Monday, April 29, 2013

Book Review: Jack Templar and the Monster Academy

This is the second book in the Templar Chronicles, in which we watch Jack Templar grow into a teen and a monster hunter all at the same time.  In the first book, he discovers and deals with the new monster hunter identity.  In this book, he travels to the academy, along with his friends, Will and T-Rex.  The trio of make-shift orphans have to try to find their place at their new schooling location, and Jack tries to cope with his romantic feelings for Eva, his battle buddy turned instructor.

We find that Jack is much more compassionate than his other hunter companions when he saves the life of a well-hated wolf, thought to be a werewolf.  He follows his intuition and goes out of his way to protect the wolf, despite the overwhelming negativity towards wolves at the academy. 

I liked the first book.  But I really liked this book.  The new characters at the academy are a great addition to the basic group from book one.  Monster Academy set a more serious tone as Jack comes to realize that although he managed to live through his first run-in with the Big Bad Vampire Lord, he has much more to learn.

I am already looking forward to reading the next book in the chronicles, whenever that happens to come out.  What will happen to Jack and his buddies next?  I love that the author began this series as an attempt to get his son excited about reading.  How awesome to have your dad write books just for you! 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: Sacrifice

Sacrifice Tour

While I'm on the last leg here of the tour, you can still check out what others have had to say.  Be sure to follow the full tour for reviews, interviews, excerpts, and the inside scoop on Stacey Rourke and the Gryphon series. To celebrate the third book in the Gryphon series, Stacey Rourke is offering one lucky fan an awesome prize pack. Enter below.

The Summary
Celeste Garrett has finally found a happy balance in her life as the Chosen One, thanks in large part to a certain hunky Irishman. But if there’s any lesson she should heed since receiving her calling it’s that everything can change in the blink of an eye. Soon a terrible new threat, unlike anything she’s ever encountered, causes her to make a gut-wrenching choice that will strip her of someone she holds dear.

As much as she’d like to have a pity party for one, there’s no time for that now because wedding bells are ringing in Gainesboro! In between dress fittings and rehearsal dinners Celeste will have to fend off attacking demons and leering pirates. As if the Dark Army wasn’t scary enough our heroine is faced with the horrifying trauma of attending a bachelorette party with her mom and watching Grams do Jello shots. Is a walk down the aisle even possible for a member of the Garrett family when the Dark Army is out to destroy them? More importantly, will the Dark Army Glee Club sing at the reception?

Raise your glass to the happy couple, and get ready for a wedding…Conduit-style.
Buy the books for 99 cents each!

My 2 Cents

If you haven't had a chance yet to read The Conduit and Embrace, I would highly recommend reading them before diving into Sacrifice.  While Rourke summarizes enough at the beginning of the novel to refresh the reader's memory of the previous two books, you'll want to get to know the characters from the beginning.

I'm not sure how many of you out there have kids that insist on always watching the Disney channel, but I'm going to make a reference here and I'm hoping that maybe one person will get what I'm talking about.

Celeste has a fear of gnomes.  Her new spiritual guide is a gnome.  (Dun dun dah!)  But seeing as how I've been brain washed by Disney channel, I could only ever picture this in my head.

I'm not trying to make fun or joke.  I am for real.  Whenever I hear gnome, I'm always going to think of the Gravity Falls episode where the gnomes try to marry Mabel.  

Gnomes aren't her only worries, though.  Celeste had to make some seriously tough choices and I kind of wanted to throw a pity party for her.  I felt bad for her.  And of course through all of her heart ache, her brother is getting married and she has to put on a bridesmaid dress.  (Can I just say that the dresses that my bridesmaids wore were beautiful.  Just needed to go on the record with that one.  Celeste would have had to have liked mine.  Right?)

In this novel, the reader gets to see a different side of Rowan, the pirate demon.  I would equate him to vampire Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse series or True Blood, for those of you who haven't read the books.  Basically, he's a supernatural dude up to no good, but you learn to like him anyway.  Hunky, self-centered, has a thing for the leading lady; yeah, he's Eric and Johnny Depp all rolled into one.

Rourke needs to come out with the forth book immediately, because I have to know what happens next.  Signing up for this book tour opened me up to her writings, and I going to read whatever she publishes.  If you like Buffy, Sookie Stackhouse and Stephanie Plum, check out this series.

