My Dad, My Hero

My Dad My Hero is a heart warming book written from a little boy’s persepective.  It is about the boy’s father.  The dad is not just any dad, well- actually he is any dad.  He is a tough guy, who tries his best, but still fails sometimes.  Fixing things, opening jars and in general doing stuff a ‘dad’ would do.  But as most real ‘dads’ do, sometimes he doesn’t do them super-well.  But he does try and make everyone as happy as can be.  And this is why the little guy in the book loves his dad so much.  Its the time and effort he puts into it, not neccessarily the outcome.  It was very nice reading this book to my little guy (cuter still was watching daddy read it to him), it was just long enough to keep his attention, get the point across and still have a theme.  The illustrations were also nice on the eyes, bright colors and easily reconizable situations and events.  What parent hasn’t been trying to tidy up the yard and had to tussle with a bee, ending in running and yelping like a wounded puppy? LOL.   I know I have done similar things, and so has Little’s daddy, and I laughed about it while reading the book.
The author/ illustrator of the book is: Ethan Long.  You may recognize his illustrating style from Disney Jr’s show:   Tasty Time with Ze Fronk.  It is nice to see a unique illustrator expand into different mediums.  In addition to My Dad My Hero, Mr. Long wrote a plethora of other books, more than fifty actually.
Give this book a shot if you are trying to create a little father son time, you won’t regret it.


I just finished reading BossyPants, by Tina Fey.  I have to say, I was kind of disappointed.  I am a big fan of hers- from the Weekend Update (and SNL as a whole, haha) to 30 Rock- I really like her work.  She is really funny, speaks for the equality of woman and against gender politics/double standards, and she doesn’t do insane things like so many media personalities do to get attention, either.  But this book…seemed kind of more like a rough draft then a finished version, like it wasn’t “ready” yet.  While it was funny, and gave a (small) bit of background on Tiny Fey, there just wasn’t much substance to it.  No great stories of funny or famous people, or funny or odd things she did on her way to fame.  Ok, maybe she didn’t want to drop names and was being really “PC” so as not to tick anyone off.  No late night work-related drama or fun times.  It wasn’t an autobiography- there wasn’t enough “her” in there.  She seems intensely private- which is fine, but then put something else in the book!  She talked about being friends with some gay people in High School more then any other topic, and that she liked Amy Pohler alot.  But no fun Amy Poler and Tiny Fey stories or adventures, quips….anything.   Her dad is a “presence” and she thinks Sarah Palin is a big Media Star who is better looking then herself.  She talks down about herself a lot.  Which (while I get it- she doesn’t want to sound snobby) is annoying as well.  That’s basically the book.   I kept waiting for “the good part”.  It was totally readable, and interesting and all that jazz- but…meh.  Nah.  Totally “eh” and disappointing- for such a funny lady, what the heck, Tina Fey? 

Here is some info about the book, as well-
“Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

(Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!)”” “

Disclosure- I received a copy of this book in order to review it.  All opinions are my own, yours may differ. 

Sir Nick of Tyme- Win!

Grace over at Blessed Elements is hosting a giveaway, but has asked me to post it here so you guys can all see it, as well 🙂
The following is her review-

“Nick was the son of a baker in a tiny hamlet of Tyme a long time ago.
He dreamed of being a knight and held fast to that dream even though others told him his dream would never come true.
He grew into a man of integrity and took pride in his work as a baker. His father always instructed him to, “Bake as if for a king and allow the poor a little taste of royalty.” Nick often shared his extra baked goods with the poor.
One day Nick was given the opportunity to bake for the king and not only did the king admire his baking skills but Nick taught the king how love and generosity is much more powerful than making people afraid of you.
All three grandchildren loved this book and I do too! This book not only entertains but it teaches valuable life lessons.
My grand children learned to not let go of dreams despite what others think.
To take pride int their work and in themselves.
The idea was reinforced that there is no such thing as an unimportant job in this life and our lives can make a difference in others’ lives if we are persistent to be true to ourselves.

