A Tale of Two Pages

Books, life, motherhood, and more!

Summer Vacation and the Book Dilemma — July 17, 2018

Summer Vacation and the Book Dilemma

Summer vacation is upon us, and the time for reading has become slimmer. I try to read for an hour every night before going to bed, but this last week that proved impossible. My sister stayed with me while I was at my parents for a week, and so instead of reading – we talked and listened to CreepyPasta stories.

Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely LOVE the time that I get to spend with family! It is wonderful getting caught up and making new memories. Books are my relaxation tool. I read to forget stress and frustration. I realized as I was packing up to leave, that I had not cracked open one of the books that I had brought to read. I read several stories to my nieces and nephews, but my reading was put on the back burner. Ya know, I am okay with that! I would rather have the memories of snuggling with the littles and sharing some of my favorite stories with them, then sitting there going, “I read four books this week.”

Now that I am back home, and the quiet of the house has settled around me, I find myself looking through my list of books trying to decide what to read next. There are so many books that I need to read, want to read, or have planned to read – however, nothing is grabbing me! I cannot find the want to read now. I missed it while I was away, but now that I have the time – nope!

Summer is always an enigma in our house. We tend to become busier than normal. Schedules are filled with activities, fun, and everything else in between. There are days I am not sure exactly what day it is, but as long as everything is on the calendar, I am good to go.  Right now, I am kid free! My kidlets are spending time with their grandparents. I have more time on my hands, and I am not sure how to fill it! I have had the time to sit back and evaluate how things are going in my life, my house, and work on figuring out a plan to get through the remainder of the summer and into the fall.

I have begun the planning segment for the upcoming school year. Lists are in progress of how I want certain things to go, and finances are being looked at. But there is something missing – the ordinary insanity in my house has come down to the dog, and she is content to lay on my feet and snooze the day away. In the insanity of feeling like I am forgetting something, I have started the massive MUST READ LIST – and adding it to my calendar. I love being able to plan everything out and look ahead to see what is upcoming.

How is your summer shaping up? Do you have any fun plans? Share your plans and summer reading goals with me!

 

Keep the kids reading this summer! — June 30, 2018

Keep the kids reading this summer!

I have some great books to share with you! Some are currently out, while others have yet to be released. These are some really fun kid reads, that are sure to keep your child engaged during the summer. I have been sneaky with my kids so far this summer. I am giving them fun books to read, and they are learning at the same time! Talk about a win-win situation!

 

Outside: Discovering Animals by Maria Ana Peixe Dias

What a fun book for kids! They will learn, without realizing it! I sat and read through this book, and plan to get a copy that my kids can use this coming fall.

There are so many interesting facts here, and I found myself learning while reading through it! Kids of all ages will have fun reading this book! Add this to your must-have list! This is a book that they can use again and again!

This book releases on 5 July 2018.

 

Amazing World: Bugs: Get to know 20 crazy bugs by L.J. Tracosas

Do you have a little bug lover in your life? This book is a great guide to the world of bugs. What they eat, where they live, and SO MUCH MORE! It is a quick read, and kids 5 and up will enjoy reading through and learning new little tidbits about some of their favorite critters.

Jump in and get to know the bug world just a little bit more this summer, and then head outside to find and watch your new little friends.

This book is now available for purchase!

 

The People Awards by Lily Murray

Get to know a little bit about some of the biggest names in history. From Abraham Lincoln to some of the most popular rockstars – this book has a lot of different facts and is chalk full of information.

Okay, parents – I love giving rave reviews, but this book had a few entries that rather raised my eyebrows. I would suggest that if you are thinking about getting this for your kids, that you take a look at it first. There are some things that I am not quite ready to discuss with my boys yet. Overall, I agreed with the majority of the people included, but there are always a few that you have to wonder about. On a star rating, this would get 4 stars from me.

This book releases on 7 August 2018.

 

Outside: Exploring Nature by Maria Ana Peixe Dias

This was a really fun book to read through. I loved the many different facets of nature that were discussed and illustrated in this book.

