Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Getting ready for Plane trip with Kids

We're going on a trip! So I'll be even more MIA than I have been the last couple weeks. I've read a dozen "preparing for trip with baby/toddler" and "activities for baby/toddler on a plane" blog lists. And while they've all been very helpful, I'm a minimalist. And I'll get as much as I can of what we need AFTER we get there. I'm sure it makes a difference that we're staying at a friend's house, and she has spare car seats. I did some Target gift card deals last week to cover some of that, even. Have I never mentioned I love Target? Because I really do.

Anyway, here's what I'm taking, in 1 checked bag, 1 personal bag, and 1 diaper bag:
  • Smaller diaper bag for daily use
  • Clothes & shoes
  • Swimsuits, just in case
  • A few diapers
  • Wipes
  • 3 empty bottles
  • 2 empty sippies
  • Miss Em's birth certificate (to verify age)
  • Tooth brushes
  • Hair things
  • Dried fruit
  • Baby food pouches
  • Formula
  • Juice boxes
  • Snack bars
  • Fruit strips
  • Annie's Bunnies
  • Suckers
  • Leappad & tablet
  • Headphones
  • Chargers
  • Plastic bags (for trash)
  • Coloring book & crayons
  • Small box/bin to set crayons in on the plane so they don't roll
  • Olivia Travels book
  • Small board book

At the airport:
  • Check-in online before going, so no struggle there
  • Wear Miss Em through if possible
  • Notify them of formula, baby food, and juice boxes, take off shoes, put everything on the belt
  • Go through, shoes back on, everything back in bag
  • Let them play somewhere until we board - no rush getting on, seats are assigned anyway

Saturday, May 24, 2014

REVIEW: Dead Sea Mud Shampoo

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I don't wash my hair daily. Or even every other day. More like twice a week. When I do wash it, I use very little shampoo. I found it keeps my hair from getting greasy and nasty. I was actually planning to no-poo when I ran out of my current shampoo, but then I saw this opportunity and thought I'd give it a try. To be honest, I still plan to no-poo at some point, but I do like the shampoo and actually am also going to be receiving the conditioner to review soon, as well!

Anyway, I have a very dry scalp, but always used products that were moisture intensive because my hair just didn't react well to anything else, so unfortunately my scalp just had to suffer. And itch. A lot. I have noticed some improvement since using Adovia's Dead Sea Mud shampoo. It has been pretty gentle on my hair color, surprisingly. I typically condition heavily, but decided not to condition my hair with it so that I could see how it would do. I had little to no tangles and my hair didn't feel dried out even without the conditioner. It has a nice scent and is very sudsy.

I'm not in love with the ingredient list. It's not quite what I expected. It's pretty long and has some words that just scream chemical. This is a primary reason I don't plan to use more than the bottle. If you aren't concerned with chemicals in your hair, this shampoo does make it feel nice. I love the Dead Sea mud, but wish the rest were more natural.
Demineralised Water (Aqua) & Dead Sea Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamide Dea, Fragrance (Parfum), Glycol Stearate, Propylene Glycol & Chamomile (Anthemis Nobilis) Extract & Algae Extract & Papaya (Carica Papaya) Extract & Aloe Vera (Barbadensis) Gel, Sodium Chloride, Dead Sea Salt, Polyquaternium – 7, Wheat (Triticum Vulgare) Germ Oil, Grape (Vitis Vinifera) Seed Oil, Sweet Almond (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis) Oil, Carrot (Daucus Carota) Seed Oil, Olive (Olea Europaea) Oil, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5), Citric Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vit E), Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.
You can purchase Adovia's Dead Sea Mud Shampoo on Amazon for $23. I also found the Shampoo & Conditioner in a combo for $34 on Cleopatra's Choice, which is a pretty good deal because separately they'd cost a total of $42.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

REVIEW: Allons Danser! Let's Dance!

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Two of our favorite children's shows are French based. 

We also enjoy a book series that uses some "fancy" French words.

So, when I was given the opportunity to try Whistlefritz's newly released CD, Allons Danser, I thought it would be perfect for my 4 year old, and certainly couldn't hurt to introduce the 1 year old. 

