Book Round Up- Kid Edition

I am curating my library as well as my kids’ library.  Which means that I will be reading books that have been on our shelves to determine whether or not to keep them or checking them out from the library to see if I want to purchase them. So here are my thoughts for the last 6 books that I’ve read so far—

I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871 (I Survived, #11) (Library) I liked this. It was easy to read and nicely balanced between survival action and historical information. This is a big series, so I am not sure if this is something that I will invest in until my kids are old enough to say that they want it. I do know that I will be using select books as supplemental material.

Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club, #1) (Library) This was very nostalgic for me. I remember reading it as a kid. Again, this is a big series, so I will not be buying the whole series. I may buy the first couple as placeholders and to share it with my kids, and buy more as they say they want more. Re-reading it was fun, and I remember why I liked it so much. I think that it is a series that kids today would also enjoy.

Mrs. Jeepers on Vampire Island (The Adventures Of The Bailey School Kids Super Special, #6) (Little Free Library) I don’t know where I was when this series first arrived on the scene, but I am sorry that I missed it the first time around. But I am glad that I came across it now. I enjoyed it and want to check out more. Again, as appears to be a pattern, this is a big series. So I will be waiting for my kids to ask for it before investing in it.

Nate the Great and the Big Sniff (Personal Library) Okay, I didn’t like this one. It was simplistic and I wasn’t too impressed with it. While I know that my kids will all go through the stage where the simplistic writing will be necessary…I didn’t find this story interesting enough to check out more from the series.

Santa Claus Doesn't Mop Floors (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, #3) (Library) Again, I enjoyed this series. Eddie it the ringleader of trouble. It was short, but still fun and gave a nice glimpse of the characters. The ending was a little quick, but I still want to read more from this series.

Crash (Stay Alive, #1) (Personal Library) I liked this story. I found that it would be good to talk about survival as well as group dynamics. You got multiple reactions to the situations and that helped make it believable No one character was perfect and knew everything. They all made mistakes. Some characters didn’t survive the entire experience. I did like the fact that there were survival tips at the beginning of each part. I will be getting the rest of the series.

What you should know:

Books that I don’t plan on investing in (currently or later) are still books that I plan on continuing to read from my public library.

Books that I don’t enjoy will be donated or sold, but I won’t be keeping them in our collection.

 

 

Do you  have a children’s book that you  think everyone should read and/or own? Let me know in the comments below!!

 

Always Shine!

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January Wrap-Up

I used to do these all of the time, and then stopped. Then I tried just talking about my favorites and least favorites. Well, I am just going to show the statistics of what I read and then show what I read in images. January was a decent reading month.

Here are the Stats:

Total Books Read: 16>> Digital: 4 – Print: 9- Audio: 3   Review Books: 5

Total Pages Read: 4100   Average Rating: 3.6

Here are the Books:    

          Dark Screams: Volume One Nate the Great and the Big Sniff Mrs. Jeepers on Vampire Island (The Adventures Of The Bailey School Kids Super Special, #6) Santa Claus Doesn't Mop Floors (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, #3) To the Moon and Back (Baxter Family #3) I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871 (I Survived, #11) Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club, #1) Explanatorium of Nature The Unyielding (Call of Crows, #3)

                                        The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts #1) Blood of the Earth (Soulwood, #1) Forces of Nature                                                                                                                       Love Story (The Baxter Family, #1) Shadows of Hope The Dog Who Came for Christmas Wolves (I Bring the Fire, #1)

 

Always Shine!

Featured Post: Top 10 Reasons to Read Darby Karchut

If you  have been with me this month than you know that I have featured the author, Darby Karchut, on my blog.  If you  are a long time follower, then you have probably seen all of the reviews for her books and know that I am unashamedly a huge fan of hers. While we have moved from fan and writer to friends, I am still honest about my opinions. As my friends know, you may not like what I say and you may not agree with it, but I am honest.  I thought that I would end this month’s feature with a top ten list.  And I will do my best to not go on and on about it.

10. She is not a one hit wonder. I have read all of her novels starting with the Griffin series and ending with Stone’s Heart, and I have yet to be disappointed with anything that I’ve read.

