News

News: If I could, I'd tie my hair up in dreds and live the life of adventure from the high seas to the mountain peaks, gathering gold and jewels and tales of mystery and action :) but for now, I'll just have to do with writing about these things as if they were truly real.

--12 December 2017 --

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

December 12, 2017

{A Review} - Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney

I have a review for you folks today. I should have done this months ago, but I've been dreadfully busy. What with bandying around various topics related to musculature and human anatomy with my undergraduate students and abstaining my reckless hand from printing out my scientific manuscripts, dipping them in whiskey, and lightning them on fire (I can daydream, right?). 

To keep everybody happy and avoid rippling the water too much with my sudden reappearance, I offer you a delightful 8tracks mix of glorious Celtic songs made by ladyebelmont (I have no idea who said Lady is but her mix is fantastic). Have a listen (or three hundred) and go slay your work/school/laundrypile :) 




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I received an ecopy of the Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney for free from HQ Digital via Netgalley in return for an honest review. This story falls under the following categories: fantasy, fiction, science fiction, post-apocalyptic, and includes references to Roman mythology and gladiator culture. 

The synopsis taken from the book reads as follows: 

Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that's what Insiders are told.
Twins Eli and Talia shouldn't exist. They're Outsiders. Their home is a secret. Their lives are a secret. Arafel is a secret. An unexpected forest raid forces Talia into a desperate mission to rescue her family while protecting the sacred Book of Arafel from those who would use it as a weapon. As Talia and her lifelong friend Max enter the dome, she makes some unexpected discoveries and an ally - in the form of rugged Insider August - that will change the course of her life for ever. She'll stop at nothing to save her family but will she sacrifice her heart in the process? The Fire Sermon meets Gladiator in this brilliant YA debut. 

I was ready for a great science fiction, post-apocalyptic read, so I was thrilled when I received this book. Reading the synopsis gave me slight concern, however, as any author describing their male protagonist as "rugged" or their female protagonist as potentially "sacrificing her heart" makes me think it's going to be a slinky kind of romance. Readers, I am not into slinky romances (take note). Thankfully, that was not the case - there was romance, but didn't take center stage, and therefore I enjoyed the book far more than I anticipated after reading the synopsis. 

It is a little misleading though - there is very little written about Eli, Max, or the Book of Arafel. The majority of the tale follows Talia (female protagonist) and her interactions with various individuals both outside and inside the dome. I do have to say, Michelle did a fine job of introducing us to the unique culture of Arafel and its people, before sweeping us away into a sterilized (or not so sterilized) world. Arafel fascinated me and I wanted to read much more about the land outside the dome, but we never get more than a tantalizing taste. I suppose I should be happy to hear there is a second book on the way! 

With that being said, let's break it down through my list before I give too much away. 
  • Goodies: Fantastic action scenes (fight scenes, running scenes, etc etc). Roman mythology. Mythical beasts 😮. August (male protagonist *swoon*). Unique world development (including names, weapons, tech). Genetics. Close calls. Did I mention amazing action scenes??! 😮 Mystery chambers.
     
  • Character Development: (2/5) Okay, so the only reason I'm giving this a 2 out of 5 for character development is because the only one showing any semblance of changing throughout the entire story is Talia. I really expected August, the villain, and some of the supporting cast to develop as well and they really didn't. It was a little disappointing because by the end of it, I could predict what each character would do (and they subsequently did it) because they were following a generic action plot. August was delightful though (and dashing) so I'll stop poking him, but really the development could have been far better.
     
  • Content Snatchery: (3/5) I was debating whether I should give it a 4 or a 3 and had to settle for a 3 simply because the introduction to the story was slow and awkward to my eyes. It seemed to me as if Michelle's writing voice significantly improved over the tale; if I had a say in the matter, I would suggest a thorough re-write of the introduction to ensure it matches the end voice. However, I won't hassle too much here because oh my gosh were her action scenes on point. I loved them very much and expect that in book 2 they'll be even better! So, if you're picking this book up, give it a while to grow on you (because if you like sci-fi you should enjoy this one).
     
  • Boring Parts: (minimal) As mentioned above, Book of Fire has great action scenes. They were appropriately spaced apart. Its almost as if the reader rides the wave of one scene straight to the next, and the lull is perfect before the action hits again. This does make the story a little predictable and you can kind of expect when something "shocking" is going to happen, but it certainly isn't a boring read!
     
  • Romance: (yes but it was awesome) As expected, Talia and August will indeed experience the stereotypical flame throughout the story. I initially expected it to be a tacky romance with awkward and lecherous scenes interspersed between the action to keep the readership engaged (and I hate that folks). However, it was not like that at all, much to my glee. There were moments of tackiness, but I actually didn't mind the romance going on here because it never truly took center stage away from the main plot. Also, August (assuming he shows some development in book 2 and isn't such a hulking, handsome chess piece) was a dear and I didn't mind that he kept showing up to banter with Talia. It kind of reminded me a little of Divergent's Tris and Four (but I don't think August is as witty as Four....yet...who knows how he'll develop - I'd like to see more of him).
     
  • My eyes are sweating: (3/5) There were some tear-worthy scenes, but surprisingly for me, the ones that got me the most involved little animals </3 I love adorable baby fluffy animals in books, and any time they are put in danger my eyes sweat with fear (gosh, that was an awful visual, haha). I really hope these fluffy little littles will make a debut in book 2 because WE NEED MORE FLUFFY CUTE THINGS IN LIFE. I need more fluffy cute things. [This is reminding me that I really need to change my fish's tank water today... poor thing, I'm such a negligent parent]

All in all, I quite enjoyed Book of Fire. It wasn't perfect, but it was unique and I love reading a unique tale that isn't some dramatic fanfiction-esque spin off of a different book. The synopsis got it right by saying this darling can be compared to Gladiator; I'd also like to suggest it is along the same vein as Divergent and (on a lesser scale - simply because of the mythology) The Percy Jackson series 😃 Do I recommend it? Yes! If you like sci-fi and post-apocalyptic stuff with some epic creatures and romance then this might just be a book for you! 


{Rating} - 3/5 stars

Interested in purchasing a copy of this book? See the following links for more details! 


Goodreads     Amazon     Barns & Nobles     Indigo     Harper Collins

Want to find out more about Michelle Kenney, the author of this unique novel? Check out her social media below :) 


Twitter     Facebook     Wordpress
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I'm in a rather piratey/viking warlord sort of mood at the moment. Perhaps I'll have to do a spin off on that over Christmas break :) and yes, I am taking a good long Christmas break this year. My brain can't handle any more that it already is...or it'll melt into the floor and crawl away from me at mock-chicken *wipes brow*. Heave ho, here we go.


Signed with rainfire,

Squeaks.

November 15, 2017

{A Review} - The History of Bees by Maja Lunde

I received an ecopy of this novel from Simon & Schuster Canada via Netgalley in return for an honest review. To be completely honest, I actually thought I was receiving a historical book on the history of bees... I should have read the description closer 😛 Nevertheless, after I got over my initial disappointment regarding the fact that it was indeed not a historical report but rather historical/realistic fiction, the story really grew on me.
We journey alongside three character stories; each individual is connected to the world of beekeeping in some manner. The Goodreads description nicely sums up the three viewpoints: 
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England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive one that will give both him and his children honor and fame.
United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation.
China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao's young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him.


It didn't take long for me to get drawn in to the story and the character arcs proved to be far more riveting than I was initially expecting. It's been a while since I've read a good novel that doesn't fall under the genre of sci-fi or fantasy, but I didn't regret picking up The History of Bees. Let's get in to the breakdown of how I felt overall about this novel. 

  • Goodies: Realism. Tragedy. Multicultural. Mental health. Multi-generational. Science!
  • Character Development: (5/5) The thing I love most about the genre of fictional realism is that the character development is impeccably good. 
  • Content Snatchery: (2/5) The start was rough, so I wasn't vortexed into the plot initially...however, it does pick up, so hold on and you'll be glad you stayed 😃 Particularly for me, I loved Tao's story arc, but I also really loved the latter third of William's arc as well (because -- SCIENCE; I have a soft spot for well-depicted science in fiction).
  • Boring Parts: (a few) I think most books have one or two spots; for me, the introduction was really rough to get into, but Tao's story helps keep the momentum up, so it does get better over time.
      
  • Romance: (yeah kinda awkward...)  There were several scenes that I wish weren't included... yes I can see the author was aiming for realism and depicting the characters' lives as life-like as possible, but I think a few things were added that we could have done without. Because of these scenes, I would not recommend this book for youth.
  • My eyes are sweating: (4/5) I think each reader will have a different reaction, but for me the storyline following Tao was so well written and crushingly heartbreaking *holds back tears*. 