Whistlefritz was founded in 2006 by Heidi Stock, a mom looking to teach her children a second language. Not finding what she was looking for, she developed this immersion program for early childhood.  Whistlefritz is known for the Spanish for Kids language immersion media. Now they are branching out, launching a French line. The French for Kids line currently includes two music CDs as well as two DVDs. They intend to have digital Lesson Plans available on the website by the end of summer and produce more French for Kids DVDs in the future.

The hardest part for me is that the program recommends no translation. I completely understand why, but I feel compelled to translate the words. Of course, with just the CD it is a little more difficult as well with certain songs. I think something with images would be a better place to begin, but the CD would be a great supplement. Of course, some of the songs allow for acting along/finger play, and puppets or stuffed toys could be handy visuals. There are a couple recognizable songs the Miss O had a lot of fun with, and I'm sure in time we will be able to sing along with all of them.

You can purchase Allons Danser! and other products from the French for Kids series, as well as the full set (or individual pieces) of Spanish for Kids series on Whistlefritz's website. You can also find them on Amazon, where you can purchase Allons Danser! digitally for as low as $8.99!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Title: Sky2: Detritus Machine
Series: Sky
Author: William Amerman
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Post-Apocalypse Thriller, Sci Fi
Sky2: Detritus Machine is available in Amazon Kindle format for $4.99
or on smashwords in multiple formats for $4.99

"The Sky series continues.
Ten years before the events of Sky1, Nick embarks on the assignment of a lifetime, descending deep within the World to Ground 42, the city of Muldoin. In this city, personal space is shockingly restricted and scarcity governs all aspects of life.
Nick's job is to investigate recent government policies that are more brutal than any the world has seen. Then, people start showing up. People who don't belong there. Men who wish only to perpetrate violence on the repressed population. A woman searches for a life without killing while the city aches for release, shuddering with anticipation of open rebellion.
This is the legend of Muldoin, the story of Nick and Anna."

I really loved all of the magic and dragons.

Just kidding, Bill.


Ok, so there definitely is not magic nor dragons, although the words magic and dragon are mentioned in this one. The book is great anyway, though. But seriously. Sky2 is hard to put down. I fell asleep reading it a couple nights. Because, well, I only get to read after the girls go to bed usually...so of course by then I can barely stay awake as it is, but I needed to know what would happen next! I was fascinated by Anna in the first book and loved getting to know her more in this second book. She is quite something, you just never know what to expect from her. Nick doesn't seem to know whether he's terrified of her or enamored with her. The thing with this series, it's hard to decide whose side you're on. Every character has good and bad points and reasons to believe in their cause.

The concept of The World...I could completely see happening in a distant future. I could see a lot of "history repeating itself," except at an accelerated rate. I hope we get to find out more about what's in the Exo-World!

I've noticed the author likes to begin (both with the series as a whole and individual books) at a 'present moment,' back track and fill in the gaps, and then continue on into the 'future.' I mentioned in my review of Sky1 that I wasn't sure how I felt about this. It's grown on me a bit. I enjoying catching up and having those "oh, so that's why" moments. It has also left me with hope that there will be more beyond where Sky1 left off.

If you would like to read this book for yourself, you're in luck. I have been given the chance to share it with a lucky reader! You could read this book on its own as is, but I would suggest reading Sky1 first, because a little birdy told me Sky3 picks up after this one, so you'd be jumping back and forth even more than intended.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, May 19, 2014

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Dreambaby's Furniture Anchors

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. Dreambaby®  is an internationally renowned child safety brand available in more than 100 countries. They offer a variety of safety products for homes with children including bath mats, stove guards, a variety of locks and latches, and much more.

There is a safety checklist provided on the Dreambaby® website to help determine if you may overlooked potential hazards in your home.
Television and furniture tipping is becoming an ever increasing problem, to almost epidemic proportions. In the western world, it has been stated that humans (particular little ones) are as likely to be killed by their own furniture as by terrorism! According to a 2013 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “The number of children injured by a TV tip-over has increased 125 percent between 1990 and 2011. Each year, more than 17,000 children are treated in hospitals for TV-related injuries. That's one child every 30 minutes, and children ages five and younger are at the highest risk for injury”. Many of these accidents and injuries are minor – bruising, bumps and scrapes – they are also very are preventable. Sadly, the most alarming statistic of all is that, “once every three weeks in developed countries, a child is killed by a TV tip-over”.
That's kind of a scary realization. And it's not just TVs, it's dressers and other heavy furniture as well. I received the Furniture Anchor and Furniture Straps to review. The TV strap was also meant to be included, but unfortunately was out of stock, though I'm not sure it differs a whole lot from the Furniture Straps. They are easy to install and give parents and caregivers peace of mind when little ones are at home. Hardware is included. They aren't terribly attractive, but that extra bit of security is worth a little unsightliness, right?

