Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Review: Dude Perfect: 101 Tricks, Tips, and Cool Stuff by Dude Perfect

Today's review works great as another...


This one is for the adventurous and advantageous guys (and girls) out there (ages 9 and up). It's a non-fiction read and follows the well-known Dude Perfect group with tons of tips, tricks, and so much more. This one is really great for fathers and kids, a bunch of friends, or anyone who loves to do something odd, out-there, and bordering on over-the-top. Plus, it's a ton of fun to flip through and read.


 
DUDE PERFECT
101 Tricks, Tips, and Cool Stuff
by Dude Perfect and Travis Thrasher
Thomas Nelson
Middle Grade Non-Fiction
ages 9 to 14









This photo-intensive, behind-the-scenes look at the viral sensation Dude Perfect offers step-by-step instructions for great do-it-at-home stunts along with valuable life lessons such as perseverance and teamwork, direct from DP headquarters.

Tweens and teens, ages 8 to 12, will enjoy complete panda-monium with this incredible look at Dude Perfect: five guys (and one mysterious panda) who are kickin' it, throwin' it, tossin' it, and shootin' it for more than 53 million YouTube subscribers with more than ten billion views.

With an oversize format and Dude-worthy graphics, Dude Perfect 101 Tricks, Tips, and Cool Stuff includes . . .

Step-by-step instructions on how to perform some of the Dudes' dynamite tricks using easy-to-obtain items.
Behind-the-scenes glimpses at those hilarious stereotype videos and extreme sports moments.
Dude-perfect teaching about what a blast patience, perseverance, teamwork, friendship, and faith can be.
Fun science facts behind the seemingly impossible tricks--because really, how did they do that?!
Infographics with "No way!" truths from the inspirational to the absurd.
A deeper look into each Dude's personal life, including stats, favorite stunts, and insights.
Ideal for down time or simply a weekend at home, each trick in Dude Perfect 101 Tricks, Tips, and Cool Stuff is the perfect combination of challenging and doable to keep your young reader off-screen for hours. This interactive book is a great gift for birthdays, Easter baskets, holiday gift giving, or just because.

Whether your own trickster wants to perform solo, challenge a friend, or host a family date night, this visually engaging book is a slam-dunk for anyone who is young at heart.



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MY TIDBITS

I really didn't know much about Dude Perfect when this one came into my grasp, but my kids did...and they had a lot to say while reading through this book.

Dude Perfect started on Youtube and boomed from there. Their specialty: trick shots...but not just any trick shots. This group of friends...and a panda bear...tried all sorts of things and let their imagination take flight. This book revisits many of these moments, gives background information, how-tos for those wanting to try some stuff on their own, and adds just a whole lot of information, useful and not. In other words, this one is a treasure chest, especially for kids ages ten and up (and I know more than a couple of men, who'd be willing to dive in, too), who love doing adventurous things and beyond.

First, we get to learn a little bit about each of the Dude Perfect members, and not in a boring way. These guys want to have fun, and that radiates from every page. Much of it is trying the craziest shots (balls, airplanes, footballs, and more), but they do include facts and useful tips along the way, adding a bit of science and interesting tidbits. The how-tos range from simple to very advanced, and give often only the basic descriptions. So, there's a little own ingenuity required...and the help of an adult can be helpful, too. (And many of these 'ideas' go beyond the usual and normal range). But then, these guys are all about trying your own thing and discovering fun along the way.

Parents should be aware that this book does inspire ridiculousness. So, those readers who are already more than a little adventuresome might be willing to try some of these without telling the parents...something which can cause huge problems. Not that this is bad...and the authors do mention often that parental guidance is a good idea...but adults need to be aware that this might occur and keep their eyes a little more open than usual. 

Otherwise, this book is a ton of fun and inspiration pure. It's fun to flip through and just enjoy things here and there, or take ideas and really try them out. 


Monday, December 6, 2021

Review: Type X by M. A. Phipps with Giveaway!

 

Today's review slides into a dystopian world and is the 2nd book in the series. And guess what? I actually read the first one awhile ago! The first one did end with a cliff-hanger and was a good enough read that I was excited to see what happens next. And since I haven't hit a dystopian recently, it was time to dive back in.


TYPE X
by M.A. Phipps
Project W.A.R., #2
Publication date: March 26th 2021
YA Dystopian







 

Feared by many. Frightened of few. Torn between humanity and the monster she’s become.

When Wynter surrendered to the DSD two years ago, she thought she was protecting her friends. Lured by the promise of a cure, she hoped she might finally be rid of her devastating disease or, at least, be on the path to controlling it. But Dr. Richter was never interested in curing her.

With a collar around her neck keeping her unstable powers in check, Wynter is transformed into an unstoppable weapon. Compelled to do the State’s bidding, she kills without feeling, remembering nothing of the people she gave herself up to protect. Her only thought is to obey.

