The Last One – A Review

The Last One

I put this title on my reviewer’s wishlist, and I am SO glad I did!  I give it 5 stars because Alexandra Oliva’s The Last One does NOT disappoint!

In this enjoyable debut, the author manages to do a great job of depicting what it would be like to be on a Survivor-esque reality show. In addition to the on screen talent, the reader “meets” the editors, producers and cameramen through the contestants. It becomes easy to see how living the situation they’re in can bring out both the best and the worst in people. Then… There is the surreal aspect that while the contests think they are on the show, the rest of the world is essentially playing a game of Survivor, too. While the contestants don’t all know the game is over, the rest of the world is battling against an unknown (biological?) enemy that is rapidly making its way through the population…

The story, told in alternate timelines, leaves the reader guessing when our main heroine will figure out that she’s no longer in the game and facing very real threats… Will she survive? If she does, and everything as she knows it is gone, will she want to?

As much as this is a fun read, it also does a good job of examining who we are without the people we love, attitudes toward motherhood and PTSD/psychological stress.

I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  If you check it out, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Please follow and like us:

Dexter the Very Good Goat – A Children’s Book Review

Dexter the Very Good Goat

Jean Malone’s Dexter the Very Good Goat is an adorable children’s book with sweet illustrations. Dexter the Goat is very good… Most of the time. He’s nice to the visitors, and he’s nice to his keepers. It’s hard to be good when he’s afraid though. Sometimes, he’s naughty when it’s time for doctor and grooming things to be done. His keepers are always gentle though and take the very best care of him.

This is a cute story that reinforces rewards (like scratches!) for good behaviors and doing the right thing even when it’s tough or scary. It’s fun to talk about the differences in the goats with your toddler and relate it to how different every person is.

I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Please follow and like us:

Calling All Cars – Children’s Book Review and Giveaway

Calling All Cars cover

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing an advanced copy of Calling All Cars, which was written by Sue Fliess and illustrated by Sarah Beise.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and shared my thoughts right away. Maybe it’s because I have a little car lover on my hands… This book is a HUGE hit! From the rhyming used throughout the book to the wonderfully fun and colorful illustrations, I couldn’t find a single thing not to love! I think this is a must have in your little automobile lover’s collection.  As a special treat, three copies of the book will be given away…  Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom for details!

About the Book

Big cars, small cars, let’s call ALL cars! This bouncy text explores the wonderful world of cars zipping up, down, fast, and slow. A perfect basic concept books for eager young learners from the author of Tons of Trucks. Then cruise into bedtime!

Rest cars, Hush cars

No more rush, cars.

Cars pull in, turn off the light.

Sweet dreams, sleepy cars…goodnight!

Filled with vibrant art, adorable animal characters, and cars of all kinds from love bugs to the demolition derby, Calling All Cars is for every child who loves to read about things that go! Surprise bonus—follow one long road throughout this vividly imagined world and don’t miss the hidden clues in the artwork!

Calling All Cars spread

 

Additional praise for Calling All Cars:

“Each double-page spread offers a surplus of amusing sights: three pigs in a convertible, a kitten chauffeuring a royal pair of lions, love-struck snakes hugging and tugging their cars too close together. Beise’s digital illustrations pop with vivid colors…. [Fliess’] rhyming couplets bounce off the page.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This successful collaboration combines brisk and spirited writing with bold, effervescent pictures and will have wide appeal to young readers. Fliess’s punchy rhymes mimic the speed and energy of the cars being described, making for a lively read-aloud… Young car enthusiasts will enjoy the ride through this zippy, robust picture book.” —School Library Journal

 

Interested in purchasing this title for your little one?

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1WHmpgX

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1QZwx0q

Books a Million: http://bit.ly/1SRWipt

Sue Fliess photo

About the Author

Sue Fliess is the author of more than a dozen children’s books, including the popular Tons of Trucks and Robots, Robots Everywhere! Her background is in copywriting, PR, and marketing, and her articles have appeared in O, the Oprah Magazine; Huffington Post; Writer’s Digest; and more. Her article from O, the Oprah Magazine was chosen for inclusion in O’s Little Book of Happiness (March 2015). Sue lives with her family and a Lab named Charlie in Northern Virginia. Visit her online at www.suefliess.com.

Connect with Sue Fliess

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sue.Fliess.Author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/suefliess

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/suefliess/

 

About the Illustrator

Sarah Beise, a graduate of Minneapolis College of Art and Design, is an innovative illustrator and designer who loves to create fun and unique characters that help tell stories. Originally from Matthews, NC she now makes Kansas City her home along with her two dogs, Maxwell and Mazzie May. For more info visit www.SarahBeise.com.

Connect with Sarah Beise

Website: http://www.colordotstudio.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sarah-Beise-Art-Design-LLC-233477983374912/

 

Calling All Cars Giveaway

Runs March 1-31 (US and Canada only)

 To Enter the Giveaway – CLICK HERE

 

Please follow and like us:

Manners Are Not for Monkeys – A Children’s Book Review

Manners Are Not for Monkeys

 

Heather Tekavec’s Manners Are Not for Monkeys is an amusing children’s book with illustrations to make you laugh out loud. When the zookeeper decides to relocate the outdoor monkey play area beside the family picnic and play area, something surprising happens. The monkeys start to behave, so as not to draw attention and be able to watch the children play. The children start to ignore the monkeys, who are behaving very un-monkey like despite Momma Monkey’s warning. The book provides a funny look at why manners are important for children, but maybe not so much for monkeys.

I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review and give this one 4/5 stars for your toddlers.

Please follow and like us:

Too Many Carrots – A Children’s Book Review

Too Many Carrots

 

Too Many Carrots, by Katy Hudson, was a big hit at our house!