I have shared this with my kids, and they really enjoyed it as well. For kids ages 5 and up, this is the perfect gateway into understanding nature and getting to know the many different aspects that make up what we view in the natural world.

Get ready for a fun-filled adventure and enjoyable time reading with your kids.

This book released 5 July 2018.

 

Ranger Rick’s Guide to Hiking by Helen Olsson

If you love to spend time outdoors, then this is the perfect book for you! We love to hike, and this book is chalk full of awesome ideas and tips for all your hiking adventures.

We spend a lot of time outdoors with the Boy Scouts, and this is one book that I am going to recommend to the parents of our new scouts to look into. From clothing to food, and more, this book outlines and shares information on a level that kids 8 and up will easily understand.

Get ready to learn all the safety tips and fantastic ideas for hiking! Then get outside and enjoy nature!

This book is available now.

 

There are a few more books that you can look into:

  1. 10 reasons to love a penguin – Catherine Barr. This book is now available.
  2. 10 reasons to love a lion – Catherin Barr. This book is now available.
  3. Grandad Mandela – Ambassedor Zindzi Mandela. This book is available now
  4. The Know-Nonsense Guide to Space – Heidi Fiedler. This book releases 3 July 2018.
  5. The Bug Lab for Kids – John W. Guyton. This book is available now.

 

 

New Ideas and Upcoming Blog Changes — June 28, 2018

New Ideas and Upcoming Blog Changes

Good day! I hope that this summer is treating you well so far! It has been a really busy one here already! Working on the blog has taken a backseat to many of the adventures that kicked off the start of summer. We took some time off from home-schooling, as we were all needing a break. We are going to enjoy a little downtime before we dive back in. I am hoping that the boys enjoy the break as much as I am. They are going to get a little traveling in, and of course, I am getting a much-deserved break.

I wish that I could say that there has been a lot of reading going on. Things have really been slow in that department lately. There are so many fantastic books, and yet, so little time. Sleep has to happen once in a while. I think I might have slept once or twice this week – I think… that is still rather open for debate. My book list continues to grow, and there might be a slight issue when we eventually move. I mean – how many books are TOO MANY? There is no real answer to that, but in my view, there can never be enough books. At this point, I could open a small research library in my upstairs closet. We can all just hope that the shelving holds together and not come crashing down in the middle of the night! While I was looking over my to-read list for this year, I realized that I still have 131 to read and blog. As of today, there are 86 finished books that have been added to my pile. What an epic year it has been!

I have been looking over the blog, and formulating new ideas. I have to say, I absolutely LOVE having each and every one of you here with me! Books and life tidbits are always fun. But I am ready to start branching out a little more and adding some new content and ideas to the blog. When I first started my own personal blog, it was with the intent that I would grow it to include a lot more than just books, and the little random stories about my kids. While my life is fascinating to some, I know that it is not everyone’s cup of tea – and that is okay! I am a very unique person and a very fluid person. There are so many things that I enjoy – books are just a small portion of that.

History is another love of mine. I enjoy reading, writing, and even debating history. I have been teaching college courses for the past 8 years, and I will probably be doing it for another fifty to come. I enjoy the many aspects, small hidden areas, and even the mysteries of history that have left people scratching their head. Ancient history has held me in fascination since the fourth grade when I read a book on Cleopatra. After that, it was game over. I could not get enough Egyptian history, and I still do a lot of reading on it today. I am also fascinated with Serial Killers. True crime has a rather morbid hold. Not that I would ever think about harming another human being, but I enjoy looking into what makes people tick, and what might go through their head during the execution of a crime. Crafting, Scouting, outdoor activities, and so many more – there are many pages left unturned on this blog as of yet!

That is not to say I am going to overload you with a million things. I actually want to hear from you! What do you enjoy, and what might you like to see included here? There are many untapped areas that we can go into and add. While books are one of my main loves, and the book blogging will most definitely continue – tell me what you would enjoy coming here to read or learn.

I have so many different ideas floating around in my head right now, that I am working on putting them all on paper, and eventually moving them into reality. This year is so full of promise. I look forward to sharing quite a bit more, and of course, getting to know each of you better!

