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Saturday, August 22, 2020

Word Spelunking's 9th Blogiversary Giveaway


IT'S WORD SPELUNKING'S 9TH BLOGIVERSARY!!!

Y'all, I'm gonna be honest- I didn't even realize it was my blogiversary until about an hour ago...it's been that kind of week month year. I know we all can agree that this year has been hard and frustrating and miserable and at times downright pull-your-hair-out-just-wanna-scream inducing...in conclusion, 2020 has sucked big time.

BUT...throughout out all the scary difficult exasperating times this year, I've always been so so grateful for this blog and all of you wonderful awesome amazing readers! Your comments, tweets, views, and more, never fail to make me smile.

So, to all you lovely cupcakes I say THANK YOU!

And to celebrate 9 years of bookish goodness, 9 years of getting to interact with all of you, and the simple fact that we've made it this far in this hellish year that has seriously felt like it's been 9 years long, I give to you a GIVEAWAY...


THE GIVEAWAY


Enter to win either a $20 gift card to the retailer of your choice OR $20 worth of books from 
The Book Depository!

The rules:
-this giveaway will end on 10/14/20 at 11:59 pm ET
-the winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-this is open to everyone
-US peeps can choose either option and INT peeps can choose the books from The Book Depository (please check to make sure they ship to your country)
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for any damaged, lost, or stolen prizes in the mail

That's it! Just enter via the Rafflecopter form:

(my apologies if the form isn't loading. i've contacted rafflecopter to get it fixed. hopefully the form will be up and running soon!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

New and Upcoming Children's Books To Check Out


I don't know about y'all, but around here we're back to school (virtually that is) and nothing says back to school like new books! And today I have a HUGE list of some awesome new and upcoming books for y'all today...



From National Geographic 



Ick!: Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses 
By Melissa Stewart 
June 23, 2020 
National Geographic Kids 
Animals--they're cute and fluffy, cuddly and puffy, and ... sometimes downright disgusting. Get ready to be totally grossed out as you discover the incredibly icky ways animals eat, make their homes, and defend themselves.  From award-winning author Melissa Stewart comes the grossest journey through the animal world you'll ever take. From ants to zebras, get ready to discover some seriously strange animal behaviors. Slurp up soupy insides with houseflies, spit sticky saliva to build nests with birds, and fend off predators with poop-flinging caterpillars and farting snakes. And that's just the tip of the dung pile! These yucky habits may seem surprising to us, but they're totally normal for these animals. In fact, their survival depends on them.  Snappy text, incredible photography, and more cool features add to the learning fun. Ready to chew some fingernails with cockroaches? Dive into the disgusting world of animals!   



Fetch! A How to Speak Dog Training Guide    
By Gary Weitzman 
August 4, 2020 
National Geo 
From the experts who brought you How to Speak Dog, learn tips and tricks to help train your best friend.  Whether teaching a puppy the basics--such as "sit," "stand," and "stay"-- correcting behavioral problems, or training your pooch to perform more advanced tricks, this comprehensive guide will take you through all the steps to have your canine answering your call in no time. With the help of veterinarian Dr. Gary Weitzman, kids will bond with their pups through structured lessons that showcase easy-to-follow instructions and commands. Additional content introduces readers to Hollywood hounds, dogs on the job, and famous canines through history. This "paws-on" guide is perfect for families who are bringing home their very first puppy, or seasoned dog owners who want to teach their longtime four-legged family member a few new tricks.   



Pounce! A How To Speak Cat Training Guide    
By Gary Weitzman 
August 4, 2020 
Nat Geo 
From the experts who brought you How to Speak Cat, learn all about how to train your favorite feline friend in this fun, interactive guide.  Whether you want to train your kitty to walk on a leash or are trying to teach your cat to scratch a scratching post instead of the couch, this comprehensive guide will take you through all the steps you need to know to get started. With the help of veterinarian Dr. Gary Weitzman, kids will learn basic training, corrective training, and tricks they can do with their cats. Fun special features introduce readers to famous trained cats, felines in ancient Egypt, and so much more. This easy-to-use guide is perfect for families who are bringing home a kitten for the first time or just want to teach their longtime feline family member some new tricks.   