Luke now wears a helmet when fighting the Goop monster and calls himself, ” Sir Nick of Tyme” but more importantly…..He knows everyone is special and by working together we can all make this world a better place.
When was the last [Read more…]

The Adventure of English book review

I just finished reading The Adventure of English.
Fabulous reading!  It’s a little “dry”, but really- if you like history or languages at all, check it out and pick it up.  The author, Robert McCrum, wrote this book to go along with the 8 part History Channel Series of the same name.  I really want to see the series, it is said to be more thorough then the book (well, yeah!  With 8 parts and visuals, you know I want to see it!)  I keep begging my DVR to record it- but alas, so far, it has not shown up on air  🙁 
Back to the book- which I loved!  I was so excited to read this one.  It is how the English language started (and what humble beginnings!) and how it spread and grew to become one of the most dominant languages in the world today.  Who used it, who influenced it, and why.  It was super interesting, and as a history geek, there was so much I didn’t know that I was excited to learn about. 
I have always loved history, and it was so interesting to read about how travel and trade, war and peace, religion and colonization all influenced the language that we speak. 
Here is some more info for all you nerdy folk out there- stand proud, ladies and gents!  🙂

This compelling and charmingly personal companion to an eight-part television documentary (scheduled for the fall) makes for an idiosyncratic rival to PBS’s bestselling blockbuster The Story of English, by Robert McCrum et al. Titling a history of the evolution and expansion of a language an “adventure” presupposes a hero, with such obvious choices as Alfred the Great, for defeating the Danes; Chaucer, for his Canterbury Tales; Shakespeare, for his poetic inventiveness; or Samuel Johnson, for his groundbreaking dictionary. Bragg, a British TV and radio personality and novelist (The Soldier’s Return), gives all their contributions their due, but English itself, with its “deep obstinacy” and “astonishing flexibility,” emerges as his favorite character. Bragg’s enthusiasm for his subject-hero, whether the Old English of Beowulf or the new “Text English” of the Internet, makes up for his shortcomings as a linguist: his sources, unfootnoted, are at times at variance with the OED or Webster’s Third. For instance, Bragg furnishes only one putative origin for the disputed “real McCoy.” Moreover “candy” does not seem to have Anglo-Indian origins (it’s from the Arabic “qandi”), and the first recorded use of “vast” is not from Shakespeare (the OED cites Archbishop Edwin Sandys). Nevertheless, this “biography” succeeds in its broad, sweeping narrative, carrying the reader from the origins of Anglo-Saxon through the Viking and Norman invasions to the consolidation of “British” English and outward to America, Australia, India, the West Indies and beyond. After some 1,500 years, with one billion speakers now worldwide, according to Bragg, the English language has displayed an amazing ability to repair and reinvent itself, as Bragg ably shows. 32 pages of color illus.

The Missionary

The Missionary, by William Carmichael and David Lambert is about an American couple who are missionaries in Venezuela.  It is touching to read about the couple caring for the unloved and unwanted children in the streets of Caracas, while raising their own son.  They live in a small house in Hope Village, where the children are housed, nursed back to health, and go to school.  The husband, David, feels hopeless, as if he is just a drop in the bucket, as he rescues a few children while he has to watch many more stay alone, homeless, and suffering.  Christie, herself an orphan with a tragic past, lives for each child they see in the moment.  She feels that the world is saved for that child, right now.  David, in his frustration and zeal to help Hope Village, gets “accidentally-on-purpose” involved in a coup trying to remove an unjust dictator who is living it up while the masses suffer.  He didn’t know that there was going to be an attempted murder, and that people would be maimed, tortured, and killed along the way.  I’m not sure how one can think you can plan a government overthrow without killing anyone or posing any danger to themselves or their family- but that is David’s story, and he is sticking to it!  LOL.  But really, he did seem to believe it.  This non-missionary woman who is feeling a little jaded at the moment just doesn’t quite understand HOW a grown man can really believe that- but, then, neither could his wife, so I guess it isn’t just me, haha. 
As the title suggests, The Missionary is Christian literature, and there are many mentions and references to God, Christianity, prayer, church, and religion.  While the plot and storyline are somewhat far fetched, it was a “feel good” book that had a mostly-happy ending for the main characters.   (Note- there was some violent aspects, I say “feel good” because of all the people in the book that were doing good, and that it ended on an upbeat.) 
It is fast paced, and you do want to keep reading to see what happens next. 
You can purchase The Missionary from Deep River Books or on their website.  Make sure to Like Deep River Books on Facebook and Follow them on Twitter to keep up with all their latest news  🙂

David and his wife Christie rescue impoverished children in the slums of Venezuela. But for David, that’s not enough. The supply of homeless children is endless because of the corrupt policies of the Venezuelan government.

