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Monday, December 30, 2013

Mini Picture Book Reviews: Love Monster by Rachel Bright AND Catching Kisses by Amy Gibson


Today I have two mini reviews* of some picture books to share...


Love Monster
by Rachel Bright
12/24/13
Macmillan

Love Monster is a slightly hairy monster trying to fit in with the cuddly residents of Cutesville. But as it turns out, it’s hard to fit in with the cute and the fluffy when you’re a googly-eyed monster. And so, Love Monster sets out to find someone who will love him just the way he is. His journey is not easy—he looks high, low, and even middle-ish. But as he soon finds out, in the blink of a googly eye, love can find you when you least expect it.



Rachel Bright’s Love Monster is a heartwarming tale about one little monster’s search for love. Monster (as we’ll call him) is the only hairy, slightly googly-eyed monster in Cutesville, and being the only monster among the utterly cute is not easy. So, Monster sets out to find someone to love him just the way he is, but his search does not go well. That is, until he stops searching for love and lets it find him.

This is such a sweet tale that just gives you all the warm fuzzies inside! Bright has captured the simple, yet breathtaking essence of love, in a way that is both charmingly adorable and captivatingly poignant. Monster’s search for pure, heart-bursting, unconditional love, and discovery of the power of loving oneself, is presented in a way that little readers will absolutely get and connect with.

The illustrations are bright and simplistic and so flippin’ cute! Bright’s hairy, googly-eyed Monster is so delightfully expressive and fun to look at it. I just want a stuffed doll version of him to cuddle!

Witty, warm, and wonderfully rendered, Rachel Bright’s Love Monster is sure to be loved by all!








Catching Kisses
by Amy Gibson
12/31/13
Macmillan

At any given moment/someone, somewhereis blowing a kiss.And somewhere/someone/is catching it.    
So begins this journey of the heart, as readers young and old follow a handful of kisses around the United States. From San Francisco to New Orleans to New York City, the text and stylized artwork celebrate all the ways kisses are shared.




At any given moment/someone, somewhere
is blowing a kiss.
And somewhere/someone/is catching it.  

So begins Amy Gibson’s gorgeous Catching Kisses. Gibson takes readers on a whirlwind journey across the Unites States as she explores the beauty and sweetness of the many different kinds of kisses.

Catching Kisses is an absolutely lovely story that is both wonderfully written and illustrated. Gibson’s prose is sparse, yet achingly beautiful. She captures the idea and power of a kiss, and the feelings behind it, perfectly. LIttle readers will easily feel and understand the heartwarming message behind this story. Every word in a picture book must be chosen carefully because every word matters, and I LOVE every single word Gibson has chosen! She takes very simple words and strings them together to make fun, captivating sentences that jump right off the page. Such as:

Some SMACK/like bubblegum.
Some whisper/like butterflies.
Kisses go with you/wherever,
whatever the day brings.

Maria Van Lieshout’s artwork is very stylized and feels both modern and classic. The splashes of bright yellow and red among the mostly black, grey, and blue artwork creates mesmerizing pictures. Van Lieshout takes readers on a visually stunning journey across the US and captures different cities (San Francisco, NYC, New Orleans, and more) perfectly. Little readers will love spotting all the awesome details in each city landscape.

Catching Kisses is such a beautiful book, both lyrically and visually. It is bound to put smile on your face and warm the hearts of the littlest readers.






*Please note that I do not rate picture books. I merely review them

Friday, December 27, 2013

(Top 10 of 2013) Top Ten 2014 Books I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On


Top 10 of 2013 is hosted by Two Chicks on Books, Fiktshun, and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

2013 is almost over and so is our Top 10 of 2013 week. 2014 is only days away and today I'm listing the top ten 2014 book releases I can't wait for. I gave myself strict rules for this list and demanded that I only choose 10 books and they must be 2014 releases that I do not already have an ARC for...these are THE top ten books I cannot wait to literally have in my hands....

Top Ten 2014 Books I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On
(in no particular order)

1. Breaker (Ondine Quartet #4) by Emma Raveling
(no cover yet)
I'm sad to see this series end, but so excited to read book four!

2. A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

I am so excite for this adorable looking middle-grade! And that cover is fantabulous!!

3. Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage
Turnage's Three Times Lucky is one of my most favorite MG books and I cannot wait for this companion novel!

4. The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus #5) by Rick Riordan
This is another series I'm sad to see end, but I'm excited to read the final book!

5. Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor
I LOVE this series! And that gorgeous cover is GORGEOUS!!!

6. The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #3) by Michelle Hodkin
Another final book in an awesome series I can't wait to devour!

7. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige 
Love Wizard of Oz and this looks like a unique take on the world!

8. Guardian (Proxy #2) by Alex London
I really enjoyed Proxy and it had such an explosive ending that I'm dying to read the sequel!

This book sounds so fantastic and I'm so in love with that cover!

10. The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
I adore Anderson's writing and this book sounds so haunting and amazing!

