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Kooky Kickin' Kids

literati_rain66 Saturday, July 7, 2012
You've probably thought it. I know I have. It's weird to have a children's book review right next to a paranormal romance review.

I started LLL to review books I read. I thought of it as an eclectic book blog, where any book I read could be reviewed. That's still true, but I've decided to dedicate another blog to the kids stuff. They deserve their own spot. I expect to be increasing the number of kiddie books I read since my kids are getting more interested and our library is close and well-stocked.

I kept looking at our Pug In A Truck review right next to my review for Shadowfever and my brain just kept telling me that was weird. Because it is. So as I was leaving the library today with my very excited Beanie, I decided I should probably bite the bullet and make a sister site. Thus, Literati's Literary Kids was born. Go give it some love!! It has zero followers and that's just unsat! (As my husband would say. We normal people say unsatisfactory.)

In all seriousness though, I'm super excited to have a place for our children's book reviews. And I'm super excited to have this blog be a little more concentrated. It's truly MY blog now. :)

Hope you're all doing well and reading something spectacular!!

Really Ravishing Review (The Calling)

literati_rain66 Friday, July 6, 2012 ,
Title: The Calling
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Harper

(From the back cover of the review copy)
In The Calling, the sizzling second book in the Darkness Rising trilogy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong pumps up the romance, danger, and suspense that left readers of The Gathering clamoring for more. 

Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they're kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves lost in the Vancouver Island wilderness. But Maya has a secret. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone else. It's part of who she really is- and it has something to do with the mysterious paw-print birthmark on her hip. Yet as Maya and her friends face unforeseen dangers, it becomes clear that she's not the only one in their close-knit group with something to hide. If they're going to survive, they'll need all their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home.


Loved it! Much more satisfying to me as a reader than The Gathering was. (You can read my mini review of The Gathering here.)

The Calling picks up right where we left off in The Gathering, rising into the air in the helicopter, escaping the forest fire. And like Maya and her friends, you never catch a break from the action. There's no rest for the escapees, and there's no shortage of excitement. Yay!

Secrets are uncovered surrounding Serena's death, Salmon Creek, Maya's past, and even the teens she's on the run with. Nothing is as it seems.

We even see some flickers of a possible romance. The romance we all WANT to happen, even though our dear Maya is totally blind at the moment. It's okay though, I understand. I was the same way at her age. But she had better figure it out!!

I love Maya, I love Daniel, I love the suspense. But what I really, truly love about the Darkness Rising trilogy is that it's a sister series to the Darkest Powers series. The ties and connections to the DP series is what gives the DR trilogy that extra spark and intrigue that keeps me on my toes. I've not come across many (any?) other books that do that. And it's totally awesome.

It really felt like one story, not smaller stories about the same characters divided into different books. The storyteller is simply taking a breath.

The downside to that, however, is that it's nearly impossible to see the plot. It's a lot of action, moving from one harrowing experience to the next, but really.... something seems to be missing. The mystery surrounding the kidnappers isn't much of a mystery. We know what they're after, why, and who they are. We're waiting for the characters to catch up with us and figure out what they are themselves. And while we wait, they run. I'm a little sad that the story relies so much on the scene-to-scene action, and not on a Big Mystery or complicated plot.

And if that romance we all want is going to happen, things need to speed up a lot in the last book. I hope it does. :-/

I adore Kelley, and I adore her work. But I'm crossing my fingers for the last book. It's going to have to be six kinds of awesome to balance out the rest if the trilogy and make this all worth it.

4 of 5 stars.

Only One Opinion (Shadowfever)

literati_rain66 Sunday, July 1, 2012 ,
Title: Shadowfever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Place in series: #5, final book

I somehow managed to NOT review any of the other Fever series books. I'm not sure how that happened. Life just gets ahead of you sometimes. But I'm here to talk a bit about Shadowfever, the final book in the Fever series.

First and foremost, this review will be spoilery to the other books in the Fever series. It's too difficult to review it without doing so, I apologize. The whole series carries my recommendation though, so if you enjoy paranormal romance, stories about the Fae, and spunky female MCs, you should probably go buy Darkfever, book 1 in the series.

