Monday, March 27, 2017

Navigating Indieworld Spring Book Festival Begins Today



Are you looking for a way to be introduced to new or independent authors?

Are you wanting to try a new genre that you've never read before?

Would you like to find a new author that you can add to your favorites list?

All these things can happen if you check out the Navigating Indieworld's Spring Book Festival March 27-29. By visiting their website, HERE, you can click on specific genres where you are offered a wide variety of books.

This festival offers a great opportunity to be introduced to new-to-you authors and give them a little love by purchasing and/or reading their books. Every kind of book genre is available including children's books, historical fiction, Christian fiction and nonfiction, memoir, romance, mystery, and poetry just to name a few.

Navigating Indieworld is a non-profit site developed to help indies promote their books to the general public. Put together on a whim by a group of dedicated authors, the site was created for indies by indies motivated by the lack of options available for advertising on a limited budget.

To enter to win $150 worth of prizes as part of this Spring Book Festival, click HERE.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Children's Book Review: Motor Girls By Sue Macy

MOTOR GIRLS
How Women Took the Wheel and Drove Boldly into the Twentieth Century

By: Sue Macy

Published: February 7, 2017

Publisher: National Geographic Society

Non-Fiction


In the late 1800's, what began as horseless carriages or motor cars that held a driver and maybe one passenger with them exposed to the elements has led to over 130 years later having various types of vehicles on the road. Many of those early motor car inventors and salesmen would be shocked today to see the millions of women behind the wheel cars, trucks, and even semis. Motor cars began as steam or gas powered engines, but quickly also added electric cars. But, as people wanted to make longer trips, electric cars became more and more impractical. As things sometimes do, the electric cars have made a comeback and are a viable option for car owners today.

In MOTOR GIRLS, your child will be fascinated by the styles of cars, lack of laws for drivers, the bias in advertising against women, and how there were even manners of etiquette related to drivers and passengers of cars. I found so much of the information in this book to be new to me and became quite interested in it. I think about it often when I am driving now, how far women and the car industry have come in these last 100 plus years. During the same time women were trying to get the right to vote, they were also told they were incapable, too weak, or it wasn't ladylike for a woman to drive a car. Thank goodness for the women who got behind the wheel anyway and drove across the country, came up with the original idea of what we know as windshield wipers today, or proved they could race cars just as good as men.

This book includes profiles of women integral to the history of automobiles, numerous photos of cars from many generations, and fascinating articles teaching the progression of cars and driving through the years. The author makes this history lesson full of twists and turns and fun antidotes to keep kids and adults learning something new on every page.

Danica Patrick, a race car driver, offers the foreword, and her contribution to women and cars is also quite interesting. What a powerful message for young girls to show they can have an impact on the world whether it is behind the scenes or in the trenches. Finish up Women's History Month by reading this book with your daughter!

Sue Macy - source
This is Sue Macy's sixth book for National Geographic. She is a graduate of Princeton University. Macy lives in New Jersey. This book continues her story from the book WHEELS OF CHANGE: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom which was a finalist for the YALSA's 2012 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award. For more on Macy, visit her website, HERE.

To purchase a copy of MOTOR GIRLS, click the photo below:




I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up By Marie Kondo

THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP
The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

By: Marie Kondo

Narrator: Emily Woo Zeller

Published: October 14, 2014

Publisher: Ten Speed Press and Tandor Audio for Audiobook



I would be shocked to hear if you haven't heard of this book or the term "kondoing" in the last few years. I am quite sure when the author, Marie Kondo, began her career of decluttering, she never would have imagined her last name used as a verb. But, by googling the term, you are given a wide array of tidying up ideas.

Marie Kondo loved organizing, even as a young child. She would stay in for recess because she preferred organizing the bookshelves over going outside. She has made a career of decluttering in Japan and her methods have spread all over the world.

I listened to her book on audio after getting it in an Audible Daily Deal. I had been curious about her methods and wanted to check it out for myself. I will admit that listening was enjoyable. The narrator is also Japanese but with very little accent which made her very easy to listen to. I found 1.25x speed was the perfect speed for this book which made it a short 9+ hours in length.

