Leave the pre-fab model car kits at the store! Just in time for the kids to get out of school, MADE BY...moreArts and crafts turbo-charged with testosterone!
Leave the pre-fab model car kits at the store! Just in time for the kids to get out of school, MADE BY DAD brings kids and dads together to make fun, humorous projects using common household objects. You know Dad, he can fix or make anything with duct tape, but Scott Bedford has upped the ante and given dad some more tools - cardboard boxes, an X-acto knife, and glue.
The first thing I did when I got this book in the mail was hand it to my kids and asked them to find a few things they wanted to make with their dad. While the two flipped through the pages, I heard things like, "Cool!" "This looks awesome!" "I'm doing that!" The favorites were:
- Claw-Through-The-Wall Picture - Titanic Bookshelf Art - Customizable "Keep Out" Sign - Snakes and Ladders
I am especially impressed by the artistic quality of the book. Scott Bedford mixes photos with illustrations, creating not only the crafts themselves, but an eye-pleasing and engaging book. Kids love this mixed media approach to their cartoons and books, so MADE BY DAD serves it up right.
Just now, as I'm typing this post, the hubby comes in and asked, "What are you doing with my book?" Ah, I see. It's HIS book already! This is good stuff. My boys love to do stuff with their dad - set off rockets, change the oil in mom's car, rake leaves - ok, maybe not rake leaves, but they like spending time with dad. If this book gives them some ideas in which to bring a purpose to their time together, I'm all for it. I just hope they have taken a look at the last chapter where there are several great handmade gifts for mom!
Go ahead, be the cool dad that makes cool stuff for his kids, like the Slingshot Car Launcher or the Cat-Trap birdfeeder!
The Round House first came onto my radar when it won the 2012 National Book Award for Fiction. I didn't know anything about the book, but I w...morePowerful.
The Round House first came onto my radar when it won the 2012 National Book Award for Fiction. I didn't know anything about the book, but I wanted to know why it was getting so much praise.
Part coming of age story, part lesson on injustice, THE ROUND HOUSE was a powerful novel.
Joe was a 13 year old boy whose mother was brutally attacked. She withdrew from her family, friends, and community, and Joe essentially lost his mother during a crucial time in his life. He found refuge with his friends, other elders in the community, and creating relationships that were not all together healthy.
Unfortunately, due to tribal and federal laws, the exact location of the crime against Joe's mother could not be determined, leaving the case without clear jurisdiction. Lacking the authorities' claim to investigate, Joe and his friends take it upon themselves to find the attacker. The band of boys, who were more like brothers than friends, get themselves caught up in the search, while succumbing to the temptations that usually confront teenage boys - beer, girls, and a change of faith.
Joe's voice provides a strong narrative that gives readers an in-depth look into Ojibwe culture, as his family and community members share the history and folktales in order to provide Joe with a sense of who he is and what may come of his family.
Note on the Audiobook: I usually don't even read the synopses of books I know I'm going to read. The Round House was one such book. It won the National Book Award, and that was enough for me to put it into the rotation. It also didn't hurt that I won a copy of the audiobook from HarperCollins! I had no expectations, so it took me a bit off guard when I started listening to the audiobook and the cadence of the reader was that of a Native American. At first, it just sounded odd, as I was not used to his rhythm and wasn't sure why he was speaking the way he was; but once I settled into the story, I not only grew used to the narrator's voice, it added an extraordinary amount of style and atmosphere to the novel that I would not have experienced otherwise.
I highly recommend this award winning novel.(less)
One of those rare times a book trailer compelled me to read a book! I saw the book trailer for Boy Nobody, and instantly knew that I HA...moreVery cool book!
One of those rare times a book trailer compelled me to read a book! I saw the book trailer for Boy Nobody, and instantly knew that I HAD to have it.