In a rare moment of anger, David lashes out publicly against the government, unaware of the chain reaction that will soon follow.

When the CIA offers David a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a key role in a “bloodless” coup, he decides to go for it. But little by little, he falls into an unimaginable web of deceit that ends in a desperate, life-or-death gamble to flee the country with his wife and son, with all the resources of a corrupt dictatorship at their heels.

An Atlas of Impossible Longing

An Atlas of Impossible Longing by By Anuradha Roy was a sad story, made even a sort of tragic in that it was several generations worth of sadness.  Taking place from the early 1900’s to the years just following India’s Partition in 1947, the book covers some critical points in India’s recent history as well as the caste system.  The novel begins with a man moving his wife to a small village from busy Calcutta, India, where all her family and friends are, and completely isolating her.  The woman raises her children, but ends up going mad by the time she is 50 years old.  The family locks her away in her room.  This is not done with any direct animosity by the other characters, and it is accepted by the woman (who is the family matriarch) which is just confusing to me as a western reader.  It seems so malicious.  Most of the book does, but then it is neither my culture nor my time.   The actions of most of the characters, most of the time, made me want to rip my hair out because they were so against what they themselves wanted or desired.  It was all so self destructive, and so induced by guilt.  And pressure, expectations of family and society.  I think that the main word of the book should be “guilt”.  That was the driving force behind everything.  Such a melancholy book.  While I was completely wrapped up in it for the first half, by the second half, I was annoyed by the behavior of the characters and their treatment of one another.  By the end, I didn’t even like the characters very much anymore, let alone feel anything for them. 
There are other characters in this book- an adopted boy (Mukunda), the biological sister (Bakul, who is a real piece of work, but as an adult she is more likable) well-intentioned, widowed father (Nirmal) and widowed relative (Meera) who comes to care for his daughter and adopted son.  It was too bad that they shoved Meera off, she was a good, solid, and likable character, and it would have been nice to see more of her.  I wanted to like Mukunda, but he grew up to be such an amazing jerk, despite the fact that he was handed many second chances in his life.  At least 4 life altering second chances. 
I really thought I was going to love this book.  And I did- love the first half.  It would have been great to have a more “ended” ending, with less loose ends, and more fully developed characters.  The ones who were mentioned so much should really have been “finished”.  It was all so depressing, frustrating, and mean.  I was sad and angry when I was reading it, and I feel aggravated writing about it.  Kind of like a “what a world!”  feeling.  Why must people hate each other so much, and love to make each other suffer?  Maybe that is the word for the book, not guilt- “suffering”.  Hmmm…that’s a toss up.

On the outskirts of a small town in Bengal, a family lives in solitude in their vast new house. Here, lives intertwine and unravel. A widower struggles with his love for an unmarried cousin. Bakul, a motherless daughter, runs wild with Mukunda, an orphan of unknown caste adopted by the family. Confined in a room at the top of the house, a matriarch goes slowly mad; her husband searches for its cause as he shapes and reshapes his garden. As Mukunda and Bakul grow, their intense closeness matures into something else, and Mukunda is banished to Calcutta. He prospers in the turbulent years after Partition, but his thoughts stay with his home, with Bakul, with all that he has lost—and he knows that he must return.

The Ice Princess

I am not normally a huge fan of crime thrillers.  OK, I don’t like them much at all.  But this one caught my eye, and my attention.  And kept it!
Camilla Lackberg, whose novels have all been # 1 bestsellers in her native Sweden,  is the 7th bestselling novelist in Europe. March 29, 2011 marks the American paperback debut of her crime novel The Ice Princess. The Ice Princess is the first in a three-part series with the follow up, The Preacher, to be published by Pegasus Books on April 27, 2011.