Listening to her methods and various case stories, I found myself wanting to rush home and declutter an area. She states that her methods must follow a specific order and there is a reason behind the order, saving the most sentimental items for last. She also expects you to hold each item and ascertain if it brings you joy. If not, then thank it for the purpose or need it fulfilled and let it go. Kondo expects you to acknowledge your home when you come in the door, greeting it and thanking it for providing you shelter and safety. She also encourages you to empty your purse each day because it has worked hard carrying your items all day and needs a rest. Now, I find all this a bit silly and haven't added this to my daily routine. But, I did find her tips on decluttering helpful and have folded some of my clothes with her specific method noticing I have much more space in my drawers.

I expect to continue decluttering other areas of our home, especially our kids' rooms as they continue to grow out of clothes and toys. Even though some of her ideas were too radical for me, the reasons for letting go of all the stuff can inspire all of us to let things go.

Marie Kondo was just interviewed this Sunday on the CBS Sunday Morning Show. Check out that interview HERE.

Marie Kondo - source

Marie Kondo (近藤 麻理恵) is a Japanese organizing consultant and author. Kondo's method of organizing is known as the KonMari Method, and one of the main principles is keeping only possessions which "spark joy."

Kondo's best-seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing has been published in more than 30 countries.

She was listed as one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time Magazine in 2015.

Personal website: http://konmari.com/en/
Book website: http://tidyingup.com/
App website: http://konmari-media.com/


To purchase a copy of THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP, click the photo below:





This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Children's Book Review: Duck and Hippo in a Rainstorm


DUCK AND HIPPO IN THE RAINSTORM

By: Johnathan London

Illustrated by: Andrew Joyner

Published: March 1, 2017

Publisher: Two Lions

Fiction

We loved the Froggy series when our kids were little. The author, Johnathan London, is back with a new series including adorable characters that are the best of friends. Duck and Hippo are friends even though their size differences sometimes get in the way. When Duck shows up at Hippo's house to ask him to go for a walk in the rain, Hippo realizes it isn't easy for both of them to fit under Duck's umbrella. But, he finds ways to make it work because they are friends.



Children will love the silly antics of both Duck and Hippo. They will love the illustrations and expressions of their faces. They will learn about problem-solving and finding adjustments to make something work. I just love the color scheme of the illustrations and how adorable Joyner has created the characters. This is a new series with the next book in the series, DUCK AND HIPPO LOST AND FOUND coming out in August 2017.

Duck and Hippo are true friends despite their differences. This new series about friendship will create a whole new group of fans of the author, Jonathan London. For more fun, check out the activity sheets for DUCK AND HIPPO, HERE.

Johnathan London - source
Jonathan London is the author of more than one hundred children's books, including the bestselling Froggy series, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz. Many of his books explore nature, among them Flamingo Sunset, illustrated by Kristina Rodanas, and Little Penguin: The Emperor of Antarctica, illustrated by Julie Olson. He is currently writing a middle-grade series, which started with Desolation Canyon, illustrated by his son Sean London. Jonathan lives in Graton, California. Learn more online at www.jonathan-london.net.

Andrew Joyner - source
Andrew Joyner is an illustrator, author, and cartoonist based in South Australia. He has illustrated a number of picture books, and he wrote and illustrated a chapter book series about a warthog named Boris. He has also illustrated for newspapers and magazines, including the Wall Street JournalReader's Digest, and Rolling Stone magazine, among others. Learn more online at www.andrewjoyner.com.au.


To purchase a copy of DUCK AND HIPPO IN THE RAINSTORM, click the photo below:




To preorder a copy of DUCK AND HIPPO LOST AND FOUND, click the photo below:





I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.


Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this books for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Book Review: 365 Thank Yous By John Kralik

365 THANK YOUS
The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life

By: John Kralik

Published: December 28, 2010

Publisher: Hachette Books

Non-Fiction


I was perusing the Audible app looking for my next audiobook. I noticed this book as the Audible Daily Deal and decided it sounded good enough to give it a shot. In December 2007, Kralik was at the lowest point in his life. He was going through his second divorce. He had a limited relationship with his two adult children and was afraid of losing more time with his young daughter. His girlfriend had also just broken up with him. His law practice was failing and he wasn't sure he was going to be able to meet payroll let alone pay his own bills. He was afraid his ultimate dream of becoming a judge was something he would never achieve.  

