Month: September 2016

Who Wins?: 100 Historical Figures Go Head-to-Head and You Decide the Winner! By Clay Swartz | Book Review

Posted September 28, 2016 by Jana in Book Review / 0 Comments

Who Wins?: 100 Historical Figures Go Head-to-Head and You Decide the Winner! By Clay Swartz | Book ReviewWho Wins?: 100 Historical Figures Go Head-to-Head and You Decide the Winner! by Clay Swartz
Published by Workman on July 12, 2016
Genres: Activity Book
Pages: 104
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

Who would rock the mic at karaoke night? Abraham “The Great Emancipator” Lincoln or Jane “Lady Persuasion” Austen? How about a hot dog eating contest between Harry “Mr. Magic” Houdini and Mary “Mother of Frankenstein” Shelley? What about a pie contest? A staring contest? And who has a better chance of sneaking into Area 51, Isaac “Gravity Guy” Newton or Sacagawea aka “The Pathfinder”?

In Who Wins?: History, you decide the winner in over 50 head-to-head challenges between 100 of history’s most illustrious characters. But choosing the victor isn’t arbitrary. Readers must justify their answers using each of the historical figures’ six 0-10 category rankings in bravery, leadership, artistry, wealth, wisdom, and fitness; as well as facts from short biographies.

As funny as it is informative, the book is uniquely formatted so readers can match up each and every character in any of the head-to-head battles. History has never been so much fun!

This interactive, educational book is seriously so much fun! And it’s so unique! I’ve never seen anything quite like this before. I thought that posting a picture of one of the inside spreads would be the easiest way to review this book, so look:

whowinsspread

 

Ok, so here we have Napoleon and Thomas Jefferson. Above their pictures is all the information you need to know about each of them, including the years they were alive, their lives growing up, the parts they played in history, and some little known facts. Basically, everything you need to know to make an informed decision as to which of them would be more successful at stopping a runaway train. The middle flap at the top prompts you with some things to consider during your decision-making process. Their skills are rated on a scale of 1-10. After getting to know them well, you make your decision. There’s no right or wrong answer. If you’re alone, you win! If you have friends, family, or classmates with you then the debate begins. Perhaps one of the other players will convince you to change your mind or you might just stand your ground. Then you move on to the next round. You can continue the face-off between these two guys and flip up the middle flap to give them a new battle (like sneaking into Area 51 or winning the talent show) or you can flip up the people flaps and pick new opponents.

There are so many possible combinations of opponents and battles that it will take forever to get through them all. You know what would make it even more fun? Get a dice and roll it three times. The first number will tell you how many pages to flip the first flap, the second number will tell you how many times to flip the second flap, and the third number will tell you how many times to flip the third flap. Then it’s all completely random and feels like a game.

How fun is this? I can see this being taken on road trips, played in social studies or history classes (divide the class in two, put the book up on the projector, and have the teams discuss before sending representatives to the front to argue their case), or added to the family game night rotation. The images are bright, colorful, and fun to look at. The book is well-constructed and easy to flip through. The information provided is written in an easy to read and understand way, so it’s great for kids and adults of all ages. I seriously do not have one complaint in the world about this book, and just love it to pieces. Run out and grab yourself a copy right now!

5 Stars

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco | Book Review (+ Giveaway)

Posted September 23, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult / 4 Comments

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco | Book Review (+ Giveaway)

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco | Book Review (+ Giveaway)Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
Published by Jimmy Patterson on September 20, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Add to Goodreads
Buy on AmazonBarnes & Noble
4 Stars

Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

I’ve always been fascinated by Jack the Ripper. I don’t know why because I’m not a fan of violence or gore or creepy people or really anything that this serial killer was. I suppose the mystery just pulled me in more than anything else. These events happened so long ago that Jack the Ripper almost feels like a legend to me. How could someone that evil really exist? But he did, and Kerri brings him to life in her shining debut in a way that is chilling and disturbing, yet captivating.

