Children's Book Review: Mom School by Rebecca Van Slyke

In this adorable kid’s-eye view of what would happen if Mom went to school, a little girl imagines Mom School, where all moms learn their amazing skills, like fixing a bike tire and baking cupcakes. With warm, funny illustrations and a fun role-reversal story in which moms act like kids, young readers will love imagining what would happen if their own moms went to Mom School.

"An appealing addition to read at Mother’s Day and throughout the year."—School Library Journal

"Gently funny and knowing, it’s a good bet for moments of mother-child bonding."—Publishers Weekly

Release Date: March 24, 2015
Age Group: Children's: 3-7 years
Source: Publisher
Reviewed By: Kelli and Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn and I loved this sweet story!  It's narrated by a little girl, who talks about the things she likes about pre-school.  She reflects on the fact that her mom knows how to do all kinds of things.  The little girl decides that her mom must have gone to Mom School, to learn how to be a great mom.
Mom School is full of beautiful illustrations.  Priscilla Burris did a wonderful job with the pictures.  They were Kaitlyn's favorite aspect of the story. 
I loved the sweet and concise prose.  The story flowed well and easily.  There was a bit of humor and the book ended on a really tender note.
Mom School is a great read.  It would be a perfect Mother's Day gift!

Audio Book Spotlight: Hidden Wings (Hidden Wings #1) by Cameo Renae

Today we're featuring the first book in a YA series called Hidden Wings.  The Hidden Wings series is about angels and the fallen and sounds like it has something for everyone: action, romance, and adventure.
Here's the clip from Audible:
Seventeen is a life changing age for Emma Wise.
As her family's sole survivor in a car crash, she is left with a broken arm and a few scrapes and bruises. But these are only outward marks; inside, her heart is broken and the pieces scattered.

Whisked away to Alaska, to an aunt she’s never met, Emma starts over. Secrets unveil themselves and now…she doesn't even know who or what she is.

A centuries old prophecy places Emma in the heart of danger. Creatures of horrifying and evil proportions are after her, and it will take Emma, her aunt, and six, gorgeously captivating Guardians to keep her safe. But, if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday... things will change.

Big Changes Ahead

This has been a very hectic few months for me.  I have gotten behind on reading, reviewing, and returning emails.  I have had some blank posts go up---the horror! the shame!---due to being too busy to log in to the blog every single day and keep it up to date. 
The reason for my inattentiveness is that on February 1st, my husband and I decided to sell our house and move.  We aren't moving far: only about 15 miles from where we live now.  We wanted to go back to a one-story house, one on a nice-sized lot in a gated neighborhood.

We found the perfect lot and worked with a draftsman to design our dream house.  Toby and I are super excited about our new house!  Since it's a custom build, we are choosing everything.  Fixtures, flooring, doorknobs, hinges, doors, everything.  So that means lots of decisions and lots of time spent making those decisions.

We have chosen a builder after a long process where we met with different builders and got bids.  Toby and I are confident in our choice of builder and know that our new house will be everything we want and more.

Selling our current house as a stay-at-home-mom to a four year old has not been easy.  We get at least one showing a week and I spend most of the day prepping for those showings.  It feels like as soon as I clean an area, Kaitlyn's right there, getting it messy again. 

So, much of my time has been consumed with fun plans, and the hard work of cleaning and showing our house to hopefully sell it soon.  I am reading much less than before: whenever I sit down to read I either nod off to sleep or get a phone call for a showing!  I'm reviewing even less, and mostly just trying to stay on top of the blog inbox.

I'm telling you all of this not for your sympathy---after all, this is a choice we made, and we're happy about it!---but for your understanding.  I will be hosting more spotlights, more guest reviews, and posting less frequently.  I am still here, though, and I'd So Rather Be Reading is five years strong.  Nat and I aren't going anywhere anytime soon. 

So, please bear with me through this busy time, and know that I will be back!  Hugs to you all, dear readers.



Book Review: Draw-A-Saurus by James Silvani

This in-depth yet accessible dinosaur drawing guide combines humor, creativity, and the latest dino research to show artists young and old how to breathe life into drawings of their prehistoric favorites. 
Prehistoric Pencil Power!
Even though they lived some 65 million years ago, dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles continue to rule today. From movies to comics and cartoons, these ancient, giant beasts are everywhere you turn. Of course, who wants to just read about or watch these dinos when you can learn how to use pencils, pens, markers, and more to draw your very own?