I wanted these for the armoire and flat screen in my girls' room. The flat screen actually has fallen once, but it's not huge and thankfully the cable held it up from hitting the floor or anything else. I was a bit concerned with how easy it would be to take the anchors out and move the furniture if need be, but it seems like it wouldn't be much trouble. The anchors haven't had to endure any stress as of yet so I can't say how well they hold up in action. They seem sturdy enough

For useful safety tips & advice go to Dreambaby®'s YouTube page.

Would you like to win a set of these furniture anchors for yourself? Enter Below!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, May 16, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Play With Tales - Little Red Riding Hood

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Well, there was a minor problem here.
When I applied for this Little Red Riding Hood game from Ebooks & Kids, I didn't realize it was for the App Store only (as in, not Android Market compatible).
Oops. Luckily, I was able to work this out with the supplier and, though I won't be able to give you a proper review, I am giving you a chance to own it yourself! Lucky you :] It looks super cute and lots of fun.

In lieu of a product review, what I can do is tell you a little about the company. Ebooks & kids is an Italian company that produces educational play apps for ages 2-10. Like I've said before, it's definitely easier to learn when you're having fun! From my interaction with them, they seem to have great customer service. The art in all of the Apps looks fantastic from what I can tell. I hope the game play is equally great! There are two other Play With Tales available now, also -- Puss in Boots and Hansel & Gretel.

 *** APPen functionalities (Giochi Preziosi) ***

Play with tales : a new series from Ebooks&kids !
Who is HIDING out there in the woods? A sweet little girl and a big bad wolf ...
Children love playing with tales' characters!
Enter the world of the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood with amazing puzzles, challenging memory games and wonderful original coloring pages.
***different levels of difficulty
For your children, choose among Ebooks&kids' apps: created with love and original high quality!
This app supports APPen functionalities
APPen is a new electronic pen fitted with a new pressure sensitivity system for tablets and smartphones and designed for children, which allows to draw and play on the devices. It connects through the headphone jack and works without batteries.
APPen is compatible with all iOS devices with an operating system of IOS 4.3 or higher. All devices must have a touch screen and a combined audio and microphone system, needed to activate the function of pressure sensitivity.
APPen is a product and a trademark of the Group GIOCHI PREZIOSI Spa.
For more information, please, visit www.appen.it . Website is available in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese.

Buy Play With Tales - Little Red Riding Hood on iTunes for $1.99
Or Enter below for a chance to win!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Healing Tree Bamboo Charcoal Soap

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Healing Tree is family owned business began in 2004 as an Apothecary and Tea Bar store in Thousand Oaks, CA!  Their mission statement is "to provide effective & affordable natural health products worldwide." Awesome. I was so excited to see TWO bars of this fantastic Bamboo Charcoal soap when I opened my package! One for me, and one to share with a friend. Plus a giveaway?! What a generous company! (Speaking of their generosity, check out the about page on their website for their charity opportunities.) I was also a tiny bit surprised by the color because the product image shows it as more of a green, but it's rather black. Not too shocking, considering it's charcoal.

Back to the soap, well, how does it work? "Healing Tree Bamboo Charcoal Soap is high in absorbency so it draws dirt from deep inside the pores. Unlike normal soaps that only clean the surface of your skin, this soap can free up a lot of dirt that clogs deep beneath your skin especially if you have acne, eczema, psoriasis, and dry/cracked skin. Bamboo charcoal undergoes a firing process of 1,800 F to create high absorbency properties making it 4x more absorbent than wood charcoal. As a result, it cleanses your skin by removing years of accumulated dead skin cells." Years. That's pretty impressive.

Healing Tree's Bamboo Charcoal soap is made of only 4 natural ingredients (Vegetable Oil, Water, Glycerin, and Bamboo Charcoal), fragrance free (seriously...it's the most faint, almost nonexistent, earthy scent), is hypoallergenic, and is detoxifying. It has no harmful chemicals, no added colors, and is not tested on animals.