Rabbit is stockpiling so many carrots that he soon outgrows his borrow leaving no space for himself. He has several good friends who are willing to suffer for him and offer up their homes, but because of the large amount of carrots Rabbit is hoarding, disaster always strikes and their homes are destroyed.

When the final catastrophe causes all of the animals to be homeless, Rabbit finally figures out what he should have done from the beginning… If he shares his carrots with his friends, there is room in his burrow for everyone!

This is the perfect story for toddlers. We all want our children to learn not to hoard things for themselves and to share with others. The illustrations were very well done and appealing, and the animal characters were all adorably sweet.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Please follow and like us:

Crockpot Chicken Lasagna Recipe

Well, I didn’t mean to tease everyone when I posted a pic on Facebook last week after I made my first crockpot chicken lasagna… The thing is that I didn’t write anything down when I did it! I decided to remake it today and took some notes…  Below you’ll find some pictures that show me building my layers and the full ingredient list and directions. I’m really excited about this recipe because it’s a way for me to easily get in protein and baby #2 isn’t a big fan of a lot of meat! 😉 Plus, it took me about 15 minutes from start to finish and that was with taking pics! Add in that the recipe is (picky) toddler and hubby approved, and you’ve got a winning meal!

 

********** Let’s begin! **********

 

First, you’re going to start by laying down a layer of sauce in the bottom of your slow cooker.  As you can see in the picture, I often use Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners to make clean up easier.  I LOVE not having to scrape or soak cooked sauce off the sides!

 

First Layer Sauce Crockpot Chicken Lasagna

 

Next, you’re going to build your first layer by placing your no cook Barilla lasagna sheets down and top with shredded chicken, ricotta and mozzarella, if you wish.

 

First Layer Crockpot Chicken Lasagna

 

I usually do three “filled layers” total.  (You can see that I go heavy on the ricotta in the beginning…  I need to learn to judge how much I’m using better!) The top layer of today’s lasagna is finished and looks like this…

 

Third Layer Crockpot Chicken Lasagna

 

To finish it off, you simply add sauce, cover with noodles, add another layer of sauce and top with shredded mozzarella.

 

Top Layer Finished Crockpot Chicken Lasagna

 

Finished product!

 

YUMMY Slow Cooker Chicken Lasagna

 

The fine details for those that want to give this a try…

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Lasagna Recipe

 

Feedback? Comments? Feel free to leave them below…  I’d love to know what you think and how your dinner turns out!

Please follow and like us:

Crochet Mandalas — A Crochet Craft Book Review

Crochet Mandalas

 

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Crochet Mandalas by Marinke Slump and Anita Mundt. The opportunity brought me both joy and sadness…  Marinke was the mastermind behind “A Creative Being,” a wonderful craft blog and Etsy store of the same name.  Unfortunately, she left this world too soon when she was unable to win her battle with depression.  She is fondly remembered, mourned, and missed in our community.

But on the topic of the book…

This is a beautiful book with pictures that bring the creations to life and truly capture the spirit of each design. I love that the designs are so widely varied and include standard mandalas, mandala rugs, sandals, blankets, bags and clothing. The patterns are easy to follow. Even though they have different difficulty levels, the fact that each includes a beautiful picture and a chart, in addition to the written instructions, makes them accessible to most everyone with the determination to complete a project.

I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Please follow and like us:

The Midnight Visitors – A Children’s Book Review

The Midnight Visitors

The Midnight Visitors, written by Juliet David and illustrated by Jo Parry, is an adorable story of Christ’s birth is told from the perspective of Miriam the cow… She had no idea when the day began that the hay manger in her cowshed would hold the baby Jesus. One by one, Miriam permits the other animals to sleep snug and safe in her cowshed as long as they promise to be peaceful with one another. Her “guests” just keep coming… From Mary and Joseph to the birth of Christ to the visit from the three wise men, this is a beautiful story that our animal loving children will love, and it’s a perfect way to tell this story in a new way. Plus, the illustrations in this book really put it at 5+ stars for me… They are clear and rich but have a soft quality to them.

This book is a must have! I know our son will enjoy hearing the story and looking at the pictures at Christmas and all year round.

I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Please follow and like us:

Turkey Vegetable Barley Soup Recipe

Turkey Vegetable Barley Soup

If you’ve ever bought a box of Quaker Quick Pearled Barley, you may have seen the recipe for Quick ‘N Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup on the back of the box. My MIL was the first to introduce me to it, and since then we’ve made it more times than I can count. I’m sharing my modified recipe below for a higher protein, veggie packed, garlic powered version. What can I say… We love garlic! If you decide to mix it up, chicken makes a GREAT substitute as noted.

Turkey Vegetable Barley Soup

 

Please follow and like us:

Who’s Afraid of the Ghost Train? – A Children’s Book Review

Who's Afraid of the Ghost Train? - Frank Rodgers

In Who’s Afraid of the Ghost Train? by Frank Rodgers, Robert’s imagination often gets away from him helping him create scary situations out of everyday happenings. With the help of his grandfather, he learns how to cope with his wild imagination. His friends, who are all interested in scary things, could make it even worse when they want to visit the Ghost Train, but Robert gets the chance to put his grandfather’s lessons into action. In the end, Robert is able to deal with the scare ride even better than they are. This is a very sweet story that should help children deal with their fears of imaginary monsters whether they hide in the toilet, tub, closet, or under the bed. I thought the illustrations were perfectly done. They are enough to capture a child’s attention and imagination while not being overly frightening. I personally wouldn’t recommend this book for younger toddlers or those children who have yet to exhibit such fears. However, it could be a great help in learning to cope for younger children who are beginning to worry and have nightmares about their imagination’s creations.

I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Please follow and like us: