Monday, March 20, 2017

Ten in Bed gets 4.5 Stars {board book, concept}

Ten in Bed illustrated by Gill Guile gets 4.5/5 stars in my book review of this baby counting concept board book. is fun for kids with the page cut outs, repetitious text, and the fun animals.  great baby or birthday gift.  Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/ Myrick Marketing

Onomatopoeias. Counting concept book.  Repetitious phrases. Cute animals.  

Ten in Bed by Gill Guile has all of that as well as super cute pictures and a fun board book with a not necessary but fun window, and the last couple pages that lend well to asking a couple predicting questions.  

This is a cute board book, and it would be perfect for 1-4 year olds.  I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars in my book review.  I liked the illustrations and color scheme; they bode well for a toddler bedtime book with the cute calming colors.  I love books with repetition, and this book has repetition on almost every page with the same phrases and events repeating.  Repetitious phrases are perfect for this age.  I like this simple math counting concept book.  Concept books are simple yet valuable for this age group.  

I felt the onomatopoeias in the book, aka the sound words, each and every animal makes when they fall out of bed could've been better.  Some of the animals sounds just didn't flow or seemed awkward.

Amazon had the following short and simple book description.  Did you ever sing this song? 

"There were ten in the bed, and the little one said, "Roll over! Roll over!" So they all rolled over and one fell out! Based on the popular song, ten cute and cuddly stuffed animals OINK!, MEOW!, and QUACK! their way off the bed in this lighthearted romp."

Ten in Bed illustrated by Gill Guile gets 4.5/5 stars in my book review of this baby counting concept board book. is fun for kids with the page cut outs, repetitious text, and the fun animals.  great baby or birthday gift.  Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/ Myrick Marketing

I love math, introducing a math concept book to my little toddlers just warms my nerdy heart.  Do you read many concept books?  Concept books are books that teach a concept like alphabet, math, shapes, and colors are just a few of the many various concept books.

Definitely go check out this fun book if you have a toddler or preschooler.   

Happy Counting Concept Board Book Reading! 


Ten in Bed illustrated by Gill Guile
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Best For: 1- 4 year olds, toddlers to preschoolers
Worth a Check Out: Yes!
Buy It or Not: A gift, but not for yourself.
Read Aloud: No, it's better in smaller settings
Lesson Ideas: Counting concept, subtraction



I received this book from Myrick Marketing in exchange for my review and honest opinion.  All of my thoughts, opinions, and words are my own.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Inquisitor's Tale gets 4 Stars {middle grade fiction, newbery honor}

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz is a 2017 Newbery Honor  Book gets 4 out of 5 stars in my book review of this middle grade fiction book. Juvenile lit, middle ages, magical, dark ages, christianity, king louis, france, miracles, Alohamora Open a Book www.alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com

That silver sticker on the front means it's a pretty good book.  Okay, the silver sticker on the front means its one of the best books published last year.  Kind of a big deal when you think about the ridiculous number of books published each and every year.

That silver sticker means it's a Newbery Honor book, aka a runner-up to the most distinguished book published last year in America.  

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz won the Newbery Honor book this year.  

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.  I liked this book.  I liked the setting and that I learned so much about the middle ages.  I really liked the author's note at the end that included the inspiration for the characters and events; it was incredibly detailed and in depth.  I laughed out loud when I learned the farting dragon was a historical story Gidwitz came across; while reading the story I really thought the author put it in there just to attrack the boys.  I really did like this story and it's similarity to the Canterbury Tales, but that it was so creative and complex.  

There were only a few things I didn't like about the book; hence the high rating it deserved.  I didn't love that the book was slower in pace.  It wasn't a slow story or have any slow parts, but it did feel like a slow and methodical pace that wound it's way through.  I do think Gidwitz did a great job writing this book, and is well deserving of the Newbery Honor.  Overall, it is well written, a good story, funny, a tad random, and have enjoyable illustrations.

