Book Review: The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.

Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control . . . or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.

Release Date:  April 2017
Age Group: YA, Contemporary
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Nat

When I read the summary for The Whole Thing Together I thought it sounded both tragic and hopeful. It was more tragic for me. I will admit that I didn't know what to think when I finished this book. Was I happy? Sad? I didn't know because I felt so freaking bad for this family.

The writing style is smooth and Brashares does a good job of explaining the crazy family connections between two blended families. Every single character has their flaws and semi-storyline. I really think that almost everyone could have had their own story because the issues that arise are no easy topics (infidelity, race, adoption, etc). And because of these topics I am pretty confident that some readers are going to pick apart certain aspects of this story. Am I going to? No. For me, some of the crazy made sense and I was more focused on the effects of divorce on kids. I am a child of a pretty nasty divorce and come from a white mother and a Hispanic father {that refused to teach me Spanish #stillbitter}. Oh man, I got stories.

Overall, I did enjoy the story but I wasn't surprised by the outcome. It was pretty much what I guessed would happen. I felt like it was cut short. There was a huge build-up and then you just said goodbye.

Even though this story was a bit too heavy for me, I still feel like I found a new author to enjoy. I like Brashares flow and ease of writing. I am motivated to give one of her other stories a try.

Ann Brashares is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now,
3 Willows, The Last Summer (of You & Me), and My Name Is Memory. She lives in New York City with her family. Visit Ann’s website at and follow on Twitter @AnnBrashares.

Hoppy Easter Blog Hop & Giveaway

I tried & tried to think of the perfect book for this giveaway but I just couldn't decide what genre or even age group let alone an actual book! So I am going with the tried & true, 100% guarantee you will get what you want, an amazon gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Want to win more goodies? HOP from blog to blog (listed below) and enter as many giveaways as you can!  

I hope each of you have a fantastic weekend with family and friends.  
Tweet ya soon!

Book Review & Blog Tour: The Book of Air

Retreating from an airborne virus with a uniquely unsettling symptom, property developer Jason escapes London for his country estate, where he is forced to negotiate a new way of living with an assortment of fellow survivors.  
Far in the future, an isolated community of descendants continue to farm this same estate. Among their most treasured possessions are a few books, including a copy of Jane Eyre, from which they have constructed their hierarchies, rituals and beliefs. When 15-year-old Agnes begins to record the events of her life, she has no idea what consequences will follow. Locked away for her transgressions, she escapes to the urban ruins and a kind of freedom, but must decide where her future lies.
These two stories interweave, illuminating each other in unexpected ways and offering long vistas of loss, regeneration and wonder.
The Book of Air is a story of survival, the shaping of memory and the enduring impulse to find meaning in a turbulent world.

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

For me, the Gold Standard for any dystopian novel revolves around 2 things: originality and possibility. My two absolute favorites are The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood and and The Giver quartet by Lois Lowery. The Book of Air will be added to this prestigious list. This story is so clever and original that I started recommending it to friends 3% into it!

The storyline is unique to anything I've read in that the POV is simultaneously driven by two characters, Jason & Agnes, one of past and one of present. It did take me a few chapters to figure this out but when I did, I was hooked. Once I fell into the two storylines and they started to unfold, it really moved at a steady pace. With each chapter the reader gets a little more of what created the post-apocalyptic world that Agnes knows.

When I figured out what The Book of Air actually was, my level of excitement skyrocketed. I don't want to spoil anything. I just can't. Seriously, such a clever twist on what humanity will deem important. The anticipation of trying to figure out the link between Jason and Agnes was torture (but in a fun emoji face kind of way).

Simply put, The Book of Air is original, compelling and hopeful. A must-read for all dystopian fans.
About Joe Treasure
Joe Treasure currently lives in South West London with his wife Leni Wildflower. As an English teacher in Wales, he ran an innovative drama programme, before following Leni across the pond to Los Angeles, an experience that inspired his critically acclaimed debut novel The Male Gaze (published by Picador). His second novel Besotted (also published by Picador) also met with rave reviews.
Get your copy of The Book of Air  HERE.

Book Review: Confessions of a High School Disaster {Chloe Snow's Diary} by Emma Chastain

Summary: In the tradition of Bridget Jones’s Diary, a lovably flawed high school student chronicles her life as she navigates the highs and lows of family, friendship, school, and love in a diary that sparkles with humor and warmth. 

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

"This was a book I loved to hate and hated to love!" 
Confessions of a High School Disaster is one of those books that you know you should  probably put down but you just can't, it's a train wreck you can't look away from! It is kind of like the Bachelor, I probably shouldn't watch it but I record it every single week and silently cheer for one of the girls... silently, because I don't want anyone to know I'm watching it.

