Thursday, November 26, 2015

#MMBBR Review: Doodle Art Alley Coloring Books @DoodleArtAlley

Today is Thanksgiving in the US!  
I thought it would be fitting to share a post and review about 
something I am GRATEFUL for!  
I am grateful for ADULT COLORING BOOKS!!!  
I just love coloring and feel like this is something I will enjoy for the remainder of my life! So in addition to being grateful I am THANKFUL to Doodle Art Alley Books for sharing their most awesome coloring books with my viewers and I! 

OK, so I may be a bit obsessed with coloring!  I find it to be one of the best activities I can do to help myself relax!!  It can be done everywhere. I color while waiting for appointments, while watching (rather listening to) TV or while my kids are busy playing Legos!!  I have begun carrying coloring supplies with me...just in case there is time to color while out and about!

DOODLE ART ALLEY BOOKS are my absolute FAVORITE coloring books EVER! I just love everything about them! I love the quotes, the detail, the designs and the size! I use them as inspiration quotes on the bathroom mirror for my kids (and myself) to see each morning. I switch the pictures out from time to time to keep things fresh. The boys think that is a great way to start their day! I use these pictures as thank you cards and for other occasions that would constitute a greeting card. I feel that this is such a more personal way to let people know that you are thinking of them!!! 

In addition to the practical purposes of the finished product the actual process of coloring it both relaxing and therapeutic! I make sure to set aside 20 minutes nearly daily for coloring and I feel so much better when I get my time in! I think there is something very wonderful that happens when you color and I found that is it one of my favorite things to do!!! This whole series of books are all wonderful and each book focuses on something a bit different than the others! All the books are awesome and I HIGHLY recommend them! I cannot wait to see what other books that come out and I hope I am lucky enough to review them here for all of you!!!


~Colored for my bookshelf! 

~Colored for a friend who did something very nice for me!!! 

~Colored for my boy's bathroom mirror!

My son colored this last night! 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

#MMBBR Blog Tour Host: November 9 by Colleen Hoover @ColleenHoover


"November 9 is yet another breathtaking novel by Colleen Hoover that's full of blushing, gushing, and heartache. I loved every page and breathed in every beautiful word."
—Anna Todd, Author of the After series

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day of her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in 

Damn it Colleen Hoover you have ruined me.  This is one of the best books in this genre I have ever read.  I wondered what all the hubbub was over Hoover so I hopped on her blog tour to find out.  What I discovered is that she is a witch and can cast a spells over her readers.  She can transfix them to the page and break their heart with carefully chosen words.  She can make the reader care deeply about characters.  Hoover can make you swoon!  Yes, I swooned!!!  What the heck!  I don't swoon!  I was so immersed in this book!  I could not put it down!  I laughed, cried and was broken and put back together countless times.  She captured angst in perfection!  Now, I have to go and read all her other stuff!  Way to go Hoover, you have me hooked! 
Also, now I always potty in the first bathroom stall!  What is that you ask?  
Read the book to find out! 
5 HUGE stars!!!!

Favorite Quotes/Passages from November 9:

...comfort can sometimes be a crutch when it comes to figuring out your life. 

All I care about is you. Being with you everyday. Seeing you everyday.  I'm not finished falling in love with you yet.  But if you don't want to finish falling in love with me, then you need to tell me right away.

 (Photo credit: Jen Sterling)
Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, This Girl, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Maybe Someday, Ugly Love, Maybe Not, and Confess. She lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys.

Twitter: @ColleenHoover
Instagram: @ColleenHoover

Barnes & Noble:

Now for the fun….
the #November9 Contest!

Enter the 
to win a prize bundle of one signed copy of NOVEMBER 9 and a pair of #November9 sunglasses! 
(5 prize bundles in total) 
Contest is open until November 30th.

Atria Books Paperback | 320 pages | ISBN: 9781501110344 | November 10, 2015 | $16.00
eBook: 320 pages | ISBN: 9781501110351 | $7.99

Displaying image005.jpg

#MMBBR Highlight: The Clockwise Collection by Elle Strauss @leestraussbooks


All SIX books in the Clockwise Collection (Young Adult Time Travel Romance): Clockwise, Clockwiser, Like Clockwork, Counter Clockwise, Clockwork Crazy and bonus novella Clocked

The Clockwise Collection - All Six BooksCLOCKWISE - Uncontrolled time travel can be so annoying!

Casey Donovan has issues: hair, height and uncontrollable trips to the 19th century! And now this-she's accidentally taken Nate Mackenzie, the cutest boy in the school, back in time. Awkward.

