Blog Hop: Starting on Books


Today’s Book Blogger Hop question is: How young do you think children should be when they start reading?

I don’t think you can start too early with reading to children.  I started reading picture books to my baby when he was probably less than a month old.  He’s almost six months now, and we read a few books almost every day.  He was five months before he started appearing to notice the book much – up until that point I think he just liked hearing my voice, and it was easier for me to read than come up with a monologue.  But I figure if we start the habit of reading to him now, we can just keep going.

I don’t expect him to start being able to actually read himself for years – that’s usually a kindergarten thing, right?  But I think it’s important to start reading to children long before they learn how to read.

Book Review: Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares

This duology was recently recommended to me by a friend and I was intrigued by the premise.  I loved the first book, Strange the Dreamer.  And then the second one, Muse of Nightmares, was good, but much, much darker – which I kind of anticipated going into it. Even though I loved the first one, it was a few weeks before I felt emotionally ready to take on the second one!

The story centers around Lazlo Strange, who dreams of finding the Lost City.  He does find it, but that’s only the beginning of the adventure, involving gods (or are they demons?), mysterious powers, and dark deeds that are still haunting the people who did and witnessed them.  The second book in particular focuses in on horrible events of the past, and the way the trauma lives on for the people who experienced them.  There is a happy ending – I kind of felt all along that there would be, despite the darkness – but it was a rough journey along the way.

There’s a really lovely, lyrical, magical quality to this duology, especially the first book.  Even though we begin to skirt into areas that could be science fiction, especially in book two, it always keeps a very fantasy feel.  There’s some really cool and creative magic in here that I enjoyed.  There’s also a rather lovely romance that I enjoyed as well. Continue reading “Book Review: Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares”

Video Review: The Little Blue Truck series

I’ve been reading a lot of picture books to my baby, even though he’s too small to really appreciate them yet!  That means I get to pick the books we read, and right now one of my great favorites is the Little Blue Truck series.  So I made a video review about it, discussing the plot, characters and worldbuilding of the different installments in the series – and, all importantly, whether each book includes enough times of the Little Blue Truck saying “beep beep beep!”

Watch below, and I hope you enjoy!


Blog Hop: Signed Editions


Today’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Have you ever gotten a book signed by the author?

I’m fortunate to know several great authors personally, and so I have an entire shelf of books signed by them: K. D. Blakely, R. A. Gates, Kelly Haworth, Elizabeth Garner, Dennis Mahoney, A. G. Stewart and Magnus Victor.  I’ve been to two book readings where I got a book signed – a little surprising that it hasn’t been more, actually!  I got signed copies of The Art Lesson by Tomie de Paola, and Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin.  Two very different authors and books!

I have also bought a couple of signed books, without meeting the authors.  I have a copy of Beauty signed by Robin McKinley, and Terrier signed by Tamora Pierce.  I’d love signed copies of books (any books) by L. M. Montgomery (way, way too expensive) or J. M. Barrie (surprisingly less expensive, but pricey) but haven’t made that happen!

Recent Reading Round-up: Parallel Worlds

I have been off of the blogosphere for several months now, very busy with a new baby!  Now that he’s a few months old and I’m getting (somewhat) more sleep, I’m hoping to get more activity going here again.  I’ve actually still been reading a fair amount of books – whenever I had any time for a break, reading was about all I had the energy for!

I’d like to catch up by writing about a few of the highlights of my recent reading.  I noticed a theme in that several of the more noteworthy books I’ve read recently involved parallel worlds.  So today, a round-up of those novels!

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

This one was recommended to me by a friend, and then I kept seeing it pop up other places.  It seemed to be getting a lot of attention…which may have been a disadvantage, because although I liked it, it probably couldn’t ever live up to the hype.  Nora feels she made all the wrong choices in her life, and on a really, really bad day, she decides to kill herself.  In between life and death, she finds herself at the Midnight Library, which turns out to be a very, very cool place.  Each book in the library represents a different life, a different path she could have gone down, and now she has the chance to visit different lives until she finds the one she wants to live.

I love parallel lives stories…although possibly I’ve read a few too many of them for this particular book.  It felt pretty clear to me by the time she got to the library what her big five or six regrets were.  Sure enough, she goes into other lives to “correct” them one by one, only to find out that it isn’t a better life and she can let go of that regret after all.  It was interesting to watch it all play out and I really liked the writing style here…but it did all go about as I expected all the way through.  But I’ve read a lot of books with a similar premise – it might feel fresher to someone else! Continue reading “Recent Reading Round-up: Parallel Worlds”