All in all, I quite enjoyed the book (minus a few parts). Would I recommend it to a friend or a stranger? Probably not (unless I knew they were particularly interested in realistic fiction and beekeeping). Was it a good read? Yes, but again, not quite my cup of tea. Nevertheless, taking a couple steps back from my own personal likes and dislikes, I'd have to rate it a solid 3 out of 5 stars. It was well written, captivating, and otherwise a great piece of literature. 


{Rating} - 3/5 stars


Signed with honey, 

Squeaks.

P.S. Briefest life update, dear readers -- I am, indeed, alive. Although...I feel as if life is a horse and I the unhappy rider having been rudely unseated to the embrace of the grimy earth and thereafter dragged behind on the seat of my pants with my legs wrapped up the in reins. I would write you more often, but my hands have been furiously tied to the scientific manuscripts that anxiously demand my attention. It's something like being a mother of paper children that squall angrily behind my back unless I'm soothing them with edits and other fearsome word-hackery, spoon-feeding bites of prepositions and glittery adjectives. *wipes brow* In the mean time, I've fallen hopelessly behind on the number of books I've been asked to review, and so those must come first before anything else I might wish to publish on this darling little blog of mine. 

September 21, 2017

BLOG TOUR: {A Review + Interview} -- Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World

Readers of every type (including potatoes - we love your superb seventh-level starchiness, welcome welcome), I am thrilled to present my contribution to Bryan Davis' Superhero Blog Tour! My pen-name is Mackenzie Lockhart (I usually just go by Squeaks though); here you'll find my book review of Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World plus a character interview of the marvelous Samantha Hertz. Are you ready to be further inundated into a world of super-strength, villains, and alliterating geniuses? You are? I'm glad you said so! Let's dive in!! 

About the Book
Eddie Hertz is smart, real smart. He has to be. What other twelve-year- old patrols the streets of Nirvana alone, hoping to foil the schemes of the evil Mephisto? Since Eddie is small for his age, he trusts in his Batman-style gadgets belt and acrobatic skills as well as lots of experience, like knowing how to swing across dark alleys without being seen. Eddie has a dream, to become like Damocles, Nirvana’s great superhero. To make that dream come true, Eddie invented a device that is supposed to give him superpowers, but using it on himself is dangerous, maybe even fatal. He doesn’t have the nerve to try it. When Mephisto unleashes an earthquake machine on the city, Eddie gets a surprising teammate — his quirky eight-year- old sister, Samantha, who comes up with an unexpected way to help Eddie in the frantic battle to prevent the biggest earthquake of all.

Since Damocles has lost his ability to help in physical form, Eddie and Samantha are the only hope for Nirvana and the world. 

{My Review}

I have always loved Bryan Davis' writing ever since I found (and promptly fell in love with) Dragons in Our Midst. He has a way with words that really brings a world alive. I admit I was a little apprehensive about Wanted at first, as it's written to cater to 8-12 year olds (middle grade readers). Now I know, kids books are great, but sometimes we get spoiled with all the rich fantasy worlds and agonizing plot twists of young adult and adult fiction and tend to turn up our noses at the kids genre. However, I'd like to politely remind you that C.S. Lewis' Narnia series was written for kids... and so was Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi...and those were fantastic. SO! That being said, having jumped into Wanted expecting full-blown Davis' awesomeness, I was not disappointed one inch.

Eddie and Sam Hertz make a delightful sibling team. I really love reading books with strong sibling pairs, so this one hits top of the list. The chapters were action packed and full of information, puns, and wit. I would definitely recommend this to kids (and adults - trust me, you'll like it too). The theme, while superhero based, resonated with his previous publication of Dragons in Our Midst (I honestly need a better name for this because I want to refer to all 12 books, not just the 4 in that series).

Alongside Eddie and his sister, we'll be introduced to deadly army tanks, a young inventor, a slew of scientific terminology and big words (which had me seriously thrilled), alliteration (!!! awesome, astounding, and altogether amazing!! #abaddonthrowback), and intriguing side-kicks. There will be explosions, danger, poisonous critters, and superhero transformations. Will you join the adventure and watch the battle between Damocles and the hideous Mephisto? What on earth could happen next to the crumbling city of Nirvana?

I can see this book being a big hit for girls, boys, men, and women alike. It's wholesome, hilarious, and fast-paced. There's no romance, no swearing, and no sinister hidden subtext. If I were to reference it to other young-people hits, I'd have to say it's a little like reading a Rick Riordan Percy Jackson novel but far more wholesome (the humour and content differs quite vastly).