Mac's world took a devastating turn at the end of Dreamfever. What a cliffhanger that was! Her protector, lover, and savior, the man who boldly proclaimed he would always be there to protect Mac, is no more. She's stuck in the Silvers, lost, with no hope and a bleak, Barrons-less future before her. Her grief knows no bounds. When the beast was slayed, so was Mac's heart. The grief that consumes her soon turns to something more: a single-minded, blind desperation to unmake the world... and make a new world where everything is perfect. Alina alive, Barrons alive, living with her parents, not a care in the world, everything pretty and pink. In order to do that, she must find it -The Book- before any of the others hunting it do, and she will do anything, anything, to find it and use it first.

Good gravy. Shadowfever was nothing like I expected. It was so much more! And yet, it was possibly too much. So much happened, I'm still trying to process it and wrap my head around it all. It could easily have been made into two books. So many emotional traumas and world-flips happened, combined with the non-stop action and plot twisting- it was a bit overwhelming.

~ I loved the non-stop action and I loved the plot twisting! Nothing was as it seemed. Everything I thought I knew I was forced to reexamine. What a ride!

~ Mac is terrifying and stupid and brilliant and hilarious all in the span of a chapter or two. At times I wanted to slap her silly, I admit. And at others I thought she was pretty daft, but making progress so that was good. And she ended up okay, and that was important.

~The repressed feelings Mac has/had for Barrons are finally admitted to and accepted (can we all say hallelujah??).

~ We learn who was behind all the shenanigans.

~ Rowena gets to have her pie and eat it too.

~ SO much happens. It's... I don't know. Two books worth, at least.

~ Some places felt rushed, some felt like they went on forever just to torture me because it was really unimportant stuff. Or it was Mac thinking the same things over and over again.

~ There was an abundance of info-dumping. I understand that as the final book, it was expected to be full and to wrap up all the loose threads, but holy moly.

~ My heart was broken, mended, broken again, broken some more, patched up, and by then I was so lost and confused emotionally, I couldn't keep up.

~ Not all of the big plotsies were resolved. I was left feeling a bit unsatisfied. There were questions that I'd wanted answers to from the start, and I'm still asking them. I had to Google and see if Shadowfever was really the last book, I felt that cheated, even though I knew it was when I picked it up.

~ Mac and Barrons' relationship is whack. True, there are some issues there, but dude. It's a relationship. It's all well and good that Mac finally owned up to her feelings, but, uhm, what about him? He said some stuff, and they got down and dirty, but that's about it. Yeah, he's alpha male protector and big and beefy and masculine. But doesn't she deserve to see the tender side? I feel like he regressed, and thus even though they finally Became Something, it's all kind of.... blah.

And now I realize that it wasn't as good as I thought it was. Heh. I was going to give Shadowfever 4 stars when I started writing this, but now that my thoughts are written out, it's pretty plain that the cons outweigh the pros.

And so,

3 out of 5 stars.

(Aside: The series is fantastic. I absolutely recommend the series. And while you're at it, Shadowfever, because things happen and you need to know about them. Just be prepared for the onslaught.)


Really Ravishing Review (Hedgehog Bakes A Cake)

literati_rain66 Saturday, June 9, 2012 ,
Title: Hedgehog Bakes A Cake

Author: Maryann Macdonald
Illustrator: Lynn Munsinger
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, originally published by Gareth Stevens Publishing

Beanie's Reaction: Absolute adoration. Beanie and Goobie both love to help me in the kitchen, and he especially loves eggs and messes, so when Rabbit, Squirrel, and Owl all try to "help" Hedgehog bake his cake, he showed me where the eggs were and told me where the messes were. Interactive reading is awesome. :)

Goobie's Reaction: For a reluctant reader, he was very into Hedgehog Bakes a Cake. (insert hoots and hollers and confetti) As soon as I started reading he asked to bake a cake. He listened intently and commented right along with Beanie. Goobie even took the book afterward so he could look at it by himself. Success!