From Candlewick Press 



Alphamaniacs: Builders of 26 Wonders of the Word 
By Paul Fleischman 
April 14, 2020 
Candlewick 
Are you a word person? A curiosity seeker? An explorer? Take a look at these twenty-six extraordinary individuals for whom love of language is an extreme sport.  Step right up and read the genuine stories of writers so intoxicated by the shapes and sound of language that they collected, dissected, and constructed verbal wonders of the most extraordinary kind. Jean-Dominique Bauby wrote his memoirs by blinking his left eyelid, unable to move the rest of his body. Frederic Cassidy was obsessed with the language of place, and after posing hundreds of questions to folks all over the United States, amassed (among other things) 176 words for dust bunnies. Georges Perec wrote a novel without using the letter (so well that at least one reviewer didn't notice its absence), then followed with a novella in which e was the only vowel. A love letter to all those who love words, language, writing, writers, and stories, Alphamaniacs is a stunningly illustrated collection of mini-biographies about the most daring and peculiar of writers and their audacious, courageous, temerarious way with words.   



Incredible Jobs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of 
By Natalie Labarre 
April 14, 2020 
Nosy Crow 
Do you know what you want to do when you grow up? Why not work as a babysitter . . . for sloths? Or become a farmer . . . of corpses? You might even grow up to be someone who gets paid to actually sleep on the job! From taste testers to dinosaur dusters, there are all kinds of incredible jobs that you've probably never heard of -- and one of them might be just right for you! 


The Same But Different Too 
By Karl Newson 
April 21, 2020 
Nosy Crow 
I am me, you are you. We're the same, but different too. There's something about each of us that makes us special. But while everyone is unique, we all have many things in common as well. Explore the ways that we are all the same but different, too, in this joyful and simple celebration of individuality and camaraderie. Filled with children and their animal friends, this rhyming text illuminates the wonderfully different and similar things that make us who we are. 



This or That? What Will You Choose at the British Museum? 
By Pippa Goodhart 
April 21, 2020 
Nosy Crow 
What will you choose: a horn or a harp? Perhaps you're more interested in different forms of transportation: would you prefer a boat or a hot-air balloon? The possibilities are endless and the choice is yours. Featuring hundreds of artifacts from the British Museum, this is a book readers will pore over time and time again. 



What I Like Most 
By Mary Murphy 
April 17, 2020 
Candlewick 
In a lyrical story by Mary Murphy, gorgeously illustrated by award-winning artist Zhu Cheng-Liang, a child offers an ode to her favorite things -- and people.  What I like most in the world is my window. This morning, through my window, I see the postman at the red gate. . . .  A little girl observes, one by one, the things that give her pleasure -- the apricot jam on her toast, the light-up shoes that make her feet bounce, the sparkling river, the pencil whose color comes out like a ribbon. But even after the jar becomes empty, and the shoes grow too small, and the pencil is all used up, one thing will never change. In a tenderly imagined story, Mary Murphy celebrates the intimacy of the bond between mother and child, while Zhu Cheng-Liang's wonderfully inviting artwork brings the day-to-day details to life. 



Zero Local: Next Stop: Kindness 
By Ethan Murrow 
April 14, 2020 
Candlewick 
Board the train for a story of art, diversity, and community in a near-wordless tale told through masterful, sumptuously detailed black-and-white illustrations.  Train riders are used to stressful delays on the Zero Local line. But when a new passenger shows gratitude to the driver on their daily commute, tensions begin to ease. Eventually the artistic traveler stops riding the Zero Local line, and discord begins to creep back into the train car. Will the regular passengers find a way to restore the sense of camaraderie they once felt? Inspired by a true story, Ethan and Vita Murrow share with us a tender ode to the power of art and its ability to foster friendship and community in the most unlikely of places.   



Catch That Chicken! 
By Atinuke 
July 7, 2020 
Candlewick 
Lami is the best chicken catcher in the whole village. Her sister may be speedy at spelling, her friend fast at braiding hair, and her brother brave with bulls, but when it comes to chickens, nobody is faster or braver than Lami. That is, until the day when Lami chases a little too fast, up the baobab tree, and reaches a little too far…ow! How can she catch chickens with an ankle that’s puffed up like an angry lizard? Could it be, as Nana Nadia says, that quick thinking is more important than quick running? Award-winning author Atinuke celebrates Nigerian village life in a story vibrantly illustrated by Angela Brooksbank with a universal message at its heart. 