This story focuses on Chloe Snow's diary and her high school experience as a freshman. It is very rare that I don't support the main character of a book and I could not handle Chloe because she is extremely self-centered, hypocritical, and naive.  I didn't find her to be relatable at all, and her life at high school was unrealistic. I was constantly thinking to myself, are people really this mean? If I'm completely honest though, this is the reason the book was so entertaining. Chloe is shockingly similar to Celeste from The Selection series, and you just love to hate her

I did like the meanness of this story and there were several parts that I felt would be inappropriate for young readers, this is definitely for older kids.  I enjoyed the story more than I thought I would and suggest that people looking for a funny, light, and easy read pick it up!
If you loved Mean Girls then this is a Diary for you!

Book Review: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Summary: Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

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

I decided this year I was going to try new authors and so far, they have been killing the game! I absolutely LOVED Jennifer Smith's writing style and this book is simply a gem. The clever book graphics, title and even the last page, I guarantee will suck you in.

Let me begin with the title: Windfall

A piece of unexpected good fortune, typically one that involves receiving a large amount of money.

I'll admit it, I learned a new word. Just based on the book summary, I wasn't sure this was my kind of read, I was afraid it would be too slow. After all, it is a far cry from my typical dystopian pleasure but I am excited to report I was totally & completely wrong!
Plain and simple I loved Alice, loved Teddy and even loved the Lottery. Each character was well-rounded and had their own uniqueness. I really never got board and as the story progressed I started thinking of how several of these characters needed a novella (or even their own story)!

Who hasn't sat and daydreamed about what they would do if they won the lottery? And I don't even play the lottery, although this has me considering adding scratch-offs to my Christmas cards, thoughts? tacky or cool?

Overall this was an excellent YA novel. It was innocent, clean and carries several themes that teens will find relatable; from family problems to peer interactions to evolving friendships, this book has it all. 

I am pretty confident that Windfall will be one of my top 5 favorites of 2017.

>>> Pre-order a signed & personalized copy of WINDFALL HERE and submit your receipt HERE, and receive a prize pack filled with lucky things! <<<

Jennifer E. Smith is the author of seven novels for young adults, including The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. She earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and her work has been translated into thirty-three languages. She lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @JenESmith or visit her at

What moment changed your life?

Book Review: Ignite by Danielle Rogland

Summary: In the ruins of dystopian London, the Empire rules through fear and fire.

“Everyone knew about ‘The Flames’ and how much trouble they had caused the Empire. They were the only rebel group anyone knew of that had lasted longer than a few months without getting caught, leaving candles behind whenever they snatched somebody out of the Empire’s grasp. To get involved with people like them is stupid. So stupid.”

Ever since her parents were murdered by the empire’s agents, Jacks has been living on the street as a pickpocket trying to keep away from trouble. When she accidentally witnesses the rebel group ‘The Flames’ in the middle of an operation she is unwillingly swept up into their world, and has to decide if she’s going to go back to looking after herself or join the rebellion and help them fight for the people of London Ruins.

She knows that getting involved was stupid, but does she really have a choice?

Release Date: March 2017 {Re-publication}
Age Group: YA, Dystopian
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Nat

Ignite, previously titled The Last Burning, was such a simple yet clever post-apocalyptic read. I had never read anything by Rogland and I am glad I did. She does a fantastic job of creating a dystopian world that does not resemble any other I've read (which is a hard feat in this genre) and it is non-stop action until the very last page. I had a hard time finding a breaking point and kept telling myself "one more chapter" until I realized I was done... that's a good story!

This war stricken world is set in London and follows the journey of a small group of rebels. The world building was very descriptive but not so much that I got lost in detail. The main character is Jacks but the story is told through multiple POV's. I enjoyed the change of thought and never got bored of any of the characters. Each character has their own unique story, are flawed and most importantly, memorable. Rogland did a fantastic job of really fleshing out each character.

And of course, I loved to hate the villains, they were simply terrifying! I would compare Emporer Donovan as a cross between Vaughn from Wither and President Snow from The Hunger Games. Eww, I know, isn't it great! {These two comparisons alone should be enough to make you want to read Ignite.}

There were plot twists that I didn't see coming and I never guessed where things were headed, just the right ingredients for a one sitting read (with maybe two pee breaks).

The ending. Oh man. I hate cliffhangers but this one gave me just enough closer to where I am not sure if there will be another installment or if this was a just a standalone. I am really hopeful that this is the start of a series because there are so many unanswered questions! Don't fail me now Rogland, I just found you!

Ignite is a very easy read and the writing style has a nice, simple flow. A must-read for all dystopian fans, YA lovers and just mankind in general. Ignite will easily be one of my Top 10 reads of 2017.

Movie Review: Power Rangers

Power Rangers have been a TV icon for the last 20 years and oh man was my inner 90's child busting at the seems to Power Rangers!

No, I didn't have Power Ranger toys or a crush on the Red Ranger back in the 90's; but I did have two younger brothers who watched The Mighty Morphine Power Rangers EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. during my teenage years. Naturally, I became a connoisseur by default.