However, I think children would struggle to read this book or the book may struggle to keep the child's interest.  Personally, I'm not sure I would've read this book had it not won an award. Though, I'm glad I did read it, and I'm glad I listened to part of the audiobook.  The audiobook version is well done with several different voices for the many characters and other characters involved.   

I may have not picked up this book to read, but School Library Journal states in their review that this book is a must read. 


"What is a miracle? Is a miracle what happens when, faced with murderous bandits, a teenage monk rips a leg off his donkey, beats them to death with it, then restores the donkey's leg? Or is it a miracle when a cranky innkeeper is so moved by a little girl's friendliness that he risks his life to help her and her companions flee a posse of armed knights? Maybe the real miracle happens when readers attracted to the action and violence a particular author is known for find themselves strongly invested in the moral questions that plague bandit-killing monk and friendly peasant girl alike—along with every other character they encounter, from a young minstrel/pickpocket to Louis IX. Gidwitz's tale of medieval France successfully combines the epic with the personal, aiming for that heart-stopping moment when characters readers have come to care about find themselves on a collision course with one of the great wood chippers of history—the Inquisition, agents of which are in hot pursuit of three underdog characters (and one actual dog) from the very start. It is left to the titular Inquisitor to discover the truth behind the legends that quickly rise to surround these kids. He nudges it from each of the travelers at a roadside inn, the narrative tension rising as each facet is revealed. VERDICT This book appeals to the heart, to the mind, and to any reader's appetite for action: read it for the thrilling escapes, the fart jokes, the stinky cheese, and the palace intrigue. Read it for the Talmudic wisdom, commonsense philosophies, and moments of doubt. Read it for the palaces and monasteries and the unbelievable descriptions of food. But read it." 

So, what do you say, are you a medieval fan? Will you pick up this book to give it a read?  

I do think this could make an interesting book club book, or a great Battle of the Books book. 

Happy Medieval Award Winning Middle Grade Fiction reading!


The Inquisitor's Tale: Or The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz
Rating: 4/5 stars
Best For: 10- 14 year olds, 5th to 9th grade
Worth a Check Out: Yes!
Buy It or Not:  Probably not, unless you love the middle ages 
Read Aloud: It's a slow pace, but possibly in a 6th of 7th grade class or with a parent
Lesson Ideas: Middle Ages, France, Inquisitors


Monday, March 13, 2017

Protein Packed Vegetable Dip- 3 Ingredients {health, quick}

3 Ingredient Healthy Protein Packed Vegetable Dip- Veggies, appetizer, easy and quick to make. Simple. Delicious!  Kid friendly. Get kids to eat their vegetables. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

This dip. Is.  Magic. Absolutely magic.  

If you have a kiddo who refuses to eat veggies or makes that horrible gagging noise when forced to take a bit of a carrot then you need this dip.

This dip got all three of my kids to eat vegetables they had refused to eat in the past.  My 3 kids LOVE this dip, couldn't get enough of it, and probably had equal amounts dip to vegetable in every bite.  

I felt this dip is a definite mom win because my kids ate a TON of veggies!  

This Protein Packed Vegetable Dip is healthy, takes only 3 ingredients, and quick and easy to make.  You need this dip in your life! 

Protein Packed Vegetable Dip
Recipe: Alohamora slightly adapted from momsintofitness 
Active Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Time: 0 minutes
Servings: 2 1/2-3 cups

Ingredients
1 (16 oz) cottage cheese
1 (6 oz) plain Greek yogurt
1 (1 oz) dried ranch dressing seasoning

Vegetables to dip. 

Directions: 

  1. In a small bowl combine the 3 dip ingredients. 
  2. Using an immersion blender, or a blender if you don't have an immersion, blend the dip until it reaches your desired consistency.  
  3. Enjoy with vegetables of your choice! 
  4. Store leftovers in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. 
  5. Healthy Tip: cut and wash all of your vegetables and place them near your dip in the refrigerator so they are easy to grab.  This will help you make a healthy snack choice. 

Happy Healthy Super Quick and Easy Protein Packed Veggie Dip eating!


