Book Vlog: The Mighty Dynamo by Kieran Crowley

"I recommend The Mighty Dynamo to soccer players, soccer fans and pretty much anybody in this world."  
image source: Twitter @KMarkCrowley

Summary:  
Noah longs to be a professional soccer player - and playing in the Schools' World Cup qualifiers might be just what he needs to get scouted. But when he's banned from his school team for something he didn't do, all his dreams are in doubt.
Determined to live up to his Mighty Dynamo nickname, Noah must find his own way to enter the contest - no matter what it takes! With best friend Stevie on tactics, and the skills of some unlikely new teammates, he's soon ready to take on the world - just as long as no one plays foul . . .

Release Date: September 2016
Age Group: MG
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Macy Kate




Vlog Report:



Guest Post: 20 Inspiring YA Quotes by Hooked to Books

20 YA Book Quotes To Motive Life!

When I am trolling through Pinterest or GoodReads and see a book quote and know, that somewhere, I have read that line, I get #thefeels You know those feelings that just instantly take you back to a world that captured you for only hours but touched you forever.

What did you just daydream? I instantly thought of the original book boyfriend, Darcy! {and all the pins waiting for me!} Oh Darcy, you have bewitched me heart and soul too. #DarcyForever

Sometimes it takes a minute to figure it out but for a book'ish mind it's usually instantaneous. It's apart of you {us}. Literature is so flipping cool.

It's time to test your Jedi memory.  Here is a really fun infographic that some bookworms from Hooked To Books created. It's an epic mash-up of their favorite 20 inspiring quote's from the books that most know and love. They even added the iconic symbols to further trigger #thefeels. How many can you name? I feel like my TBR list just grew! #dang




Book Review: The Principles of Flotation by Alexandra Teague

Summary: A.Z. McKinney is on the shores of greatness. Now all she needs is a boat.

When the Sea of Santiago appeared overnight in a cow pasture in Arkansas, it seemed, to some, a religious miracle. But to high school sophomore A.Z. McKinney, it’s marked her chance to make history—as its first oceanographer. All she needs is to get out on the water.

Her plan is easier said than done, considering the Sea’s eccentric owner is only interested in its use as a tourist destination for beachgoers and devout pilgrims. Still, A.Z. is determined to uncover the secrets of the Sea—even if it means smuggling saline samples in her bathing suit.

Yet when a cute, conceptual artist named Kristoff moves to town, A.Z. realizes she may have found a first mate. Together, they make a plan to build a boat and study the Sea in secret. But from fighting with her best friend to searching for a tourist-terrorizing alligator (that may or may not be a crocodile), distractions are everywhere. Soon, A.Z.’s dreams are in danger of being dashed upon the shore of Mud Beach.

With her self-determined oceanic destiny on the line, A.Z. finds herself at odds with everything she thought she knew about life, love, and the Sea. To get what she wants, she’ll have to decide whether to sink or float . . . But which one comes first?


Release Date: March 2017
Age Group: YA
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Nat

Review:
This was an oddly crafted story. The writing style is more mature than most YA and seemed a bit poetic at times but it was still easy to follow and had a smooth flow of events. I enjoyed AZ and her determined spirit as she hits one road block after another in her pursuit of knowledge and life in general.

The story centers around The Sea of Santiago but the details are never fleshed out. I would have liked to have known a bit more on how this anomaly came to be or if it was just truly a scientific wonder.

The parentals in this story are present and odd all in their own right. I liked how they were fleshed out and believe their peculiarity helped to build the spirit of AZ. But they were different, that's for sure.

And Kristoff, the boyfriend... like any boyfriend of a 14 year old... he was just meh. He was, as my grandfather would always say, "just another dumb kid". I didn't really care for him.

One thing that really stood out to me right from the beginning was how the tourists that visit this little town are referred to as Pilgrims. I re-read one chapter because I thought maybe I was about to read something crazy like The Handmaids Tale. But alas, they were just tourists. #dang

I would consider this a heavier YA read just based on the sentence structure but with a story that is relatable and true to the heart of adolescence. AZ is well-written, engaging and gets caught in a pickle a time or two but you are sure to love her.



Book Review: How to Become a Pirate Hunter by Marty Reeder {& Giveaway}

Summary:  Not everyone is special. Or at least that's what Eric believes. But when the new girl Charlotte tells him he's a natural at hunting pirates, and offers to prove it, Eric can't resist the adventure. Thrown in the middle of the Spanish Main, Eric must quickly accept his skills, or else succumb to the horrors of the dreaded Willard Pirate Twins.

Release Date: March 2017
Age Group: MG
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Maryn



Want to win a copy? Enter a Giveaway HERE.




