Book Review: When It's Real by Erin Watt

Summary: Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley's team decides it's time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he's settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of "normal." Under ordinary circumstances she'd never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn't have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley's team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley's a shallow, self-centered jerk? It's not like they're going to fall for each other in real life…right?

Release Date: May 2017
Age Group: New Adult (too graphic to be YA), Contemporary, Young Hollywood
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Nat


Before I write anything, we must first appreciate the names of the lead characters...
  • Oakley Ford, translation: an ode to sweet shades and a freaking Ford Raptor.
  • Vaughn Bennett, translation: any girl that can rock a male dominant name is gold and HELLO Miss Elizabeth Bennett. You know I went all Pride & Prejudice when she was referred to as Ms. Bennett. #winning
The story is set in the fame and misfortune that is Young Hollywood, hence I refer to these books as Hollywood Glam. And I am always a sucker for Hollywood, scandals and of course a spitfire heroine.

Oakley Ford, was a young and entitled rockstar. Sometimes I would think I was reading about Justin Beiber and then I would think maybe Nick Jonas mixed with a little anger flare of Kanye West (you know in those total douche moments). He was fun but Vaughn was the real gem. That chick had spunk and yet she was still pretty naive to love. The twists and turns kept me interested until the very last page. Plain and simple, it was really a good, fast read.

And I am just going to throw this out there... When It's Real could actually be a Hollywood Starlets story! ... We will never know, well played Erin Watt.

If you love Contemporary New Adult with Hollywood Glam, then this is the book for you!

If you liked these stories, then you are sure to love When It's Real.

Between the Lines: Review HERE
Famous by Default: Review HERE

Vlog Review: Lemons by Melissa Savage

Plan to hear more about Lemons when we get closer to the Back to School season. I am in the process of creating a lesson plan (with graphics) that focuses on discussing the lemons in our lives and how we can "make lemonade". I asked The Mob to identify some lemons they deal with right now in their Middle School lives (see below) and it gave me a lot of good ideas of what I need to "throw into the pitcher" this summer. 

Until then, we are going to read, bask in the summer sun and sleep until 10am (with our mouths open because the Zzzzz's are so good)!

Okay, maybe 11am -- no judgement.

End of the Year {Secret} Book Tradition

Traditions. I love them. I have too many of them. I will probably create more of them.  An end of the year {secret} tradition that I have for my kids is a book full of messages from their teachers. At the end of the year I use my mad stealth skills and secretly pass their teachers the copy of Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss.

On the first page of the book I paste the image above and write their name. Then I choose the most memorable photo I have of that school year and paste it to the page that I want the teacher to write a message on. It's simple, personal and is a snapshot of their school lives.

Right Click & Save Image

The monsters have no idea I'm such an awesome mom, maybe I should divulge this secret act of service... Nah, I like this little nugget. Sweet Stuff and I have a blast reading through them each year and for now this is more of a tradition we enjoy.

Happy Summer Reading!

Vlog Review: Bug Girl (#1) by Benjamin Harper & Sarah Hines Stephens


Our Fiery Redhead gives Bug Girl "a million stars" and she knows books & bugs! Add Bug Girl to your TBR summer lists for #middlegrade readers who love bugs, surprises and superheros.

Book Review: Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld & Alex Puvilland

Summary: Nobody's ever really explained the Spill. Was it an angelic visitation? A nanotech accident? A porthole opening from another world? Whatever it was, no one's allowed in the Spill Zone these days except government scientists and hazmat teams. But a few intrepid explorers know how to sneak through the patrols and steer clear of the dangers inside the Zone. Addison Merrick is one such explorer, dedicated to finding out what happened that night, and to unraveling the events that took her parents and left her little sister mute and disconnected from the world.

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

I am a complete and total #newb to the world of Graphic Novels. I have been wanting to read one because this is the genre that my 11 year old LOVES but I just can't bring myself to read a MG, graphic novel... there I said it,

Ah, I feel better.

But I did want to give Spill Zone a try. My reasons were a bit superficial but relevant:
  • It's a new area of literature I needed to try
  • It would really increase my cool mom card
  • It was YA! I didn't know there were graphic novels that were more mature. For all those graphic novel and manga lovers, I'm sorry, I just didn't know. 
  • The cover was WAY too shiny to pass up. It literally has a blue sheen to it and it just calls to a bibliophile like a freaking Siren.
I sat right on my front porch and read Spill Zone in about an hour. It took an hour because I got so wrapped up in all the pictures. Remember, I'm a #newb. Now, I totally understand why my daughter loves graphic novels. The pictures gave me a bit of a break from reading and let my mind wonder about the story before moving on.

It's a twisted little story and the creepy vibe was on-point. The storyline is multi-layered  and is definitely for a more mature audience. I think this series will easily capture new audiences not from the GN genre simply because the story is a bit dark and the world building has the potential to be huge.

I'm not sure where the story is headed but in the end I was left hanging with a new fear of all things Raggedy Ann & Andy; I will never think of those dolls the same way.

Thanks Westerfeld, I'll be digging out those dolls and using them for Halloween props this year.

Summer Reading: Little Ninja Picture Books

Summer is almost here! I thought it would be fun to start collecting different groups of books for summer reading. So, this month I decided to compile all the Ninja themed books in #kidlit that my monsters have loved. I remember when my daughter was in Tae Kwon Do it was incredibly hard to find anything for an aspiring Ninja and look, 5 years later, there are loads! Most of these can be found on Amazon and school book fairs.

  1. Ninja Red Riding Hood 
  2. Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop!
  3. My Grandma's a Ninja
  4. Dojo Surprise
  5. Nighttime Ninja
  6. The Ninjabread Man
  7. Ninja Boy Goes to School
  8. Samurai Santa: A Vert Ninja Christmas
  9. Ninja! {My personal favorite}
  10. Hensel & Gretel Ninja Chicks