Let me know what you think, and share some of your summer plans!

Ranger Rick Kids’ Guide to Paddling ~A Book Review~ — June 19, 2018

Ranger Rick Kids’ Guide to Paddling ~A Book Review~

Summer is finally here, and its time to get some water fun and sports in. If your family is anything like mine then you spend the majority of your summer around water of some kind. I insisted that my kids learn to swim early on, but that is still not enough sometimes. Depending on the water sports that you are going to be doing there are other things that kids are going to need to learn and of course, master before they set foot on the water.

I got a copy of the Ranger Rick Kids Guide to Paddling, and I have to say – this is one of the best books that kids can get their hands on. Pictures, advice, tips and more are all laid out in this easy to read book. I love that my boys can get the tips through a fun to read and easily laid out book. Mom can tell them all day long what they need to know, but sometimes, you have to look at things from another angle.

Some of the things that are talked about throughout the book are life vests, what to do in certain situations, and how to avoid disaster. It even tells you to PRACTICE some of the issues that you might run into, so that you know how to respond if a situation arises that you need to get yourself out of.

I loved Ranger Rick magazine as a child. I remember being so excited to get them in the mail each month, so when I see something with the Ranger Rick name on it, I know its going to be something worth the money.  This book is available now, so if you have summer birthdays – here is the perfect gift! I might be looking into these for my nieces and nephews for just because presents!

Have you read anything by Ranger Rick? Share them with us here!

A to Z Mysteries: The Missing Mummy ~A Book Review~ — June 15, 2018

A to Z Mysteries: The Missing Mummy ~A Book Review~

Hey all! I have a  quick and short review to share with you today!  If you are looking for a fun, quick and easy read for your kids this summer, check out these books! I listened to The Missing Mummy through Scribd, and it took me less than an hour to listen through.

Review

Three friends are looking forward to some fun at the museum during the week. The first item up is Mummy Monday. But while the professor is showing them the mummies, someone steals one of the mummies out of the case! The three friends stumble upon a few clues and work to help the police solve the mystery.

If your child is learning to read on their own, or just looking for some summer books, then you need to check these out! My boys and I will be finding these books at the library and working through them together.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to have come across these books! I have been searching for something that my son can read through this summer that is a little outside his comfort zone. These are super simple, the words are small enough that beginning readers can easily read, and more advanced readers will be sucked into the mystery aspect quickly. Perfect for out loud reading before bed, or quiet time in the afternoons.

Author: Ron Roy

Let me know what ya’ll think of these books! Share your favorites with me.

The Romanov Empress – A Book Review — June 3, 2018

The Romanov Empress – A Book Review

Good afternoon readers! I have a new book review for you! This book releases 10 July, 2018! Put it on pre-order now! C.W. Gortner is one of the best when it comes to historical fiction, and he has outdone himself with this novel. I could not put it down! I was hooked from the beginning. I hope ya’ll enjoy this read as much as I did!

Get ready to be transported back to Russia, a glittering court, and of course, the eventual end of the Romanov dynasty.

 

Review:

A young Danish princess, Minnie has led a rather quiet life. Her family has never had a lot of money, and they have done most of the work themselves. When her father suddenly becomes the heir to the Danish throne, their lives begin to change. Her sister Alix takes the British heir as her husband, and suitors are soon clamoring for Minnie’s hand as well. She accepts the suit of Nixa, the Romanov heir, but before they can marry, he is injured in an accident, and eventually dies from his injuries. He makes her promise to marry his brother Sasha, and while Sasha agrees, Minnie does not give her promise.

As her life with Sasha moves forward, their relationship moves from tepid to full-blown love. Together they raise several children and watch as their empire goes through several different turns. Murder, Rebellion, Revolution – Russia is a hotbed of activity. As Minnie does her best to keep her fragmented family together, war comes to Russia. When her son assumes the throne, he is unprepared, and his chosen wife, Alexandra of Hesse is not prepared for the duties of a Russian Empress. As the family pulls further into itself, Minnie tries to prod her son to action, but his distance only pushes the revolutionaries further.