After receiving a lovely thank you from his ex-girlfriend for a Christmas gift, Kralik wondered if happiness could be achieved by being grateful. He began to imagine himself writing thank you notes as a way to remember to be grateful for the people in his life and the kindnesses he had received. He devised an idea to write 365 thank-you notes. As he began to write notes for gifts received or simple acts of kindness from a barista, or from a fellow lawyer, or to his own family, he noticed a difference in his attitude and the attitude of the people that received his thank you note.

Kralik began to notice some unexpected results in areas including finances, friendships, family relationships, and his health. But, also, during this time the economy collapsed and banks failed. Even though not everything was going well for him, he believed he reacted differently because of his thank you project. His message that resounds throughout the whole book is that handwriting a thank you note is special and forces the writer to concentrate more on the task rather than sending an email. It doesn't take much more time to handwrite a note than it does to write an email. The card doesn't have to be fancy or large. A simple note card is perfect for getting a brief message of thanks and gratitude across to someone. Receiving a handwritten card in the mail has a much different effect on the person than opening an email does.

This book is a little dreary for the first several chapters. Kralik has a lot of negative events happening in his life and the reader is given a lot of detail related to the demise of his marriages and business dealings. It made the book a bit difficult to get into. I listened to this book on audio with Kralik as the narrator which made it personal, but he does have a rather monotone voice and during the early chapters, I found the voice and theme of the book extremely dreary and less interesting. As he began the thank you project, the pace picked up.

Really, this book shouldn't be such a shock to most of us. We know that it feels good to be appreciated and told that our efforts made a difference. Yet, it seems to be hard to express that to the people who offer us a kindness. The message of this book offers a reminder that sharing our appreciation for others and their relationship with us is worth us taking the time to write a note of thanks. As Kralik comes to the end of his project, after just fifteen months he is a completely new person and has many positive things to show for it.

John Kralik - source
John Kralik was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and attended the University of Michigan for college and law school. He practiced law for thirty years and was a partner in the law firms of Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Miller Tokuyama Kralik & Sur, and Kralik & Jacobs. In 2009, he was appointed a judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court. He lives in the Los Angeles area. His book 365 THANK YOUS is also titled as A SIMPLE ACT OF GRATITUDE. For more information, check out his website, HERE

To purchase a copy of 365 THANK YOUS, click the photo below:





This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Children's Book Review: Mapping My Day By Julie Dillemuth

MAPPING MY DAY

By: Julie Dillemuth

Illustrated by: Laura Wood

Published: March 13, 2017

Publisher: Magination Press

Fiction

As a child, I loved looking at maps and atlases. We would often go on Sunday drives and trips to visit family and I would love following along on the map, seeing which town would be coming up next and how many more miles we had to go. I think physical maps are rare now and the majority of children haven't ever really looked at a map. Now that our phone tells us exactly where to turn and how many more miles we have to go, we don't really have to look at the map.

Flora loves creating maps and she shares the various maps she uses throughout the book. She also teaches directions and uses the terms for reading maps including legend, scale, and landmarks. The maps Flora shares include of her home, the location of a treasure in her yard, her route to school, the playground, and her grandma's backyard obstacle course. The book takes us through Flora's day using the maps she creates but really doesn't tell much of a story. It is just more of a diary about her day. This book is a great way to introduce your child to maps and to share all the different types of maps with them in a simple format. There is a glossary at the end of the book for parents as well as puzzles and a place for kids to draw their own map.

The illustrations are really cute sketches and offer lots of detail. The maps give the appearance that a child created them and are easy for kids to read and understand.

I really like the concept of teaching kids about maps and all the different kinds of maps that they could create or use. This offers a simple way to teach kids in the lower elementary level about maps and how to use them.

Julie Dillemuth
Julie Dillemuth was mystified by maps until she figured out how to read them and make them, and it was a particularly difficult map that inspired her to become a spatial cognition geographer. She lives with her family and writes children's books in Santa Barbara, California, where the west coast faces south. Visit her at her website: http://juliedillemuth.com. You can also download activity pages that go with the book, HERE.  