Cartoonist James Silvani combines easy-to-follow art exercises with the latest, greatest dino-facts to help you create fun and cool dinosaur doodles all by yourself. With lessons on old favorites like T-rex and stegosaurus, as well as lesser-known (but still awesome) creatures like the massive argentinosaurus, Draw-a-Saurus has everything the dinosaur fan could ever ask for (outside of their very own pet dino!).

Release Date: September 2014 
Age Group: Middle Grade 
Source: Publisher
Reviewed By: Nat 

This is a very detailed and informational workbook. When I first received this book I was immediately excited because I have a 6 year old who loves science and animals. The cover is very attractive and the facts were great but it was way to advanced for my sons age. This book is more of a workbook for how-to training in drawing with facts fed throughout.

I sent it to Ms. Leger's class to see what her 6th graders thought of it. There was one student in particular that absolutely loves dinosaurs and was eager to give it a go. He spent about a week going through it and really enjoyed it. Anytime there was a free moment Ms. Leger said he would pull out the book and begin drawing and reading intently. He reported to her that the book was "the best drawing book with correct information". {Did I mention he is a bit of a dinosaur connoisseur? :)}

This book is ideal for a very specific group. Ideally, a middle grader that has a love for dinosaurs, has a personality that appreciates attention to detail and only a mild interest in drawing. The step-by-step illustrations really break it down and allow for someone with minimal drawing abilities to follow.

We received two copies for review. One was given to the awesome student mentioned and the other is up for grabs! Want to give it a go? Or have someone in mind? Enter the giveaway below and I'll ship you a copy!

Giveaway Details

One hard copy of Draw-A-Saurus is up for grabs. 
  • This giveaway is open to US residents only. 
  • The winner will be notified via email and will have 72 hours to reply and claim their prize.  If no response is received within 72 hours, another winner will be chosen.
  • You don't have to follow our blog to enter this giveaway (but following it will get you more chances to win!).

*image source:

Book Review: Running Out of Night by Sharon Lovejoy

Fans of Elijah of Buxton, Trouble Don't Last, and Stealing Freedom will be drawn to this tale of the incredible journey of an abused twelve-year-old white girl and an escaped slave girl who run away together and form a bond of friendship while seeking freedom.

Every day is a misery for a nameless, motherless Southern girl who is treated cruelly by her pa and brothers. Her life changes forever when a runaway slave named Zenobia turns to her for help and shelter. Longing for her own freedom, the girl decides to run away, and she and Zenobia set off on a harrowing journey. Along the way, Zenobia names the girl Lark, after the bird, for her ability to mimic its song.

Running by night, hiding by day, the girls are pursued by Lark's pa and brothers and by ruthless slave catchers. Brightwell, another runaway slave, joins them, and the three follow secret signs to a stop on the Underground Railroad. When the hideout is raided and Zenobia and Brightwell are captured, Lark sets out alone to rescue her friends.

Release Date: November 2014
Age Group: Middle Grade
Source: Publisher
Reviewed By:  Ms. Leger

I enjoyed reading Running out of Night. Lovejoy did a remarkable job researching this era in history and it is a fantastic first novel. I was impressed with the use of dialect during the set time period of 1858. The dialect was used in a way that was true to the south but not so broken that a student would not be able to understand it. There was little to no confusion as to what they meant in the southern slang; I had little to no trouble reading it through and did not stumble on any words.   

Due to the age of my students I am always looking for a good example of dialect and this story hit the mark. I felt the book had a Twain'ish feel to it; something that you will better understand when you read it. 

The plot moved at a steady pace and held my interest. There is a proverb at the beginning of every chapter that warms you up for some event that was sure to happen in the next few pages. I found myself guessing and anxious to see how it would fit in. 

If a candle burns blue, it is a token of bad luck, for it indicates the presence of a death sperrit. 

Moment in the chapter: The Candle on the table guttered, wavered, and burned blue—the bad death light of sperrits. 

By the end I really felt for the main character and still wanted to know if she would ever be reunited with Zenobia.  And I can't help but hope that there will be a sequel or at the very least a novella. 

Bravo Lovejoy, it was excellent and Twain worthy. I would recommend this book to my 6th grade students.

Ms. Leger
(pronounced lay-jay)

Book Review: Roomies by Lindy Zart

Graham Malone is my roommate, my personal eye candy, the reason I get up in the morning smiling (that could be from the illicit dreams I have about him too, I suppose. Let's move on.). He's also beautiful to look at, but his heart is where his true beauty lies. Take away the exterior and the interior still shines.