Gustavo, the Shy Ghost 
By Flavia Z. Drago 
July 14, 2020 
Candlewick 
This winning debut picture book from Mexican artist Flavia Z. Drago about finding the courage to make friends is perfect for the spooky season — or anytime.  Gustavo is good at doing all sorts of ghostly things: walking through walls, making objects fly, and glowing in the dark. And he loves almost nothing more than playing beautiful music on his violin. But Gustavo is shy, and some things are harder for him to do, like getting in a line to buy eye scream or making friends with other monsters. Whenever he tries getting close to them, he realizes they just can’t see him. Now that the Day of the Dead is fast approaching, what can he do to make them notice him and to share with them something he loves? With fancifully detailed artwork and visual humor, debut picture-book creator Flavia Z. Drago’s vivid illustrations tell a sweet and gently offbeat story of loneliness, bravery, and friendship that is sure to be a treat for little ghouls and goblins everywhere. 



If You Take Away the Otter 
By Susannah Buhrman-Deever 
May 26, 2020 
Candlewick 
When the sea otters disappear, why does their kelp forest habitat disappear, too?  On the Pacific Coast of North America, sea otters play, dive, and hunt for sea urchins, crabs, abalone, and fish in the lush kelp forests beneath the waves. But there was a time when people hunted the otters almost to extinction. Without sea otters to eat them, an army of hungry sea urchins grew and destroyed entire kelp forests. Fish and other animals that depended on the kelp were lost, too. But when people protected the sea otters with new laws, their numbers began to recover, and so did the kelp forests. Susannah Buhrman-Deever offers a beautifully written account of a trophic cascade, which happens when the removal of a single element affects an entire habitat. Asides that dig deeper are woven throughout Matthew Trueman’s dynamic illustrations, starring a raft of charismatic sea otters. Back matter includes more information about sea otters and kelp forests, including their importance and current status, the effects of the international fur trade on indigenous peoples, and a list of books and websites for readers who wish to continue to explore.   



Little Green Donkey 
By Anushka Allepuz 
April 14, 2020 
Walker Books 
From the creator of That Fruit is Mine! comes a laugh-out-loud cautionary tale, sure to resonate with all picky eaters and their parents! Little Donkey LOVES eating grass - it's just so sweet, and crunchy, and juicy! His pillow is even made from grass so that he can roll over in the morning and eat his own bed. "Why don't you try some other food?" suggests his desperate mum, putting on a juggling display of colourful fruit as a way to entice her little one to eat something new. But Little Donkey sees no need. Until, that is, he catches a glimpse of his reflection... Anuska's debut authorial picture book, That Fruit is Mine!, has been published into over ten languages worldwide. A book about trying new things and the hilarious show down between a child and their parent when it comes to the dinner table. This adorable character will help encourage kids to branch out and try more food (even if, in the end, their obsessive impulses can't quite be quelled!). 


Nana Says I Will Be Famous One Day 
By Ann Stott 
August 4, 2020 
Candlewick 
School event? Ball game? Nana is there. But who will cheer on Nana after she takes a tumble? A sweet and spirited intergenerational story.  Nana cheers the loudest at her grandson’s basketball game. She dances in the aisles at the spring concert. She yells at the umpire that he needs to get his eyes checked when he doesn’t call the strikes her grandson pitches. But when this go-go-go grandmother takes a tumble trying to get a front-row seat at the basketball game, it’s her grandson who roots her on in her recovery. Author Ann Stott celebrates our families’ biggest fans in a lively first-person narrative from the grandchild’s point of view. Andrew Joyner’s illustrations are as energetic and upbeat as Nana, who sparks much comic action, purse by her side. Filled with humor and heart, this tale will have readers — especially grandparents and their grandchildren — whistling and woo-hoo-ing!   



Up Cat Down Cat 
By Steve Light 
May 5, 2020 
Candlewick 
From the creator of the celebrated Black Bird Yellow Sun comes another bold and beautiful concept book, this time playing with opposites and reversals.  Black cat. White cat. One is long, stretching out, and the other is short, crouching. When both perch in a window, one tail is straight, the other one curly. One has an empty plate, and the other a full one. With a mouse to entertain them, variously lost and found, they move through the day, until one cat is awake and the other asleep, but for how long? With enchanting ink illustrations full of pure color, simple shapes, and an elegant use of negative and positive space, this concept board book for the youngest of readers is a joy to behold — and as graceful as a leaping cat.   



