Archives for March 2016

Chrissy’s Review: Just One Night by Gayle Forman

JUst One NightJust One Night (Just One Day #2.5)
written by Gayle Forman
published by Viking, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
I did enjoy this book. You know that feeling you get when you finish a book or a series and you just want to know what happens to the characters next? Just One Night fulfills that want. I got the answers I wanted. I got to see what happened after that year of searching. And I’m glad I did. Was it my favorite work of Ms. Forman’s? No. The writing style was different from the first two books, and it didn’t flow as well for me. However, it was a quick read that filled the reader in on what happened in that one night/day. It was worth the read.

everyfree3.5

 

Would I recommend it: I would recommend it because you will want to know what happens. =) You can check out my reviews of the first two books here: Just One Day and Just One Year.

chrissysig

About the book – from Goodreads: 
After spending one life-changing day in Paris with laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter, sheltered American good girl Allyson “Lulu” Healey discovered her new lover had disappeared without a trace. Just One Day followed Allyson’s quest to reunite with Willem; Just One Year chronicled the pair’s year apart from Willem’s perspective. Now, back together at last, this delectable e-novella reveals the couple’s final chapter.

 

 

efchappy

h&m online

Boost It Tuesday! – March 29, 2016

boost-it-TuesdayEFC

Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster

 

As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to the Candace’s Book Blog Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

If you would like to host the giveaway on your Facebook page one week, please fill out the form below. Be sure to notice the rules.

Click Here to Sign Up to Host the Giveaway

 

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!


 if these books could talk
 

efchappy

Story Time Saturday: The Goodnight Train

efcstorytime

Product Details

The Goodnight Train

written by June Sobel
published by HMH Books for Young Readers, 2006

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
Listen. My son was obsessed with trains until about a month ago when he discovered Minecraft. OBSESSED. I’m not lying to you when I say I’ve read every. single. train. book. in. print. YES, even the science-y ones with nine zillion words and four pictures. My son is three. I was excited, then, when a friend sent this book for him. Hooray! A new and different train book!

. . . except . . .

This book is filled with weird noises. I mean, I was expecting some “chugga chuggas” and some “choo-choos.” I’m even OK with the occasional “clickety-clack,” but I draw the line at “huff-a-puff-a.” You can’t make me say it.

Since I also refuse to say, “rock-a, rock-a” or “hush-a, hush-a,” I only ended up reading about half the words in the book. Listen. I’m typically a fan onomatopoeia, but my kid is smarter than rock-a and hush-a. And listen, the story is cute, but I prefer to treat my children as though they’re intelligent little things (which is why I’m not going to read this to my 7-month-old either).

DISCLAIMER: I have an unnatural hatred of baby talk; I would definitely not be chosen as a jury member if this book goes to trial (which it should, because huff-a-puff-a).

everyfree2

Would I recommend it: No. Try this one instead:  Trains

melissasig

About the book – from Goodreads: All aboard for Dreamland! Hold on to your pillow because the Goodnight Train is taking off. Roll that corner, rock that curve, and soar past mermaids, leaping sheep, and even ice-cream clouds. You won’t want to miss a thing, so whatever you do, don’t . . . close . . . your . . . eyes!

With soothing, lyrical words and magical illustrations, June Sobel and Laura Huliska-Beith have created a nighttime fantasy that’s guaranteed to make even the most resistant sleeper snuggle up tight.

 

efchappy

Chrissy’s Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One YearJust One Year (Just One Day #2)
written by Gayle Forman
published by Dutton, 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: I really did! I loved it . . . more than Just One Day! (You can check out my review of Just One Day here.) As with the first book, I flew through this one. I didn’t want to put it down. I read it every free chance I had.

Willem’s story is awesome. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to travel and experience life the way he has. His journey over that one year was amazing. It was fascinating to read. And to find out how close everything was . . . how it could have happened . . . wow. I just kept reading. And that ending!!! I’m not going to spill much about this story. All I’ll say is, if you read Just One Day, you must read Just One Year. 

everyfree5

Would I recommend it: Yes, but read Just One Day first. =)

chrissysig

About the book – from Goodreads: 
Just One Day. Just One Year. Just One Read.

Before you find out how their story ends, remember how it began….

When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

 

 

efchappy

Melissa’s Review: Lost & Found by Brooke Davis

Lost & Found

Lost & Found
written by Brooke Davis
published by Dutton, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I LOVED it. Chrissy kept asking me when I was going to finish it and I had to keep telling her–this book is too good to read quickly! I’ll also argue it’s too sad to read quickly, especially if you’re mourning a recent loss or dealing with elderly family members.

The writing is compelling, the characters are quirky and loveable, and the story is, well, just about the best thing I’ve read in the last decade.

Lost & Found is heartbreakingly lovely and just the right amount of funny.

Read it.

 

GOLDEN LINES

“The start date and the end date are always the important bits on the gravestones, written in big letters. The dash in between is always so small you can barely see it. Surely the dash should be big and bright and amazing, or not, depending on how you had lived.”