I took our Mob to see the reboot of the Power Rangers opening weekend and the smallest monster had his pockets full of his little figures... I didn't even realize he had PR toys, why? Because PR's are just a flipping staple for little boys! {I later found out that he had an actual Zord stashed under his bed too.}

Every single one of us LOVED the movie! Sweet Stuff and I thought that they did a great job of making the new PR's relatable and flawed. They totally had the Breakfast Club vibe going on and it was great that all the Rangers were fresh faces too.

I loved that the Blue Ranger had Autism (high functioning or on "the spectrum"), hats off to this film for making a sweet attempt to shine light in that direction. Billy was actually the favorite for our family. My mob loved his dry wit and the older two immediately picked up that "his mind was different" just like two of their cousins. 

I'm not going to lie, I wasn't crazy that they made the Yellow Ranger a lesbian. Not because I don't love lesbians or I am not for equal opportunity or blah blah blah... I didn't care for it because it just didn't feel like it fit the original Yellow Ranger. It felt more like it was added in to just check off another social agenda, I guess it just wasn't natural. But hey, you can love it or hate it or just not care and this movie is still #savage as the mob would say.

The Villain: Rita Repulsa

What CAN'T Elizabeth Banks do?! I mean seriously! 

Hands down, there isn't any role that Elizabeth Banks takes on that she just doesn't kill it! I was so creep'ed out by Rita, she was freaking scary. I loved the story line of the fallen Green Ranger and it leads to the obvious questions, who will be the Green Ranger?! 

The mob had one question when it was over, WHEN IS THE NEXT ONE?! 

Still not convinced? Watch the trailer!

image sources:

Book Review: Mutant Mantis Lunch Ladies! {A Monstertown Mystery #2} by Bruce Hale

Summary: How well do you know the lunch servers at your school? Sure, they seem like nice people, but what if secretly they are something much, much weirder?
Best friends Carlos and Benny, who just saved their teacher from becoming a were-hyena, have been called upon to investigate the strange goings-on in the cafeteria. Why are the lunch ladies suddenly so grumpy? Why are the girls' meals different from the boys'? And what was that thing seen scuttling around the kitchen wearing an apron?
It's going to require a lot of courage--and more than an industrial size can of Raid--for the boys to avoid extermination in this buggy adventure.

Release Date: March 2017
Age Group: Middle Grade
Source: Review Copy from NetGalley
Reviewed By: Nat

I came across this middle grade series on NetGalley and chose to investigate it based on its Goosbumps vibe. It did NOT disappoint. Oddly enough, this story and writing style seems to be a fun cross between the Goosebumps series and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

This is book 2 of the Monstertown Mystery series set in the little town of Monterrosa but you do not have to read book 1, because each one carries its own story line, to enjoy these Lunch Ladies. I will very likely pick up the first one though, I know this series will be a crowd pleaser for The Mob.

I really like the main characters Benny & Carlos. They are witty and have all the little quirks found in middle school boys plus a little pinch of Spanish flair. They are relatable and I can see the appeal to MG readers to continue to follow them in future mysteries. 

Because I am a dietitian I might have been a little biased to this tale because of the whole food/diet aspect. I thought it was crafty and clever. It correlates diet to physical changes in our bodies but in a creepy, big-bugs-want-to-fatten-me-up-and-eat-me, kind of way.

The writing style is smooth, entertaining and at times a bit silly. Hale throws out metaphors that will leave you on a roller-coaster of emotions... see what I just did? His are much better. {I am sure there are several that are similes}. I also enjoyed the art throughout and I think the MG audience will eat it up. 

My advice.
  • You better be nice to those Lunch Ladies kids... you might just be their next SNACK.
  • Immediately add Monsterville Mysteries to your TBR list for MG readers (especially reluctant readers) because Bruce Hale can write a tale! 

Book Spotlight: Magic Fire by Katherine Vale

Pre-Order Blitz for Magic Fire
Shifting Magic the Series, Book 1
By Catherine Vale

Magic Fire, Book 1 of the Shifting Magic the Series, by NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author Catherine Vale is now available for pre-order! One-click until release day of April 10, 2017 to get for only $.99. After release day the price will be only $2.99.

Exclusively on Amazon, one click here.

Author Bio: Catherine Vale is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author based out of Ottawa, Canada. She loves to write dark tales of magic and mayhem, and edgy paranormal romance with curvy girls and guys with growl. She has a penchant for chocolate, black coffee, and poutine. When she isn't busy writing her stories, you can find her singing karaoke, spending time with her family, and dancing with the girls to 80's rock.

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

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

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

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:

10 Book to Movie Adaptations of 2017


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!


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


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.


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.  


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.  

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.
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.


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.

{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

{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.

Did I miss any?