Review: I have never been particularly interested in anything that has to do with pirates, but I hoped that this book would be the exception. I was really excited about this one because it mentioned time travel and adventure. In the beginning I was hooked. Right away, you find out that one of the main characters has the ability to see what a person is born to be, their destiny. But then the story took a bit of a turn.

If you are interested in pirates, I assume that your opinion about these parts of the story will differ from mine. I can't believe I'm saying it, but there was too much detail! The characters would go on and on explaining different routes and maps for far too long, making the story unnecessarily confusing. I found myself re-reading entire pages just to try and process all of the routes. I feel these parts of the story would fail to capture the attention of young readers because it's just too much information and kind of boring (unless you love pirate lore).

Although there were low points in the plot, there were still a lot of adventure and twists. This book had me on the edge of my seat several times and it wasn't predictable. Just when I thought the conflict was resolved, something else would happen and change everything. I'm certain that this book will be a hit for middle grade pirate lovers.


The World of Weird Animals: Pink is for Blobfish {Discovering the World's Perfectly Pink Animals} by Jess Keating


Summary: "Pinkalicious" meets National Geographic in this nonfiction picture book introducing the weirdest, wildest, pinkest critters in the animal kingdom! Some people think pink is a pretty color. A fluffy, sparkly, princess-y color. But it's so much more. Sure, pink is the color of princesses and bubblegum, but it's also the color of monster slugs and poisonous insects. Not to mention ultra-intelligent dolphins, naked mole rats and bizarre, bloated blobfish. Isn't it about time to rethink pink? Slip on your rose-colored glasses and take a walk on the wild side with zoologist Jess Keating, author of "How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied," and cartoonist David DeGrand. "Readers will never look at pink the same way.


Release Date: February 2016
Age Group: Chidrens, Middle Grade, Curious Minds
Source:Purchased at Scholastic Book Fair
Reviewed By: Nat, The Boys & The Mob

Review:
This such an odd little book! I profess that I love all things pink but this blobfish made me re-think that claim.

That fish is the eye-sore eye-candy eye-catcher. When I picked this up at the book fair I had about 5, 1st graders swarm me and ask "What is that?!" It had to be a winner, so I snatched it up and was tempted to peek at it before I got home but I got distracted by about 900 other books. It was a Book Fair, come on.

This book is a fact book and can be very versatile based on the audience. I read it to The Boys first and they were interested in the pictures and the fact column about the animals. They couldn't sit still for the fun animal story so we gawked at the pictures and then read the facts and talked about how crazy this or that fact was and then moved on.

I also had The Mob give it a go. Of course I don't have to read anything to them and just got to watch and listen. They loved the pictures of the nasty little pink creatures and had all kinds of funny comments "hey it looks like youuuu!" "do you think we could catch one?" They took turns reading the animal fats and stories and were pretty interested with all of the text. In the end they gave me accusatory looks and asked if I bought the book just because it was pink...

My response: Maybe. You know you liked it and you all wear pink underwear and I think you are all related to the BLOBFISH. *Blobfish relation as in they are all laaazzzzzzyyyyy little monsters. They are not ugly.

Overall this is a fun book and I learned about several animals that I had never knew existed. This would be a fun addition to a classroom library or for those curious little minds that just like to know the facts.


#WORDWEDNESDAY with Our Favorite Nocturnals


One of our favorite MG series is The Nocturnals by Tracey Hecht. This is a series that introduces uncommon animals, unpredictable mystery all while growing your vocabulary. I'll admit it right now, meshuggina was a new word for me. Kids these days just say you're cray-cray {yes our youth have fallen short in their vocabulary efforts}. Middle schooler's love this series and Ms. Leger has passed these around so much that the covers look like they have gone to war!

The Nocturnals website {HERE} is so interactive and fun but what we love even more is their #WORDWEDNESDAY meme on Twitter.

How cute are these!


There is a word, the definition followed by a sentence using the word. The artwork always perfectly depicts the word taught. These images are perfect for both ELA teachers and homeschool curriculum. 

So scurry on over to Twitter and Learn a Word or two. 

And be sure and add The Nocturnals to your TBR list!

 

Book Review: The Cubit Quest by Trevor Leck

Summary:  Twelve-year-old Charlie Watkins could have inherited his dad's massive intellect.

He got his massive feet instead.

Perhaps if Charlie had that intellect he might have been able to figure out why so many men in suits were suddenly following him or where his dad hid the Cubit - a mythical object that men have sworn to protect and even more have died trying to possess - before his so-called accident.

If starting yet another new school wasn't bad enough, Charlie meets Mr Leopold, a disfigured, mind-reading lunatic and discovers that he alone must find the Cubit if he is to save his dad. The Brotherhood, however, have other ideas. Led by the ruthless Draganovic, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. With the help of Mr Leopold and fellow new boy Elvis, Charlie sets out on The Cubit Quest.