After doing that Vitamin C review a bit back, I stopped using it and gave the rest to my mother to try. Well, I bring that up because I immediately had an acne flare up. I was grateful when this soap came because it cleared up pretty nicely! It doesn't lather as much as a traditional soap, but it does lather. If you're accustomed to natural products it looks perfect. The soap is very gentle and doesn't leave my skin feeling itchy or dried out. I love it. No complaints at all.

The soap retails for $3.99 on Healing Tree's website. They also have several other neat items. I'd love to try the Bamboo Pro™ Self Warming Carpal Support for my "crafter's wrist".

I bet you'd love to try this soap, right? Enter below for a chance to win!
For a second chance to win, visit Healing Tree's facebook page sign up for their newsletter! You could win FREE monthly products!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

REVIEW: Hoppers

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Hoppers® Peg Solitaire Jumping Game (Ages 5 and up, single player, MSRP: $14.99)
Hoppers® is a peg solitaire jumping game – set the frogs on the pond, then jump frogs until only one is left standing. Forty challenge cards range from easy to super hard. Start simple and grow your skills with each level. In no time at all you’ll be the smartest frog in the pond!

ThinkFun was founded in 1985 by husband and wife team Bill Ritchie and Andrea Barthello. ThinkFun wants to ignite minds of all ages through play. Learning is always easier when you're having fun, isn't it?

My first thought upon opening the Hoppers game was that it would make a really cool travel game if it were magnetic! I have a magnet addiction as of late.  We had a lot of fun trying this out and, admittedly, I had some trouble with the Super Hard cards myself! I applied for this game review thinking it would be useful for our preschool venture. Miss O was capable of doing some of the easy cards without help, as long as I could keep her focused on what she was actually meant to do.

However, she much preferred to have to frogs make friends on the "lillies."

Perhaps she is not quite ready to use it as it's intended. It has been fantastic for 1 by 1 counting, though! The adorable frogs keep her engaged. We will keep trying the actual game periodically until she's doing it all by herself. 

Clean up is easy, everything is stored right with the game! All the frogs have their own special prongs and the cards are neatly tucked away.

You can purchase the Hoppers game for $14.99 on ThinkFun.com or Amazon.com along with a number of other games. We definitely hope to try out more ThinkFun games in the future.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Why I chose to Baby Led Wean, and why we waited...

I've not been posting...so I figured I'd finally do this post. I meant to do it sooner. Miss Em is 1 year old now, so she has this eating thing down pat by now. Anyway, I decided I wanted to do baby led weaning with her for several reasons. Namely, I'm lazy, it's easy, and it's educational.

Baby led weaning isn't what it sounds like to the American ear. There's no weaning off of mommy's milk/formula. It is 'wean' in the British sense, which means to add something to the diet. Milk is still the primary source of nutrition until 1.

Miss Em was offered pieces of foods, not purees, starting at the point she could sit on her own, which was a bit past 6 months. However, she showed little interest until 8 months. Now she eats anything she can get her little fingers on. Especially if it comes from the dog bowl. (-.-)

First question, why did we wait until she could sit on her own?

  • Baby's gut needs time to close up, mature, and be ready to digest real food. This will help prevent medical issues, including diabetes, allergies, and intestinal trouble. 
  • They also do not have the enzymes needed to digest some fats, carbohydrates, and starches.
  • Babies have a tongue-thrust reflex to prevent choking before they're ready for solids. This goes away around 6 months, when they start to move food from the front of their mouth to the back. 
  • Once babies can sit up on their own, these factors tend to be resolved.
  • There's no rush. They have to eat food eventually. It's an extra expense, cleanup, and for some extra cooking.
  • Solids should NOT replace milk intake. Starting too early tends to lead to replacing milk feeds, and baby needs the nutrition from the milk/formula.
  • Other readiness signs are misleading and just something babies do to explore everything in their world, they're not about the food. (IE reaching, mouthing, etc)
Second question, why didn't we do purees and cereal?
  • White rice cereal is roughly 95% starch. Thus you're basically feeding baby a spoonful of sugar. White rice cereal is also low in protein. Brown rice cereal and oatmeal are a little better, but...meh.
  • Feeding grains that can't be digested takes up space for something that could provide nutrients.
  • It doesn't actually help them sleep better.
  • Baby may not actually eat the foods at first, they're learning how to chew before they swallow. There may be less chance for baby to choke if they learn this way. Purees can get past the tongue-thrust reflex if introduced too early and cause choking.
  • There's no guesswork about how much is too much - you won't overfeed by shoveling "one more bite" into their mouths and they learn to recognize hunger cues
  • You don't have to do much! Baby is self-feeding, so all you need to do is watch.
There's nothing wrong with spoon-feeding, but it takes more patience, time, and observation of your baby's hunger cues. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Title: Sky1: Foundation
Series: Sky
Author: William Amerman
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Post-Apocalypse Thriller, Sci Fi
Sky1: Foundation is available in Amazon Kindle format for $3.99
or on smashwords in multiple formats for $3.99