Jefferson Measures a Moose 
By Mara Rockliff 
August 4, 2020 
Candlewick 
The author of Mesmerized shares another comical true tale of a Founding Father using science to defeat ignorance and stop the spread of false information.  Thomas Jefferson was wild about numbers. He was constantly counting, measuring, and observing things that caught his interest. He loved sharing his discoveries and reading the discoveries of others. But when a famous Frenchman published a book about America, Jefferson was appalled: all the information in the book was wrong. The author insisted that America was a wretched, dismal place, where birds could not sing, dogs could not bark, and everything and everyone was puny and weak. Thomas Jefferson resolved to set the record straight — with numbers — and prove to the world that the new nation was worthy of investment. But how do you show that a country is plentiful in an age when photography hasn’t been invented yet? Mara Rockliff, master of children’s nonfiction, details another little-known moment in math and natural history, illustrated with humor by prolific artist S. D. Schindler and accompanied by extensive back matter and an informative author’s note. 



No Ordinary Jacket 
By Sue-Ellen Pashley 
August 20, 2020 
Candlewick 
What happens when you outgrow a cherished piece of clothing? An affectionate tale about letting go and watching the things you love take on a new life.  The jacket was no ordinary jacket. It was soft, like dandelion fluff. It was comforting, like a hug from your favorite teddy bear. And it had four dazzling buttons down the front.  Amelia wears her favorite jacket everywhere. She wears it to preschool. And to Aunty Kath’s house. And to the store. Even to bed! But one day, she can’t fit into it anymore. Perhaps she should give it to her little sister, Lilly? Then she can wear it everywhere . . . until it doesn’t fit her either, and the jacket can live on in other surprising ways. A reassuring text combines with enchanting collage illustrations to tell a story that is as warm and cozy as a well-loved coat. 



NOT an Alphabet Book: The Case of the Missing Cake 
By Eoin McLaughlin 
August 11, 2020 
Candlewick 
Follow Bear from A to Z as he hunts for a cake thief in a hilarious alphabet book crossed with a whodunit.  There has been a terrible crime, Bear tells us. Someone has STOLEN a delicious chocolate cake! Bear sets off to find the culprit, questioning characters and compiling clues from A to Z. Among the suspects: a gingerbread man (G) with a bite out of his head, a kite (K) that may be above the law, and an octopus (O) with grabby tentacles. But — hold on — are those crumbs on Bear’s page? Is that frosting on his face? Looks like our narrator is a little unreliable! And it appears our culprit might be the one that Bear wants readers to suspect the least of all. . . . Author Eoin McLaughlin’s sly, cheeky humor takes the alphabet book to inventive new heights, while best-selling illustrator Marc Boutavant’s smart and striking graphic-style art matches the irreverent tone. Young ABC learners and older fans of funny stories will laugh out loud at Bear’s uproarious “investigation” and his anything-but-usual suspects. 



Some Dinosaurs are Small 
By Charlotte Voake 
August 4, 2020 
Candlewick 
The concept of size is relative — and takes on prehistoric proportions — in a funny and reassuring tale from a maven of children’s books.  Some dinosaurs are small and slow. They take their time in the prehistoric jungle, collecting fruits and leaves and using their tiny teeth to munch them. Some dinosaurs are big and fast. With huge teeth and claws, they steal food from small dinosaurs, and they’re always hungry for more. So when three big dinosaurs come across one small one, what — or who — can save the little plant-eater? Beautifully drawn and brightly colored, Charlotte Voake’s imaginative introduction to the concept of size brims with visual humor and culminates in a sweet surprise ending. 



