10 Children’s Books to Add to Your Library

10 Children’s Books to Add to Your Library

One of my favorite parts about being a parent is having the perfect excuse to visit the children’s section of a bookstore. While stepping down the romance and YA section makes me light up with joy, stepping into the children’s section tugs at that part of me that still believes in magic and adventure. And the best part? I get to watch my son and daughter’s faces light up whenever a novel captures their interest. I get to see the way their expressions grow dreamy as they fall helplessly- and joyfully- into a story that engages their mind and sparks their imagination. I get to tag along on their journeys as they encounter dragons, monsters, unicorns, feats of daring, epic adventures, and humorous jaunts through food-inspired worlds.   Below, in no particular order, I have listed 10 children’s books that are favorites in my household:

1. Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast

written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Brendan Kearney. (Age range: 5 and up) (Grade level: K-2)   This epic journey takes you through a humorous and exciting jaunt through food-inspired landscapes as Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast race to make it to the final drop of maple syrup. This fun read is a repeat bedtime story! Amazon / Goodreads

2. The Day the Crayons Quit

written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Age range: 3 to 7) (Grade: Preschool-2).   This story consists of a series of letters written to a boy named Duncan by crayons who are tired of being used for the same types of pictures. Blue crayon doesn’t just want to color the ocean and purple doesn’t just want to cover grapes, and peach crayon…well, he just doesn’t want to be naked anymore! Naturally, this inspires Duncan to create a picture that is entirely unique! Amazon / Goodreads

3. Orgo Runners Glider Attack

written by R.J. Furness and illustrated by Amy Leslie. (Age range: 5 to 9)   This story is a recent favorite in our household. It is a fun epic adventure about a small group of orgo runners who need to deliver food to another town and are waylaid by flying creatures. Glider Attack is an exciting read for any child who enjoys action and adventure! Amazon / Goodreads

4. The Pout-Pout Fish

written by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna (Grade level: preschool and up).   This pouty fish has always managed to put a smile on my kids’ faces! It’s definitely a fun read for me as well- I love catchy phrases! Amazon / Goodreads

5. Seriously, Just Go to Sleep

by Adam Mansbach. Illustrated by Ricardo Cortes (Grade level: 1-5. Age Range: 1 to 10).   This children’s book is a good read for children and adults alike. While the kids get lulled into a dream-like state with some of the descriptive and lyrical prose on wildlife, parents get to chuckle in understanding over the parent’s frustration in the story. Amazon / Goodreads

6. How to Catch a Monster

written by Adam Wallace and illustrated by Andy Elkerton (Age range: 4 to 8) (Grade level: 1-3).   We’re a family of monster lovers! Perhaps my kids got it from me, but they love a fun spooky tale. This particular book adds a whole lotta fun to catching monsters! Don’t be surprised if you wake up the next day to homemade, creative “monster” traps in your kid(s) room after reading this book together. Amazon / Goodreads

7. If You Give a Moose a Muffin

written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond (Age range: 4 to 8) (Grade level: preschool-2).   What happens when you give a moose a muffin? Well, a whole series of comic events that are sure to make you and your little ones’ giggle. This is a particular favorite in my house as our state (Maine) has plenty of moose! Amazon / Goodreads

8. The Book with No Pictures

by B.J. Novak (Age range: 5 to 8 years) (Grade: K-3)   My son actually read this one at school one day and immediately asked me to get it for him. Naturally I acquiesced to his request because- well, I can’t say no to a book demand. Once I purchased it, he asked me to read it to him. I was skeptical at first- a children’s book with NO pictures? I shrugged and decided to give it a chance…and LOVED it! Half way through I couldn’t stop laughing. Neither could my son. Trust me- you need to add this to your library. Amazon / Goodreads