It's the eve of the American Civil war and protocol pressures Casey to tell their hosts that Nate is her brother. No one more surprised than she is when they are forced to share a one room worker's cabin. Super awkward.

Nate's slow to accept their new reality, but when he does, he realizes he needs Casey to get back. His nearness is intoxicating to Casey, but she keeps her cool by hanging a privacy blanket and staying aloof. Knowing Nate has an evil girlfriend waiting for him at home helps.

Over time Casey gains the attention of a handsome, wealthy (and unwanted) suitor, and something changes in Nate. Are those romantic sparks or is it just "brotherly" protectiveness?

When they return to the present, things go back to the way they were before: Casey parked on the bottom rung of their school's social ladder and Nate perched high on the very the top. Except this time her heart is broken. Plus, her best friend is mad, her parents are split up, and her younger brother gets escorted home by the police.The only thing that could make life worse is if, by some strange twist of fate, she took Nate back to the past again.

Which of course, she does.

CLOCKWISER - The War is On!
The last year has been smooth sailing for Casey Donovan. She and her boyfriend Nate are doing better than ever, and things at home are good, too. Everything's been so calm, she hasn't "tripped" back to the nineteenth century in ages.

Then the unthinkable happens and she accidentally takes her rebellious brother Tim back in time. It's 1862 with the Civil War brewing, and for Tim this spells adventure and excitement. Finding himself stuck in the past, he enlists in the Union army, but it doesn't take long before he discovers real life war is no fun and games.

Casey and Nate race against the clock to find Tim, but the strain wears on their relationship. It doesn't help that the intriguing new boy next door has his sights on Casey, and isn't shy to let her know it.

Can Nate and Casey find Tim in time to save him? And is it too late to save their love?

LIKE CLOCKWORK - Hollywood Hottie!
Adeline doesn't feel she belongs in her own time, but can bad boys from the past be trusted?

Adeline Savoy had hoped that the move west from Cambridge to Hollywood with her single dad would mean they'd finally bond like a real family, but all she got was a father too busy with his new female friends and his passion for acting to really see her.

Instead she finds herself getting attached to Faye, the divorcee hair dresser she befriends when she travels back in time to 1955. Plus Faye has a hottie, James Dean-esque, bad-boy brother who has Adeline's heart all aflutter. But bad boys from the past can be dangerous.

Is it possible that Adeline really does belong in her own time and that maybe the right boy lives as close as next door?

COUNTER CLOCKWISE - Casey and Nate are back!
High school senior Casey Donovan is in trouble. Again. If only she had trusted in Nate's loyalty when he traveled to Spain with his college basketball team - despite being accompanied by the cheerleading squad and Fiona the Floozy  who'd made it super clear she wanted Nate for herself. Then she wouldn't have made that impulsive trip to Hollywood and let Austin do that stupid thing that threatened her relationship with Nate, and triggered a trip into the past.
Only something is wildly wrong. She's not in the 1860s like she should be. It's 1929. And she didn't come alone.

The stress created by Casey's recent split from Nate causes her to trip back in time in a haphazard manner, and not always to the same time! Sometimes she's in 1929 Boston getting more entangled than ever with the mishaps of her new and not-so-helpful friends, and at other times she's back in 1775 trying to make sure the colonists still win the war of Independence!

Will the craziness ever stop? And will she and Nate work out things in time for graduation?

CLOCKED - Bonus Novella - Nate's Turn to Talk!
Written from Nate Mackenzie's point of view, this new companion novella to the Clockwise Collection is a much expanded version of the short story found in the In His Eyes Anthology (from 3k to 15k).

Ever wonder how Nate got talked into asking Casey to dance on a dare? And what it felt like for him to experience 1860? How he really felt about Casey Donovan? Now you can know!!
Check out all the books: HERE
Elle Strauss

I write mixed genre Romance, most recently The Minstrel Series.

I also write fun, lower YA fiction (time-travel and fantasy) as ELLE Strauss. I divide my time between BC, Canada and Dresden, Germany and enjoy drinking coffee and eating chocolate in both places.

Monday, November 23, 2015

HOLIDAY Round-Up w/ GIVEAWAY & CONTEST #MMBBR #RachelRosenstein #XmasEnvy #ReadandBelieve

Well the Holidays are coming!!!  
Only 30 days until Christmas!!!
Are you ready?  
I am so ready and I have some amazing books 
and gift ideas for this holiday season! 

Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein by Amanda Peet and Andrea Troyer

 NOTE: All samples and prizing are provided by Penguin Random House

Actress Amanda Peet brings us a hilarious holiday drama in a story that every Jewish family will relate to and appreciate.
Rachel Rosenstein wonders why Santa Claus never visits her house. But this year is going to be different--even though her family is Jewish and doesn't observe Christmas. With hilarious and heartwarming mishaps, Rachel visits Santa at the mall with her special request, writes a letter to Santa explaining her cause, and clandestinely decorates the house on Christmas Eve (right down to latkes for the reindeer). And while Rachel may wrestle with her culture, customs, and love of sparkly Christmas ornaments, she also comes away with a brighter understanding of her own identity and of the gift of friends and family.

I adored this book!  I think is is a great book to share with children who celebrate Hanukkah, but still wish that Santa would pay them a visit.  It is also about accepting others for their beliefs and differences and embracing your own traditions and observations of the holiday season.  This story is charming and heartwarming, witty and sweet.  5 stars

Amanda Peet is an actress and playwright. Her first play, "The Commons of Pensacola," starring Blythe Danner and Sarah Jessica Parker, opened to critical acclaim in 2014 at Manhattan Theater Club. A native of New York, Peet graduated from Columbia University with a degree in American History. She has appeared in numerous films, including "Please Give," "Syriana," "Something's Gotta Give," and "The Whole Nine Yards." She also starred in the TV series "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," and the Broadway revival of Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park." Peet stars in a new comedy series, "Togetherness" for HBO, debuting in fall 2014.
Andrea Troyer grew up in Minnesota and received an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young boys.

Christine Davenier is the illustrator of many children's books, including Julie Andrews's "The Very Fairy Princess" series. She lives in Paris, France.

Learn more at
#RachelRosenstein #XmasEnvy


Come together with friends celebrating different holidays! One winner will receive 2 copies of Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein, one to keep, and one to share. US only

a Rafflecopter giveaway


1986 Caldecott Medal Winner

A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole . . . 

Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish. 

For millions of readers worldwide, this mysterious journey to the North Pole has become a beloved classic. In this 30th anniversary edition, the inimitable artistry of Chris Van Allsburg is revealed in a never-before-seen fashion, with a new jacket design and expanded interior layout. Includes author’s note, downloadable audio read by Liam Neeson, and golden "All Aboard" ornament. 

 I talk to my boys about tradition all the time.  I feel like it is what makes up the best family memories!  I think that THE POLAR EXPRESS needs to be part of all families (who celebrate Christmas) Christmas tradition.  I intend to start this year!  We always watched the movie of THE POLAR EXPRESS but now I want to add in reading the book together the night before Christmas!   This book is a classic.  It is beautiful and a must to read with a warm cup of hot chocolate!  Now the book comes with a beautiful new jacket design and interior layout, a  gorgeous ornament and a downloadable audio read by Liam Neeson!  What a joy this book is the the holiday tradition and spirit in all of us!  5 stars! 

Here are some amazing things that are being done with the release of the 30th Anniversary Edition of the Polar Express! 
1.   We’ll be donating thousands of copies of The Polar Express to Christmas in the City, a nonprofit organization that helps families in need. Every time the hashtag #ReadandBelieve is used on any social media platform, we’ll donate a copy of the book – so please spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest and anywhere else you’re posting! Visit our Pinterest page for all the details at

2.  CONTEST:  We’re giving away an all-expenses paid trip for one lucky family of four to ride The Polar Express™ Train Ride in Durango, Colorado. The prize includes airfare, hotel, ski tickets, and the Polar Express train tickets. For information on the sweepstakes (running Oct. 15 through Dec. 31, 2015) and the train rides, visit

3.   Visit to discover and share holiday traditions, and to view an interactive countdown calendar with The Polar Express activities, recipes, games and more!


This series of books are AWESOME!!!  They are JAM packed with information!  They are intended for children who are just starting to read and as the series progresses they get a bit more challenging! I love this!  I love that the young reader is progressing in the series as their skills progress.  I also love the vibrant pictures, quizzes and fact cards!  There are so many places to stop and talk about what was read or what is seen on the page! This allow for plenty of opportunities for engagement, which is key for a life long love of reading!  My youngest son has struggled to learn to read and these books have piked is interest and provided some wonderful reading moments and snuggles.  My older son has also found this series to be captivating!  He is a fact lover and these book provide endless opportunities to learn fun facts about numerous topics!  