"Nick Burke has been allotted 389 square feet of living space by the government. Disease spreads quickly when people are packed together so tightly. Quarantines are regularly imposed in an effort to contain the spread of infection. Lately, though, rumors are spreading that quarantines on some Grounds are not being lifted.

When a quarantine is imposed on Nick's Ground, he and his family are trapped. The only way out is to break laws that carry a penalty of death. Fearing for his life and the safety of his family, Nick joins forces with a local group to move to another Ground. But can he trust his new friends?"

First of all, I want to note that the licensing note in this book made me smile. It says "This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people unless you really like it and, well, can't help yourself. Otherwise, if you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author." 

So. I must have missed the immigration lesson at school...I'm embarrassed to say I didn't realize emigration was a word. Thank you, handy dictionary, for enlightening me on the difference between immigration and emigration. Anyway, that said, I appreciate the author's use of it. There is quite a bit of intelligence lingering in this righting. In some ways it reminds me of reading a Chuck Palahniuk novel, which I love.

Anyway, at first I wasn't thrilled with the big leap backward toward the beginning of the book, as well as the way it jumped back and forth. Once everything started coming together, I kind of understood why he chose to start that way. I felt thoroughly sorry for Nick throughout the book. There are so many twist and turns, but it flows well. The supporting characters are fantastic and I quite enjoyed the personalities of the females, especially.

The ending took me by surprise. I don't want to divulge too much, but...it sure didn't end the way I "hoped" it would. It was good, because it was different. I know that the next  two books in the series are going to take place prior to this point, but I hope there is something in the future that will touch upon what happens to the other characters. I'm not sure whether it even could progress from there, but I felt like their stories were a bit too open-ended for that to be finished.

I have begun reading Sky2 as well and will have a giveaway for it soon, if you want to get a head start and read this first book, I'd recommend it.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Writers of the Future Volume 30

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Title: Writers of the Future, Volume 30
Presenter: L. Ron Hubbard
Author:  Multiple
Genre: Sci Fi, Fantasy

Visit the main website

Volume 30 is available here, in Kindle format for $7.99, however I would say this one is worth the "splurge" to buy a paper copy for $12.15

"Celebrate new writers, new winners, new worlds.
This is is your escape into fantastic realms of the human mind lurking just beyond your imagination… and reaching deep into your wildest dreams.

This is is your ticket to tomorrow.

Celebrate the future of science fiction and fantasy… now."

I don't know where to begin with this. I had never heard of the Writers and Illustrators of the Future until finding this promotion to review Volume 30. Yeah, 30. That means 30 years. This has been around longer than I've been alive, and I had never heard of it. Something MUST be done to spread awareness about this program and the fantastic people that are part of it every year. I was lucky enough to receive this compilation as soon as prints were available. The official release date is 5/7/14.  There are a couple stories I wasn't completely into, but even those had very interesting ideas and were definitely worth reading! Most of these short stories left me wanting more. They are quite thought-provoking, with themes from real-world potential (or lack there-of) to the worlds of our dreams (or nightmares, depending how you look at it). The most wonderful thing about the Sci Fi genre is the endless possibilities. My personal favorites were Another Range of MountainsBeneath the Surface of Two Kills and Rainbows for Other Days.

Also, make note that this is the Writers AND Illustrators of the Future competition now, which means there are not only fantastic aspiring authors' stories, but aspiring illustrators beautiful artwork. Every piece is amazing. I am so pleased to have received this book as a paperback to see the full color illustrations on paper.

