Month: November 2015

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada and Queensland | Children’s Book Reviews and Giveaway

Posted November 30, 2015 by Jana in Blog Tour, Children's Book Review, Giveaway, Inner Child / 2 Comments

Welcome to my stop along the The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse blog tour, hosted by iRead Book Tours. These books are very cute (and educational!), and I’m excited to share my reviews of them with you today!

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada by Gwyneth Jane Page
Illustrated by Megan Elizabeth
Series: The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse #1
Published by First Choice Books
Pages: 42
Source: From the author
Amazon • • Barnes & Noble

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world-discovering exciting new places and people along the way!

Come join PJ on his first adventure across Canada as he hikes on a glacier in the Rockies, finds a salt lake in the prairies, and walks on the ocean floor in Nova Scotia.

I love books about travel, but I particularly love children’s travel books because they open young minds to other countries and cultures. While Canada is not at all far away from those of us in the USA, this book transports you there and takes you on an exciting adventure. PJ is a very cute mouse, who comes to life with the sweet, childlike illustrations, filled with color. The book is laid out in easy-to-manage chapters, so struggling readers do not have to worry about taking on too much at one time.

PJ has a very sweet voice, and I loved reading his thoughts and dialogue. He says some funny things. I love the magical moment when he is found by Emily, wet and soggy under a park bench. She heard his cries for help when no grown-ups could, and she can talk to him when nobody else can. This book is filled with complex vocabulary words, which will create wonderful learning experiences for children, especially if their parent is reading with them and can further explain the concepts behind these words. Emily gets to explain to PJ what the word “conceited” means, and she explained it in a way that children will understand and absorb. He also learns what a fifth-wheel is, as well as a glacier. The two have wonderful experiences together, and their excitement is infectious. Readers will learn how long and tall the Rocky Mountains are, that snow lasts in very high elevations even during the summertime, what a crevasse is, what it’s like swimming in salt water, waterfalls and erosion, some French words, a little history, that it’s ok to be short, and more. PJ gets into some sticky situations, but always come out learning from them.

All in all, I really enjoyed this cute, educational story and think it would be a wonderful way to teach youngsters a little something, while having fun at the same time!

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Queensland by Gwyneth Jane Page
Illustrated by Megan Elizabeth
Series: The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse #2
Published by First Choice Books
Pages: 42
Source: From the author
Amazon • • Barnes & Noble

Come join PJ on this, his second adventure, along the coast of Queensland, as he snorkels at the Great Barrier Reef, chats with a Loggerhead turtle in the midst of a great undertaking, and explores the tropical rainforest – until he ha to be rescued by one of the local friendly wildlife.

This was another cute installment of The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse! Pretty much everything I said about the first book applies to this one as well. The illustrations are very cute and colorful, the book is organized into small chapters, PJ is a funny little guy (although he rambles a bit too much at times), and the story not only entertains, but teaches readers about a new place. This time, we visited Queensland, Australia. Lucky PJ! I’ve always wanted to visit Australia. Readers pack their suitcases (much bigger than PJ’s, of course) and board the plane with PJ and Emily.

During his second adventure, PJ learns what a kangaroo is (he thinks it’s an Australian mouse!), that just because you go to the opposite side of the world does not mean you have to walk on your hands, why you can’t breathe underwater, some more vocabulary words, how trees can grow to be REALLY old, and more! He gets to ride the rides at Dreamworld, go boogie-boarding at the beach, go snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef (and talk to the fish–this chapter was my favorite. Very magical! I love the descriptions of the sea life underwater), get some help from a sea turtle and a lorikeet, explore the rainforest, watch loggerhead turtles lay eggs on the beach, and go four wheeling.

I really enjoyed this adventure with little PJ, and think readers young and old will as well!

Make sure you enter this tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win the first book (Canada), your very own stuffed PJ, and a passport sticker book!

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Top Ten Things I’m Thankful For (Besides Books!)

Posted November 23, 2015 by Jana in Personal, Top Ten Tuesday / 5 Comments


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

Obviously I’m thankful for books and reading and my Kindle and authors and publishers and publicists and all the bookish things in life. I’m also thankful for my blog and my readers and the IT guy at my hosting company who fixes all my problems and humors me when I panic about little things.. But today I’ve decided to talk about everything ELSE I’m thankful for in my life right now, away from my blogging life and my reading life.

1. My Health
While I have multiple health problems that can cause debilitating pain and sadness, I’m not terminal, nor will my health problems shorten my life. There’s a lot of people out there suffering with life-threatening injuries and diseases, and I’m not one of them. I’m thankful for that.