When a mission goes wrong, triggering suppressed memories, Wynter finds herself determined to piece together her past. But as she uncovers the truth, she realizes it’s no longer clear who the real enemy is, and with the threat of war looming, she must again make a choice. Can she escape her role in the impending destruction?

Or is she doomed to remain a monster forever?

TYPE X is the second book in the Project W. A. R. trilogy, which readers have compared to The Giver, Divergent, and The Hunger Games!

“This series is a must-read for dystopian and YA readers.” ★★★★★

“Twists at every chapter will have you thinking and rethinking about the way things will play out and even then you will never see it coming!” ★★★★★

“Amazing story that leaves you begging for the next one.” ★★★★★

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play


MY TIDBITS

After having read and enjoyed the first book in this series, I was excited to dive into this one. Since the last one ended on a cliff-hanger, it's safe to say that this second book doesn't work very well as a stand alone. The series should be read as such. This one also ends with a cliff-hanger...just to give a heads up. Unfortunately, it did take long enough for this second book to come out that I had forgotten many of the details and should have grabbed up book one again to refresh some things.

This tale takes place in the remote future. Wynter, who was finally captured by the State and fell under the Dr.'s hands, is now their strongest weapon. Her special genetics gives her powers, which no one can match or even slightly come-up against. She's battling, however, some guilt on the psychological end (only a tiny bit, though) with the death toll she's caused and is still causing, but thanks to missing memories, she continues her destruction as commanded. When a solider stares at her with a look of fear, something clicks. Her carefully built wall of indifferences starts to crack.

As said, I really should have revisited the first book before diving into this one because there were holes for more than a few chapters thanks to my memory loss (so, I guess I understand Wynter in that sense?) Honestly, this is a well written book and holds tons of excitement, action, and unexpected twists and turns as book one did. In other words, this one is an enjoyable read and does keep the suspense, tension, and emotions running high. I'm glad I picked it up and am looking forward to the next in the series because this one ends on another amazing note, which demands for more. So, dystopian fans who love a little hint of super powers and rebellions and greedy governments are going to like this one.

Unlike the first book, this one digs deep into Wynter's psych the first chapters. She doesn't really speak to anyone but goes about her destruction and life in her head. Whatever character depth was missing in book one is made up for during the first part of this book and is well done. On the other side, we don't really get to know Wynter, either, since all glimpses into her day-to-day life are missing. We see her fulfilling orders and being escorted back and forth to her room. I couldn't help but wonder what she did between those attacks, but this came up with zilch. Still, it'd be wrong to say this really hurt the tale because it does grab and hold in. 

When things start unraveling and Wynter begins to remember things and sees people she recognizes, the atmosphere switches, leaving her head for the rest of the world. This means ranked up tension, much more action, but much less character depth. Which is fine, since being in her head would have dragged after awhile. So, this one is well enough done and is entertaining until the end. Now, I can only hope the next book doesn't take too long because I am more than curious to see how this all ends.

SNEAK PEEK

A heavy wind slams into the side of the helicopter, jerking the metal carcass with rough, repetitive jolts, which threaten to send the gargantuan carrier aircraft spiraling to the ground. The two dozen Enforcers around me don’t seem to take much notice of the turbulence, their expressions drawn, eyes fixed straight ahead, like robots that have been programmed to concentrate only on the specified task laid out before us.

Propping my head back against the vibrating wall, I focus on the roaring drone of the rotors, listening intently to the constant whir. Steadied by the deafening hum, I drag in a deep breath and let my eyes drift closed, my heart rate evening out as I distance my thoughts from what awaits when we land. More than anything, I wish my consciousness could remain in this state of calm in-between forever. Here, reality is but a dim afterthought.

Unfortunately, such blissful escape isn’t an option.

I push out an exasperated breath through my nose and peek open my eyes, scowling at the tingle creeping over my face. Even without looking, I can tell someone’s watching me. The burning touch of wandering eyes is a far too familiar sensation by this point—that unavoidable curiosity that seems to go hand in hand with what I am now that my existence is public knowledge.

Hell, after this long, I’ve grown to expect it.

Looking up, I narrow my eyes into slits, glaring at the Enforcer strapped in the seat directly across from me. He doesn’t glance away, which intrigues me considering how skittish others tend to become in my presence. Especially the newer recruits who have only heard stories of my unfathomable power.

Based on this particular soldier’s appearance, I’d be willing to venture a guess and wager he’s barely older than me. Perhaps we’re even the same age, although twenty is unusually young for an Enforcer. Then again, the State is at war. The rules for registration have likely been eased to help expand our ranks for the battles ahead.

If only these soldiers knew how little their presence in this war even matters.

