Review: Bedtime for Batman

Cute bedtime book for Batman fans. (4 stars)

A little boy prepares for bed and it's paralleled to Batman saving Gotham, definitely a good one for fans. While I found the story style cute, I also found it a little bland. It's cute but the type of story where the pictures are telling it, rather than the words. I didn't bother reading it to my 6 year old as I had intended because I think she would have found it a bit too simplistic, and while she likes superheroes it felt very gendered though I can't put my finger on why. That said, I think other kids might like it a lot.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Bedtime for Batman (DC Super Heroes)
by Michael Dahl (Author), Ethen Beavers (Illustrator)
Release Date: August 1, 2016
Bedtime, Superheroes, Comics
Print (32 pages, CAPSTONE)
When a dark night comes to the big city, one little super hero prepares for a great adventure . . . bedtime! He dons his pajama uniform, speeds upstairs, cleans up the nightly grime, and keeps watch from his towering bunk bed. Written by award-winning author Michael Dahl (Goodnight Baseball, Goodnight Football, and Goodnight Hockey) and illustrated by Ethen Beavers (DC Super Friends), this bedtime tale will have Batman fans, young and old, delighting in their nightly routines. Bedtime for Batman is the perfect way to say goodnight to your little Dark Knight. (Ages 4-7)


Books, Coffee, and a Great Manicure

Everything I need in a nail file. (5 Stars)

Filing my nails is pretty much torture. I hate it. I'm really bad at it and the sensation has always made my skin crawl. I've wanted to give a crystal/glass file a try for a long time but finding the right one seemed a bit daunting. There are so many out there and some are quite pricey. By random chance I saw the clever engravings on the files from GERmanikure and decided they might be a great starting point.

If you're going to invest in a crystal file I must say, look no further! Not only is this very well made, it comes in a sleeve that is of equal high quality. For the first time since I took an interest in nail care the sensation of filing hasn't been miserable. It's been easy and quite pleasant making me wish I had deigned to try one sooner.

What—for me, anyway—really stands out about GERmanikure is the availability if files with mantras. I got one that says "Books and Coffee" which is pretty much a summary of my favorite things but there are lots of other fantastic options as well. I adore "Dear Stress, Let's break up. -- Me" and "Wake up and be awesome" so I might have to pick one of them up to keep in my purse.

Notes: This is a review of a complimentary product. All opinions stated here are my own. I am not affiliated with the brand.

GERmanikure "Books and Coffee" Crystal Nail File

Product Details: This 5.5 in (14cm) GERmanikure crystal glass file is handcrafted in the Czech Republic (look for the authentic hologram) from thick Bohemian glass and specially formulated and tempered against breaking. The texture on this file is chemically etched directly into the 3mm thick glass and never wears off. Chemical etching removes a portion of the surface of the file, leaving behind random, evenly placed rounded peaks. As a result, this file can actually be used either wet or dry on natural nails, acrylics, or rough, callused areas of skin in both directions without causing microscopic frays and gouges on either nails or cuticles. Imprinted with an inspirational, spiritual, motivational, or humorous phrase, each file is perfect for conveying a message, mantra, or belief. Each message is unique, just like you. Whether you want to remind someone you care, convey inspiration, or make a friend laugh, the GERmanikure line of crystal glass nail files are sure to please. - GERmanikure Czech glass nail files have a uniform surface texture that results in a smooth, polished nail edge that reduces the risk of cracking and delamination. - Glass has natural antibacterial & anti-fungal qualities, cleans up easily with simple soap and water, and is durable enough to hold up to a chemical bath or high heat sterilizer. - GERmanikure files are chemically hardened and tempered to resist breaking. While all glass can break, dropping a GERmanikure crystal glass file from a short height will, in most cases, not break the file. - This file comes with a free fitted leather sleeve for additional protection. The case prevents damage to the file through additional shock absorption against drops. - GERmanikure believes in long tool life, healthful living, and good environmental stewardship. Each glass file is made in the Czech Republic by trained adult artisans paid fairly. This item is guaranteed free from unethical workmanship such as child labor.


Book Review: Ghostbusters International

Can a shrug be a review title? (3 stars)

I'm finding that Ghostbusters comics can be kinda hit or miss with me. This one was one where I was left kinda meh about it. It wasn't bad but it didn't leave me excited to share it with anyone either. Maybe because the story really wasn't finished? That said, I might have to revisit it once the next one comes out. 