I love him. I mean, I'm pretty sure I do, having never been in love before. Anyway, it seems legit.

And now his brother Blake is here, and, well, he's the complete opposite of Graham. Sarcastic, brooding, and totally available. But he's leaving soon, and Graham's the one I want. I shouldn't have to remind myself of this, right? I wouldn't have to if Blake would quit looking at me like I'm something yummy and he's starving.

Here's a toast to roomies; the ones you should never fall in love with. Or something.

Release Date: November 21, 2014
Age Group: New Adult, Contemporary
Source: Kindle e-book, purchased
Reviewed By: Nat

I was updating my latest book binge on Goodreads when Roomies popped up under the “readers also enjoyed” blog roll. I thought, what the heck, it sounds funny, it’s NA and I haven’t heard of the author- this has been a pretty great formula for me lately.

Lindy Zart didn’t disappoint! The sarcastic banter alone is enough of a reason to read this book. About 20 pages in, the writing style reminded me of Jessica Park’s Flat-Out-Love series, so I knew I was hooked. I’m pretty sure Lindy Zart wrote my fictional soul sister when she dreamt up Kennedy.

“Maybe I’m a little callous, a little insensitive, a little self-centered, but hey, that’s how I roll.”

The lead characters (Kennedy, Graham and little brother Blake) are likable but polar opposite, on so many levels, which kept things fresh. Kennedy is your typical young adult with loads of insecurities but the way she handles life and masks her inner monologue is through her boisterous attitude and sharp wit.

It takes a special kind of man to be able to appreciate such a woman, sadly there were two brothers that appreciated Kennedy’s unique personality but for very different reasons. One brother was slow with a hidden appreciation & agenda and the other was fast acting & fed off the hate-fire Kennedy had to offer.
“'You know what is so appealing about you, in a twisted, messed up kind of way?' 

'What's that?'

'You have no idea how tactless you are.'

'Well. I have some idea,' I grumble.”

I wouldn’t say there was a love triangle, more of a love debate because it was pretty obvious who was in love with who. With that said, I really hope that this book does not remain a stand-alone. I want more Kennedy! She is such a nice comic relief and spot on with her insults and life observations- some might say she has a tactless approach, I say honesty is the best policy- just rip the band-aid off.


Book Spotlight: Mistress Firebrand by Donna Thorland

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02_Mistress Firebrand Cover
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
NAL Trade Formats: eBook, Paperback
416 Pages
Series: Renegades of the American Revolution (Book 3)
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
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British Occupied Manhattan, 1777. American actress Jenny Leighton has been packing the John Street Theater with her witty comedies, but she longs to escape the provincial circuit for the glamour of the London stage. When the playwright General John Burgoyne visits the city, fresh from a recent success in the capitol, she seizes the opportunity to court his patronage. But her plan is foiled by British intelligence officer Severin Devere. Severin’s mission is to keep the pleasure-loving general focused on the war effort…and away from pretty young actresses. But the tables are turned when Severin himself can’t resist Jenny Leighton… Months later, Jenny has abandoned her dreams of stage glory and begun writing seditious plays for the Rebels under the pen name “Cornelia,” ridiculing “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne and his army—and undermining the crown’s campaign to take Albany. With Jenny’s name now on the hanging list, Severin is ordered to find her—and deliver her to certain death. Soon, the two are launched on a desperate journey through the wilderness, toward an uncertain future shaped by the revolution—and their passion for each other…

Buy Mistress Firebrand

Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble

03_Donna ThorlandAbout the Author

A native of Bergenfield, New Jersey, Donna graduated from Yale with a degree in Classics and Art History. For many years she managed architecture and interpretation at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, and wrote and directed the Witch City’s most popular Halloween theater festival, Eerie Events. She later earned an MFA in film production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Donna has been a sorority house mother, a Disney/ABC Television Writing Fellow, a WGA Writer’s Access Project Honoree, and a writer on the ABC primetime drama, Cupid. Her screenwriting credits include episodes of the animated series, Tron: Uprising. Her short fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Albedo One. The director of several award-winning short films, her most recent project, The Night Caller, aired on WNET Channel 13 and was featured on Ain’t It Cool News. Currently she is a writer on the WGN drama SALEM. She is married with one cat and divides her time between the real Salem and Los Angeles. For more information visit Donna Thorland's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Mistress Firebrand Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 6 Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Excerpt & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, April 7 Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, April 8 Interview at The Maiden's Court

Thursday, April 9 Guest Post & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Friday, April 10 Spotlight at Broken Teepee