2. My Family
My mom is my best friend and my sister is my cheerleader. We have a lot of fun together, too! I’m thankful for them. The world is pretty scary right now, and so many have lost their families and loved ones to hateful acts. My family is safe and sound, and I could not ask for anything more.

3. My Religion
I don’t ever get religious here on the blog (I see religion as a very internal and personal thing), but my belief system and my knowledge have shaped me into the person I am. I would be so lost without it. I’m thankful for my Heavenly Father.

4. My Country
As I mentioned before, this world is scary. But I feel safe regardless. I’m free to do a lot of things that people throughout the world cannot due for fear of being harmed. I’m thankful for that freedom.

5. My Friends
There are many wonderful people in my life, who bring me happiness and give me a sense of belonging and community. These are people I’ve met through school, through church, through cultural events, and even through the Internet. I’m so thankful for the people in my life.

6. My Home
I have a warm and cozy house filled with running water, heat, carpeted floors, and things I love. Working at the library this semester, I met a lot of homeless people. It gets COLD here, and I’m so thankful for my house.

7. My Education
Throughout my years of education in elementary and highs school, college, and now grad school, I’ve had the opportunity to become well-read and well-spoken. I’ve learned about culture, religion, history, literature, art, math, science, and more. I’m so thankful I live among people, and in a place, where education is valued and encouraged, and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to get this education in the first place.

8. My Talents
I’m a singer, an artist, a teacher, a writer, a photographer, a designer, a jewelry maker, a seamstress, a baker, a decorator, a hair stylist, a make-up artist, an organizer, an event planner, a dancer, a gardener, a humanitarian, a mother (to children I do not have), a listener, an advice giver, a genealogist, a researcher, a typographer, a social butterfly, a friend. I am thankful for all the things that make me me.

9. My Sense of humor
I love to laugh and make others laugh. Laughter is a blessing, and I’m thankful for that.

10. My Life
I’m so happy to be here, and I’m thankful I get to live in this day and age. It’s a great time to be alive!

So, I got a little sappy. That was expected, though. Haha! During this season of thanksgiving, what are you most thankful for? Leave your link, and I’ll come visit!

#JointheResistance and Enter to Win a Copy of Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Posted November 5, 2015 by Jana in Book Spotlight, Giveaway / 3 Comments


You’d have to be living under a rock if you didn’t know that Winter by Marissa Meyer, the conclusion to the best series ever (The Lunar Chronicles), is coming out in less than one week! The question is: Are you ready? If you’re not, the lovely people at Macmillan have got you covered! As addicting as this series is, I know you’ll fly through all the books in time to join us in reading Winter on November 10th. I assure you, I’ll be stalking my mailman that day. I think we all will. So, join us! Enter to win a paperback copy of Cinder (the first book in the series), a Winter button, and some Lunar Chronicles shimmer tattoos (I’m modeling some of them below). And, do yourself a favor… just go pre-order the rest of the series as well (Winter even has an awesome pre-order giveaway going on right now). You’ll thank me later.


While you’re here, check out my reviews of Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Fairest (just in case you needed any more coaxing).

Here’s what you can win!


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Top Five 2014 and 2015 Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward to their Sophomore Novels

Posted November 2, 2015 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 1 Comment


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

As the host of the Debut Author Challenge, how could I not participate in this week’s topic on debut authors who I can’t wait to read more from!? Sadly, I have flaked on reading anything this year, so I’m really behind on debut books. I’ve included last year’s debuts as well, but still… I’m having a rough time right now with books and actually liking the books I read. Anyway, here goes! I chose five instead of 10. :)

1. Maggie Hall (2015 debut)
I LOVED The Conspiracy of Us, and I can’t wait for the nest book in that series: Map of Fates.

2. Lee Kelly (2015 Debut)
I have been wanting a copy of City of Savages for SO LONG, and I finally found a Kindle deal on it! But her NEXT book, A Criminal Magic, sounds so exciting! I can’t wait to read either of her books!

3. Emery Lord (2014 Debut)
I loved Open Road Summer, but have not had the chance to read The Start of Me and You yet, which sounds wonderful!

4. Lauren Skimore (2014 Debut)
I really enjoyed What Is Hidden, and can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series!

5. Kristin Rae (2014 Debut)
Wish You Were Italian is one of my favorite books ever! I’m SO excited about her next book: What You Always Wanted. It’s another If Only… novel, and it sounds so cute!

Which sophomore novels are you looking forward to?