As soon as I heard about Stalking Jack the Ripper, I was all over it. I HAD to get my hands on it and was delighted when the publisher sent me a copy for review. My excitement grew when I found out I was put on the blog tour with The Irish Banana Review, and I dove into this novel as soon as I could. Honestly, it was like hitting ice cold water. This book made my skin crawl, made me cringe and squirm, and totally grossed me out! Because Audrey Rose is a medical examiner’s apprentice, descriptions of the people she performed autopsies on were very detailed in a graphic, yet scientific way (seriously, the science helped me a little). I felt like I was reading a piece of an episode of NCIS or CSI. Intestines and reproductive organs are mentioned! Eeeeew! I hated picturing what was done to these innocent women! It definitely took some getting used to. Kerri did her research, let me tell you.

All the yucky was nicely balanced by Kerri’s lovely writing style. She did a beautiful job, and I loved the flow of her words. At times things dragged a little bit for me, but it was ok because I enjoyed the writing so much. The story was very intriguing, yet I wanted more suspense throughout (and maybe a little less gore because ouch). There are some major twists and turns at the end, however, that were well worth the gradual build-up for me.

I loved Audrey Rose. She’s got so much spunk and tenacity. She’s a modern thinker, and won’t let anyone keep her from her dreams. She’s also brave and a little crazy for wanting to perform autopsies, but you know. That’s ok! I also loved Thomas and his dry sarcasm. There’s a few twinkles of romance here and there between these two, but very little. The groundwork has been laid, and Kerri posted a little snippet from book #2 on Twitter recently that had me swooning a little, so I’m excited about where these two head in the future!

All in all, this was a great read that threw me out of my comfort zone. I can’t wait to see where book #2 brings us. The creepy atmosphere makes this the perfect fall weather read, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to someone looking for a unique spin on such a famous event in history. Read it with the lights on and on an empty stomach! Kerri Maniscalco is an author to keep an eye on, for sure.


About Kerri Maniscalco

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats. Stalking Jack the Ripper is her debut novel. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history, and is the first in a new series of gothic thrillers.

Website | Twitter | Instagram


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:
9/12: No BS Book Reviews – Review
9/13: A Perfection Called Books – Guest Post
9/14: The Heart of a Book Blogger – Review
9/15: My Friends Are Fiction – Q&A
916: Pandora’s Books – Review

9/19: Polished Page-Turners – Review
9/20: The Irish Banana Review – Top 10
9/21: Chapter By Chapter – Guest Post
9/22: What Sarah Read – Mood Board
9/23: That Artsy Reader Girl – Review

4 Stars

Paint By Sticker Masterpieces Blog Tour | My Experience Creating The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Posted September 19, 2016 by Jana in Adult Non-Fiction, Blog Tour / 0 Comments

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Paint By Sticker Masterpieces, hosted by Workman Publishing! This activity book is pretty fun because you get the painting by number experience without the mess! Today I get to show you the masterpiece I created and tell you about my experience during the creative process!


Paint By Sticker: Masterpieces
Series: Paint By Sticker
Published by Workman on September 20, 2016
Add to Goodreads • Amazon

Paint by Sticker is a compelling new activity for crafters and artists, doodlers and coloring book enthusiasts of all ages. Masterpieces encourages everyone to channel their inner da Vinci and create twelve iconic works of art.

Paint by Sticker Masterpieces includes everything you need to create twelve vibrant, full-color “paintings”—the stickers, the templates, the intuitive directions. The works include The Birth of Venus, by Sandro Botticelli, The Creation of Adam, by Michelangelo, Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Johannes Vermeer, Napoleon at Saint-Bernard Pass, by Jacques-Louis David, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, by Katsushika Hokusai, Houses of Parliament, Sunlight Effect, by Claude Monet, Still Life with Apples and a Pot of Primroses, by Paul Cezanne, Dance at Bougival, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Bedroom in Arles, by Vincent van Gogh, Breezing Up (A Fair Wind), by Winslow Homer, and the stunning study in color, Flaming June, by Frederic Leighton.

The cardstock pages are perforated for easy removal, making it easy to frame the completed images.