Hunting for the Cubit, playing football, lessons with the dreaded Funeral Face and unsuccessfully avoiding school bully Grimshaw by day, Charlie finds his nights no less complicated. Stalked in his dreams, he's soon immersed in a world of power struggles, battling dragons and duels to the death. With the Brotherhood hot on his heels and as the bullets begin to fly, there are no guarantees that Charlie, or anyone else, will make it to the end in one piece.

Release Date: March 2017
Age Group: MG or YA, Urban Fantasy
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Nat

Review: This is a coming of age adventure with a bit of a Goonies flair who like to meet in The Matrix for a nice steak dinner. 

The Cubit Quest was fun buuuuttttt... I will admit it was difficult for me. Let me explain.
Leck does a good job of building a strong presence of friendship, loyalty and mystery. I really ended up vested in the story and I still want to know what happens to little Charlie and big 'ol Elvis. 

There is a little something for every genre: mystery, heartache, fighting, ghosts, new dimensions and even dragons. I might say it's Urban Fantasy 'ish.

The content of this story is MG but the flow of the text would better suit a YA audience, it is a bit jumpy. Several times I would have to go back a re-read a paragraph because I had just jumped to an entirely different scene. Distinct formatting would have helped the scene changes. I feel like a reluctant reader would get frustrated.

There are a lot of characters to piece together but in the end they all have a purpose. I wanted to really like some but I just never felt like I got to know them enough to love. For instance, when one dies it really affects Charlie but the "why was he so important?" still lingers.

I am an American. Which means in a lot of cases I (we) think that the rest of the world should follow suit {I know, total snobs}. When you talk about football, I think of the Super Bowl. This story is English and I think football was referring to either cricket or soccer. I had to keep reminding myself to make the mental shift. There are several English terms and references used throughout the text, and that is not a bad thing. I actually found it fascinating and started highlighting phrases to look up later. Here are a few of my notes:

  • "cuppa, fancy one?" --> Is cuppa a cup?
  • dialling 999 --> I thought 911 was universal... I am a fool. I need to know all emergency numbers before I leave the country.
  • on the football pitch
  • "Mario was still smarting"
  • the spelling of "cheque"
  • The English Christmas tradition of "listening to the Queen's speech and munched their way through a tin of Quality Street"
  • ... the posh kids couldn't score for toffee --> does that mean "crap"? Couldn't score for crap? I'm going to start using toffee.
  • Charlie slipped his trousers and trainers on... --> it just sounds cooler than "pants".

Overall, The Cubit Quest is a fun, fast read. Fans of the Goonies and The Matrix will enjoy this adventure.

 
image source: goodreads.com

10 Book to Movie Adaptations of 2017

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Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events 
{Netflix Original, now playing}
Book Review: Can you believe I've never reviewed them?! Will rectify.
If you didn't like the Jim Carey movie adaptation 10 years ago, don't count this one out! It is fantastic and my kids give it 5 stars!

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Before I Fall  
{in theaters March 3rd}
Book Review: HERE
This is a highly anticipated YA adaptation. #fingerscrossed it does the book justice.

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The Shack 
{in theaters March 3rd}
Goodreads Reviews: HERE  
My mom and I read The Shack back in 2007. It is quick read and you will either love it or feel meh about it. It really impacts some while others cannot get passed the idea that that God is a Black Woman. Just keep in mind, it's fiction.

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Beauty and the Beast
{in theaters March 17th}
Oh my gosh! I am MOST excited about this one! Belle is the ultimate Book Princess. Of course, I am speaking of the Disney version of this old tale. The original story was written in 1740 and I have not read it... on purpose. I am too attached to Disney's version. They have ruined me. I just want to hum 'a tale as old as time...'. It just wouldn't be right if you didn't watch this film immediately... and you would also forfeit the privilege to call me Nat.  

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13 Reasons Why
{Netflix Original, Premiers March 31st} 
Book Review: HERE
The ultimate YA book on the effects of bullying and the sad reality of suicide. This is a must-read for all teens and parents.  
 
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The Boss Baby
{in theaters March 31st}
Goodreads Reviews: Here The picture book was fun and had great illustrations but oh man, this movie looks hilarious. Alec Baldwin has the perfect voice for The Boss.
 
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Everything Everything
{in theaters May 19th} 
Book Review: HERE
The book review for Everything Everything was done by an expert, Kelli, on the life of the chronically ill. I think this movie will have the same affect as The Fault in Our Stars, an emotional punch to love and life.