Typically, registration age begins at twenty-five, so the person in question has to work within their designated career for a minimum of six years before they can make the conscious choice to become an Enforcer—a decision not to be made lightly given everything the individual would be sacrificing. For one, service to the State is for life, which means no reneging and going back to your previous career, not to mention that Enforcers all reside in the barracks in Zone 5, which means surrendering any previously assigned living quarters. Secondly, Enforcers aren’t allowed to enter partnerships or have families of their own and all existing familial ties must be severed. This rule is in place to prevent deviant forces from ransoming loved ones to gain access to intel or admission to prohibited locations that an Enforcer would be able to access. Not that such an eventuality is even really a threat to the State. Enforcers are nicknamed Loyalists for a reason, and they live and breathe devotion to the governing body. The good of the State must always come first.

To them, nothing and no one else matters.

The young soldier’s dark eyes scan over my throat before meeting my gaze again, his pupils blown wide with the same fear written all over his face. The metal ring around my neck chafes against the skin of my collarbone when I shift in my seat. As the Enforcer quickly looks down at the floor, I grasp what it is he’s truly afraid of.

The irony of the situation would be amusing if it wasn’t so damn maddening. The battle we’re about to fly into poses far more danger to the Enforcers aboard this aircraft than I do, and yet, I’m the one he’s second-guessing. Or maybe, he’s simply doubting the effectiveness of my collar.

I breathe in, holding back a mocking laugh.

Dont worry, I’m tempted to say to him. You arent the one who needs to fear me.


Author Bio:

M. A. PHIPPS is an American author who resides near the ocean in picturesque Cornwall with her husband, daughter, and their Jack Russell, Milo. A lover of the written word, it has always been her dream to become a published author, and it is her hope to expand into multiple genres of fiction.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook Page / Facebook Group / Twitter / Instagram / Newsletter



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Happy Book Birthday, What Happened to Coco by VB Furlong with Giveaway!

 


WHAT HAPPENED TO COCO
by VB Furlong
December 4th 2021
YA Thriller









 

When a girl disappears, long-buried secrets resurface…

Coco is missing. Her room’s a mess, and her phone is left behind in her dorm at Lainsbury Hall School

Ella, Coco’s childhood best friend, is desperate for her to return, although she knows that if she ever sees Coco again, there’ll be a lot of explaining to do.

Bea knows that her new group of friends attracts drama, and she thinks she has the last shred of common sense between them all. Only, if that was true, she would leave Genevieve, her toxic ex, well alone.

Conrad is confident that Coco will return safe and well. Only, the way his secrets are unravelling, he’s worried he won’t be when this is all over.

Harrison and Coco are the perfect couple. Everyone knows that. But looks can be misleading. Even the smartest boy in school can make a terrible mistake.

In order to navigate the web of secrets and lies that Coco leaves behind, her circle of friends needs to unravel a few of their own.

But the question remains: What happened to Coco?

Goodreads / Amazon


SNEAK PEEK

In the misty darkness lit only by a blue streetlamp, Ella knew that she was not alone. She turned and saw the faceless figure far down the drizzly street. It came towards her at speed. It didn’t seem to be moving, but she knew that it was gaining on her. She started to run, but her legs would not move. She was stuck, as though in quicksand.

When she dared check over her shoulder once again, the figure was only about five steps away, and she could see raspy breaths escape the black silhouette in a wispy white cloud. The scene whirred in front of Ella as she pulled on her legs, sobbing, begging them to move. But they would not. All she could hear was the breathing, slow and rattling, as though it was the figure’s very last. Four. Three. Two.

It was the skeletal hand on her shoulder that woke her. In the darkness of her room, she was alone. She turned her alarm off and felt uneasy in the silence. She was soaking wet, her back from sweat, her face from tears.

She washed her face, hardly daring to open her eyes and look into the mirror above the sink. She felt watched, hunted. As she brushed her teeth, she turned on all her lights and opened the dreary brown curtains that Lainsbury Hall School had placed in all the dorms. But even in her bright vanity lamps that took over her dressing table, drowning her in bright white light as she did her make up, her eyes darted around the corners of her mirrors, checking all angles of the room in the reflection for the faceless spectre. She was not herself today. Then again, she hadn’t been herself yesterday, either.


And here she is...

VB Furlong is a trainee lawyer and writer of young adult novels living in Berkshire, UK. She wrote her first “novel” at aged ten and has not stopped since then. Through her writing she aims to explore many of the issues she faced herself growing up, in the hopes that others facing the same issues feel some solidarity. Her friendships are a huge part of her life and consequently is a major theme in her writing, exploring the way in which we interact with each other, especially in difficult times.