Altogether, let's do a break down...
  • Goodies: Alliterating geniuses (oh my goodness I love this character so much!) | puns galore | a side-kick kitty | Princess Queenie | Dragon in Our Midst vibes | tunnels | (un)natural disasters | awkward family reunions | traps | did I mention alliterating geniuses???!?!?! 
  • Character Development: (3/5) I give props that this is a series, so I'm hoping to see more development and growth in the next installment! I love the scenes near the end that talk about family (I won't give anything away here...go read it for yourself!). 
  • Content Snatchery: (5/5) Super fast-paced, lots of action, lots of destruction and flinging of deadly weaponry, etc etc. The snatchery was unbelievably on point! 
  • Boring Parts: (0, zero) Like I said, it was a super fun read - no boring parts that I could find. 
  • Romance: (0, zero) NONE! I am loudly rejoicing. I hate it when books get side-tracked by a slobbery snogging setup. It ruins the mood in the middle of the action. This is a 100% no-romance book and I adore it. 
  • My eyes are sweating: (1/5) Mostly I was too busy hyperventilating about my favourite alliterating fellow that I didn't have time to let my eyes well up. However, the end of the book was so beautifully written that I may have lost a couple crystals to the sleeve of my sweater... maybe.... *looks away quickly* 


SO THERE YOU HAVE IT!! I now pronounce my verdict*....

{My Rating: 5/5}  

*I am very much hoping for further alliteration & puns in book 2... I am totally hooked... mostly because of the alliteration... but yes, I truly loved this book...
#alliterationfangirl

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{Character Interview: Samantha Hertz}


Samantha Hertz is 8 years old. She is perky and quirky to the max. She loves a TV cartoon show called Princess Queenie and wants to emulate her hero. She also adores her brother, Eddie, in her own odd way.



Samantha is sitting by herself at a table, a plate filled with a hamburger, two hot dogs, and three slices of pizza in front of her.

Mackenzie: Hello, Samantha. Thank you for coming to this interview. Is it all right if I call you Sam?

Samantha: Sure, but my real name is Princess Queenie Unicorn Iris Ponyrider Buttercup Olive Lover Rosey Is Posey. (She takes a bite from one of the hot dogs.)

Mackenzie: All right … Sam. What can you tell me about yourself?

Samantha (swallows her bite and smiles): Well, I’m eight years old. I have brown hair and hazel eyes. I have an older brother named Eddie. My mom works as a waitress at Magruder’s. I like to watch the Princess Queenie show. And I’m a superhero.

Mackenzie: A superhero? Very intriguing. What sort of super powers do you have?

Samantha: Um … did I say I’m a superhero?

Mackenzie: Yes, I’m pretty sure you did.

Samantha (takes a bite of pizza and stares silently):

Mackenzie: Okie dokie *clears throat*. Next question. Sam, when you heard that you and Eddie had to face the evil Mephisto without help from Damocles, what was your first thought?

Samantha (swallows): My first thought? That I was hungry. Do you want to know what I thought after that?

Mackenzie: Sure.

Samantha: I thought about what Princess Queenie would do. She would use her super powers to fight evil by sprinkling fairy dust so she could fly to the villain and drop rotten eggs on him.

Mackenzie: Ah! So you can fly!

Samantha: Nope. I said that’s what Princess Queenie would do.

Mackenzie: Do you have fairy dust?

Samantha: No. I don’t have rotten eggs either.

Mackenzie: Rats. Alright, so then… what would you do?

Samantha: Well, what Eddie and I did do was to go to meet Mephisto on the roof of the Stellar building, but he surprised us by showing up on a glowing eagle, and then he lowered a barefooted guy from a helicopter who had his hands tied, but the hologram machine’s battery ran out, and then … (She takes another bite of pizza.)

Mackenzie: And then what??

Samantha (chews for a moment, then swallows): I think I’m not supposed to tell you. Eddie said I shouldn’t make the story spoil.

Mackenzie: Oh! *chuckles* You mean you shouldn’t spoil the story.

Samantha: Isn’t that what I said?

Mackenzie: Yes…yes, of course. One last question. Who is the biggest superhero in your life? Princess Queenie? Damocles? A certain alliterating genius??

Samantha: None of those. It’s my brother, Eddie.

Mackenzie: Aww – that’s very sweet; why your brother?