Sunday, April 12 Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, April 13 Spotlight, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, April 16 Review at Caroline Wilson Writes

Friday, April 17 Spotlight at I'd So Rather Be Reading

Saturday, April 18 Excerpt & Giveaway at A Dream Within a Dream

Monday, April 20 Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, April 21 Guest Post & Giveaway at Book Babe

Wednesday, April 22 Guest Post & Excerpt at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, April 23 Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Friday, April 24 Review at Back Porchervations

Monday, April 27 Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, April 28 Review at Historical Readings & Views

Wednesday, April 29 Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Guest Post at Boom Baby Reviews

Thursday, April 30 Review at Bookramblings

Friday, May 1 Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Drey's Library
Spotlight at Genre Queen

Sunday, May 3 Review at Forever Ashley

Monday, May 4 Review at A Chick Who Reads
Guest Post & Giveaway at To Read, or Not to Read

Tuesday, May 5 Excerpt at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, May 6 Review at Unabridged Chick

Thursday, May 7 Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, May 8 Interview at Scandalous Woman

Book Spotlight: I Don't Have a Happy Place: Cheerful Stories of Despondency and Gloom by Kim Korson


Cheerful Stories of Despondency and Gloom

“Korson’s preoccupations—checking crime blotters for neighborhood stats, being certain that her first child would come out crazy, avoiding chitchat at parties—may keep her firmly in her cranky cave but will strike a funny bone in readers.”

 Publishers Weekly

When a trip to the therapist ends with the question “Can’t Kim be happy?” Kim Korson responds the way any normal person would - she makes fun of it. Because really, does everyone have to be happy?

Aside from her father wearing makeup and her mother not feeling well (a lot), Kim Korson’s 1970s suburban upbringing was typical. Sometimes she wished her brother were an arsonist just so she’d have a valid excuse to be unhappy. And, when life moves along pretty decently - she breaks into show business, gets engaged in the secluded jungles of Mexico, and moves her family from Brooklyn to dreamy rural Vermont - the real despondency sets in. Its a skill to find something wrong in just about every situation, but Kim has an exquisite talent for negativity. It is only after half a lifetime of finding kernels of unhappiness where others find joy that she begins to wonder if she is even capable of experiencing happiness.

In I Don’t Have a Happy Place, Kim Korson untangles what it means to be a true malcontent. Rife with evocative and nostalgic observations, unapologetic racism, and razor-sharp wit, I Don’t Have a Happy Place is told in humorous, autobiographical stories. This fresh-yet-dark voice is sure to make you laugh, nod your head in recognition, and ultimately understand what it truly means to be unhappy. Always.

Kim Korson’s writing has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine and Moomah the Magazine. She is originally from Montreal, Canada, has lived in Brooklyn, NY and now lives in Southern Vermont with her husband and two kids. She doesn’t get out much but finds time to write often, hence the birth of her fantastic collection of personal essays, I Don’t Have a Happy Place: Cheerful Stories of Despondency and Gloom (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuester; original trade paperback; $16.00), to be published on April 4, 2015.

Kim Korson's website
Twitter: @KimKorson
I Don't Have a Happy Place on Simon and Shuster

Buy I Don't Have a Happy Place:
Barnes and Noble
Indie Bound

Book Review: Storm Fall (Rebel Wing #2) by Tracy Banghart

In the action-packed sequel to Rebel Wing, Aris battles for life and love . . . and not everyone will survive.

Aris Haan gave up everything to join the Atalantan Military: her family, her boyfriend, even her identity. In the end, though, it didn’t matter that she was a war hero. When the all-male Military discovered that she was actually a woman, she was sent home and erased from history.

Now she has a chance to go back to the battlefield—as herself. But as hard as it was to be a soldier in disguise, it’s even more difficult now. The men in her unit undermine her at every turn. The Safaran army has spies everywhere, perhaps even on Aris’s stationpoint. And she’s falling for her mysterious superior officer, Milek. But their relationship is forbidden, just stolen moments between training sessions and missions. There’s no room for love in war.

Then Aris discovers that Safara’s leaders have set their sights on her, Atalanta’s hero. And she must find them before they find her . . .
Release Date: December 16, 2014
Age Group: New Adult
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli
Storm Fall was such a thrilling read!  It was just as exciting as Rebel Wing, maybe even more so, since the world was already established.

The action starts on page one and doesn't let up for the entire book.  I flew through this book and literally cannot wait for more.