9. Skippyjon Jones, Lost in Spice

written and illustrated by Judy Schachner (Age: 3 to 5 years)   A fun, spunky cat, lyrical and catchy phrases, and space! This is a great story to pick up if you’re looking for a fun, fast, and humorous read. Make sure to add silly voices into the dialogue to make it even more fun. Amazon / Goodreads
  10. Uni the Unicorn written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Brigette Barrager (Age range: 4 to 8 years) (Grade level: preschool-3).   My daughter, if left in charge of choosing the novel for the night, will almost always choose this one. This sweet, endearing story is about a young girl wishing for a unicorn, and a unicorn wishing for a young girl to be best friends with. If you’re looking for a magical tale on friendship and wishes that come true, then this is the perfect story for you! Amazon / Goodreads

Cover Reveal: In The Assassin’s Arms by Katherine Hastings

In the Assassin’s Arms
by Katherine Hastings
Series: Dagger of Desire
Historical Romance
Fiery Seas Everlasting
July 10, 2018


John Douglas may be a well-trained political assassin, but he has met his match in the woman he once called a friend. When his childhood playmate reenters his life, she’s not looking to rekindle their friendship… she’s out for blood.

With a vendetta to settle, Charlotte Cornewalle isn’t stopping until she finds the man who killed her father. All signs point to Robert Douglas, the leader of the opposing faction of assassins… and John’s father. To get her revenge, no one will stand in her way… not even the boy she once adored.

Fate forces them together as they fight to prove their innocence and right the wrongs they have suffered. Sparks fly from more than just their swords, but will they be able to put the past behind them? Will they be able to find the truth before it destroys them both?

About the Author:


Website – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram

Katherine Hastings loves love. It’s why she writes romance novels. Getting lost writing a romantic adventure is one of her favorite pastimes. When she’s not on an adventure in her mind with her characters, she can be found at her home in Wisconsin snuggling her husband, two Boston Terriers, and the world’s naughtiest cat. Two things make Katherine want to leave her happy home these days… going for rides on her dressage pony or floating at the beach in her big inflatable raft. Writing her novels while floating in the lake is one of her ultimate pleasures… that and Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds, of course.

A Review of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

A Review of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

A Review of Red Queen by Victoria AveyardRed Queen four-stars
by Victoria Aveyard
Published by Harper Collins on February 10th 2015
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble

The #1 New York Times bestselling series!

Red Queen, by #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Aveyard, is a sweeping tale of power, intrigue, and betrayal, perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series.

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction.

One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

And don’t miss War Storm, the thrilling final book in the bestselling Red Queen series!

Red Queen Review

Red Queen is the first novel in the Red Queen series by New York Times bestselling author Victoria Aveyard. The story follows seventeen-year-old Mare Barrows, a red blood and thief who is on the brink of being forced to join a war she doesn’t believe in. Mare lives with her impoverished family in a desolate, poor town known as The Stilts (appropriately named due to homes being suspended above the ground on stilts- thus only being accessed by ladders). The Stilts is located on the edge of a river, where Mare and her family can watch the many silver bloods float by on their grandiose boats. In this futuristic world, people are divided by the color of their blood- red and silver. Red bloods, like Mare, are normal humans that are forced into servitude and are considered inferior to silver bloods. Silver bloods have rare abilities such as controlling fire (like the royal family), manipulating water and minds, superior strength and speed, etc. Due to the color of their blood and their abilities, silvers consider themselves superior to reds and treat them poorly.

Mare attempts to pick the pocket of someone who thrusts her into the nefarious and elite world of the silvers- an action that places Mare into a position of discovering the true nature of her being- a red blood with a rare ability. Something that is unheard of. While this is shocking to Mare, it places the royal silvers into a precarious position- forcing them to take drastic measures. Mare is sworn to secrecy about the color of her blood, is introduced to the silvers as a silver orphan raised among reds, and is promised to one of the silver princes- Maven. This new position forces Mare to learn more about herself, her abilities, and the silver world. She tries to navigate this new existence while caught in the middle of developing feelings for her intended-Maven, and his elder brother, heir to the throne- Cal. With the threat of a rebel faction of reds hanging over the silver reign, Mare finds herself ambivalent about her feelings for both blood types.