Samantha: Because he always looks out for me no matter how bad things get for him. He saved my life lots of times. And, most of all, because he loves me. He’s the best brother anyone could ask for.

Mackenzie: That’s beautiful, Sam. Thank you so much for doing this interview! Well, there you have it folks, Samantha Hertz (aka. Princess Queenie Unicorn Iris Ponyrider Buttercup Olive Lover Rosey Is Posey) from Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World. I hope you have the opportunity to read the rest of the story!


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{Thursday Tour Stops & Contests}

Alright you guys, we've almost come to a wrap up for this post! If you're interested in participating in the contests to potentially win some fantastic stuff, you'll need to go check out Bryan Davis' original post on the matter here (and you'll find plenty of links to other blogs participating in the tour as well): clicky click this to go to the tour kick-off.

Today, you'll find others posting some excellent information on the blog tour and further details on this new series. Goodies include a book spotlight, write-ups on Bryan Davis, an author interview, and more book reviews! Please do check them out:



There are two contests you can enter - I've linked them both below. 

{1 - First Giveaway}
Prizes: a choice of any of Bryan Davis' books (!!!!) + a Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World t-shirt + bookmark

a Rafflecopter giveaway


{2 - Grand Prize}
Prizes: all of the swag from the First Giveaway + a complete set of any Bryan Davis book series OR a $50 Amazon gift card || you have to do some work to win this one; to enter the giveaway you need to give the sum of all the numbers in the tour blog posts (go click that link for the tour kick-off to see a complete list of contributing blogs)
Thanks for joining in the fun! I hope you'll pop back in the future :)

Signed with pie, 
Squeaks.

September 16, 2017

News: Upcoming Superhero Blog Tour with Bryan Davis!!

Hey folks! If you've got your spectacles on the right way, then that title may have jumped out at you as being abso-fan-flappin-lootely epic *screeches gleefully*. That's right, Bryan Davis (who's been on my favourite author list for years and years and years) has just released a new book and is following it up with a blog tour, which starts on September 20th!! Yes yes, this is the same fantastic author who gave us Dragons in Our Midst series, Oracles of Fire series, Children of the Bard seriesDragons of Starlight series, Tales of Starlight seriesEchoes from the Edge series, and The Reapers Trilogy. Now, prepare yourself for a new series with superheroes. I. AM. SO. EXCITED. AAAAHHHH!



This tour will be hosted across a slew of delightful blogs and, if you follow along closely, you'll have the opportunity to win bookish-stuff :D Lemme give some details on the upcoming contests:

  • Contest 1: Giveaway -- If you win this contest, you'll get to pick out any Bryan Davis book of your choosing, plus you'll receive a Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World t-shirt and a bookmark
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  • Contest 2: Grand Prize -- The winner of this contest will receive all the stuff listed in the first contest, PLUS a complete Bryan Davis book series (of your choice!!! *aaaahhhh*) or a $50 Amazon gift card!! 

HOW EPIC IS THIS??!! Let's get our hype on fellow bookwyrms!

Now it's time for me to link you guys up to some stellar websites so you can get your fingertips warmed and ready for next week ;) 

First and foremost, go subscribe to or bookmark Bryan's official blog, The Author's Chair, so you'll be the first to know about the tour kick-off (September 20th) and how the contests work, etc etc. Next, check out Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World (which is a great read plus the whole reason for the tour!). You can purchase this delightful fellow at the following places: 




If you haven't read any of Bryan Davis' books yet, check out his social media and websites! 



Are you ready?!?! I'll see you guys back here next week with a full on book review and some extra goodies ;) 


Signed with superwit, 

Squeaks.

August 26, 2017

Autumnal Aesthetic - Wishing for October

Autumn is my favourite season of the year; the months of September through November refresh my soul and remind me how good it is to be alive, experiencing the earthy magic of a transforming planet.

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the beauty of autumn

Pumpkin butter + campfires + cinnamon + rhubarb jam + nutmeg + spiced apples + cider + candlelight + sweaters + creamy soup + crinkling leaves + ghost mist + soft voices + twirling leaves + warm houses + sunset leaves + puddle boots + steamy tea + handwritten letters + crisp air + smoky laughter + wispy curls + russet blush + freckled cheekbones + fluffy kittens + glowing lanterns + corn maze magic + whimsy + aromatic coffee + curled fingers + mason jars + hot chocolate + rustic flannel + enchanting friendships + glazed donuts + laced pie + baked browns + wooden spoons + wool socks + whipped clouds + shadowed mountains + steady pathways + demure glances + straw brooms + ruby embers + chilled lips + buttermilk



Click the button below to see a compilation of autumn-themed tumblrs...