Level 1:  Early Adventures
Animal Habitats
Outer Space
Safari Animals

Level 2:  Seriously Amazing
Nighttime Animals
Sea Life
Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures
Solar Systems
Baby Animals
Human Body

Level 3:  World of Wonder
Wild Weather
Rain Forest Animals
The United States
The Planets
Ancient Egypt

Level $:  Endless Explorations
Space Exploration
Natural Disasters
World Wonders
Ocean Habitats
The Science and History of Flight 

The boys and I are loving making our way through these amazing books together.  We are loving learning, making memories and creating a household of life long readers!   This is a series that needs to be in all children's home library!  Or donate it to the classroom!  But get these books in the hand of young readers!

5 stars for the series!!!


Developed in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and esteemed childhood literacy expert Dr. Adria Klein, the Smithsonian Readers series is designed to encourage reading comprehension with high-interest topics and build reading skills with a carefully designed leveling structure. Level 1 focuses on familiar content and simple text to promote engagement and success for new readers. Smithsonian Readers: Early Adventures Level 1 contains six 32-page topics for beginning readers: Vehicles, Reptiles, Outer Space, Animal Habitats, Insects, and Safari Animals. The fascinating content is accompanied 36 perforated fact cards to further encourage early adventures in reading.

Level 1: Early Readers
-Basic factual texts with familiar themes and content
-Concepts in text are reinforced by photos
-Includes glossary to reinforce reading comprehension
-Phonic regularity
-Simple sentence structure and repeated sentence patterns
-Easy vocabulary familiar to kindergarteners and first graders

Smithsonian Readers: Seriously Amazing Level 2 provides accessible and engaging content designed to encourage further progress in children’s reading abilities. Developed in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and esteemed childhood literacy expert Dr. Adria Klein, Seriously Amazing Level 2 encourages development in readers with unfamiliar vocabulary terms, new phonic structures, and more variation in sentence patterns. Seriously Amazing Level 2 contains six 32-page topics, chosen for their appeal to developing readers: Nighttime Animals, Sea Life, Dinosaurs, Solar System, Baby Animals, and the Human Body. Thirty-six perforated fact cards extend the learning and reading practice.

Level 2: Developing Readers
-Simple factual texts with mostly familiar themes and content
-Concepts in text are supported by images
-Includes glossary to reinforce reading comprehension
-Repetition of basic sentence structure with variation of placement of subjects, verbs, and adjectives
-Mostly easy vocabulary familiar to kindergarteners and first graders
-Introduction to new phonic structures
-Integration of contractions, possessives, compound sentences, and some three-syllable words

Smithsonian Readers: World of Wonder Level 3 continues children’s journeys to becoming lifelong readers with new and engaging content and more challenging texts. Developed in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and esteemed childhood literacy expert Dr. Adria Klein, World of Wonder Level 3 contains six 32-page topics for engaged readers looking to learn more about the world around them: Ancient Egypt, Wild Weather, Rain Forest Animals, The United States, The Planet, and Sharks. Children can also practice their reading skills and share their newfound knowledge with the included 36 topical fact cards.

Level 3: Engaged Readers
-Interesting factual and informational text that contains new and unfamiliar content
-Includes glossary to reinforce reading comprehension
-Repetition of longer sentence patterns with variation of placement of subjects, verbs, and adjectives
-Most of the vocabulary should be familiar to first graders
-Introduction of more complex spelling patterns and letter-sound relationships
-Photos, illustrations, and diagrams are included for further concept exploration

For fluent readers that have mastered levels 1, 2, and 3, Smithsonian Readers: Endless Explorations Level 4 provides fascinating facts and challenging content that promotes reading success and enjoyment. Developed in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and esteemed childhood literacy expert Dr. Adria Klein, Smithsonian Readers: Endless Explorations Level 4 contains six 32-page topics for children on their way to becoming expert readers: Predators, Space Exploration, Natural Disasters, World Wonders, Ocean Habitats, and Flight. Bound into the book are 36 perforated fact cards created for fluent readers looking for extra learning opportunities.

Level 4: Fluent Readers
-Variety of factual texts that contain unfamiliar themes and challenging technical content
-Includes glossary and pronunciation guides to
-Contains longer and more complex sentence patterns
-Most of the vocabulary should be familiar to second-graders
-Longer stretches of text and extended descriptions without the support of pictures
-Extended sentences with various structures

How long is the Amazon River? Who was the first president to have a telephone in the White House? With Smithsonian Everything You Need to Know: Grades 4-5, kids will learn exciting and fascinating facts about the U.S. presidents, weather, outer space, and much more. Each of the 275 tabbed fact cards includes colorful photos and illustrations paired with interesting facts. Whether it’s Abraham Lincoln or tornadoes, each fact card presents a new learning moment. Curious kids will learn about the world around them, past and present, in this loaded fact card box.