The world described in this novel is unique and breathtaking. From The Stilts to the silver Summer residence, and the royal palace, Red Queen paints a marvelous, imaginative picturesque world. The plot was filled with intrigue, danger, stolen moments of passion, and suspense. I did find Mare to be slightly naïve and was frustrated with her on occasion. Some of her choices in the novel left little to be desired, and I constantly found myself agitated about her inability to listen to her instincts, and her occasional lack of common sense. Her misplaced trust (when it’s so obvious to the reader she should be balking at the idea of teaming up with certain individuals) was almost cringe-worthy. Not so surprisingly- she ends up betrayed!

The mother of Maven (and stepmother to Cal) reminds me a lot of Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. She has a deep abiding love for her son, but secretly harbors resentment and hatred towards her husband and everything not bred from her womb. She is nefarious, calculated, and controlling- a total Cersei. I also wished there had been a little more passion and chemistry between Cal and Mare. I am all for compelling male protagonists- but Cal left a little to be desired. I hope that the author builds a bit more into his character in the next novel.Cersei Lannister

Overall, Red Queen was an exciting and shocking read that takes place in an imaginative and compelling world! I can’t wait to see the fall-out of the shocking ending of Red Queen in the next novel!

Four stars for Red Queen!

A Book Review: Lifeblood by Gena Showalter

A Book Review: Lifeblood by Gena Showalter

A Book Review: Lifeblood by Gena ShowalterLifeblood five-stars
by Gena Showalter
ISBN: 9781488015298
Published by Harlequin on March 1st 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 304
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble

"My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning."

With her last living breath, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.

Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future—and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?

But Ten's competition is Killian, the boy she can't forget—the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she's never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.

Lifeblood is the second book in the Everlife series by New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter. Tenly “Ten” Lockwood, a seventeen-year-old who has just pledged her allegiance to one of the realms must now learn how to navigate this new world. As Ten struggles with the separation from her love interest, Killian- an infamous Myriadian- and the loss of a dear friend and the betrayal of another, she tries to find ways to end the war between the two realms in the after-life, all while growing stronger with her powers. Unfortunately, Ten is given a short window of time to adjust to her new existence and is sent back to the land of the harvest to investigate contaminated humans that are being pressured to join the opposing realm. This insidious infliction upon those in their firstlife has the potential to cause serious harm in Troika- which some of the characters suspect may be the reasoning behind its existence.

Killian and Ten’s chemistry in Lifeblood is intense! Their scenes are fraught with burning chemistry, frustration, and desperation. While their attraction and depth of feelings for one another are prominent and mind-blowing, the politics between the realms makes it exceedingly difficult for both characters to progress in their relationship (which is SO frustrating!). Ten’s relationship with other characters also provided a lot of different opportunities. I enjoyed some of her heated skirmishes with new characters in her realm and loved watching her connection with General Nanne deepen- he was the father-like figure that Ten desperately needed.

Normally in a trilogy, I find the middle novel to be my least favorite (not exactly sure why this happens, but it does). However, Lifeblood was NOT a disappointment! I mentally devoured Lifeblood in a matter of days. My dreams alternated between the dreamy scenes between Ten and Killian, the anxiety-inducing action and intense scenes, and the heart-wrenching, soul-crushing scenes of despair. Yes. Lifeblood brought me to tears a few times…Ten’s devastation practically seeped from the pages and tormented my soul. It was that awful. But don’t let that deter you! If an author can incur those types of feelings within me, then you know the writing is good. Oh! And let’s not forget that delicious plot twist and betrayal! Ah! I literally chucked the book across the room in shock- and then promptly rushed over to finish the scene.

Lifeblood was a delicious surprise that made me ride the whole spectrum of feelings! Ten may be impulsive and sometimes reckless, but there is no doubting the depth of her loyalty and love. So, I’m definitely invested in her little (okay, major) adventure. I can’t wait to check out the latest in the series- Everlife!

Five Stars!!

Review of Manwhore by Katy Evans

Review of Manwhore by Katy Evans

Review of Manwhore by Katy EvansManwhore three-stars
by Katy Evans
Published by Simon and Schuster on March 24th 2015
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble

Book #1 in the sexy new Manwhore series from the New York Times bestselling author of REAL. Is it possible to expose Chicago’s hottest player—without getting played?