This was an amazing book! I loved it from start to finish! We all know the story of the Romanov family, assassinated in the basement of a house, but we have not heard much about the mother that lost her son and grandchildren. Marie’s story brings the entire Romanov dynasty together as they try to survive within the ravages of war, and the heartbreak that would have broken a weaker woman.
C.W. Gortner has outdone himself with this book! It was hard to put down and I snatched any time that I had to read and learn more about this dynamic woman who fought to save as many of her family as possible and keep the Russia she loved together.

Destiny’s Mate – A Book Review — June 1, 2018

Destiny’s Mate – A Book Review

Good day readers! This week has been flying by, and the weekend is closer than it was yesterday! If you are planning your weekend reading, then you need to check out this super cute little paranormal romance. Brey King has pulled drama, humor, and a little love into her books. They are perfect for your weekend on the beach, or just lounging on the couch.

Destiny’s Mate took me less than an hour to read, and I enjoyed the entire book! It held my attention from the beginning, and I enjoyed watching the characters unfold and how each one interacted with the other. What are you waiting for? Head over to Amazon and check her out! While you are there, you can look to see what other books Brey King has released! Get ready for some fun adventures! These are clean works, so there is nothing in there that would shock anyone. Simple, easy, and enjoyable! You will be wanting the second book before you are finished with the first!

Review:

Destiny is on the run. Her mother is attempting to force her to marry someone she cannot stand. While she knows that the perfect mate it out there somewhere, she is just not exactly sure of where to find him at. After being attacked by the one who wants to marry her, she flees her families land.

Finding her mate is taking longer than she expected, but she is certain that she is close. But just when she finds him, the unexpected happens, and Voss shows up and attempts to kidnap her away from Luke.

A fun and quick read, just perfect for the lunch hour break! The passion in this delightful novel will not leave you disappointed!

 

So what are you waiting for!? Enjoy a little fun reading this weekend and relax!

Weekends… a local myth — May 27, 2018

Weekends… a local myth

I know that I cannot be the only one who feels this way! Weekends are the time that we have to rest, recoup, and catch up on everything that didn’t get done during the week…. right? WRONG! I constantly find myself battling the weekends. I have been sitting at my computer all day, trying to get some work caught up that lagged during the week. I got a big fat ZERO accomplished today. I played on FaceBook, I planned out my weekend reading and looked over some work that needs to be done. But I just could not bring myself to get anything actually accomplished.

Each weekend, I tell myself that I will get everything done and not stress out. I am sitting here staring at a list a mile long, trying to figure out how to get it all done tomorrow so that Monday can be a full day of nothingness. After talking to a girlfriend of mine, I realized that I am not the only one who goes through this. We all suffer from the weekend loss. It seems that kids are the only ones immune from the mundane of the weekend, and that is just because they honestly do not realize how good life is for them right now.

We all hope for the best, and we look forward to resting and playing all weekend. Real life, however, is not that way. I am staring at a laundry pile that is overflowing out of my laundry room. Grocery shopping has been done, only because my husband decided to do it today. Housework – well that is a never-ending battle, right? I always pray that I can get done what I need to, and have weekends completely free. WIth kids in the house, I know that there are never going to completely “free” weekends. With Boy Scouts, summer activities, bowling, etc etc etc, there is always something going on.

I love to be busy, but there are days I really want to just sit down and do nothing. I decided to pull a little bit of fun from today, and have pulled out a cross stitching pattern I have been dying to get started. Tomorrow is another day, but it is one day closer to the weekend being over.

Sound off, and tell me how you plan your weeks and weekends! I would love to hear suggestions! I am ready to reclaim my weekends!

 

The Widows Watcher – A Book Review — May 22, 2018

The Widows Watcher – A Book Review

I have a new book review to share with you! This book is scheduled to be released on May 29, 2018. Get your library to request it, or pre-order it today. It was that awesome. I sat and read the entire book in just under three hours – it was that good! I am going to warn you though – this book will run you through the gambit of emotions, and run you through an emotional wringer. I wanted to set it aside and finish another time, but there was no way I could set the book down and move on. I had to know what was going to happen next! Add this to your summer reading pile! It is one that is definitely worth the read.