9. She’s got something for everyone. She has written middle grade (Finn Finnegan), young adult (Griffin), adult (Bannerman Boru under Darby Kaye) and adult contemporary-ish (Stone’s Heart).

8. She is a writer who writes good books, with characters you love! I’ve been there from the beginning, she has gotten so much better with each book.

7. She will talk to you! Go to her Facebook page, and write a message. See what happens? –Okay, to be honest, maybe she just talks to me and Kelly, and a random few other people. But she always responds to me so I’m happy. J/K I have written messages/emails to a variety of authors, all of whom are busily working and crafting their next novel, and I know that their world does not (and should not revolve around me), but it still amazes me that she actually responds. To be fair- Kevin Hearne, Jonathan Maberry and Eric Devine have also been pretty chatty when I’ve dropped them a message. But this post isn’t about them so….

6. She is actively involved in the care and literacy of young minds. She is involved in writing retreats, and book clubs for middle schoolers. (Addendum- I am not sure if she is still doing book clubs, I think she is. )

5. She is constantly working on something. Did you  hear that she has another book coming out soon? Del Toro Moon is scheduled to release this summer! So it’s the perfect time to jump on the DK Fan-wagon!

4. She shares what she knows. There have been many conversations about writing, the craft, advice and encouragement from her to me.

3.  Darby has a genuine heart for what she does- I follow her on Facebook, and I have talked with her about multiple aspects of writing. Not just as an author to an aspiring author. But as an author is interested in her reader and their concerns. We have shared deep thoughts on diversity in writing, on being authentic in writing characters different than ourselves.

2. Darby Karchut is a friend. I don’t remember how this blossomed into a friendship. I think I may have sent her the link to the review that I had done for her first two books, Griffin Rising  and Griffin’s Fire, (something that I did and still try to do when an author/publicist has sent me a request to review a book). And she responded with more than a thank you.

1. I need more people to help me convince to write a fourth Griffin novel……

In all seriousness, Darby Karchut is an amazing author and even better person. So if you still haven’t started reading her books, now is the perfect time to start.  Not sure which series to begin with? Let me know what kind of books you like and I can make a suggestion. (But, full disclosure – it will be completely biased.)

 

Always Shine!

Books That I DNF’d -January

While, I have read a read a lot this month and enjoyed most of that, there were a few books that I couldn’t quite make myself continue with, and it’s unlikely that I’ll pick them up again anytime soon.  These are those books.. you can click on the image to go to Goodreads.

Stand by Me (A SouledOut Sisters Novel #1) Stand by Me by Neta Johnson- I was really sad that I wasn’t enjoying this. I remember wanting to check it out a long time ago, and then forgot about it.  When I remembered it, I had to hunt down the title before I could check it out. And then I started reading it. And I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the voice of the black character, it just didn’t sound right to me. That’s the best way that I can describe the thoughts that were swirling around as I tried to figure out what I disliked about it.

Poison Study (Study, #1)  Poison Study b Maria V. Snyder – Ok this is one that I may actually pick up next year or whatever. And it may be poor timing that made me dnf this one. I am currently reading Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass and it was just too similar. Yelena -Selena, assassins, not a fan of the king, both had bad things happen to them at the hands of some higher official. Since Poison Study was published first, it would be fair to say the Mass’ book isn’t all that original, but it’s what I started reading first.

32 Candles 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter – Sixteen Candles all grown up? Yes Please. Or maybe not. I started listening to the audio book version, and the person who narrated this made Davidia sound stupid and annoying. But again, this is a book that I’ve been meaning to pick up for a while. So I will probably pick this book up -after I get the narrator’s voice out of my head.

We'll Never Tell  We’ll Never Tell by Kayla Perrin – This is a new to me author, I discovered her as I read a novella of hers for my February project. I enjoyed the novella. But this one, I just wasn’t motivated to finish. I was really interested in the event that was supposed to happen, and the small mystery that was going on. But Phoebe was the stereotypical sorority girl and that was annoying. I just couldn’t get behind that character without wanting to throat punch her. The brewing violence was foreshadowed a little heavy-handedly, and that didn’t help the situation.