“All I know for sure is that no one knows what’s goin’ on at the bottom of the sea, or in our brains, or when we die. That’s okay, I reckon. Gives us something to think about when we’re driving busses or whatever.”

“In heaven, you hang out with God and Jimi Hendrix, and you get to eat doughnuts whenever you want. In hell, you have to, uh . . . do the Macarena. Forever. To that ‘Grease Megamix.’

‘Where do you go if you’re good and bad?’

‘What? I don’t know. IKEA?”

everyfree5

 

Would I recommend it: Yes, but be wary if you’ve just lost someone or are about to . . . there’s a whole lot of sad in this book.

melissasig

About the book – from Goodreads: 
Millie Bird is a seven-year-old girl who always wears red wellington boots to match her red, curly hair. But one day, Millie’s mum leaves her alone beneath the Ginormous Women’s underwear rack in a department store, and doesn’t come back.

Agatha Pantha is an eighty-two-year-old woman who hasn’t left her home since her husband died. Instead, she fills the silence by yelling at passers-by, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Until the day Agatha spies a little girl across the street.

Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven years old and once typed love letters with his fingers on to his wife’s skin. He sits in a nursing home, knowing that somehow he must find a way for life to begin again. In a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes.

Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie’s mum. Along the way, they will discover that the young can be wise, that old age is not the same as death, and that breaking the rules once in a while might just be the key to a happy life.

 

efchappy

Boost It Tuesday! – March 22, 2016

boost-it-TuesdayEFC

Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster

 

As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to the Every Free Chance Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

If you would like to host the giveaway on your Facebook page one week, please fill out the form below. Be sure to notice the rules.

Click Here to Sign Up to Host the Giveaway

 

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!


 if these books could talk
 

efchappy

Gina’s Review: It’s What I Do by Lynsey Addario

It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and WarIt’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War 
written by Lynsey Addario
published by Penguin Press, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
I truly loved this book from the moment the hardcover rested in my hands and I gazed upon its cover. The way Lynsey Addario writes about her experiences in war-torn countries takes my breath away. If I had been her I would have run away screaming. She is an amazing woman with amazing strength, and she wants to capture the truths of the people who take part in war. I learned a lot of things, and I cried a lot of tears while reading this book. I also loved that she put some of her photographs on the pages; they helped her story become even more real to me. This book has gone on my favorites of the year list.

everyfree5

Would I recommend it: Yes! Pick this book up now. Don’t make the excuse that you don’t read this type of book . . . this one is worth the read.

ginasig

About the book – from Goodreads: War photographer Lynsey Addario’s memoir It’s What I Do is the story of how the relentless pursuit of truth, in virtually every major theater of war in the twenty-first century, has shaped her life. What she does, with clarity, beauty, and candor, is to document, often in their most extreme moments, the complex lives of others. It’s her work, but it’s much more than that: it’s her singular calling.

Lynsey Addario was just finding her way as a young photographer when September 11 changed the world. One of the few photojournalists with experience in Afghanistan, she gets the call to return and cover the American invasion. She makes a decision she would often find herself making—not to stay home, not to lead a quiet or predictable life, but to set out across the world, face the chaos of crisis, and make a name for herself.

Addario finds a way to travel with a purpose. She photographs the Afghan people before and after the Taliban reign, the civilian casualties and misunderstood insurgents of the Iraq War, as well as the burned villages and countless dead in Darfur. She exposes a culture of violence against women in the Congo and tells the riveting story of her headline-making kidnapping by pro-Qaddafi forces in the Libyan civil war.

Addario takes bravery for granted but she is not fearless. She uses her fear and it creates empathy; it is that feeling, that empathy, that is essential to her work. We see this clearly on display as she interviews rape victims in the Congo, or photographs a fallen soldier with whom she had been embedded in Iraq, or documents the tragic lives of starving Somali children. Lynsey takes us there and we begin to understand how getting to the hard truth trumps fear.

As a woman photojournalist determined to be taken as seriously as her male peers, Addario fights her way into a boys’ club of a profession. Rather than choose between her personal life and her career, Addario learns to strike a necessary balance. In the man who will become her husband, she finds at last a real love to complement her work, not take away from it, and as a new mother, she gains an all the more intensely personal understanding of the fragility of life.

Watching uprisings unfold and people fight to the death for their freedom, Addario understands she is documenting not only news but also the fate of society. It’s What I Do is more than just a snapshot of life on the front lines; it is witness to the human cost of war.

 

efchappy

Blue Apron: Lebanese Lamb & Beef Arayes

Hi, Everyone!

In an effort to spend less time meal planning and more time reading I decided to give Blue Apron a try. It costs less than taking the whole family to a restaurant, and it seemed like a fun way to add some new recipes to my repertoire.

TONIGHT: Lebanese Lamb & Beef Arayes with Roasted Broccoli & Labneh

20160216_185527

 

I forgot to take a picture of the recipe card. Sorry. =(

So here’s a tip: if you’re going to do this Blue Apron thing on a regular basis, you need to invest in a zester and a lemon juicer. They’re awesome time savers, and let’s face it, no one wants to peel and mince a lemon peel to get zest . . . that’s a lot of work for two tiny teaspoons!