Boy Nobody is the gripping story of a 16 year old assassin, recruited at a young age after the death of his parents, to work for an organization, known only as The Program. When speaking to his two handlers, their code names are "Mother" and "Father", people he rarely, if ever, sees in person, and who give him assignments. No reasons, no background information, just a target. Surreptitiously moving from one town to another, assuming false identities, he makes his way close to his targets, carries out his assignment, and leaves silently and undetected - a professional.
His next mission, however, is more high-profile - the mayor of New York City - and with a short five-day time limit. Our soldier, known in this assignment as Benjamin, gets close to the mayor by capturing the attention of the mayor's daughter, whose perception and tenacity surprise him and throw him off his game. One thing he cannot afford is a personal connection to his target or his daughter. He was trained to shut off his emotions, but he is still human. How forgiving will The Program be with him if he fails his mission?
It has been a while since a Young Adult book sparked my interest so intensely, and I had high expectations for Allen Zadoff. He delivered a fast-paced thriller perfect for the young adult crowd. There is glamour, intrigue, and suggestions of romance. His anti-hero is a perfect blend of independent, mysterious assassin, and awkward, lonely teenager. The mission on which we follow Boy Nobody in the book is complete, but with just enough loose ends and plenty of mysteries still to solve, satisfying readers with a great story, but leaving us wanting for more.
I can't believe I'm going to say this, but it's refreshing to read a YA novel that is not dystopian, paranormal, or angst-riddled. Boy Nobody is pure fun!
Like Jason Bourne for the Young Adult crowd, Boy Nobody is a must-read thriller! (less)
A boy and his dad go to a baseball game - this is what we dream of when we have boys, isn't it? With their favorite t...morePerfect book for little sluggers!
A boy and his dad go to a baseball game - this is what we dream of when we have boys, isn't it? With their favorite team's colors adorning their shirts and hats, they take their seats and watch the Rockets play the great American pastime. A great time is had by all, the boy even manages to catch a fly ball.
Peanuts, popcorn, and the seventh inning stretch, the home team wins and the boy heads home happy, saying goodbye to the players, the diamond, the grass, and home plate.
Eventually, the boy makes it home to his bed, where he even says goodnight to his baseball-like moon (my favorite page!) outside his bedroom, which, by the way, is my dream bedroom for either of my boys!
As I head off to watch my two guys play baseball today, I wish I had this book for them when they were little. The perfect rhythm for a bedtime book, and vibrant illustrations throughout, toddlers and preschoolers are going to love it.
GOODNIGHT BASEBALL is the perfect book for little baseball fans everywhere! (less)
The first in a seven-book series, THE BONE SEASON is a must-read! Samatha Shannon flexes her literary muscles as she g...moreComplex, Imaginative, Brilliant!
The first in a seven-book series, THE BONE SEASON is a must-read! Samatha Shannon flexes her literary muscles as she gives readers a solid first installment.
The year is 2059 and Paige Mahoney lives in the alternate future of London, where anyone with clairvoyant talents are illegal and hidden away. She is part of an elite underground crew of voyants called the Seven Seals. Her particular talent is rare and coveted. She is a dream walker who is forced into a situation where she kills her assailant. She is captured, drugged, given an identification number, and brought to a prison-like society on the campus of what was once Oxford University. This society has a caste system in itself, where the inmates must prove their allegiance to the new order. She draws the attention of the Warden himself, one of the most powerful members of this society.
She is torn between wanting to save herself, save her friends on the outside, and learning what is really going on both here and back home.
An intense book that might overwhelm the casual reader, The Bone Season is intelligent and complex. There is an army of characters in each geographical section. Each character has a real name, a nickname, and an identification number. There are different factions and a hierarchy of government as well as in clairvoyant society.
The world-building is brilliant! If you take a little Margaret Atwood, the Matrix, The Hunger Games, and Macbeth and shake them all together, you might find yourself with The Bone Season stew. Paige is a strong female character that I can't wait to learn more about - she's tough, smart, talented, flawed and has room to grow.