{ What's your favourite thing about this coming season? 
Let me know in a comment below <3 }

Signed with a soft touch,

Squeaks.

August 16, 2017

{A Review} - The Toddler Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Whiny Unfed

Are you guys ready for an amusing review on a book about toddlers? YES?! HERE WE GO CHUMS *maniacal laughing from a childless young adult*

The Toddler Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Whiny Unfed by Mike and Heather Spohr



Toddlers and zombies both communicate mainly through groans, clumsily trail after you everywhere you go (especially into the bathroom in the toddler's case), and--upon entering your life--leave you frazzled, on edge, and deeply sleep deprived. 
The Toddler Survival Guide is a hilarious parody of Max Brooks's The Zombie Survival Guide (and survival guides in general) that will leave parents laughing out loud even as it provides practical advice on how they can make it to the other side of toddlerhood intact. Written by parents who have studied toddlers up-close in their natural habitat, the book will cover survival skills including how you can outfit your home to outlast a toddler occupation (baby gate, cabinet locks, wine), how you can subdue an angry toddler ("Elmo's Song," mac and cheese, smartphone) and even how you can safely venture out in public together without your toddler--or you--bursting into tears. {Goodreads Synopsis}
*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


While I am certainly not a parent (and let's be honest, I tend to shirk away from kids because they're adorable little ninjas and I would enlist a thousand of them as my little minions so I can rule the world -kidding- so let's just like....pretend they don't exist and we can all push the motherly hormones into a galaxy far far away; #singlelife5ever #cringyhipsterninjawannabe), I still quite enjoyed this read. I can't say I learned anything mind-blowing about toddlers from it. However, it did outline several neat little common-sense notes and, if you're a parent approaching that fell land of toddlerdom, methinks it would amuse your tired soul. 

To assure my dear readers that this book was entirely hilarious and informative (to a minimal degree on the latter), I have included several of my favourite quotes below, followed by a list of things I liked/disliked, etc :)

{1} In comparison to babies...
Toddlers, on the other hand, are able to wreak havoc vertically and with velociraptor-like speed.
{2} Tiny artists...
Toddlers are like tiny Banksys who want their work to be seen on the biggest canvas possible, and in your home that canvas is your walls. 
{3} Food negotiation...
Just like you don’t negotiate with terrorists, you don’t negotiate with toddlers. Once you start saying, “One bite of carrots and you can have a cookie,” your toddler has won. The next thing you know, a few months will pass and the rate of business will have slowly bumped up to the point where you’re trading five cookies and a scoop of ice cream for that same, teensy-weensy bite of carrots. 

Unique Features

  • Plenty of humour and multiple references to currently-relevant entertainment (movies, shows, books, etc)
  • Parent testimonials from the present day and (with a bit of imagination) from the 1800s :P 
  • Pictures & art to complement the prosaic snark
  • Toddler tips - that is, tips that are not sarcastic and probably will help you raise a child
    • Feeding tips; dealing with candy, vegetables, and the glorious mess post dinner battle
    • How to keep them clean (good follow-up after meals)
    • Common fears they have and how to nullify them (like fear of baths b/c of drains that might suck them away... I remember this fear when I was little...it isn't a joke)
    • Dealing with screaming toddlers in public situations (stores, restaurants, extended family visits, airplanes, etc).
  • Top 5 places to hide candy (from worst to best) and other amusing lists

Things that didn't jive with me:
  • Mild language and some mature content 
  • Started off treating the concept of a toddler as a thing to be feared, rather than tiny people with feelings and souls; however, it didn't follow that train the whole way, so this was only a slightly bothersome itch rather than a battle wound to the book
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Overall, it was an amusing read (and despite the title, had very little reference to the walking dead). I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a must-have for your new-parent shelf, but if you appreciate a little humour and snark and want a refresher to your common-sense detector, then you'll probably enjoy this one!


{Rating} - 4/5 Stars

Thanks for reading folks! More reviews coming soon :) 


Signed with whiteout, 

Squeaks.