20160216_180648

These little beauties will make your life easier!

 

So. Once again, I didn’t think there was enough veg in this meal. I just happened to have a bag of broccoli slaw in the fridge, so I tossed the broccoli in with the stuff Blue Apron sent and served the slaw as an extra side.

20160216_180626

 

I was a bit worried about adding raisins to the meat, but I ought not to have been. They were tasty! I didn’t tell my family there were raisins, and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t eat this again if they knew, so . . . Sssshhhh!

20160216_181107

 

The recipe said I ought to have divided the meaty goodness between two pitas, but that seemed like much too much meat in one place. I had some flour tortillas in the fridge, so I just spread the love!

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I was supposed to use the extra parsley and lemon as garnish. I hate garnish. I did my (not really at all) best.

 

NEXT TIME:

  • More veg! I’ll definitely make a side salad again.
  • Just, seriously. Completely ignore the recommended salting.
20160216_181944

NO MOAR SALT!

DID THE KIDS EAT IT: They didn’t devour it, but they at least gave everything a try. Husband has requested that I make this meal again as soon as possible, and Kid #1 loved his little cup of dipping sauce. Kid #2 drooled on her pita and then had a piece of cheese.

Happy Reading (and eating!),

melissasig

Story Time with Sara. . . err. . . Melissa: Nobunny’s Perfect by Anna Dewdney

storytime

 

Nobunny's PerfectNobunny’s Perfect 
written by Anna Dewdney
published by Viking Books for Young Readers, 2012

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
It’s adorable. The pictures are cute, the story is delightful (I mean, rhyming bunnies with good manners? Please!), and I’ve been reading it to my son since before he could talk. It’s one of his favorites, and even though it’s been passed down to his little sister, he still asks for it regularly. It’s one of the books I’m going to save for my kids to give their kids.

everyfree5

Would I recommend it: Absolutely! Even though he’s older than the target audience for the book now, I read it to my son every so often. . . he still loves it, and so do I!

melissasig

About the book – from Goodreads:

In simple sentences and sweet illustrations, Nobunny’s Perfect is an ideal introduction to behavior that young children will understand and enjoy. And, most importantly, it will make a bunny proud to be the best bunny he can be!

 

efchappy

DNF: Death by Hitchcock by Elissa D. Grodin

Death by Hitchcock: An Edwina Goodman Mystery

Death by Hitchcock
written by Elissa D. Grodin
published by Cozy Cat Press, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Where I stopped reading: page 45 of 207

Why I stopped reading: Reader abandoned the novel due to lack of developing story and failure by the author to seriously create any interest in the characters within the first 45 pages. With respect to the author, the first stages of the book come across as rudimentary and uninteresting, appealing to no one outside perhaps a very narrowly defined segment. Think Murder She Wrote for cat-loving teetotalers, or perhaps a real life Dolores Umbridge . . . as the target reader. The juvenile character treatment and naming conventions (i.e., “Chaz Winner,” “Mary Buttery,” “Honeysuckle Blessington,” “Nedda Cake,” “Bunny Baldwin”) distracted the reader to the point of dangerous eye rolling. The book comes across as a slightly more mature version of Nancy Drew (although a spattering of teenage vulnerability and cleverness might have woken this novel up a little). Faced with the prospect of plowing through another 150 pages of shallow plot and yarn-woven characters, the reader cried uncle and tagged as DNF.

jeffsig

 

What others have rated this book: According to Goodreads, the average rating for Death by Hitchcock is 3.62 stars. It looks like a majority of readers gave this book 5 stars. 62% of the reviews on Amazon were 5 stars. At Barnes & Noble, there was one 4-star review. Just because I didn’t finish this book doesn’t mean you won’t.

About the book – from Goodreads: Physics and film seemingly have few academic features in common. However, when local siren Bunny Baldwin, a student in the Film Studies Department at Cushing College, is found strangled to death on opening night of the Hitchcock Film Festival, Physics professor Edwina Goodwin puts on her detecting hat. Using her scientific sleuthing skills to assist her almost boyfriend Police Detective Will Tenney, the pair work together to investigate the campus murder. Edwina wants to know–why did the murderer tie a strip of film around the victim’s head? Why did the killer time the murder to coincide with the showing of the famous Hitchcock film Spellbound? Was Bunny really killed by strangulation or did the unusual drugs found in her system suggest poisoning? Why do all the suspects have a seemingly airtight alibi? There are certainly sufficient suspects as Edwina quickly ascertains. The head of the Film Studies Department was having a torrid and practically public affair with the victim. His wife was apparently furiuous, but not enough to keep her from also engaging in sexual hanky panky. The victim had stolen a screenplay written by her roommate, Mary, to secure a Hollywood agent. Mary is out for payback. A quirky older woman who uses plants and other natural remedies to cure various ailments followed the head of the department around like a moon-struck calf. And, of course, there’s the film department’s boy savant who plays chess with Edwina and keeps her updated on the various players. Can Edwina use her knowledge of physics to unlock the strange features of this most unusual crime? When a second murder occurs, it looks like she may–if the killer doesn’t find her first.

 

efchappy