had been searching for.

Author Barry Lancet serves up plenty of action in this thriller. During the investigation Brodie butts heads with his agency staff; suffers a severe beating at a kendo (way of the sword) club; is attacked on a river cruise with his daughter; endures a poisoning in Japan’s Chinatown; faces down gunmen in a Chinese cemetery; withstands a sniper laser target and escapes from a trap set for him in Miami.

In addition to being an exciting novel with plenty of twists and turns and a surprise conclusion, TOYKO KILL gives the reader a good insight into Japanese cultural and social issues. If I have any problem with the book it would be the confusion I had with grasping the Japanese names and terminology. I had to often leaf back to reread prior pages.

TOKYO KILL would be a great read for anyone who enjoys a good thriller.

Thanks to Booking Pap Pap for his review and thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Review: The Silkworm (Audio)

Summary: Private investigator Cormoran Strike returns in a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author of the #1 international bestseller The Cuckoo's Calling.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days--as he has done before--and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives--meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before...

A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, THE SILKWORM is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant, Robin Ellacott. -- Hachette Audio

One book that I was definitely looking forward to reading (or in this case listening to) was THE SILKWORM by Robert Galbraith. I loved the first novel in this mystery series THE CUCKOO'S CALLING for so many reasons -- you can read my review here. I also enjoyed the "mystery" surrounding the author of this novel. (For those of you who have been living under a rock, Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling!)

THE SILKWORM is another wonderful mystery, and I can honestly say that I love this series. The characters are wonderful (I adore Cormoran!), as is the writing; and I truly appreciate the intricacies of the mystery. I have listened to both of the books in this series, and the audio books are spectacular -- although I am pretty certain that I'd love these books in any format!

THE SILKWORM picks up soon after THE CUCKOO'S CALLING left off. Cormoran Strike has found a bit of fame after solving the Lula Landry murder, and therefore his business is doing better. One of his new customers is the wife of author Owen Quine. She comes to Strike and asks for his assistance in finding her husband who has been missing for a few days.

Quine has been known to disappear in the past, but Strike quickly sees that something might be different this time around. After some snooping, Strike discovers that Quine has written a manuscript that has offended almost everyone he knows. While the novel is considered rubbish by many, if it were to be published, it would ruin many lives. Aha -- a motive!

When Quine is brutally murdered in a scene not unlike one that occurs in the manuscript, Strike is desperate to discover who is behind his death. After a great deal of sleuthing (and with the help of his trusty assistant Robin), Strike races against time to not only find the guilty party but also to prove his client's innocence.

I adored THE SILKWORM! The characters were very interesting -- I especially love Cormoran, Robin and the chemistry between the two! However, the secondary characters in this novel, namely those in contact with Quine, were pretty darn intriguing as well. There were many possible suspects and I can honestly say that my opinion of the guilty party changed many, many times.

Because this novel is relatively long (over 450 pages and 1050 minutes), I felt extremely vested in the story. I tend to take forever to listen to an audio book and I certainly spent weeks with this one. In fact in most cases, I wouldn't have even started a book that was this long. Having said that, I can't really complain that the book dragged. I enjoyed Cormoran's many interrogations and how he whittled down the potential suspects. In addition, I was very impressed with how the story came together and Strike was able to figure it all out!

As far as mysteries go, this was a doozy! I loved all of the twists and turns, and even though I eventually had a pretty good idea of who was guilty, I still didn't figure out all of the specific details. As far as I'm concerned, guessing the murderer doesn't really count if I don't understand the whys!

One thing that stood out to me about THE SILKWORM was how it delved into some aspects of publishing... and it wasn't always pretty. Quine was writer who experience mediocre success (if you can even call it that), but there were also agents, editors, and publishers in this story who were both suspects and witnesses. The book definitely featured some of the less-glamorous sides of the industry and focused on the jealousies and pettiness of the players involved. I thought it all was interesting and rather funny.

The audio book version of THE SILKWORM was read by Robert Glenister. He also read THE CUCKOO'S CALLING; and once again, I think he nailed it! I love his variety of accents and I think he does a great job with both male and female voices. His impersonation of one of the characters was so spot on that it kind of freaked me out. (Let's just say, I had to keep coughing and clearing my throat!)

I absolutely loved the Cormoran Strike mysteries and can't recommend them enough. Personally, I love the audio book versions, but the important thing is to just get your hands on copies of them in any format!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this audiobook.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read. Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Kid Konnection: Unbored Games

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a great book from the creators of UNBORED: THE ESSENTIAL FIELD GUIDE TO SERIOUS FUN.

Summary: UNBORED Games has all the smarts, creativity, and DIY spirit of the original UNBORED (“It's a book! It's a guide! It's a way of life!” -Los Angeles Magazine), but with a laser-like focus on the activities we do for pure fun: to while away a rainy day, to test our skills and stretch our imaginations-games. There are more than seventy games here, 50 of them all new, plus many more recommendations, and they cover the full gambit, from old-fashioned favorites to today's high-tech games. The book offers a gold mine of creative, constructive fun: intricate clapping games, bike rodeo, Google Earth challenges, croquet golf, capture the flag, and the best ever apps to play with Grandma, to name only a handful. Gaming is a whole culture for kids to explore, and the book will be complete with gaming history and interviews with awesome game designers. The lessons here: all games can be self-customized, or hacked. You can even make up your own games. Some could even change the world.

The original UNBORED has taken its place as a much beloved, distinctly contemporary family brand. UNBORED Games extends the franchise -- to be followed by UNBORED Adventure -- in a new handy flexibound format, illustrated in full color throughout. Soon, there will be a whole shelf of serious fun the whole family can enjoy indoors, outdoors, online and offline. -- Bloomsbury

I can't believe it's been almost two years since I featured UNBORED: THE ESSENTIAL FIELD GUIDE TO SERIOUS FUN. This book provided so many unique ways to keep your kids busy, and I thought it made the perfect gift for kids of all ages. Well, Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen and back with UNBORED GAMES: SERIOUS FUN FOR EVERYONE, and this book is guaranteed to stop your kids from saying those dreaded words, "I'm bored!"

UNBORED GAMES is devoted entirely to games that challenge kids' imaginations but are also fun. The games are designed for a variety of places -- indoors, outdoors, online, and offline. And unlike UNBORED which was a pretty big book, UNBORED GAMES is a flexi-bound, soft-cover book that is the perfect size for portability -- it's about 6 inches by 8 inches.

UNBORED GAMES has more than 70 different games so there is bound to be something for everyone. The book is divided into the following chapters -- Pwnage, Home Games, Game Changers, and Adventure Games. Each section includes detailed instructions, cute drawings, and colorful photos. In addition, there are references to traditional games; however, the vast majority are brand new -- about 50 if you're counting! As a mom, I love that most of the games in this book allow children to use their imaginations rather than sit in front of a screen!

It's hard to pick just one or two games from this book, but there were a few that stood out to me and looked like fun. Of course, I'm many years from being a kid and probably have no idea what's fun today... or at least that's what my kids would tell me. The QB rescue game, which takes place outdoors with lots of footballs and kids looks like a great recess, P.E., or field day game. I also thought they Hair Dryer Ping Pong game looked challenging. Basically, you try to guide the ping pong ball into a bucket using the air from a hair dryer. (This also teaches kids the principle known as the Bernoulli Effect -- so it's fun and educational!)

UNBORED GAMES is a wonderful book to keep your kids busy and it's a great gift idea for the upcoming holiday season. Highly recommended!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!