Just as with Rebel Wing, Storm Fall is full of excellent character development.  There might be even more personal growth in this installment than in book one.  The book was packed of tasteful romance as well.  I love a good love story and Rebel Wing had two. 

This fantasy series is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.  It's fast-paced, fun, and engrossing.  I can't wait for book three!


Book Spotlight: Angels at the Gate by T.K. Thorne


Please join author T.K. Thorne as she tours the blogosphere with HF Virtual Book Tours for Angels at the Gate Blog Tour from March 23-April 17, and enter to win your own hardcover copy!
Publication Date: March 5, 2015
Cappuccino Books
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 368
Genre: Historical Fiction
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02_Angels at the Gate_CoverBased on historical, biblical, and archaeological research, visits to the Middle East, and a large measure of creativity, ANGELS AT THE GATE is the story of Adira, destined to become Lot’s wife. A daughter of Abram's tribe, Adira is an impetuous young girl whose mother died in childbirth. Secretly raised as a boy in her father’s caravan and schooled in languages and the art of negotiation, Adira rejects the looming changes of womanhood that threaten her nomadic life and independence. But with the arrival of two mysterious strangers – Northmen rumored to be holy or possibly even “Angels” – Adira’s world unravels. Raiders invade the caravan, and she loses everything she values most – her father, her freedom, and even the “Angels.” Caught between her oath to her father to return to her tribe and the “proper life for a woman” and tormented by an impossible love, she abandons all she has known in a dangerous quest to seek revenge and find her kidnapped “Angel.” With only her beloved dog, Nami, at her side, Adira must use the skills she learned in the caravan to survive the perils of the desert, Sodom, and her own heart. ANGELS AT THE GATE is a story of adventure and the power of love, exploring themes about choice – the importance of asking the right questions and walking the fine edge between duty and personal freedom. Based on a simple mention in the Bible, T.K. Thorne has developed a complex and full-bodied character in the wife of Lot, a woman both ancient and modern, who will touch readers’ hearts, and live in their memories for years to come. As Dianne Mooney, founder of Southern Living At Home says, “For all those whose curiosity is piqued by how it might have been in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, this is a must read!”

Praise for Angels at the Gate

"ANGELS AT THE GATE is nothing short of a masterwork–superbly and eloquently written, solidly researched and a high-speed page-turner. Readers will be swept up in a story they can't put down." –Elsa D. Ruther, editor,The Nifty Pickle “A masterpiece of historical research, interweaving history and theology in a re-visioning of an ancient story from a woman’s perspective. Thorne is a dazzlingly gifted writer.” –Sue Walker, Poet Laureate of Alabama, 2003-2012 “Thorne unspools an ancient adventure with crackling undertones of our contemporary lives. Lean, polished action sequences render a young woman’s life with both intensity and nuanced truth.” –Dale Short, public radio commentator and author of A Shinning, Shinning Path

Buy Angels at the Gate

Barnes & Noble

About the Author

03_Author TK. Thorne
T.K. Thorne’s childhood passion for storytelling deepened when she became a police officer in Birmingham, Alabama. “It was a crash course in life and what motivated and mattered to people.” When she retired as a captain, she took on Birmingham’s business improvement district as the executive director. Both careers provide fodder for her writing, which has garnered several awards, including “Book of the Year for Historical Fiction” (ForeWord Reviews) for her debut novel Noah’s Wife. Her first non-fiction book, Last Chance for Justice, was featured on the New York Post’s “Books You Should Be Reading” list. She loves traveling, especially to research her novels, and speaking about her books and life lessons. She writes at her mountaintop home, often with two dogs by her side and a cat on her lap. She blogs at and her web site is You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. Sign Up for T.K. Thorne’s newsletter.

Angels at the Gate Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 23
Review at Genre Queen
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, March 25
Review at Quirky Book Reviews
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 26
Review at Room With Books
Review at Unshelfish

Friday, March 27
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Review at Broken Teepee

Saturday, March 28
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, March 31
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, April 2
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Monday, April 6
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Thursday, April 9
Spotlight at I'd So Rather Be Reading

Monday, April 13
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, April 15
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, April 16
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks

Friday, April 17
Blog Tour Wrap Up at Passages to the Past


To enter to win a Hardcover copy of Angels at the Gate please complete the giveaway form below. Five copies are up for grabs!
* Giveaway is open to US residents only.
* Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on April 17th.
* You must be 18 or older to enter.
* Only one entry per household.
* All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
* Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 18th and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
* Please email Amy @ with any questions.