Monday, July 15, 2019

Mailbox Monday

Welcome back to another Mailbox Monday post! I had a slow but steady week of books. Let's just put it this way... I received more books this week than I finished reading!
AMERICAN ROYALS by Katharine McGee came from Random House Books for Young Readers

SOMEONE WE KNOW by Shari LaPena came from Pamela Dorman Books/Viking

THE EVIL PRINCESS VS. THE BRAVE KNIGHT by Jennifer L. Holm vs. Matthew Holm came from Random House Books for Young Readers

What was in your mailbox?

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Kid Konnection: I Have An Idea!

Every weekend, I host Kid Konnection -- a regular weekly feature about anything related to children's books. This week I'm going to share with you a fun picture book from an author I love!

Summary: From one of the true creative geniuses of this generation comes a unique meditation on and celebration of the magic of the birth of a simple idea. Sparkling with visual wit and bubbling with imagination, this is a richly emotional exploration of the creative process: from an initial tentative inkling, to the frustration of chasing the wrong notion, to finally the exhilaration of capturing—and nurturing—just the right idea. I Have an Idea! is a scrumptious cloth-spined package of color and inspiration equally at home on a child's bookshelf, in a new graduate's backpack, or atop a creative's desk. -- Chronicle Books

I HAVE AN IDEA! by Herve Tullet is a must-have picture book! I love Herve Tullet's picture book, especially PRESS HERE; and I think he's brought an entirely new level of creativity to children's books.

I HAVE AN IDEA! celebrates the wonder of ideas and imagination! First, this delightful picture book describes beautifully the feeling of capturing an idea, and then it continues to explore the creativity process. It starts with that feeling you get when you have an idea trying to surface and ends with the final defining of a great idea. It also describes the feeling you get when you might not be on the exact right track, but it encourages the reader to keep on searching. It's a wonderful message for both kids and adults alike!

I love I HAVE AN IDEA! from its simple text, to its unique and colorful artwork, to its important message. I really can't rave enough about how special this picture book is. 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!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Mailbox Monday

Welcome back to another Mailbox Monday post! After the past few "slow" weeks, I guess I was due for a great book mail week!

IMMORTAL BORN by Lynsay Sands came from Avon Books

ONE FINE DUKE by Lenora Bell came from Avon Books

BELOW THE RADAR by Dana Ridenour came from Saicheck Publicity and Wise Ink

BETHLEHEM by Karen Kelly came from St. Martin's Press

GRAVITY IS THE THING by Jaclyn Moriarty came from Harper Books

THE KEY FROM SPAIN: FLORY JAGODA AND HER MUSIC by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Sonja Wimmer came from Kar-Ben Publishing

I also received a very cool package from St. Martin's Press promoting THE ESCAPE ROOM by Megan Goldin. I've already read (but not reviewed) this book; and if you read my Book Expo post, then you know I'm super excited for this novel's release at the end of July!
The Survival Kit was full of some pretty fun gifts too -- a mirror, lip balm, and a travel manicure set!
What was in your mailbox?

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Kid Konnection: I Will Race You Through This Book!

Every weekend, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekly feature about anything related to children's books. This week I'm going to share with you a cute picture book that is guaranteed to bring out the competitive nature in your budding reader!

Summary: See if you can beat Book-It Bunny in a reading race!

In this story designed to engage early readers, charming characters combine with simple text, lively illustrations, and laugh-out-loud humor to help boost kids’ confidence and create lifelong readers!

This easy-to-read adventure breaks the fourth wall as Book-It Bunny challenges the reader to race her to the end of the story. But with distractions and tricks up her sleeve along the way, the competition becomes both fierce and funny at the same time. On your mark, get set, read!

Exciting, easy-to-read books are the stepping stone a young reader needs to bridge the gap between being a beginner and being fluent. -- Penguin Workshop

I WILL RACE YOU THROUGH THIS BOOK! by Jonathan Fenske is a picture book that makes reading fun for early readers. Join Book-It Bunny as she races through the book trying to beat the reader!

I WILL RACE YOU THROUGH THIS BOOK! is adorable. I love the character of Book-It Bunny, and she definitely makes turning the pages rewarding. Book-It Bunny is hilarious as she tries to come up with ways to get to the end of the book first. She fakes and distracts as she tries to slow the new reader down.

As cute as this book was, I also really appreciate how this book encourages children to read. The illustrations are funny, and the text on each page is simple enough not to overwhelm beginning readers. I WILL RACE YOU THROUGH THIS BOOK! is a page-turner (in the literal sense of the word!), and I think it's a great way to introduce independent reading to your child.

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, July 4, 2019

Review: Mrs. Everything

Summary: Do we change or does the world change us?

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.

Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world? -- Atria

I can't really explain why I feel the need to read everything Jennifer Weiner writes. Like many of you, I loved her first novel GOOD IN BED; however, I feel like I've been reading her books for almost twenty years trying to capture that same feeling again. I can say that I've enjoyed a few of her books and that I've been meh about quite a few, but I think she's really found her voice again with her latest novel MRS. EVERYTHING.

MRS. EVERYTHING is a big novel that tells the story of the Kaufman sisters, Jo and Bethie (Little Women?), from their childhood through much of their adult lives. They novel begins in the 1950s when their family moves to an idyllic neighborhood in the Detroit suburbs. Jo is the smart tomboy while Bethie is the pretty one who loves being on stage. The girls have pretty normal lives until a family tragedy occurs that turns their lives upside-down.

The novel follows Jo and Bethie through their high school years and then their college ones as they face the changing times our of country including Vietnam and Woodstock. Both girls continue to experience life, and some hard times, as they discover who they truly are (or aren't!). Jo winds up married with daughters of her own, while Bethie becomes a bit of a wild flower child. Ironically, neither woman is actually living the life they had once hoped for.

After everything these woman have experienced in their lifetimes, can Jo and/or Bethie finally make the tough decisions and find happiness?

I found MRS. EVERYTHING to be a very interesting read and probably Ms. Weiner's most important novel. I enjoyed the story of these two sisters who lead very separate lives but are ultimately there for each other, and I definitely appreciated what Ms. Weiner set out to do with this book. I grew to really like these women, although I did get frustrated with them many times; and I found the story to be both touching and uplifting.

What I think I enjoyed the most about MRS. EVERYTHING, though, was how the novel explored women from the 1950s to present-day. It's kind of amazing of how much we've changed and how far we've come since serving the role of wife and mother and living in the suburbs. While it's apparent by the end of this novel that women have made huge strides in being equal, the novel still shows that women have a ways to go.

If I have one slight issue with the novel, it's that I think maybe Ms. Weiner tried to do too much with the story. It seems like every major event and every issue that a woman could experience made some sort of appearance in this book. Having said that, it might have been necessary so she could truly show how the roles of women have evolved through time -- I'm not entirely sure...

What I am 100% sure of is that MRS. EVERYTHING would make a great book club pick. There truly is so much to discuss about these two sisters' lives as well as the roles of women in general. Check out this reading guide with twelve discussion questions as well as some ideas to enhance your book club.

All in all, I'd say that MRS. EVERYTHING is the best Jennifer Weiner novel I've read since GOOD IN BED. I think fans of women's fiction will find a lot of like and think about with this story.

I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher on Edelweiss.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Mailbox Monday

Welcome back to another Mailbox Monday post! This week definitely wasn't a good one for me when it came to books, but I did manage to get one on Saturday that looks pretty darn good!

CARNEGIE HILL by Jonathan Vatner came from St. Martin's Press

What was in your mailbox?