 

Okay, so at the beginning I said that it was unlikely that I’d be picking up these books again. And now I’m thinking that there’s at least two that I will probably try again later—much much later, and one that I definitely will try again later. But the hard DNF is Stand By Me, I simply didn’t like it and since I was reading it, I can’t blame the narrator.

What are some books that you DNF’d this month?

Always Shine!

 

Feature Post: Darby Karchut is back!

You read that right! My friend,  and amazing author, Darby Karchut has returned a second time this month. In case you are just now joining us this month, Darby Karchut is the featured author on the blog. This week is another visit, and next week is something else. I am not sure what that will be so stay tuned.

This time Darby is here to tell us about the inspiration for her upcoming book, Del Toro Moon.

The Inspiration Behind Del Toro Moon

Darby Karchut

 It all began with a song:

“From whence came the cowboy, the history is plain,
He rode out of Europe on a frigate from Spain,
From Mexico southward, and northward he spread,
From the Gaucho and the Huaso, the Vaquero was bred,
Your everyday cowboy, and o’ what a sight,
More dashing and daring than a Medieval Knight.”

Lyrics by Jack Hannah
Taken from the selection:
From Whence Came the Cowboy
Great American Cowboy Music
Recorded by Sons of the San Joaquin

 

I first heard the song years ago (in the late 1990’s, if you can believe that) and couldn’t get it out of my head. The lyrics conjured up a mishmash of iconic images: cowboys, knights, horses, and a sailing ship bearing the Spanish flag. These mental pictures stuck with me for a long time—way before I ever thought about becoming a writer. Then, about three years ago, and with twelve books under my belt, I decided to saddle up and see where those images might lead.

To my surprise, the first character to appear was Santiago Del Toro, a Knight of the Coffer, who stepped off a Spanish frigate in the 1600s and waded ashore to what is now modern-day Mexico. He carried a mace, of all things. Before I could even figure out what he wanted or why he had journeyed in the New World, a talking Andalusian warhorse appeared at his side. As I recall, the stallion was arguing with Santiago about the best way to safeguard the chests filled with monsters they had brought over from Spain.

Monster hunters. Caballeros. Talking horses. The American Southwest. Old Spain and the New World. Okay, then.

Since I knew I wanted the story to take place in the modern-day Southwest region of the US, I planted the descendants of Santiago Del Toro on a ranch in southern Colorado near the New Mexico border. The story is told from the point of view of the family’s youngest member: Matt Del Toro. His family consists of his older brother Ben, and their father, the legendary monster hunter Javier Del Toro. Together with their Andalusian warhorses (the greathearted El Cid, the infamous Turk, and fiery Isabel) they guard the local folks from evil creatures lurking in the nearby canyons and foothills.

Del Toro Moon combined so many passions of mine: horses, cowboys, the American Southwest, the Hispanic culture (I’m a native of New Mexico), and father/son relationships. It was a whoop and a hoot to write.

Del Toro Moon temp cover

Del Toro Moon

Owl Hollow Press

Fall 2018

Middle grade fantasy

Jacket Copy

Bad enough Matt Del Toro is the greenest greenhorn in the family’s centuries-old business: riding down and destroying werewolf-like creatures, known as skinners. He must also learn how to match his father’s skills at monster hunting. Odds of doing that? Yeah, about a million to one. Because Matt’s father is the legendary Javier Del Toro—hunter, scholar, and a true caballero: a gentleman of the horse.

Now, with the skinners multiplying, both in numbers and ferocity, Matt is desperate to keep his father and hot-tempered older brother from killing each other, prevent his new friend, Perry—a horse-crazy girl who recently moved to their small town of Huerfano, Colorado—from discovering the true nature of his odder-than-oddball family, and save a group of paleontologists from getting skinner-ed.

Luckily, Matt has twelve hundred pounds of backup in his best friend—El Cid, an Andalusian war stallion with the ability of human speech, more fighting savvy than a medieval knight, and a heart as big and steadfast as the Rocky Mountains.

Serious horse power.

Those skinners don’t stand a chance.