I could rave for hours on how much I love these fact cards. My boys and I had once bought Chat Packs, which are such fun. But now when we are sitting eating dinner, snuggling before bed and driving in the car we are reading these fun fact cards. I have to be honest when I say that much of the things I am learning are things I had previously not known! I was fascinated learning fun facts on science, the human body, natural wonders of the world, biomes and ecosystems and so much more.  We are still working our way through the fact cards.  I feel like this is what sparks the love of learning, super interesting little tidbits of facts here and there. The boys will actually ask to take out the cards for us to read together. This is also great for conversation starters with your kids. I am in LOVE with these cards! 5 stars

*See my reviews for other Smithsonian EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW card facts sets along with  other great holiday gifts HERE

What is the fastest creature in the world? How do animals communicate? What is the difference between monkeys and apes? Learn the answers to these questions and more in Smithsonian Sticker Creations: Wildlife. This fun and innovative format includes a 64-page activity book, five oversized dimensional stickers, and more than 175 reusable stickers. After reading about their favorite wild animals, kids can pull out the removable frame to create their own animal scene with the deluxe stickers and reusable paper stickers. With interesting information and a new activity on each page, aspiring zoologists will discover the fascinating world of animals in this hands-on adventure.

These books are such fun!!! It helps to bring to the life the world of wildlife! They have amazing 3-D playscene boards (which are super sturdy and so cool looking), amazingly brilliant a realistic stickers, and activities galore. There are puzzles, maps, scenes where you can create fun images, guessing games with matching, mazes and so much more! These are the types of books that are great for road trip, rainy days, birthday gifts and many other special events. My boys really get lost in all these books have to offer and we love reading all the fun facts that each book contains. This is something that kids of various ages will love and cherish. I seriously love them! 5 HUGE stars!

*See my reviews for other Smithsonian Sticker Creations and other great holiday gifts HERE

From the jungle canopy to the flooded forest floor, Smithsonian Magnetic Adventures: Jungle explores the fascinating creatures that live in rain forests around the world. The 64-page book introduces jungle animals and their habitats with intriguing facts and colorful photos. After reading about jaguars, chameleons, monkeys, and much more, kids will open the tin to find two jungle scenes printed inside. One printed interior scene allows kids to create their own jungle scene with the 30 foam magnets and 20 reusable clings, and the printed activity beside it challenges kids to place the animals in the correct layer of the rain forest. Smithsonian Magnetic Adventures: Jungle is perfect for kids who want to play while they learn.

This set is so cool and reminds me of when I was young. I has something like this when I was growing up and I loved watching my boys dive in and create their own worlds inside the jungle.  It was also a blast to hear them taking about the fact and information contained with the guidebook.  The real pictures on the heavy duty magnets made for such fun creating scenes on the sturdy metal jungle.   I loved that this activity encouraged my boys to learn about the correct placement within the jungle for each animal.  It combines learning and fun beautifully.  I also intend to use this in my classroom!  The uses for it are endless!  5 stars of fun!    

Which planet is eight times larger than Earth? How long is a day on Venus? Which planet has seven rings? Kids will learn all of these answers and more in Smithsonian Magnetic Adventures: Solar System. After reading the 64-page book, kids can decorate the magnetic tin’s printed photographic interior with the included 30 foam magnets and 20 reusable clings. The interior features two unique scenes for use with the magnets and reusable clings: a moonscape so kids can create their own lunar landing scene, and an activity where kids can place the planets in the correct order. Starting at the Sun and journeying beyond Neptune, young adventurers will be inspired to blast off into outer space with Smithsonian Magnetic Adventures: Solar System.

This set is so cool and reminds me of when I was young. I has something like this when I was growing up and I loved watching my boys dive in and create their own scene in space.  It was also a blast to hear them taking about the fact and information contained with the guidebook.  The real pictures on the heavy duty magnets made for such fun creating scenes on the sturdy metal jungle.   I loved that this activity encouraged my boys to learn about the correct order of the planets.  It combines learning and fun beautifully.  I also intend to use this in my classroom!  The uses for it are endless!  5 stars of fun!    


Happy Holidays to you and yours!!!!
The Booknerd Team
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...