Laura Wood is an independent illustrator currently living in the wonderful city of Bristol, UK. Her work can be found in picture books, educational publications, and digital apps as well as editorial publications. By day, she spends her time in her studio bringing stories to life. By night, she likes to put on her dancing shoes and swing dance under the stars. She is proudly represented by the lovely people at Good Illustration Agency.

To purchase a copy of MAPPING MY DAY, click the photo below:




I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this books for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Book Review: The Nearness of You By Amanda Eyre Ward

THE NEARNESS OF YOU

By: Amanda Eyre Ward

Published: February 14, 2017

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Fiction



Amanda Eyre Ward’s book THE SAME SKY was my favorite book of 2015. Its themes of immigration and poverty gave the reader plenty to think about regarding their views and judgments. In her newest, THE NEARNESS OF YOU, readers try to understand a pediatric heart surgeon who didn't really want to have children and definitely doesn’t want to become pregnant. Suzette ultimately agrees to surrogacy when her husband, Hyland, nearing forty, decides that he desperately wants a child. They’ve chosen Dorrie, a young woman looking for a chance to get away from her own mother, go to college, and start a new life. Then, on the date of her sonogram appointment, Dorrie disappears leaving an apology note. Suzette must wrestle with the fact that maybe she really did want the baby, how to comfort her husband who is devastated, and stay focused to complete some of the most meticulous surgeries.

Hyland and Suzette are two professionals who have a comfortable marriage and rely on routine. Everything was fine until Hyland upset the apple cart and decided he really did want to be a father. Suzette goes along with the idea even though it gives her a lot of anxiety during the process of choosing a surrogate. The author takes each chapter and gives us the perspective of individual characters, taking us inside their minds and revealing what they are really thinking. Even though I was drawn into the story, I didn't particularly like any of the characters which made it hard to feel connected to their struggles. Some of the chapters felt like whining to me and Suzette's story seemed to focus more on the details of her surgeries rather than her relationship with her husband. Dorrie's character had potential, but I found most of her decisions to be unrealistic and frustrating.

When there is a twist and the storyline takes a new direction, I found I had a bit more interest in the story. Suzette is no longer able to control her and Hyland's monotonous life and she has to start showing some emotions. She begins to have trouble concentrating during her surgeries and life has complications that she can't seem to handle. As each of the characters is forced to make a decision, the reader realizes that one choice can impact the course of your whole life. For these three main characters and the child they bring into this world, life will never be the same.

Even though this story wasn't as emotionally heartbreaking as her previous novel, Eyre Ward still showcases her character-driven writing and talents for giving the characters their own voice. From the disgusting motel that Dorrie lives in. to the stark operating room that Suzette thrives in, readers can visualize the scenes and feel part of the story. But, there may be a disappointment in the predictability of the plot. While nearing the end of the book, I realized that it was going to have to be a rushed ending to fit it all in and it was. On its own, it's a fine story, but when comparing it to the author's others, it falls a little flat.

Favorite Quotes:

"You meet kind people, and you return their kindness.
That's what friendship is. You take care of someone and they become yours."

"You never know when you will be forced 
to make the decision that will define your days."


Amanda Eyre Ward - source

Amanda Eyre Ward is the author of six novels as well as a collection of short stories. She was born in New York City in 1972. Her family moved to Rye, New York when she was four. Amanda attended Kent School in Kent, CT, where she wrote for the Kent News.

Amanda majored in English and American Studies at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She studied fiction writing with Jim Shepard and spent her junior fall in coastal Kenya. She worked part-time at the Williamstown Public Library. After graduation, Amanda taught at Athens College in Greece for a year and then moved to Missoula, Montana.

Amanda studied fiction writing at the University of Montana with Bill Kittredge, Dierdre McNamer, Debra Earling, and Kevin Canty, receiving her MFA. After traveling to Egypt, she took a job at the University of Montana Mansfield Library, working in Inter-Library Loan. Amanda currently writes every morning and spends afternoons with her children. She lives in Austin, Texas with her family. For more, visit her website, HERE



To purchase a copy of THE NEARNESS OF YOU, click the photo below:




Thanks to the publisher for sending an ebook for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com.