I'm Afraid Your Teddy Is in the Principal's Office 
By Jancee Dunn 
June 16, 2020 
Candlewick 
What do your favorite toys get up to when you’re at school? Teddy and friends bring their creative mayhem to the classroom in a gleefully vicarious comic romp.  What would happen if your teddy bear stowed away in your backpack and followed you to school? And what if your teddy convinced all your friends’ stuffed animals to come along for the party? Would you believe they might sneak into the cafeteria to play Pizza Disc, head to the band room to put bubbles in the wind instruments, make a clever glue trap for the art teacher, and roll around in finger paint as well? Luckily, the principal remembers what it was like to be young and may let the rambunctious teddy bear and crew off just this once. Author Jancee Dunn and illustrator Scott Nash bring Teddy and friends back for more mischief in a high-spirited tale of uninhibited fun.   



Pearl Goes to Preschool 
By Julie Fortenberry 
July 21, 2020 
Candlewick 
Pearl loves attending dance classes at her mother's ballet school. Even though Pearl is the youngest and smallest ballerina, she knows how to count her poses and follow along. When her mom suggests that Pearl try going to preschool, Pearl has a lot of questions: What will she learn? Will there be dancing? A sweet and reassuring story about trying something new that's perfect for young children with separation anxiety -- or who just love to dance!   



Play Day School Day 
By Toni Yuly 
June 9, 2020 
Candlewick 
A younger sibling’s curiosity about school opens up a world of possibilities in this ode to the great outdoors.  Tomorrow is the first day of the new school year, and big sister Mona can’t wait to go back. “What do you do at school?” asks little brother Milo. As he listens to Mona recount the many things she does during the school week — riding the bus, practicing spelling and reading, learning about science, playing with friends — Milo’s activities illustrate that with a little imagination, nature itself can be a classroom. With delightfully naive artwork and a spare text, Toni Yuly shows that learning is play and vice versa, offering a gentle introduction to school for children who are just starting and a warm celebration for those who are going back. 



Ollie and Augustus 
By Gabriel Evans 
May 26, 2020 
Candlewick 
In a sweet story full of visual humor, first-day-of-school worries take on a new weight when Ollie’s best (and furriest) friend must stay at home.  Ollie was small — like a pickling jar or a shoe box. Augustus was big — like a fridge or a table.  Ollie and his dog, Augustus, do almost everything together: painting, riding bikes, digging (Ollie’s favorite), and collecting sticks (Augustus’s favorite). So as Ollie is getting ready to start school, he’s a little worried. Won’t Augustus be lonely during the day? Ollie has just the idea: a sign that reads Wanted: Friend for Augustus. But good friends, as it turns out, are hard to find. Luckily, Ollie and Augustus aren’t just any kind of friends — they’re best friends, and nothing will ever change that. Endearingly illustrated with scratch-scratchy appeal, this is a tale for animal lovers and new school-goers alike.   

From Pavilion Children’s Books 



That Dog! 
By Emma Lazell 
April 7, 2020 
Pavilion Books 
This brilliant second picture book from Emma Lazell--a rising star of the picture-book world--is a hilarious dognapping caper.  There's a team of dognappers on the loose! They've stolen lots of pooches, but this time they're up against a very clever dog.  The cunning Penelope Dognapper is very keen to get her hands on the latest rare breed, the lesser-spotted woofer. Her big mistake is sending Patrick, her accomplice, to do the job. He has great difficulty identifying the right dog--that dog--and in a house that also contains a snake, a tortoise, and a characterful cat, you can imagine the chaos that ensues as he tries to steal the dog.  And that dog is a very smart woofer. He's a bit of a detective in his spare time, and he might just have worked out who's behind the dastardly crimes. Will he avoid getting caught himself and rescue his fellow creatures? 



The Blue Giant  
by Katie Cottle 
May 26, 2020 
Pavilion Books 
A poignant and timely picture book introducing children to the issue of ocean pollution, with ideas to help the world become a better, cleaner place.  Coral and her mom are enjoying a break at the seaside. Until a creature emerges from the waves! It's a giant. A blue giant. It is made of water, fish, and sea plants and has a stirring plea to help clean up the ocean.  Coral and her mom agree to help, donning their scuba-diving outfits and setting off to sea. But they can't do it alone...can they?  This stunning follow-up to Katie Cottle's debut picture book The Green Giant is another entertaining and beautiful eco-tale from the 2017 winner of the Batsford Prize. It introduces children to the issues of pollution, waste management, and the oceans, with suggestions of lifestyle changes to help clean up our seas.   