August 12, 2017

5 July Mini-Reviews || + August Line-up

I've been reading fictional books *hullabaloo* (to keep me well balanced between the insufferable dehydration of reading lengthy papers with hair-raising titles like Synaptic effects from chemically activated fine muscle afferents upon alpha-motoneurones in decerbrate and spinal cats or Fatigue-related firing of distal muscle nociceptors reduces voluntary activation of proximal muscles of the same limb). Doesn't that sound like a smashing time? Of course it does. I can feel the unending pounding between my ears, which is uncanny because it feels an awful lot like caffeine withdrawal...
*makes more coffee*
Anyways. I'm bringing you 4 mini-blurbs from some of my July readings (I read 17 books in July...heavens preserve my laminated soul). Perhaps they will inspire you to appreciate the Elysian simplicity of folding yourself into a fictional world. 


But the thing about people, Kell had discovered, is that they didn't really want to know. They thought they did, but knowing only made them miserable.

Goodies: Piratey undertones || unique magic system || delightful thievery (don't try that at home though) || exceptionally developed new language || villains that gave me a Saruman-has-an-equally-evil-twin vibe || a good deal of stabbiness

Character Development: {4/5} We meet Kell and Lila, our protagonists. It felt to me like we stumbled into Kell as though we were half way through a story. I adore the broken charmer trope, but I felt less connected to his story arc than I did to Lila's. Lila fascinated me. She's adventurous, deadly, and witty. A first class snarker. 10/10 recommend if only for Lila's sass. But really, the rest of the characters were very well developed and thoroughly enjoyable. Prepare to have your heart crushed.

Content Snatchery: {3/5} While I now very much adore this book, it took me two tries to get into it. The second try got the job done (probably because I actually bought a physical copy, whereas I borrowed a library audiobook the first time...lol). It reads like well written old fantasy. However, it does take a bit to get into, so please do give it a chance. Furthermore, I will divulge that the second book is infinitely better.

Boring Parts: {first bit} Trust me, let the story arc develop before you throw it away. Yes, the first bit is boring, but...when you finally slip into the deep end of Schwab's world, you'll be thankful you stuck it out (especially when you hit the second book - can anyone tell I really really like the second book??).

Romance: {minor} While there is a romantic subplot, it is surprisingly minor and doesn't take away from the main arc. I loved this. I hate poorly written (or over-written) romance, so if you're looking for minimalism on that ledge, you'll like this one. 

My eyes are sweating: {2/5} It was a great book, but not terribly moving on the emotional level. This is my personal opinion. I may have let two tears drop near the end, but it wasn't heart wrenching the way a Warnette arc might have been.... 

{My Rating: 5/5}


His Majesty, may sun finches warble sweet melodies in his ear...
His Majesty, may orchids bloom in the wake of his passing...

Goodies: Realistic character representations || female MC has brains and uses them and we all applaud her for being an intelligent, delightful bean || Arabian-esque vibe || deserts and sneakery || really strong female character line up!!

Character Development: {5/5} This story follows Elisa's arc and she makes some incredible changes over the duration of the tale. I absolutely loved it. It has a major theme of self-love, as the MC starts off by self-deprecating her appearance (over-weight, loves pastries, etc). However, it doesn't make thin the goal. I loved that. Yes, Elisa becomes somewhat more fit over the course of the story, but she never ends up as a model, rather she comes to love herself and the body type she has.
Also, fifty hands of applause to the inclusion of static characters like Alejandro (jerk wimp...ugh..) and Xemina (ninja amazingness) and Rosario (brrrrraaaat). We have a great cast here folks!

Content Snatchery: {3/5} It had a decent start, but too many lulls between the action. The first half was pretty awesome, but then things took a totally weird and different turn and idk, I just liked the first half mostly. Also, the ending, in my opinion, was a disappointment. I didn't like it.

Boring Parts: {a fair number} Also, *complains* repetition. I felt as though multiple components of the plot were rehashed over and over...so I was a little peeved by the end. Plus, the backstory for the religion was in depth; however, it never actually made much sense... I left feeling confused on that point.

Romance: {halfsies?} There was romance, but it was flimsy and it grated on my nerves for the most part. Elisa + Alejandro felt totally unnatural...I got more of a sibling vibe and that was weird, so I didn't like them together. Then, everyone was yelling PROPS to her other romance arc, but IT FELT SO FORCE and just asdlfkja. I didn't like it either. I don't see what everyone has been raving about. So, yeah, I wasn't much of a fan.

My eyes are sweating: {2/5} Some parts were very moving. Some deaths were very moving. But for me, it was the deaths that weren't the major ones that really bummed me out...so eh, not an intense eyeball sweating, but a minor intense (like sobbing for 2 seconds then moving on intense).