Friday, March 10, 2017

Peekaboo Baby Animals gets 4 Stars {interactive, board book}

Peekabook Baby Animals by Maddie Frost is a slide and peek interactive engaging board book that is perfect for the 1-4 year olds.  Toddlers to preschoolers especially the active and squirmy kids, boys and girls alike, will enjoy this book. rhyming, tigers, penguins, dogs, fun, involved books. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

Squirmy active toddlers.  If you are a parent, you have probably had them.  Kids that can't stop moving.  Kids that have to be doing something at all times.  Whether they are getting into your make-up, pulling out every toy, or just making an overall mess of things those active squirmy kids still need to be read to.  

So, how do you do it?  How do you get an active kid to sit and read a book with you?  

Interactive Books!  That is the key to helping your squirmy active child to sit and read a book.  Interactive books give all the benefits of reading, but allow your child to do something while they are learning new words, being taught simple inquiry skills, or just learning some print concepts.

Books are good, and interactive books are great.  


Peekabook Baby Animals by Maddie Frost is a slide and peek interactive engaging board book that is perfect for the 1-4 year olds.  Toddlers to preschoolers especially the active and squirmy kids, boys and girls alike, will enjoy this book. rhyming, tigers, penguins, dogs, fun, involved books. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

This interactive and engaging book with riddles/questions and a sliding page feature to show the answer makes it a fun book for 1-4 year olds. 

Peekaboo Baby Animals by Maddie Frost gets 4 out of 5 stars.  

I really like the "Who is hiding" questions and the illustrations that often show just a little sneak peek of the answer.  I like the illustrations and the slide feature is seamless with the picture.  

However, I do wish the slide aspect of the page wasn't so tough to slide open; I think the difficulty to slide the pages is partly b/c the book is new but also part of the necessary design.  The stiffness will frustrate some young readers and take away from being interactive, which makes the book so cool.  The only other aspect of the book I don't like is some of the peekaboo sentences don't flow as smoothly as others.  

This book isn't perfect, but all in all, I am a fan!  
  
Peekabook Baby Animals by Maddie Frost is a slide and peek interactive engaging board book that is perfect for the 1-4 year olds.  Toddlers to preschoolers especially the active and squirmy kids, boys and girls alike, will enjoy this book. rhyming, tigers, penguins, dogs, fun, involved books. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

The official book description pretty much sums up what I've already said so I won't share it, but I will say... this is a cute book for younger kiddos.

Happy Engaging Interactive Board Book Reading! 


Peekaboo Baby Animals by Maddie Frost
Rating: 4/5 stars
Best For: 1- 4 year olds, toddlers to preschoolers
Worth a Check Out: Yes!
Buy It or Not: A fun baby shower or birthday gift for an active toddler. 
Read Aloud: No, it's better in smaller settings 
Lesson Ideas: Inquiry, using clues to solve the riddles/questions, animals in their environment



I received this book from Myrick Marketing in exchange for my review and honest opinion.  All of my thoughts, opinions, and words are my own.



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

RoseBlood gets 2 Stars {ya lit, paranormal}

RoseBlood by A.G. Howard gets 2 out of 5 stars in my book review of this classic modern retelling/continuation of The Phantom of the Opera with a paranormal twist.  ya lit, teen read, owlcrate january 2017, high school, vampires, singing, slow read. Alohamora Open a Book

Expectations may have been set a bit too high when I was 15 years old attending my first musical in London.  I saw The Phantom of the Opera and thought all musicals were as amazing as that one, and wondered why my parents had waited so long to introduce me to such awesomeness.  The music was absolutely amazing, and the theater was a little smaller and the best venue for it.  After that show, I was disappointed with many shows for 5 years until I saw Les Miserables
  
A.G. Howard and I have never been big fans of each other.  Well, it's more of a one sided relationship since she has no clue who I am.  Though, I like to think I know the authors of the books I read, and I am sure we'd probably go have lunch together if they lived close to me.  I mean, that's totally normal to think that way right? 