It started with a bit character, a strange errand, and a bang- and it kept right on rolling.  I read this book in 2 sittings.  I couldn’t put it down.  It was smart, interesting, and oddly sentimental (for the characters).  Of course, it was a bit cliche at times,  but it IS a crime thriller!  That’s what they do, right?  LOL

I think it had it all- twisted, gross characters and strange plot that you found yourself wound up in, an on-the-side family drama  in the life of a main character that runs along with the tragedy that other families in the novel experience.  The clearly defined “good guys” and “bad guys”.  And Weight Watchers!  Come on- what good novel doesn’t mention THAT???  LOL.  But it is those little things that really made you feel like you “knew” the characters more.   It was written from the viewpoints of several characters, which I loved.  You got to see the story from all sorts of angles!
I really liked this book.  A great escape for a few hours!  🙂

In this electrifying tale of suspense from an international crime-writing sensation, a grisly death exposes the dark heart of a Scandinavian seaside village. Erica Falck returns to her tiny, remote hometown of FjÄllbacka, Sweden, after her parents’ deaths only to encounter another tragedy: the suicide of her childhood best friend, Alex. It’s Erica herself who finds Alex’s body—suspended in a bathtub of frozen water, her wrists slashed. Erica is bewildered: Why would a beautiful woman who had it all take her own life? Teaming up with police detective Patrik HedstrÖm, Erica begins to uncover shocking events from Alex’s childhood. As one horrifying fact after another comes to light, Erica and Patrik’s curiosity gives way to obsession—and their flirtation grows into uncontrollable attraction. But it’s not long before one thing becomes very clear: a deadly secret is at stake, and there’s someone out there who will do anything—even commit murder—to protect it.

You can read the first chapter HERE  
Disclosure- I received a copy  of this book for free in order to honestly review it.  These opinions are my own. 

My Name is Not Alexander (Review)

My Name Is Not Alexander
About the Author:

Jennifer Fosberry is a science geek turned children’s book writer and author of the New York Times Bestseller My Name Is Not Isabella. After working in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and running away to Costa Rica for a few years, she returned to the San Francisco Bay area to read, write, raise kids, and not do too much housework. She lives with her husband and three children and wishes for a puppy.
This is a cute story about a young boy who takes an imaginary journey through history, pretending to be some of the great leaders who helped shape the world.  An interaction between a boy and his father, Alexander tells Daddy (and reminds him often!)  That his name is NOT Alexander, and he is indeed these larger-then-life men who influenced others and made history.  Daddy takes it all in stride, and goes right along with it.  In the end, he finds that his true hero is very close to home.

Just How Big Can a Little kid Dream?
Who is your hero?
Alexander takes a rip-roaring historical adventure! Through his imaginative journey, Alexander discovers how great men become heroes: the roughest rider can be surprisingly gentle, a strong leader is also the most peaceful, and sometimes, being brave about what makes you different will not only help you break records, but inspire others.
Join Alexander as he learns how these remarkable men changed the world and encouraged him to find the hero within himself.

The illustrations are beautiful and  in depth- they have layers!  Take a good look at them, and see that they have many details to be discovered.  Spend some time with the pages, not just with the words, and you will be pleasantly surprised  🙂
Alexander’s journey teaches us about the men he becomes, and there is “fun facts” about each of them as well.

The author is still on her My Name Is Not Alexander book tour, and these are the ones that are yet to pass!

Sunday, March 20th
3:30 PM
Books and Books
265 Aragon Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Phone: 305-444-9044
Wednesday, March 23rd
4:00 PM
The Book Mark
299 Atlantic Blvd
Atlantic Beach, FL 32233
Phone: 904-241-9026
Saturday, March 26th
10:00 AM
Doylestown Bookshop
16 S Main Street
Doylestown, PA
Here is the trailer for the book, as well. 
Happy reading!