Originally from Mumbles, Swansea, VB Furlong enjoys the sun and the sea, and walking her three dogs across the cliffs. These walks have offered her inspiration for many pieces of writing, including What Happened to Coco which she is excited to introduce as a coming of age boarding school thriller.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Review: When a Brave Bear Fights Cancer by Carola Schmidt

 

WHEN A BRAVE BEAR FIGHTS CANCER
A Get Well Soon Gift
by Carola Schmidt
Illustrated by Mark O'Dwyer
Picture Book
44 pages 
ages 4 to 8




A whimsical, cuddle up with a cutie furball moment…

Do you or your child need help understanding cancer or coping with treatment? You need a bear hug boost! The strong, positive and trustworthy message in this book—coming from teddy bears you'll want to hug!—is ideal for kids that are going through cancer treatment.


GOODREADS   /    AMAZON   /    BOOK DEPOSITORY   /   B&N  


MY TIDBITS

With care, quality and a wonderful sense of encouragement, this book walks a child through what it means to have cancer and that in a very factual, and yet, gentle way.

Cancer is a difficult discovery for anyone, and this book especially directs itself toward younger listeners, who are facing it themselves or know someone who is. The author has many years of hands-on experience and yet, is able to bring the subject matter down to level young listeners can understand. There are some larger words, which will need explaining, but in general, this is very well done for the audience level.

The illustrations flow along with a special touch. The scenes of the bears are very well done and radiate a sense of calm and gentleness. The photographer is also very versed in this area, and the quality shows.

I was impressed at how the author tackles this subject. It starts out with the diagnosis and takes one step after the other from there. The various types of therapy are presented (everything from chemotherapy to surgery), but all of this is done in a care-filled way, which keeps fear subdued. The author even explains what cancer is, and how it works...and always in a way, young listeners can grasp. Most importantly, one message rings clear the entire way through—you are not alone. There's always a warm paw to hold on to and someone by your side.  In other words, this is a book I can recommend.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Review: Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

Today's review isn't a super, brand new release, but that doesn't mean I wasn't over the moon to get my hands on a copy from the publisher. (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!) 

Yes, I have read the Infernal Devices series and did read The Mortal Instruments series but stopped there since I did have my fill of the Shadowhunters. Now, that we've fast forwarded to a few years later, I was thrilled to have the chance to dive right back into Cassandra Clare's latest series, The Last Hours. Isn't that cover gorgeous???

Anyway, I'm going to keep myself form gushing too much and just head into the review, okie dokie?



CHAIN OF GOLD
The Last Hours, Book One
by Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Young Adult Fantasy
592 pages















Chain of Gold, a Shadowhunters novel, is the first novel in a brand-new trilogy where evil hides in plain sight and love cuts deeper than any blade. .

Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.

But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.


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MY TIDBITS

For all of those readers out there, who have been yearning to have another tale which pulls in like the first Shadowhunters' series, it's time to rejoice because this latest book from Cassandra Clare captures that first amazing flare and lets it thrive in an entire new generation of Shadowhunters.

Cordelia's father has been accused for a crime he didn't solely commit and is being used as the scapegoat. In an attempt to retain whatever respect her family can, they move to London. Despite the year-long quiet, demon attacks suddenly emerge in the city right along with their arrival...and these demons carry a whole new row of threats and unexpected dangers. London is quarantined, trapping Cordelia and her friends in the city. Not only do they find themselves trying their best to battle the demons and get to the root of the problem, but they need to learn to understand their own powers, which are now coming to light.

There's always something special about picking up a book from Cassandra Clare. The writing flows so smoothly, balancing vibrant world building with unique characters and their distinct personalities. It didn't even take a page to know that this was going to be a very, well-crafted book. The author is talented and does master her art. That alone made it worth a read.

These characters shine as much as Will, Jem and Tessa did in the first books. (Here, it's important to note that while a person can read this new series without hitting the other books first, those readers will be missing out on background information, which does twist and wind into this new series and give it unique richness and depth.) There are more characters in this new series, and each one shines with their own quirks, ticks, strengths and deficiencies. Plus, the original characters are also back—older, still amazing, but playing second-fiddle to the new generation. And it's good so. 

Now, if you're looking for plot, this book was not super strong on this end. At least, not as strong as it could have been. There are demons and weaves going on, but the plot seems to be more of a sideline for the ever twisting character relationships, fears, and insecurities. And that is just fine. These relationships and self-discoveries carry the book well, draw in, and grab the reader the entire way through. There are many unexpected moments as friends need to adjust, romances form or break, and each one tries their best to work out who they truly are and where they stand in life and the fight. In other words, this one is drama pure and a delicious one at that. And yes, even love triangles stake their glorious claim and show that not all of them are boring or cliche. 

Summing it up, fans of the Shadowhunters are going to feel a sense of coming home when they read this one. Not only are there new characters to love and breathe for, but the secrets, hopes, and angst drips from every personality and page. While I do wish that the plot would have been just as strong, I can't really hold that against this novel, either, since this one is extremely well done on the character end...and that does make it a read to enjoy until the very end, where ever that may lead.