I've read Splintered, another popular series by Howard, and I just wasn't a fan.  I realize I may be too old for some YA authors, or my expectations may be too high.  However, my feelings for Howard's previous work didn't sway my excitement for RoseBlood.  

RoseBlood is a modern continuation/retelling of The Phantom of the Opera.  My 15 year old self has such blissful feelings for Phantom.  Since, I hadn't read a spin-off, retelling, or continuation of Phantom before I was excited to crack this cover.  

Would this book description sell you? 

"This YA novel from New York Times bestselling author A. G. Howard marks the beginning of a new era for fans of the Splintered series. Rune Germain moves to a boarding school outside of Paris, only to discover that at this opera-house-turned-music-conservatory, phantoms really do exist. RoseBlood is a Phantom of the Opera–inspired retelling in which Rune’s biggest talent—her voice—is also her biggest curse. Fans of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the Splintered series will find themselves captivated by this pulse-pounding spin on a classic tale.
 
Rune, whose voice has been compared to that of an angel, has a mysterious affliction linked to her talent that leaves her sick and drained at the end of every performance. Convinced creative direction will cure her, her mother ships her off to a French boarding school for the arts, rumored to have a haunted past.
 
Shortly after arriving at RoseBlood conservatory, Rune starts to believe something otherworldly is indeed afoot. The mystery boy she’s seen frequenting the graveyard beside the opera house doesn’t have any classes at the school, and vanishes almost as quickly as he appears. When Rune begins to develop a secret friendship with the elusive Thorn, who dresses in clothing straight out of the 19th century, she realizes that in his presence she feels cured. Thorn may be falling for Rune, but the phantom haunting RoseBlood wants her for a very specific and dangerous purpose. As their love continues to grow, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or save her and face the wrath of the phantom, the only father he’s ever known.
 
A. G. Howard brings the romantic storytelling that Splintered fans adore to France—and an entirely new world filled with lavish romance and intrigue—in a retelling inspired by a story that has captivated generations. Fans of both the Phantom of the Opera musical and novel, as well as YA retellings such as Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, will devour RoseBlood."


That's a long description, but what do you think? Are you sold?

I was sold just b/c of The Phantom of the Opera connection.  However, I was definitely disappointed as I started reading the book.  

RoseBlood by A.G. Howard gets 2 out of 5 stars in my book review.  This book is slow; it was painfully slow at times.  Some chapters are excessively detailed and drag along.  Other chapters merely touch on an important detail, like Rune's grandma trying to kill her multiple times, but don't give more explanation to it.  It seemed like Howard wrote too much on the unimportant aspects and didn't explain the character developing moments. 

I also felt there were just too many ridiculous, cheesy, or predictable aspects of the story for me to consider this book a quality read.  For example, it's ridiculous to think a boarding school in modern times would have no computers, cell phones, or technology of any kind.  I thought the whole "twin flame" split soul thing was cheesy and odd.  From the beginning, when you learn about Rune's gift, you know she is of course going to win the best singer role at the school and she is of course is going to be a cool girl even though she isn't nice to people.  

Really, I feel the story ideas, like Splintered and RoseBlood, Howard has are great, but the execution just lacks for me.  The lack of character development and the uneven pace/flow of the story is disappointing and a turn-off.  

I will say there is a possibility that I am just getting too old for some YA/Teen Reads.  However, I'd like to think that'll never be the case b/c I am so young at heart.  ;)

What did you think of RoseBlood?  If you are looking for an hilarious read, with some language and spoilers, check out this one on Goodreads

I may have high expectations when it comes to musicals and literature, but I feel there's nothing wrong with always seeking out the best.  

Happy paranormal Phantom of the Opera reading!