I have also been given the opportunity to share this collection of short stories with TWO readers

NOTE: There have been issues with the Tomoson Contest Widget and I have had to replace it with GiveawayTools below. I apologize for any inconvenience, but entries could not be transferred.

The following is pulled from the website:

L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 30 includes:
The year’s thirteen best tales from the Writers of the Future international writers’ program

Illustrated by winners in the Illustrators of the Future international illustrators’ program

Three short stories from authors
L. Ron Hubbard / Orson Scott Card / Mike Resnick

With essays on writing and illustration by
L. Ron Hubbard / Robert Silverberg / Val Lakey Lindahn

Edited by Dave Wolverton
Illustrations Art Directed by Stephen Hickman


“Introduction” by Dave Wolverton

“Another Range of Mountains” by Megan E. O’Keefe
Illustrated by Sarah Webb

“Shifter” by Paul Eckheart
Illustrated by Michael Talbot

“Beneath the Surface of Two Kills” by Shauna O’Meara
Illustrated by Cassandre Bolan

“Artistic Presentation” by L. Ron Hubbard

“Beyond All Weapons” by L. Ron Hubbard
Illustrated by Adam Brewster

“Animal” by Terry Madden
Illustrated by Seonhee Lim

“Rainbows for Other Days” by C. Stuart Hardwick
Illustrated by Andrew Sonea

“Giants at the End of the World” by Leena Likitalo
Illustrated by Trevor Smith

“… And Now Thirty” by Robert Silverberg

“Carousel” by Orson Scott Card
Illustrated by Vincent-Michael Coviello

“The Clouds in Her Eyes” by Liz Colter
Illustrated by Kirbi Fagan

“What Moves the Sun and Other Stars” by K.C. Norton
Illustrated by Kristie Kim

“Long Jump” by Oleg Kazantsev
Illustrated by Adam Brewster

“These Walls of Despair” by Anaea Lay
Illustrated by Bernardo Mota

“Synaptic Soup” by Val Lakey Lindahn

“Robots Don’t Cry” by Mike Resnick
Illustrated by Andrew Sonea

“The Shaadi Exile” by Amanda Forrest
Illustrated by Vincent-Michael Coviello

“The Pushbike Legion” by Timothy Jordan
Illustrated by Cassandre Bolan

“Memories Bleed Beneath the Mask” by Randy Henderson
Illustrated by Vanessa Golitz

“A Word on the Art Direction” by Stephen Hickman

List of Illustrations by Artist

The Year in the Contests

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, May 2, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Becoming Monsters

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Title: Becoming Monsters
Series: The Guardians of Esurack
Author:  Liss Thomas
Age Group:  Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Finding Monsters (Book 1) is available in Kindle format for $1.99 here (Borrow it for free with Amazon Prime!)
Becoming Monsters (Book 2) is available in Kindle format for $1.99 here
Visit the author's website

"It's been a year and a half and Missy, now close to seventeen years old finds herself returning to the human realm she left behind in hot pursuit of Anukhan, the thief that stole her blue light and almost left her dead. Sensing it when he uses her abilities, she along with Charlie, and Saal race to find this ruthless killer of men and monsters. But they realize almost too late that there is a physical connection between Missy and Anukhan and now stopping him with deadly force will prove fatal for Missy as well.
Undeterred, Missy prepares herself for a difficult fight, one that could cost more lives than she's willing to sacrifice. Unlike her quests in the monster realm, another silent killer returns. One she's fought against her entire life and this time, it could win."

Becoming Monsters is the second book in the Guardians of Esurack series.  I have not yet read the first book in the series, but I will. I really loved this story. Start to finish. I think the only part I disliked was that the love line between Saal and Eve progressed much too quickly. It's not the typical paranormal young adult story. Charlie and Missy, accompanied by Saal, are on a mission to find her light, which lands them in Egypt! They have a fast paced adventure that keeps you guessing. It's an emotional ride for the children and their companions with a few shocking moments. Anukhan, who stole Missy's light in effort to bring who-knows-what sort of chaos, is dreadful. However, there were moments that I thought he may even care for Missy on some level. I look forward to reading Finding Monsters, as well as continuations in this series.

Special note if you've come this far - for TWO DAYS (May 4 and 5) books 1 and 2 are going to be available for FREE. Grab them! It's a good read.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.