Author Bio

Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012. 
Stacey Rourke is the author of the Gryphon Series. She lives in Michigan with her husband, 
two beautiful daughters, and two giant, drooly dogs. Stacey loves to travel, has an 
unhealthy shoe addiction and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to 
the imaginary people that live in her head. She is currently hard at work on the 
continuations of this series as well as other literary projects.

Social Media Links

Facebook at

Twitter @Rourkewrites. 

Enter the giveaway to have a chance to win some great stuff!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A GWR Publicity promotional tour paid for by the author. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made via the above links. Rose Petals background is a public domain image courtesy of Виталий Смолыгин.

Daven Says, Star Wars Edition

As Daven demanded Star Wars this morning before my coffee was finished brewing, I turned on the Blu Ray player, starting whatever happened to be in there already. It was episode 1, and I assumed it would be good enough for Bub.

I was in the kitchen, prepping my mug with creamer and pouring his morning soy milk when Daven ran in. "Mommy! Mommy! It wrong one!"

"What's the wrong one?"

"It's wrong Star Wars. We need to watch come with me and together we can rule the galaxy one. "

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah, one with Darth Vader say 'Come with me and together we can rule the galaxy. ' That Star Wars one. "

I put in Episode V. Is that even right?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Maybe a Puppy Instead?

"We need a baby at our house. "

"But Daven, you're our baby. "

"No. We need go at store and get baby and bring baby home. "

"Why do we need a baby at our house?"

"Cause me want one. "

Quick, distract him with something fluffy!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Morning Wake-up

"Mom-my. "

"Yes, sweetie."

"That boob is hanging out. "

I guess I need to go back to wearing long sleeves to bed instead of tank tops.

And when did he learn that word?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Book Review: Pink Balloons and Other Deadly Things

I found this book through a wonderful twitter account, Free eBooks Daily.  I'm sure that many reviews I will be doing will be as a result of this.  She lists all different types of books each day that are currently for free on Amazon for the kindle.  It's much nicer browsing through her daily selection than trying to search "free ebook" on your own and muddle through hundreds of pages of smut. 

While I have downloaded quite a few books from the suggestion of @FreeEbooksDaily, this is the first one that I have read.  And it's great!  Although I checked on Amazon and it's currently $3.99 for the ebook.  So it's no longer free, but it's still affordable. 

This is a story about a single, soon to be divorced mother turned amateur detective.  After her husband's detestable fiance ends up topless and dead by the side of Carrie's old pool, she becomes a suspect and desperately tries to prove her innocence.  But before she can manage this, other people from her former married life end up dead as well.

I finished this book pretty fast, and look forward to subsequent books in this series.  I love that the main character Carries reads Janet Evanovich and drinks hot tea.  She struggles to take her own advice that she gives to so many of her patients during their biofeedback sessions, especially when it comes to her husband of 18 years.  If you are a jerk, cheating husband, this book is not for you.  Jerk.

I did spend more of the book being totally confused as to how the title connects to the story.  My husband asked me what I was reading last night when I was about 30 pages from the end and I said, "...but I have no idea why the book is called this."  The "ah-ha!" moment doesn't come until the very end of the book, when the killer's identity is revealed.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a mystery thriller.  I look forward to reading more of Nancy Tesler.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Painting Potty Rocks

Potty training has been a back and forth process for us.  Daven will do great for a day or stretch of a few days and then he will just flat-out refuse to try to use the potty.  This has been going on for over a year now.  I know that some parents will force their child to sit on the potty for so long every so often.  But I don't want Daven to think of the potty as something negative. 

My mom suggested that he gets a coin every time he goes, and then once there's enough he can spend it at the Dollar Tree.  I took this concept, along with this good behavior rock jar from See Vanessa Craft and now we have potty rocks.  Basically, he will get to put one rock in the jar every time he goes big boy potty; two if it's a stinky.  After he has accumulated enough rocks in his jar, he will get to pick out something special at the dollar store.  The number of rocks needed for cashing in will start out small and as he becomes more consistent with staying dry the number will increase.

We painted our rocks outside today, since the weather was nice.  I got the paint and rocks at the Dollar Tree, so the total cost of this project was only $2 plus tax. 

I would love to say that Daven sat for an extended period of time and painted all of the rocks, but that would be a big fib.  After four rocks, he was done.  I think he put more rocks than he painted into the sandbox.  I was quite enjoying myself though, and painted quite a few.  I mean, I was already messy anyway.