For this blog tour, I was assigned The Great Wave off Kanagawa! I’ve always loved this painting. I love how the version in this book remains true to the original, but has been simplified down to geometric blocks of color to create a prism-like look. Here’s a picture of the original, just so you can compare it to mine below:

janagreatwave

 

The creative process was very relaxing, and so much fun! Each sticker is thinly outlined and labeled with a letter and number. These identifiers tell you which sections of the multiple sticker sheets the correct sticker is on so you can find it easily. Then you stick the sticker on its corresponding spot. Very simple, mess free, and easy to work on in small bursts of time. I loved paint by number projects as a kid, but it was always a hassle to set up and clean up after. You can easily throw the book in a bag and take it to work on during your lunch break at the office or to the park on a nice day. The stickers are shiny and the colors are so vibrant and pretty, and I really enjoyed working on it!

I will admit, parts of this project were difficult. I’m not sure if it was just my copy of the book or not, but many of the stickers were hard to get off the sticker page. Some of the stickers were not cut out completely, and they ripped when I tried to pull them off the page to stick on my project page. I felt like a needed an XACTO knife to finish cutting some of the stickers. I also noticed that some of the stickers were too small for their spot on the project page, so I have some white outlines around a few that are bothering me a little. lol. Some of the stickers are really tiny, so I recommend using tweezers to make sure they fit properly. There is a little room for re-adjusting once you lay the sticker down, but once you press it firmly it’s there for good. It’s also fairly easy to throw yourself off. If one sticker is out of place even a little it can throw off the rest of them. I found that once I got the hang of it (there’s a bit of a learning curve), I quit making as many mistakes.

Regardless of the few challenges I experienced, I really love this book and plan to buy more in the series as they become available (see all the books in the series here). My advice would be to just be patient and settle into a groove and you’ll end up with a beautiful picture! As I said before, I found this experience to be very relaxing and enjoyable and I can’t wait to create more of the works in this book (I love the selection of artworks chosen for this book)! I would recommend this book to art history-loving teenagers and adults. It’s a little tricky for young ones, but there are two Paint By Sticker books for kids that look like a lot of fun! Get one for everyone in the family, sit at the table, and have fun together!


This Adventure Ends Blog Tour | This Adventure Travels

Posted September 15, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour / 0 Comments

This Adventure Ends Blog Tour | This Adventure Travels

And so begins the official blog tour for Emma Mills’s This Adventure Ends, hosted by Fierce Reads! This tour is a LOT of fun, with so many different kinds of posts to celebrate the amazingness that is Emma’s sophomore novel! Some of us are posting our easel creations; some of us will be posting reviews of the book; and some of us are hosting interviews, guest posts, and other awesome content! I get to kick things off with my easel!

Inspired by Sloane’s adventure searching for the lost piece of art by Gabe and Vera’s mother, several of us bloggers on the tour received mini-easels and markers to create our own “This Adventure” pieces of art! We chose the themes, and they are all pretty awesome! My easel is entitled:

This Adventure Travels

I LOVE traveling! I love going on adventures around the world and in the worlds of books. I had to include some of my tickets and souvenirs from my vacations throughout the years in the picture with my easel. I was going to draw a picture of my favorite place in the world, but then I realized I have too many! And there’s too many places I still want to go! So I decided to make my picture more broad. If I could, I’d climb in a hot air balloon and travel the world to see all the amazing places and cultures. And, let’s be honest… I want to go back to all the places I’ve already been to as well. Anyone interested in financing this adventure?

thisadventuretravels

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? Where would you love to go? And what’s your favorite book featuring travel?


This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Published by Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers on October 4, 2016
Add to Goodreads
Amazon • B&N

Sloane isn’t expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that’s exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera’s twin brother and the most serious person Sloane’s ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins’ late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins’ lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.