This is the story I’ve been waiting for all my life, and its name is Malcolm Kyle Preston Logan Saint. Don’t be fooled by that last name though. There’s nothing holy about the man except the hell his parties raise. The hottest entrepreneur Chicago has ever known, he’s a man’s man with too much money to spend and too many women vying for his attention.

Mysterious. Privileged. Legendary. His entire life he’s been surrounded by the press as they dig for tidbits to see if his fairytale life is for real or all mirrors and social media lies. Since he hit the scene, his secrets have been his and his alone to keep. And that’s where I come in.

Assigned to investigate Saint and reveal his elusive personality, I’m determined to make him the story that will change my career.

But I never imagined he would change my life. Bit by bit, I start to wonder if I’m the one discovering him...or if he’s uncovering me.

What happens when the man they call Saint, makes you want to sin?

Manwhore is the first book in the Manwhore series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Evans. The story follows Rachel, a journalist working for a struggling magazine called Edge. To save the magazine, Rachel’s boss asks her to get close to one of Chicago’s popular playboy billionaires- Malcolm Saint- and write an expose on him. Rachel agrees to the assignment (despite questioning the morality behind it) as refusing to do so would mean having another competitor taking over the piece, potentially costing Rachel her position. Thus, Rachel begins her undercover adventure under the pretext of wishing an interview with Malcolm for his latest business ventures. This request is granted, and Rachel begins working to gain Malcolm’s interest and his trust.

There were a lot of things I enjoyed about this novel- and some things that frustrated or confused me. To get into my thoughts and feelings on this novel, I’ll need to reveal some scenes and situations that unfolded. So, be warned- there may be a few spoilers!!

Malcolm Saint is really talked up in Rachel’s mind. He’s described as ruthless, a playboy, manwhore, powerful- a man who won’t stop until he controls the world. I was practically hanging on the edge of my seat when I saw that Rachel was to meet with him. Then she gets summoned to meet with him at an inconvenient time- basically, she’s wearing paint-spattered overalls and is unable to rush home to change so must meet with him while in this outfit. This intrigued me. Sexy, powerful billionaire meets hesitant, determined woman in overalls in said billionaire’s chrome and glass place of employment? Yes please! This is a perfect recipe for a fun and titillating scene…

And then the scene happened. Rachel meets Malcolm and he barely says anything about her appearance. In fact, they barely exchange ANY dialogue at all! Malcolm spends most of the scene on the phone. The most exciting part of the scene was when he gave her one of his extra white shirts to wear. Then he leaves. Where was the heat? Where was the witty, intense exchange? I sort of deflated at that point. Then I pressed onward, ever optimistic. Rachel, despite saying very little to him during the initial meeting, somehow scores another meeting with him. Their next two “interactions” are nearly as short as the first (I seriously wanted to reach into the book, grab Malcolm’s cell phone, and chuck the cock-blocking device out his limo’s freaking window! AH!). Fast forward two stilted conversations filled with phone calls and heated gazes, and you get another potentially great scene. Rachel crashes one of Malcolm’s club parties and is prompted by Malcolm’s friends to join them and Malcolm. Rachel and Malcolm once again barely speak to one another besides Malcolm refusing to allow Rachel to join them at an after party. So, Rachel goes home. Uh…

Despite the less than stimulating interactions between the characters, Malcolm and Rachel eventually grow close. Things begin to pick up between them once she starts joining Malcolm on yacht excursions. They begin exploring their physical attraction and emotional one- by divulging personal thoughts and experiences to one another. Surprise! Malcolm has trust issues! And Rachel is pretty much living a lie with him. Naturally, she waits too long to tell him about her undercover status and all hell breaks loose in a shocking way.

Overall, Manwhore was a fun read with interesting characters and a mostly compelling plot. I will definitely be picking up the second book in the series as I must know what happens after that cliffhanger…

Three stars for Manwhore!


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