My reaction: I was thrilled that both boys enjoyed it, listened, and sat through the whole thing. I was even more thrilled with the story itself. Hedgehog just wants to bake a cake. But the poor hoggie gets some very unhelpful and undesired assistance. Squirrel, Owl, and Rabbit make a mess of his kitchen and essentially ruin his cake, but through it all he accepts their help. He knows they mean well. They all leave to get cleaned up, and while they are gone he cleans up the messes and fixes the cake. When everyone returns they all sit and enjoy the cake. Hedgehog's so called "helpers" say things like, "Aren't you glad I showed you how to do it?" and other such things. Hedgehog never once gets upset with them or tells them HE made the cake, thank you very much. Instead he just smiles, enjoys his friends' company, shares the cake, and says:

"Thank you for all your help," said Hedgehog. "Next time I will try to do it all by myself."

Isn't that fantastic? What a story of kindness. It was so nice to read a story that celebrated good behavior and kindness. And humbleness to boot! 

I have a feeling this is a book we will be checking out often. :)

Really Ravishing Review (Pug In A Truck)

literati_rain66 ,
Title: Pug In A Truck
Author: Nancy Coffelt
Illustrator: Nancy Coffelt
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Today was the kickoff of our library's summer reading program for kids. Goobie came with me, since Beanie was asleep. (Goobie is four, Beanie is two and still takes his afternoon nap) Goobie had a very nice time, although he was disappointed our new library doesn't have an elevator like our old one in North Carolina did. Despite that, he had a nice time meeting kids and playing with the puzzles and toys. I got both boys signed up, completed my library card registration process, and we got to looking! We checked out a few kid's books and Beanie was thrilled with our choices. One of the books we picked up today was Pug In A Truck, by Nancy Coffelt. That brings us to Beanie's and my review. :)

Beanie's reaction: ELMO!! (We have a pug. His name is Elmo.) Beanie happily sat and read Pug In A Truck with me. He loved the bright, simple illustrations and he loved that two of his favorite things were combined: Pugs and trucks. Beanie gives Pug In A Truck his full endorsement.

My reaction: Pug In A Truck was perfect for my two year old. It had bold, bright pictures and didn't drag along with big descriptions. I had to read quickly because Beanie was so excited to turn the page and see what "Elmo" would be doing next. It was an enjoyable read for both of us and was the perfect length for his toddler attention span. It used some terminology that neither of us was familiar with, but there was a Trucker Glossary in the back. When I read this book with Goobie I'm sure we'll utilize that, but Beanie really didn't care, which was just fine. I like that Pug In A Truck is an acceptable book for both of my kids.

Examples of terminology from the glossary:
Hammerdown - To go fast, step on it.
Double nickel - Fifty-five miles per hour, the speed limit.

Examples of terminology in the text:

"Now we're at a double nickel again and back in business."

"We get on the freeway and put the hammer down."

Of course there's more, but you get the idea. It was fun learning the meanings, even for someone as old as me! ;-)

We would both recommend this book.

Well Who Won? (ABEA)

literati_rain66 Friday, June 8, 2012 ,
As I don't really have any questions for today's Armchair BEA topic because all of my questions were answered in the Twitter parties, I will skip straight to the good stuff: Winners!!

The winner of giveaway 1, the book pack, is:


The winner of giveaway 2, the international only gift certificate, is:

Kim from A Dutchie on Books!

Congrats Kim and Stacy, and thanks to all who visited my blog and entered the giveaway. *hugs all around*

Winners, I will be emailing you shortly. Please respond ASAP!

Fun Fab Facts (ABEA)

literati_rain66 Thursday, June 7, 2012

Today's Armchair BEA topic is going beyond your blog; taking your writing elsewhere and possibly making some moolah from it. Or maybe just doing some freelance.

I have written outside of this blog, but nothing all that wow-worthy. I wrote an article for a parenting magazine once, freelance. I was asked to do it, I did it, not much more to tell. If asked, I'd do it again. If asked to write regularly, I would expect compensation, but the occasional article? I'm not worried about it.