From Penguin Random House 


National Regular Average Day 
By Lisa Katzenberger 
June 23, 2020 
Penguin RH 
Even the regular, average, ordinary days can be celebrated with this charming picture book!  Peter does not like being bored, so he comes up with a way to have some festive fun--he'll celebrate a different holiday each day! He even rates them on a scale of 1 to 10. But when he wakes up one morning to discover there isn't any holiday, he realizes he'll have to take matters into his own hands and make up his own! That's easier said than done, though, and nothing seems to go right--until Peter realizes that even a regular, average, ordinary day can be something worth celebrating. 



Tiger Wild 
By Gwen Millward 
June 30, 2020 
Viking 
Sometimes feelings can go wild. . .  Lily is a little girl with big emotions. And sometimes she can't keep herself from acting out and being naughty. Or rather, her imaginary friend, Tiger, is the naughty one. So when Tiger convinces her to run away, they have a blast stomping and jumping and going wild. But what is Lily to do when their adventure starts to feel a bit too wild?  Tiger Wild gently illustrates how sometimes we all need a little help when certain feelings are hard to express. For there is a time to be wild and a time to be mild. 



I Don’t Want To Wash My Hands 
By Tony Ross 
June 16, 2020 
Penguin 
From beloved children's author and illustrator Tony Ross, comes a fun to read and humorous take on the importance of handwashing.  The Little Princess does not want to wash her hands. After all, she's already washed her hands so many times!  She's washed her hands before eating and after going outside. She's washed her hands after sneezing and using the potty. Why should she wash her hands anymore?  Well, because of germs and nasties, she's told, which are too small to even see! But if they get inside your body, they can make you ill. Not even a Princess wants to be in bed all day!  Now the Little Princess knows just what to do! She's got just one more question... "Have you washed your hands?"   

From Kalaniot Books 


The Littlest Candle: A Hanukkah Story 
By Rabbi Kerry Olitzky 
September 1, 2020 
Kalaniot Books 
Little Flicker is always cheering his friends on with words of encouragement and support. But as the smallest candle in the box, why should he be chosen to be the shamash in the Hanukkah menorah? Isn't the job of lighting all the others candles too big for him? As it turns out, it's the size of your heart that matters, and in that department, Little Flicker is huge! This book's bright and quirky illustrations make it easy to imagine the possibility of a world where candles walk, talk, dance, and sing. Kids will love exploring the details of Little Flicker's life inside his cozy drawer.   

From Simon & Schuster 


The Little Kitten 
By Nicola Killen 
July 21, 2020 
S&S 
From beloved author-illustrator Nicola Killen comes a charming autumnal story about a little girl who must return a lost kitten to its home, lovingly told and illustrated in limited color with lovely foil and interactive die cut pages.  Ollie and her cat Pumpkin are out frolicking on a beautiful fall day when they come upon a tiny kitten shivering in a pile of fallen leaves. Ollie warms the kitten up and the three become fast friends, but when Ollie sees “Lost Kitten” posters hanging on the trees in the forest, she knows she has to help her new friend get home. As Halloween draws nearer, magic is afoot, and Ollie’s good deed is rewarded in an unexpected way.   

From Six Foot Press and Baylor University’s Global Hunger and Migration Project 


A Journey Toward Hope 
By Victor Hinojosa 
July 6, 2020 
Six Foot Press 
Every year, roughly 50,000 unaccompanied minors arrive at the US/Mexico border to present themselves for asylum or related visas. The majority of these children are non-Mexicans fleeing the systemic violence of Central America’s “Northern Triangle”: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.  A Journey Toward Hope tells the story of Rodrigo, a 14-year-old escaping Honduran violence; Alessandra, a 10-year-old Guatemalan whose first language is Q'eqchi'; and the Salvadoran siblings Laura and Nando. Though their reasons for making the journey are different and the journey northward is perilous, the four children band together, finding strength in one another as they share the dreams of their past and the hopes for their future. Written in collaboration with Baylor University’s’ Social Innovation Collaborative, A Journey Toward Hope is a celebration of their humanity and an ode to the power of hope and connection even in the face of uncertainty and fear. 


Una Jornada Hacia la Esperanza: A Journey Toward Hope Spanish Edition 



**Disclaimer: I received copies of the titles above for review/feature purposes. All reviews, thoughts, and opinions are my own.