{My Rating: 3/5}

Oh the ridiculous things one has to do when one is a pirate.

Goodies: Female pirate || intense singing || sassy retorts || hidden treasure || PLOT TWISTS :O

Character Development: {3/5} Alosa is our MC - she's a pirate. She's also under a secret mission and has hidden abilities...dare you find out what they are? Ok, I was entirely drawn to this book because 1 - fantastic cover art (I know, I'm horrible) and 2 - pirates. The piratey part of the character development was great, but sometimes it felt too rushed. Also the plot felt weirdly paced in some areas. Nevertheless, Alosa was delightful. Riden, I can't say the same for him - he had great potential but kind of petered out about 3/4 of the way through and became something akin to a fleshblob that simply performed the rites of the arc to get it to the end. I was sorely :| sorely disappointed in him.

Content Snatchery: {5/5} Oh yes, getting into this book was very easy. What with murderous pirates and so on and so forth :D very fantastic snatchery. Pity it didn't last.

Boring Parts: {3/5} When there was action, the action was fantastic...but it was interspersed by lulls that made me so frustrated. And again, plot repetitions. It's as if writing a decent joiner between scenes is impossible for some authors.

Romance: {TOO MUCH} UGH why do some books with fantastic potential have to have sweltering romance that simply derails everything and ruins the character development (let me mourn). If you're not a romance person, then just avoid this whole mess entirely. WE HAD SOMETHING GOOD AND ROMANCE STOLE IT AWAY :'( *tears*

My eyes are sweating: {1/5} One tear of withering regret for the romance that ripped the plot to shreds.

{My Rating: 3/5}


Goodies: Excellent imagery || Russian folklore and overall vibe (ya'll know what I'm talking about if you've read the first book) || GIANT EGG PRISONS

Character Development: {1/5} We left off with this masterfully spun piece in the last book, so I had expected to see the same delightful character development in this one. I was sad because it all felt so rushed! I don't want to say any spoilers here, but if you were expecting the same action and banter from The Crown's Game, well...it doesn't continue in The Crown's Fate :( In fact, I'd go as far to say that the characters purposefully do exactly what the reader screams for them not to do simply to cause conflict - and that, in my humble opinion, is a poor way to develop things.

Content Snatchery: {2/5} Not much snatchery. Yes, we have to deal with a nasty antagonist but the action isn't like last time *insert tears of sadness*. Plus, when there is action, it falls flat and doesn't go with the flow at ALL.

Boring Parts: {too many} I wouldn't say that there were "too many" boring parts (but there were) so much as there were impossible repetitions and static moments in the action. The flow felt forced, the arc crumbled, and I was left very much as an unhappy reader.

Romance: {I DON'T KNOW} There was romance, yes, but it wasn't the same as book 1 - it wasn't the delightful, charming fluffy liking that we had previously. The whole story was much darker than previous, and we left off expecting so much...but it never came to be. The plot jumped all over the place and by the end it sped up so fast and never resolved the underlying romantic conflict. I came very close to throwing it (except I borrowed it from the library as an ebook on my phone and I wasn't about to throw my phone).

My eyes are sweating: {0/5} No tears. Not like last time (#rememberthedownpour). I couldn't bring myself to connect Vika, Pasha, and Nikolai to who they were before. They felt like strangers. It was such a disappointment.

{My Rating: 2/5}


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That, my dear readers, turned out to be a little bit more than a mini-blurb on July reads. I won't dwell on my explication though, so let's move on!

Currently, as of August 12th, I've read 84 books since January (weeoo). This month, I've polished off 7 books, which include the following titles (plus a small blurb on whether I liked/didn't like them):

{1} Waking Up: To Who You Really Are (If You Dare) by Ted Dekker || Inspirational...I liked it

{2} Forbidden by Ted Dekker || Intriguing plot line, but the Circle Series was better...

{3} The Hammer of Thor (#2) by Rick Riordan || Hilarious, punny, and very enjoyable!

{4} Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare || I never like Clare's stuff...so idk why I bothered reading it

{5} Lirael (#2) by Garth Nix || Fascinating world + the Disreputable Dog = perfection

{6} The Orphan Queen (#1) by Jodi Meadows || Loved the world-building!! + The Black Knife!

{7} The Mirror King (#2) by Jodi Meadows || 10/10 adored this book - would recommend to everyone




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That's all for now folks! I hope you enjoyed; toodleoo until next time! 



Signed with invisible ink, 
Squeaks.
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