I've written for other blogs, I've written poetry and stories and I technically have the start to a novel, but I've not made a penny and in all probability, won't. 

I blog because I want to. I want to talk about books and let people in on what books are must reads. If someone offered a partnership, I'd be okay with that. But my goal isn't money. I don't even email authors or publishers really. I have, once in particular, emailed an author and received an ARC for review. But I don't typically do that. I'm content reviewing the books I buy, find at the library, or books that other lovely people choose to give me. That's not to say I will never in the future email an author or a publisher and request something, but it's not my standard practice. I have no problem with the folks that do that, I just don't enjoy the blogger envy that can result, and I really don't enjoy flaunting my good fortune in others' faces. *shrug*

I'll go ahead and answer the second part of today's topic -Share a fun aspect about your blog or life that may be completely separate from books. 

Seeing as how this blog is all about books... I'll have to go with my life. ;-) Something fun- I have been going bonkers with LivingSocial lately. They have so many great deals in my area! (I promise, this isn't a LivingSocial ad!) I am SUPER excited about the gift I bought my hubby for his birthday and for the gift I bought myself. Hubs gets to try this crazy cool thing called a JetLev. Basically, he'll go to this resort place and they will teach him how to use this JetLev thing and he will wear a water jet pack on his back that will propel him 30 feet off the water. Is that cool or what? 

Credit: Splash News
Credit: Mobile Magazine

My gift to myself includes three visits to a SPA. *grin* Each visit will include a massage, a luminous facial, a hydra-derma fusion treatment, and a tanning session. Can we say heck yea? 

Credit: Planet Beach Contempo Spa

I also got tickets for the family to go to the Florida Aquarium. We love going to zoos and aquariums and things of that nature, so we are all pretty excited about that. 


I would say that all of those things are FUN. And none of them have anything at all to do with books or blogging! ;-) 

*ABEA graphic designed by Nina of Nina Reads.


Now Needing Noggins (ABEA)

literati_rain66 Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Today's Armchair BEA writing topic is: Share a "real life" book experience. The theme is connecting with bloggers and your community, and what kind of things you've done in real life as a result of book blogging.

Er, well, the thing is... I really have no good thing to write about! I'm an introvert! A hermit! A cave-dwelling fish with white eyes! I mean, sure, I go out. I have to. And I'm capable of small talk and polite talk and smiling and being friendly to passersby and the nice folks in line at the grocery store. But beyond that? PANIC. HEART PALPITATIONS. SWEATY PALMS. We're talking a seventh-grade-crush kind of reaction. The OMG I CAN'T EVEN SPEAK IN HIS PRESENCE OR I WILL SURELY DIE kind of deal. I am truly grateful for the people in real life that have gotten through to me and are in my life. They've worked hard to get there and I am ever grateful for their perseverance. Because I really, honestly suck at reaching out. Which brings me to the point- I've gone in to local bookstores on many occasions with a wonderful plan to chat them up and see what they might think of a scratch-my-back-and-I'll-scratch-yours kind of arrangement, but I just end up buying a book or two, smiling, and leaving. The really pathetic part is that some of the lads and lasses behind the counter are chatty and we discuss books and I have many perfecto openings that I am too chicken to take. I admit it. I'm a chicken. Bwaaakkk.

How do YOU do it? Do you have any kind of partnerships? Do you have any advice for a socially awkward chicken? I think part of my problem is I'm terrible at self-promotion. So many times other peoples' self-promo has turned me off from their blog/book/etc. I guess there's a classy way and an un-classy way and I typically see the latter. I really kind of hate it.

Another problem I have is that I don't even know what a partnership would do to help me or them. I have a very vague idea, but it's not enough to take to a bookstore owner or a publisher or even my cat to present. I know my cat would yawn and lick her paws, and I'm pretty sure the bookstore owners and publishers would do the same.

Any and all help is appreciated!

I have met some bloggers, yes, but not because of my book blog. I've met them through fansites. And they are fantastic people who also happen to be book bloggers. But I'd really love to expand and meet new bloggers and form  partnerships.

Hope you are having a fantastic ABEA!!