Blog Tour Schedule

9/15 thatartsyreadergirl.com – This Adventure Travels
9/15 crossroadreviews.com – Book Review
9/16 Toofondofbooks.com – Interview with Emma
9/17 avdreader.wordpress.com – This Adventure Paints
9/17 bookrambles.com – Book Review
9/18 whatsarahread.com – Moodboard
9/19 alexalovesbooks.com – This Adventure Explores
9/19 mybookmuse.com – Book Review
9/20 loveisnotatriangle.com – Would you Rather Questions
9/21 Fiercereads.com – This Adventure
9/21 takemeawaytoagreatread.com – Book Review
9/22 gonepecanla.wordpress.com – Emma Guest Post
9/23 supernaturalsnark.blogspot.com – This Adventure Creates
9/23 bookrookreviews.com – Book Review
9/24 skizzles22hu.blogspot.com – Friendship Post
9/25 bookbriefs.net – Book Review
9/26 exlibriskate.com/blog/ – This Adventure Blooms
9/26 fictionfare.com – Emma Guest Post
9/27 booksandmakeup.blogspot.com – This Adventure Inspires
9/27 pageturnersblog.com – Book Review
9/28 yabibliophile.com – Emma Guest Post
9/29 itstartsatmidnight.com – This Adventure Swims
9/29 eaterofbooks.blogspot.com – Book Review
9/30 darkfaerietales.com – Emma Guest Post
10/1 fireflyreadit.blogspot.com – This Adventure Begins
10/1 danasquare.blogspot.com – Book Review
10/2 readwritelove28.com – Emma Guest Post
10/3 swoonyboyspodcast.com – This Adventure Swoons
10/3 curling-up-with-a-good-book.blogspot.com – Book Review
10/4 aperfectioncalledbooks.blogspot.com – Pinterest Board


The Very Fluffy Kitty, Papillon by A.N. Kang | Children’s Book Review (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

Posted September 7, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Children's Book Review, Giveaway, Inner Child / 3 Comments

 

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for The Very Fluffy Kitty, Papillon, hosted by The Irish Banana Review!

The Very Fluffy Kitty, Papillon by A.N. Kang
Illustrated by: A.N. Kang
Published by: Disney-Hyperion on September 6, 2016
Pages: 40
Format: Hardcover
Source: From the publisher
Add to Goodreads
Amazon | B&N
fivestars

 

Papillon is a very fluffy kitty. So fluffy that he’s lighter than air! His owner tries to weigh him down, but Papillon just wants to fly.

One particularly sunny day, he floats right out the window! Exploring the wide world is exhilarating, but it’s also a little scary. Will his new friend, a bird, be able to help him find his way home?

Whimsical art and airy text come together seamlessly in this delightful debut by A. N. Kang.

You. Guys. This book is ADORABLE. I honestly just can’t even handle the cuteness that is fluffy (but not fat) little Papillon. After being weighed down (literally) by food and intricate costumes to keep him from floating away, Papillon decides he’s tired of it all (cats are like that). He doesn’t even like hats! So out the window he floats, and readers young and old will delight in seeing where he goes and how he makes his way home.

This is a very simple, adorable story with hints of humor that will have little ones giggling. It is a quick read, perfect for a bedtime story or for emerging readers looking to practice their reading skills. The words are easy to read, presented in easy-to-read fonts, and surrounded by an entire page of white space (for the most part). Opposing pages are filled with adorable images in soft, muted colors. Papillon is a very cute kitty. I love how big and fluffy and cuddly he looks (seriously, if they make a stuffed Papillon I will buy him. I’m not even kidding), and his facial expressions are perfection. Readers will also have fun spotting his bright red little bird friend, who makes an appearance on nearly every spread.

Bottom line, this book is a welcomed addition to my children’s book collection and is a new favorite go-to for a feel-good story that I will recommend over and over again. Any kitty-loving reader, no matter their age, will find a brand new friend in the fluffiest kitty ever: Papillon. Goodreads and Amazon both mention that this is book #1, so you better believe that I’ll be keeping tabs on Papillon and his next adventure. I’m hoping for many more books about him in the future!


About A.N. Kang

 A. N. Kang (www.annakangdesign.com) was born in a little town in South Korea, with endless rice fields around her house. She grew up entertaining herself with picturebooks, and drew constantly. After moving to the United States as a teenager, she graduated from art school and began to design jewelry, greeting cards, and holiday installations all over New York City. She now lives and works in New Jersey with her sassy cat, Papillon. This is Kang’s debut.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:
9/4: The Irish Banana Review
9/5: Addicted 2 Novels
9/6: Mundie Kids
9/7: That Artsy Reader Girl
9/8: Vi3tbabe
9/9: FangirlConfessions
9/10: Owl Always Be Reading