      

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

January OwlCrate Classic Remix gets 3 Stars {ya lit subscription box}

OwlCrate Classic Remix YA Lit Subscription Box by OwlCrate.  RoseBlood by A.G. Howard, tea, magnets, bookmarks, pin, calendar, and more fun.  Love the OwlCrate boxes.  Subscription boxes, teen reads, romance, paranormal book, book mail happy mail  Alohamora Open a Book www.alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com

Once a month a cute little brown box arrives on my door; it is full of goodies inside and a new book to read.  I like to think it's an owl that delivered it, but it never comes at breakfast when the House Elves are making breakfast. ;)  Though, when my white truck delivery man drops the package at my door it is definitely a glorious day.  I love when my OwlCrate comes in the mail. 

OwlCrate Classic Remix YA Lit Subscription Box by OwlCrate.  RoseBlood by A.G. Howard, tea, magnets, bookmarks, pin, calendar, and more fun.  Love the OwlCrate boxes.  Subscription boxes, teen reads, romance, paranormal book  Alohamora Open a Book www.alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com

January's box was themed Classic Remix and I gave the box as a whole 3 out of 5 stars.  it was an okay box, but nothing that blew my mind or I was super excited about.  There was some delicious smelling soap, but I rarely use bar soap.  This box also contained a calendar, tea, magnet, bookmark, and the book RoseBlood by A.G. Howard. 

OwlCrate Classic Remix YA Lit Subscription Box by OwlCrate.  RoseBlood by A.G. Howard, tea, magnets, bookmarks, pin, calendar, and more fun.  Love the OwlCrate boxes.  Subscription boxes, teen reads, romance, paranormal book  Alohamora Open a Book www.alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com

I think the items in this box that I enjoy the most is the magnet and bookmark, b/c their design is beautiful. I feel Sweet Sequels did a great job creating a creative and original Phantom of the Opera magnet.  Plus, that Etsy shop has an amazing Harry Potter quilt that I am currently drooling over. It is amazing!  I also think the sturdy cardstock watercolor bookmark from Lexy Olivia is simple and beautiful, and her Etsy shop says they are all handmade.  Wow! 

The calendar by Obvious State is cool and well designed, but I just don't have a great place to put it.  The soap, by TeaSoapBooks, is in the shape of an open book.  It is super cute and smells amazing; I just wish I used bar soap.  The tea, by First Edition Tea Co, is a mint herbal tea and it is inspired by The Little Prince.  I love that book and love that their teas are based on books.  Though, I keep forgetting to try the tea b/c I am in love with my apple cider vinegar tea right now.  Oh it is yummy!

OwlCrate Classic Remix YA Lit Subscription Box by OwlCrate.  RoseBlood by A.G. Howard, tea, magnets, bookmarks, pin, calendar, and more fun.  Love the OwlCrate boxes.  Subscription boxes, teen reads, romance, paranormal book  Alohamora Open a Book www.alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com

Finally, the whole reason for the subscription box is the young adult literature book.  January's book was RoseBlood by A.G. Howard.  It is a continuation of sort of The Phantom of the Opera.  I was actually incredibly excited for this book b/c I love The Phantom of the Opera.   I haven't been a huge fan of Howard's work in the past, but that didn't even sway my excitement for this book.

Besides the book, every OwlCrate box includes a letter from the author and a signature sticker.  I like those little touches.  It's fun!  

This may not have been my favorite box, and I probably wouldn't have spent the $30 on it had I known how I was going to feel about the book, but yet I don't regret the box either.  Does that make any sense at all?  

The book review of RoseBlood will be on the blog tomorrow.  Check back tomorrow!  

I am still loving my OwlCrate subscription box, but I am definitely intrigued with the OwlCrate Jr. boxes with a middle grade fiction book and fandom.  Those boxes are geared toward 8-12 year olds.  I may have to try it out one month to see what I think.  

I know there are several subscription boxes out there, but I don't know all of them.   Do you get any?  Which ones are your favorite?  