 

About the Author

Darby Karchut is a multi-award winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter.  A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy at her writing desk. Her books include the best selling middle grade series: THE ADVENTURES OF FINN MacCULLEN. Best thing ever: her YA debut novel, GRIFFIN RISING, has been optioned for film. Her latest book, DEL TORO MOON, releases August 2018 from Owl Hollow Press. She is represented by Amanda Rutter at Red Sofa Literary. Visit the author at www.darbykarchut.com

Website:  https://www.darbykarchut.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/darby.karchut

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DarbyKarchut

Darby’s books:

Middle Grade:

The Adventures of Finn MacCullen series:

Book One:     Finn Finnegan (2014 IPPY award winner)

Book Two:    Gideon’s Spear

Book Three:  The Hound at the Gate

Book Four:   Finn’s Choice

 

Del Toro Moon (releases Fall 2018)

Young Adult

The Griffin series:

Book One:   Griffin Rising

Book Two:   Griffin’s Fire

Book Three: Griffin’s Storm

Inspirational Romance:

Stone’s Heart

Adult Urban Fantasy series (writing as Darby Kaye)

The Stag Lord

Unholy Blue

Non-fiction co-authored with Wes Karchut:

Money and Teens: Savvy Money Skills (2013 EIFLE for best book/personal finance for teens)

Essential Money Guidebook: Simple and Sustainable Personal Finance for Real People

 

 

Thanks again, Darby, for stopping by the blog this week. I am really looking forward to reading Del Toro Moon. And, I’m still waiting on another Griffin book, just sayin’.

 

Always Shine!

 

My Addiction: Netgalley

(This will probably become a routine feature.)

You guys I have a problem, I like books. I like free books even more. So this year my main focus is to read my own books, both in the print and digital formats. To assist in this I have been added my digital titles to their respective shelves on Goodreads, as a way to have a visual representation. Upon doing this I have discovered that I have an obscene amount of digital books. So many that I am overwhelmed with deciding how to pick books to read This is what I decided (and we will see how it works.) I’m just going to start from the top of the list and read down. Now, I will pause on books that are like the third or fourth of the series to catch up, so in that case titles might be rearranged.  But, to help me track my progress and for some accountability, I am going to make TBRs. But these are not monthly, they will be ten books that I will read and review (if they are Netgalley titles) as quickly as I can. I will be deleting all titles off of my kindle except for the ten titles (unless I am catching up). I will do a separate post for my personal kindle library books later. But here is the first 10 of my Netgalley TBR:

Souldwood Series by Faith Hunter-  I have the first three books in this series, and they are all review books. I have already started the first one so that should make this first round a bit easier.

Blood of the Earth (Soulwood, #1) Curse on the Land (Soulwood, #2) Flame in the Dark (Soulwood, #3)

Things you should know about this series: It is set in the same world as the Jane Yellowrock novels. I have not read those novels. This series actually begins with an anthology of stories from that world, Blood in Her Veins: Nineteen Stories from the World of Jane Yellowrock that I have also not read. I will be going back to read Jane Yellowrock and will read the anthology in order of that series.

Bones Don't Lie (Morgan Dane #3)           Andrew Jackson: The Making of America          Boy Bites Bug          Nothing Happened

 

Smoke Eaters         Oath of Honor (Blue Justice #1)    Troubled Waters (Montana Rescue #4)

What you should know about these books: If you click on the pictures you can read the Goodreads summary. If you do that, you will see that three of these books are part of a series, one is the beginning and the other two are titles in the middle of series.  I will be focusing on the series that I don’t have to catch up on after I finish the three Soulwood novels (which I am enjoying so far).

*I should also note that books that I dnf, or find difficult to get through will not be given second chances in any way that matters. Meaning I will write a dnf review and move on to the next book.*

So am I alone in this Netgalley addiction? I am trying to work on it and not just have the record of most accumulated unread books, promise. Tell me about in the comments?

Have you read any of these titles (or authors)? Tell me about in the comments.

Want to Netgalley/TBR shame me? Well if I cared that much, it wouldn’t be this ridiculously out of control.

 

Look for my Personal Library TBR soon(ish)!

 

Always Shine!