Those are the Top Ten 2014 Books I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On!
What are yours?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

(Top 10 of 2013) Top Ten Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends/BFFs/Other


Top 10 of 2013 is hosted by Two Chicks on Books, Fiktshun, and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

I'm a proud, self-proclaimed fangirl and I fall in love with characters easily. This means I often have MANY book boyfrans and girlfrans. But, there also characters that I fall in love with in, in a less romantic "OMG I want their face on my face" way and more of a "I want to be their BFF" way. AND then there are characters that I just connect with and who stay with me long after their story ends...this list is made up of all of these kinds of characters...

My Top Ten Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends/BFFs/Other

1. and 2.
from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Oh how I love these two characters! I love them as individuals, I adore them as a couple! These are probably my two favorite book characters of 2013.

3.
from The Archived by Victoria Schwab

There's something so genuine and swoony about Wesley! Definitely boyfran material!

4. and 5.
from Crest (Ondine Quartet #3) by Emma Raveling

This is another pair that I love and adore both as individuals and as a couple...a steamy, intense, awesomely infuriating couple!

6.
from Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

I'm not sure Win/Drew is my type romantically, but I did connect so much to this complex boy and I would love to be his friend!

7.
from Blue Moon (Dead City #2) by James Ponti

I want to be Molly's BFF and hunt zombies with her! This girl is smart, funny, and kicks serious butt!

8.
from Through the Ever Night (UtNS) by Veronica Rossi

Oh Roar! Sweet, funny, swoon-worthy, Roar, I LOVE you so! Roar is most definitely boyfriend material and I would love to marry him and have his little Roaries *sigh*

The final two selections consists of two characters each, but I'm counting each one as one because they're inseparable pairs...

9.
from Soul Catcher (The Soulkeepers #4) by G.P. Ching

I rooted so hard for this pair and love what this relationship as done for Dane! I wanna be their bestest BFF!

10.
from Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy

Danielle and Humphrey were in no way romantic, they were like big sis and little bro, and their sweet, poignant relationship moved me in a big way. I'd love be the third member of this quirky, touching duo and be BFFs for life!

Those are my Top 10 Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends/BFFs/Others!
What are yours?!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

(Top 10 of 2013) Top Ten Middle-Grade Books I Read in 2013


Top 10 of 2013 is hosted by Two Chicks on Books, Fiktshun, and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

MERRY CHRISTMAS
(to those who celebrate!)

It's no secret that middle-grade is my favoritest of all! 

Top Ten MG Books I Read in 2013
(in no particular order)

1. Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
This MG book is also on my Top 10 Books of 2013 list as well, and for good reason: it's spectacular! Federle is an awesome debut author who has created one of the most unforgettable characters and stories about following your passion!

2. Eve Hallows and the Book of Shivers (Nightmare Series #3) by Robert Gray
This is the third book in one of my fave middle-grade series! I know that every time I open one of these books, it's going to be fun, witty, and spooktacular!

3. The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
A beautifully spellbinding novel, full of magic, intrigue, and heart!

This MG book is also on my Top Ten Books of 2013 list because of its sheer epic awesomeness! This series rocks!

5. Blue Moon (Dead City #2) by James Ponti
I cannot get enough of this middle-grade zombie action series! I love everything about it-- the kick-butt action, humor, and super relatable heroine.

6. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
This is such a fantastically fun MG, with an addicting mystery, quirky characters, and one of the coolest libraries ever!

This is a wonderfully wild, alien-filled sci-fi that I couldn't put down!

8. Rules for Ghosting by A.J. Paquette
A sweet ghost story full of humor, heart, and a really cool house!

This series is just too much fun! This sequel is a laugh-a-minute adventure with quirky heroes, feisty heroines, and delightfully devilish villains!

10. Genie Wishes by Elisabeth Dahl
This funny, sweet, authentic, and often surprisingly poignant novel, captured my heart in ways that I didn't expect.

Those are my the Top 10 Middle-Grade Books I Read in 2013!



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

(Top 10 of 2013): Top Ten Book Covers of 2013


Top 10 of 2013 is hosted by Two Chicks on Books, Fiktshun, and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

I just love book covers--pretty, creepy, whimsical, cute, unique--I love them all!

My Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of 2013
(in no particular order)

1. Kinslayer (The Lotus War #2) by Jay Kristoff
The series has the best, most badass covers! I love everything about this!

2. Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
This super adorbs cover captures the equally awesome story so well! You can't look at this cover and not want to read it. 

3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
This minimalist cover is pure PERFECTION! Subtle, yet totally captivating and sweet.

4. House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzin
This is book art at its very best! What kid could look at this cover and not want to read the book?!

I am so in love with this gorgeous cover! I WANTS that dress *_*

6. The Creature Department by Robert Paul Weston
Hello, absolute and utter adorableness! Those letter!!!

7. Splintered by A.G. Howard
This whimsical cover just pops beautifully!

8. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
This is another perfect middle-grade cover that will pull kids in!

9. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
This cover is cute and sweet, but the fact that a YA cover, featuring two boys kissing, is sitting on bookshelves, for the world to see, is just too freaking awesome!

10. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner 
So. Friggin. Stunning...another dress I WANTS BADLY!

Those are my Top Ten FAVORITE Book Covers of 2013! What are yours?!
Come back tomorrow when I reveal my Top Ten Favorite Middle-Grade books of 2013.