At times, The Bone Season felt like it could have been tightened up a bit. There was a lot to learn about this world, the characters, and the systems in place, but Shannon also left too many unanswered questions dangling out there, many introduced with little relevance other than to let readers know more would be coming regarding those topics in later books. I can certainly see how she could build six more books simply on the questions she poses in the first. I just wish they had been more selectively opened. As I said, the first installment might be overwhelming for some. Even though I am excited to read the rest of the series, I do feel like I would need the first book fresh in my mind to fully appreciate the details in the upcoming books.
For the good and the bad, this is an ambitious work for such a young author, and The Bone Season is something I highly recommend to readers who appreciate intelligent, complex story lines and kick-ass characters who have room to grow. (less)
Readers will fly through this book, yet the characters and subject matter will stick around for days after. With a wealth of topics and questions to d...moreReaders will fly through this book, yet the characters and subject matter will stick around for days after. With a wealth of topics and questions to discuss at book club, you will have lots to talk about, just be prepared with a few tissues toward the end of the book. (less)
College friends get together to celebrate one of their birthdays at an all-expenses-paid vacation to Jamaica. Life is not as easy...morePerfect summer read!
College friends get together to celebrate one of their birthdays at an all-expenses-paid vacation to Jamaica. Life is not as easy as it was when they were in college, but they are all determined to have the time of their lives. Struggling with work, marriage, and friendships, they don't leave their cares behind. Instead, they brought quite a bit of baggage along on their vacation, and drama ensues as friendships and marriages are tested. As a hurricane threatens their tropical paradise, storms brew inside the house as well.
I had been hearing so much about Sarah Pekkanen in the last few years, so when Simon & Schuster Audio asked me if I wanted to listen to the audio of one of her books, I jumped at the chance. Now, I can't seem to get enough of Ms. Pekkanen. Her writing is engaging, the pace is quick, and her characters are flawed, realistic and likable. I found it very easy to get drawn into this story.
A note on the audio: Narrator Cassandra Campbell's voice sounded familiar to me, yet not. This was not my first audiobook that she has read. She has a way of bringing out the best of a book without making it hers. Instead, she becomes the voice in our heads. Her voice is pleasant and the emotion is never forced. I enjoy her audiobooks quite a bit, and will absolutely listen to anything she narrates in the future.
Fun, light, and enjoyable, my only wish for The Best of Us was that I was reading it while sitting on a beach with a drink in my hand! (less)
A conspiracy theory regarding all four Presidential assassinations? Add the librarian hero and I was hooked before I even started the book!
At the hear...moreA conspiracy theory regarding all four Presidential assassinations? Add the librarian hero and I was hooked before I even started the book!
At the heart of The Fifth Assassin is Beecher White, who is essentially an important librarian and historian at the National Archives in Washington DC. He, along with a small group of mysterious characters, is a part of The Culper Ring, a secret spy organization formed during GeorgeWashington's time.When information is discovered that each assassination was planned and carried out by yet another clandestine group, Beecher is not only determined who is behind the assassinations, but races against the clock to prevent what might be the fifth assassination.
Although two characters (Beecher and the Knight) in The Fifth Assassin had made appearances in Meltzer's previous work, readers can jump into this story and enjoy a wild ride. There are several storylines going at once, maintaining the quick tempo and begging pages to turn. Even though I had no trouble following the plot at hand, I believe I would have gotten more from the book had I known more of the back story of each Beecher and the Knight. For this reason, I recommend you go back and read the first two books before picking up The Fifth Assassin, if only to enjoy the story as intended.
Sure, there were parts of the book that were so far fetched readers might want to chuckle, but it's fiction, entertaining fiction that keeps you guessing.
This was my very first Brad Meltzer book, and I'm sure it will not be my last. If his loyal fans are telling me this was not his best, I have some fantastic books ahead of me!
I listened to the audio, and it was certainly one of those books that kept me circling the block in order to listen more before pulling into my driveway. The narrator came close to adopting a melodramatic tone early on, but quickly rebounded.