After we finished with the rocks, we did foot prints.  My foot is so big that by the time Daven got my foot covered, the paint had already pretty much dried and didn't leave much of a print.  His turned out super cute, though!

Since we were outside for so long today, I told Daven that he could pee on the grass.  He thought that this was hilarious and he stayed dry the whole afternoon!  I just hope that any of our neighbors or cars passing by would be sympathetic to the cause.  Although he didn't understand why we had to go inside for mommy to go potty.  "Go on the grass, mommy!  Water the weeds!  You just pull your pants down and pee on grass!"

That would have been a sight.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Book Review: The Conduit

After the death of their father, Celeste and her two siblings move in with their grandmother.  Celeste will be starting college in the fall, but plans to spend her summer in her new surroundings concentrating on her art.  But before long, she is named the conduit, who must protect Earth from the evil-doers from the spiritual plane.  Along with gaining new strengths and defenses just as she needs them, her brother can now transform into a lion and her sister grew wings. Together, they fight the bad guys.

I have to be honest and say that at this point, I picture Buffy with Xander and Willow, kicking butt and taking names.

Ok, so I couldn't actually find a picture of the three of them mid-fight.  It looks pretty tame, couch sitting and all.

While none of these guys in Buffy actually had any supernatural powers, the close relationships among the three are similar to that of Celeste and her brother and sister.

With the help of their spirit guide (cough cough Giles) the siblings have to learn to harness their powers, work together, and stay alive.  If that weren't enough, they also have to see Grams wearing clothing that is less than age appropriate.

Stacy Rourke creates an atmosphere that while dangerous, still manages to be pretty funny.  It's uncomfortable for everyone when the lion turns back into regular brother...naked.  The book is fast-paced and enjoyable to read.  I immediately wanted to start the next book in the series as soon as I finished this one.

Stayed tuned for the review of Embrace, as well as the third book, Sacrifice, which I will be reviewing on the 27th as part of the book blog tour.

Book Review: Jack Templar, Monster Hunter

If you read this book review, the monsters will come for you.

Jeff Gunhus begins this story with a candid message from Jack to the reader.  Turn back now!  This is your last warning!  Had I tried to read this when I was younger, I would have stopped there.  I was a scardy-cat who, while everyone else was devouring book after book of Goosbumps,  was afraid at the cover art alone.  But since I'm a big girl now and above the targeted age for this series, I got through it fine.

Only two monsters came after me.  Just kidding. 

Or am I?

Jack Templar is about to turn 14 years old.  How does he want to celebrate it?  With Pineapple and pepperoni pizza and mint chocolate chip ice cream.  This kid is me, if I were a fictional adolescent male.  He lives with his aunt, because like all super power books, he lost his parents a long time ago.  But when he woke up the day before his birthday, he noticed that he was stronger, and the people of the town were creepier.

Small spoiler - his principal  turns out to be a demon.  Well played, Gunhus.  I liked that little twist.  I"m sure that any reader, no matter the age can relate to an authority figure in their lives being demonic. 

Monster hunting is in his bloodline and at 14, Jack becomes fair game for all the vampires, werewolves, and demons of all sorts.  He's thrown into a world that he didn't know existed and has had no training to prepare for the fights he will have to battle.  And that girl he's been crushing on at school?  She's not exactly who you think she is.

I'm pretty sure my nephew Cameron would like this book.  It's well written with plenty of twists throughout the plot line.  Although it's a middle grade book, I still enjoyed it.  I'll be reviewing the second book before the end of this month. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Book Review: Reflected in You

I wasn't sure if I should write a review on this type of book or not.  It's one of those, how would you say...mature books.  This genre of literature is basically a soap opera in book form.  This particular one is the sequel to Bared to You.  Readers of 50 shades, this in-the-works trilogy is for you.

I read the first book last year, borrowed from my sister (it's still sitting on the shelf on my hutch; I keep forgetting to give it back!)  This one I borrowed from a friend.  Not sure if she wants to be named or not, since the content goes a little beyond pg.

When I began this book, I honestly couldn't remember what had happened in the first one, even though it had been less than a year since I had read it.  Sure, there was tons of hanky panky, but plot wise?  I had drawn a blank.  Basically there's a girl and a rich guy.  That's the start of pretty much every chick lit, right?  In this case, both of them are rich (although him much more so) and both have royally messed up childhoods.  Yep, that pretty much sums up the first book.