*Some adult language used in the book*

 

Review:

She was suffering from a loss. So was he. She was ready to end it all, but he refused to let her…..

Jenna Shaw is suffering guilt and grief from losing her entire family in an accident. She was supposed to be there, but the chance to have some quiet time was something she could not pass up. Sending her family to Alaska, she gets ready to settle down to some much-needed rest and recuperation after a busy summer. But then tragedy strikes, and she is left alone – forever. She has coped the best she can, but she is ready to let everything go, and join her family in death. She hears her daughter Cassie’s voice in her mind – but nothing from the remainder of her family – just her teenage daughter giving her advice, and questioning the choices that she is making.

Lars is suffering from a loss of his own. He has covered the grief over the many decades that have gone by, but the memories are still there. He does the best he can to cope, but at any moment, the memories can rear their head. Two children missing, one son who was left behind, and the one person who knows where they might be is not talking. Lars has done the best he can to move on, but both he and his son have buried the memories of the day his mother walked out of their lives, taking her two youngest children with her. While no sign of Francine or Will is ever discovered, Audrey is discovered – incoherent and mentally broken.

Jenna shows up next to his house, thinking that she will walk out into the lake and just end everything, but Lars catches her and refuses to let her kill herself. Saving her life, he drags her back towards his house. Instead of bringing her inside, he leaves her on his porch, in a frigid Minnesota winter. When the tow truck driver finally shows up, she is in for an even bigger surprise. Owen forces his dad to take Jenna in until he can get her van fixed, and neither of them is happy with the situation. As the days go by, a truce is formed, and little by little a friendship begins to form.
As their stories unfold, they both find that they are burying painful memories, and perhaps the other can help them get through the grief.

Eventually, Lars asks Jenna to use her skills as a journalist to see what she can uncover about his family and the mysterious disappearance of his children. He is desperate for any information that can be uncovered, holding onto the slimmest shred of hope. Jenna is hesitant to do so, but she does not want to let Lars down. She begins to dig into the families past, but she discovers that there is more than one secret lurking, and the truth just might destroy the fragile older gentleman’s heart once and for all…

 

Lake Union Publishers

Release Date: 29 May 2018

Eliza Maxwell – author

Advanced Copy from NetGalley

What Lies Below – A Book Review — May 14, 2018

What Lies Below – A Book Review

Oh dear readers – do I have a treat for you!! If you love a good thriller, then you are going to fall in love with this book! It publishes on 15 May. 2018 – so you have time to get it pre-ordered! I used my Mother’s Day evening to sit and indulge in reading a book from start to finish, and I have been dying to read through this one. It was the perfect book to sit and get lost in! You will be drawn in from the first page, holding your breath to see what happens next (please, do remember to breathe while reading, passing out is not fun), and feeling all the feels. Anxiety, the pain of a missing child, anger, laughter, and so many more! As a mom, these books can be difficult to read, even though its not true – the thoughts still run through your mind. Ahh okay, enough rambling – here is the review! Enjoy!

Gilly is trying to put the past behind her, but the memories refuse to stay buried…

Gilly has moved to Wyatt, Texas hoping to move on and put the murder of her husband and the loss of her daughter behind her. She meets a young single dad, and his daughter Zoe – who come into the cafe where she works each Wednesday morning for breakfast. Gilly has dreams, disturbing dreams about things that are going to happen. Sometimes they come true, sometimes they don’t. But the newest dreams really bothers her. Zoe is being taken by a woman. When she gets to work and discovers that the dream is true, she is frightened. She knows that her past could catch up with her and she could become the prime suspect…..

This book was fantastic! I read it in one sitting. I could not put it down at all. There are some adult scenes, and language throughout the book.

This book will keep you guessing through all the twists and turns that it takes. A missing girl, a frantic community, and the one person that no one can place – yet will break the case wide open…