Happy subscription box mail and happy book reading

Friday, March 3, 2017

Actually Delicious Apple Cider Vinegar Tea {healthy, allergy free}

Apple Cider Vinegar Tea that is delicious with all of the health benefits and more.  This tea is amazing, and easy to make in 5 minutes. Healthy, boost immune system, fight cancer, help your heart, help diabetes, etc.  So many benefits, and this tea you will LOVE to drink. Alohamora Open a Book https://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com

I drank a shot of apple cider vinegar (ACV) with water and thought I was going to throw-up.  True story.  I will spare you the gross details, but just know that I am weak, and I just couldn't swallow the stuff.  I tried.  For several days I tried.  However, my body was clearly telling a big No Bueno to ACV.  

I have an autoimmune thyroid issue, and I had read so many things about the benefit of drinking apple cider vinegar for my general health as well as for my thyroid.

Here are a few benefits to apple cider vinegar that I quickly found: 

  1. Helps with heart health and fighting heart disease including lowering cholesterol. 
  2. Helps lower blood sugar and therefore helps Type 2 Diabetes. 
  3. Helps you lose weight b/c you feel fuller longer. 
  4. Helps detoxify the liver. 
  5. Helps get rid of Candida overgrowth which causes many problems. 
  6. Helps with digestion... this was big for me b/c I get nauseous so frequently. 
  7. Helps slow aging.
  8. Helps prevent osteoporosis.

That's a lot of reasons to drink ACV, plus there is more.  Basically, they say drinking apple cider vinegar is the bomb.com for your health.  I wanted to be cool, I mean healthy, so I jumped on the ACV bandwagon.  

However, I was thrown violently off that same bandwagon when I just couldn't stomach the stuff.  I even bought the Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar b/c I read it was the best and that is what you needed to get the full health benefits.  I was hopeful it would taste better than the first shot of ACV that I tried with the store brand I had in my pantry.    

Oh boy was I wrong.  Bragg's or store brand, it was still gross.  I didn't understand how people drank this stuff.  I even added a ridiculous amount of honey, we're talking at least 4 tablespoons of honey for my 1 tablespoon of ACV.  However, nothing could touch the taste of ACV.  ACV is just gross.  There was no way around it, and I had decided I was never going to have the health benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar.  

However, if you never try ACV, which you most definitely should with this recipe, this story should teach you that you should never give up.  I mean, I had given up on ACV years ago, but then one day I had an idea.  This idea included apple cider vinegar and a combination of other flavors.  This idea has been about 2 1/2 months in the working, but I am extremely happy with the result.     

This idea involves drinking that awesome super healthy apple cider vinegar.  This idea also includes a few other benefits like cinnamon (which they say helps with weight loss and boosts your immune system), lemon juice (vitamin C boost, detox, and digestion aid), and honey (help prevent cancer, regulate blood sugar, and more).  


Basically, I started combining all of these oh so awesome and powerful ingredients to create an actually drinkable and Super Hero version of apple cider vinegar.  This recipe is defintely the bomb.com. 

This week I hosted book club at my house; we discussed My Lady Jane.  I felt a book set in England called for a Tea Party of sorts.  For the first time I pulled out the china tea cups my Grandma gave me.  It was fun to remember my Gma in that little way, and I got to serve the only tea that I love drinking. #win  

Yes, I have come far in the past few years.  I started with dry heaving every time I drank apple cider vinegar to loving drinking my Super Boost Tea. 


Delicious and Beneficial Apple Cider Vinegar Tea
Recipe: Alohamora 
Active Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Time: 0 minutes
Servings: 1 cup

Ingredients
1 c. warm/hot water
1 Tbsp Bragg's apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2-1 Tbsp honey
dash ( at most 1/16 tsp) cinnamon, ground

Directions

  1. I stick a mug with 1 cup of water in the microwave for 1 minute. 
  2. I add the Bragg's ACV, make sure it is Bragg's, lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon in the order listed and stir to combine everything.  You can add more honey if you like your tea a little sweeter; the amount of honey I use really depends on how much sleep I got the night before.  A rough night usually means I need more honey.  Apparently, I need to sweeten my day.  ;)
  3. Enjoy your tea!

Happy Super Powerful Healthy Beneficial and Delicious Apple Cider Vinegar drinking