 
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Captain Underpants
{in theaters June 2nd}
We own every single book and my Monsters love this series. I will be taking The Mob to this opening day.
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Wonder
{in theaters November 2017} 
Book Review Here & Here This is a book that could melt the heart of an Ice Queen. So touching and makes you look at the world with kinder eyes. President Obama actually said that if there was one book that he would recommend everyone read, it would be Wonder. I will definitely be posting a lot more about this adaptation in the coming months.

Courtesy IMDb
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Jumangi
{in theaters December 2017}
There isn't a lot of information out on this one yet. BUT, it had me at The Rock, Jack Black and Kevin Heart. Done. I will attend.
comingsoon.net

Did I miss any?

Book Review: Denton Little's Still Not Dead by Lance Rubin

Summary: You only live once—unless you’re Denton Little!

The good news: Denton Little has lived through his deathdate. Yay! The bad news: He’s being chased by the DIA (Death Investigation Agency), he can never see his family again, and he may now die any time. Huh. Cheating death isn’t quite as awesome as Denton would have thought…

Lance Rubin’s debut novel, Denton Little’s Deathdate, showed readers just how funny and poignant imminent death could be. Now in this sequel, he takes on the big questions about life. How do we cope, knowing we could die at any time? Would you save someone from dying even if they were a horrible person? Is it wrong to kiss the girl your best friend is crushing on if she’s really into you instead? What if she’s wearing bacon lip gloss?





Release Date: February 2017
Age Group: YA
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Ms. Leger

Review: 
Denton Little’s Still Not Dead was just what I expected- hilarious and a great return to the world of human expiration dates. I feel like this Denton book answered all the questions that left me hanging in Denton Little's Deathdate. The answers of course were not what I had suspected or how I had planned it out in my mind. 
I love the characters, Denton and Paulo. They made me reminisce about growing up in the 70's and life in the 80's, except for the death dates. I think these characters and world would be a great adaptation to film. A movie based on this series would be hilarious.
The only question that I'm left with is, will there will be a 3rd book in the series? I would love to find out what Denton is up to. Maybe a novella would be fun. I would recommend this series to anyone who who needs a good laugh and enjoys a fun, irregular world.
Ms. Leger

Book Review: The Little Shop of Monsters by RL Stine & Marc Brown

2016 Children's Choice Book Award Winner -- Kindergarten-2nd Grade Book of the Year

Summary: A frighteningly fun picture book adventure from two monstrously talented children's book icons--Marc Brown and R.L. Stine!
 

Are you are afraid of monsters?
Do they make you shiver and shake and shut your eyes really tight at night?

Welcome to the Little Shop of Monsters! Do you want a SNEEZER? A TICKLER? Or one of the CREEPIEST monsters of all? Come on in and choose your favorite, if you dare (before one of them chooses YOU!).

Renowned children's book creators Marc Brown and R.L. Stine join forces for the very first time-in Stine's picture book debut-with a tale that is monstrously good fun.








Release Date: August 2015
Age Group: Childrens, Picture books, All-Mankind (it's Stine)
Source: Purchased at Scholastic Book Fair
Reviewed By: Nat & The Boys

Review:
This little gem slipped by and I didn't spot it until I was spending my life's savings at my boys school book fair. Really, this book needs no review, it should be an auto-buy. But for those with little appreciation for twisted humor, here we go.

It is a well known fact that I buy all things RL Stine. If he sold gum, I'd have it as an auto-ship item in my Amazon cart. Yea, I'm like that. I'm a sheep, I'm a freaking Stine sheep.

Immediately the title made me think of the 1986 film Little Shop of Horrors. Admit it, you just said "Feed me Seymour, FEED ME" *in the plant-eater voice. It's okay, I did too.

Upon further inspection I was kind of shocked to see that Stine had teamed up with Marc Brown, the creator of the Arthur series. I am well versed in all things Arthur because it is a common series that I use when creating different health lessons for young children. But the two have totally different feels. I wondered how creepy was going to mesh with do-good-er.
It was EPIC!

It was the perfect mix of giggles, fear, gagging fun all while trying to find the courage to turn the page. I read it aloud in my best creeper voice and didn't have to build up the anticipation because the text delivered! The text is interactive, full of rhymes and little snarky side comments like "I hope I'm wrong" and "that would be sad". You know, sad that your neighbor might have just been eaten!  

My eight year old thought it was great that his little brother was hiding his face and yelling "just turn the page, I'm scared" while they both laughed in fear and excitement. 

There were literally pages that made me want to gag. It was great! We made noises, discussed the pros and cons of the different monsters and determined how much we would be willing to spend on a Monster.  

This book is ideal for children between the ages of 4 to 8. It is different, interactive and just plain fun. We all need a little excitement! Grab it for your Little Monsters or buy it as a fun gift, you can't go wrong!