In Reflected, they fight.  Until you get to the last third of the book, pretty much all they do is each other, alternating with "I'm going to break up with you" fights.  And then instead of resolving their many issues, they just have some more of each other.  Ew, that just sounds gross.  But it's a fast read!

The end of the book leaves the reader hanging.  I really wasn't planning on reading the third book when it comes out, but now I'm curious as to how those two are going to deal with the huge illegal elephant in the room that closes out book 2. 

Overall, I give this book a "meh".  It's entertaining.  It's quick.  I didn't learn anything, although I wasn't planning on it anyhow.  Read it?  Don't read it?  Meh.  Sylvia Day has a prescribed formula that works for her.  I'd like to see her step outside of this genre, though.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Daven Says

After spending a long time playing outside today, I was attempting to get Daven to rest. " Just come snuggle with mommy for a few minutes. "

He did snuggle, but he's also a squirmy wormy that has no intentions of settling down. He stood up on the couch, turned to look at me and said,

"Mommy, you're a toilet!"

He then sat on me and said, "Pssssst! Pee! Poop! Toot! I went potty on you!"

What the...

A Warm, Sunny Day With Bubby

We started out with double pedicures.  I was scrubbing my feet when Daven wanted to do the same thing.  Ditto for the nail trimming and lotion and finally, nail polish.

Daddy, don't flip out.  It's clear polish.  Take that huff and put it back where it came from.

Daven allowed me to paint his toenails, but when I tried to paint mine, he wanted to help.  And by help, he meant do it himself.  He actually didn't do too bad considering.  And I'm quite often very terrible at painting nails anyway.

We took our fresh footsies outside to play.  The forecast is calling for rain tomorrow, so I knew we needed to get out and enjoy it while we could.  We were outside a good portion of the day.  He rode his bike, practiced t-ball, mowed the grass, and played in his sandbox.  When he got hungry we brought his sandwich outside and sat on a blanket in the grass. 

Yes, that's correct - he's not wearing pants.  He's just that cool. 

After it was clear that there was no way under the sun that he was going to take a nap, we baked a cake together.  I slightly regretted this decision once the oven started to heat and I realized how hot it was in the house!  Hoping it's yummy.  Also - hoping for an early bedtime tonight.  Mommy is tired!

Daven's First T-ball Game

Almost all of these pictures were taken by Aunt Lauren and her new camera.  Thanks, Lauren!

It was an interesting first t-ball game for our family.  Luckily, the weather was finally nice and Mother Nature decided to give us an actual spring day!  It was definitely an interesting experience, starting with us finding out that we had lost Daven's glove sometime after his first practice a few nights before.  His coach gave him one to use though, and we will be keeping extra eyes on the next one we get him this week!

So the rules of t-ball - no one keeps score, and everyone bats.  It gets them acquainted with the sport: batting and running the bases, retrieving the ball in the field, waiting your turn, working with others.  It's a bit slower-paced than Daven is used to though.  We bought a tee for him to have here at home to practice and play and he loves it.  Hit the ball, run after the ball.  Set it up again, repeat.  The actual game with his team is not like that, and I think he gets frustrated.  Who can blame him?

He spent a lot of time wandering the field, being the team clown.  In bub's defense, we're pretty sure he's the youngest kiddo on the team.  Most of his mates played last year and not only have a much better idea of how everything works, but also have a longer attention span!

Daven only played half of the game, but I was still proud of him.  He's growing up way too fast.  Hopefully once we go through the motions a few more times, he will be better at lasting the whole game. 

If you are wanting to try to come see Daven in action, let me know and send me your email address.  I'll send the schedule.  He has a ton of games, both weekdays and weekends, from now until the beginning of June.

Pre-game poses.  I think this one is his old man face.

Isn't he just the cutest?  I'm biased, of course.

I have a feeling that Daven was doing his Vader impersonation when this photo was snapped.

His coach attempted to keep Daven in front of the batters, although he kept wandering off, trying to find the extra ball behind home plate.

"I dunno, Papaw.  The life of a ball player is pretty rough."

After his game, we went further into the park to watch his cousin, Cameron play his game.  This is the first year that they are playing without a machine pitching the ball. 

Helping Papaw take pictures of Cameron.