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Ghostbusters International by Erik Burnham & Dan Schoening
Graphic Novel, Comics, Paranormal
Print/Digital (120 pages, IDW)
There's something strange in the neighborhood... and whether that neighborhood is in New York City or Venice, Italy, the Ghostbusters will be there! After a bust at the United Nations, the boys in gray are engaged to investigate an Old World haunting, where they begin to unravel a mystery that sends them around the globe (while still trying to keep their contract with the City, County, and State of New York!). Join us for the next chapter in Ghostbusters history - because you demanded it: GHOSTBUSTERS INTERNATIONAL!

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Book Review: Fairy Houses All Year by Liza Gardner Walsh

Wasn't what I needed. (4 stars)

Sadly, Fairy Houses All Year just wasn't what I thought it would be and therefore I bet it won't be what others are looking for either. My daughter very much has been wanting to make a mini sort of fairy garden with little items for her fairy friends. I was expecting this might give ideas on how to make little chairs or dishes using things like acorn caps or stones. But it's not.

The one thing that I did really like about it was how it encouraged not harming nature in the process of creating a fairy house. I think it gives a very wise viewpoint for young stewards of nature. 

While it really wasn't for us and I honestly felt I could have come up with most of it myself or with a quick Pinterest search, this might make a neat gift for a family with a few kids who need something to encourage outdoor play.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

Fairy Houses All Year by Liza Gardner Walsh
Children, Outdoors, Nature, Crafts
Digital/Print (120 pages, DOWN EAST BOOKS)
Fairy Houses All Year celebrates the year-round pleasures of fairy house building. Through the use of seasonal varieties, kids and families can engage in this natural and creative endeavor through all seasons. The book will highlight activities and materials found in each season. For example, fall fairy houses feature vibrant colored leaves, pumpkins, and late blooming flowers. Winter fairy houses are built using snow, ice, old birds’ nests, or the dried husks of milkweed and seed pods. In spring, fairy houses become abundant with early blooms, bare branches, and lots of mud! Summer fairy houses are perhaps the most decorative. Choices for the summer fairy house are boundless.Filled with color photos, snippets of fairy lore, helpful advice and instructions, and lots of information about nature,Fairy Houses All Year is the ideal handbook for crafting fairy homes no matter the season. (Ages 4-9)

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Book Review: Ooko by Esme Shapiro

Charming and beautiful! (5 stars)

My first grader has delightfully quirky taste in books and I confess, I picked this one up for the cover alone. To my amusement this was a really funny read. Shapiro's artwork is to die for but the story is awfully cute. Ooko just wants a friend and she (okay, I know the blurb says he but no where in the actual book was he gendered and my daughter defaults to she) tries some interesting ways to get one.

If you're a parent who dreads story time because all your kids' reads are annoyingly princess filled and insipid, check out Ooko. If it doesn't break up the storytime routine with classic lessons presented in a fun way I don't know what will.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Ooko by Esme Shapiro
Children, Friendship, Animals
Print (40 pages, TUNDRA)
Ooko has everything a fox could want: a stick, a leaf and a rock. Well, almost everything . . . Ooko wants someone to play with too! The foxes in town always seem to be playing with their two-legged friends, the Debbies. Maybe if he tries to look like the other foxes, one of the Debbies will play with him too. But when Ooko finally finds his very own Debbie, things don't turn out quite as he had expected!
A quirky, funny, charmingly illustrated story about finding friendship and being true to yourself.
(Ages 3-7)

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Book Review: Luna the Vampire Volume 1

I didn't care for it, but if... (2 stars)

I usually love weird stuff. I absolutely adored I Hate Fairyland by Skottie Young and its cartoony weirdness. I thought Luna the Vampire might be similar but I honestly found it pretty flavorless. I did like Sheikh's art style, however, and that was what saved it from a lower rating.  As a whole, it reminded me a bit of Courage the Cowardly Dog for some reason and I'm known for hating that show. So if you dig Courage I suggest giving this a look.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Luna the Vampire, Volume 1: Grumpy Space by Yasmin Sheikh
Graphic Novel, Comic Book, Scifi, Horror
Print (80 pages, IDW)
Ever wondered how it would be if outer space was populated by monsters? LOOK NO FURTHER! As this is the AMAZING everyday life of Luna the Vampire. Jam packed with awesome adventures, crazy faces, zombie postmen, AND SPACE. By the power of the giant floating god heads, don’t miss out!


Book Review: Colors of Loss and Healing: An Adult Coloring Book for Getting Through Tough Times

A gem in a sea of slapped together band-wagoners. (5 stars)

This past year has been so, so hard. Lost a friend to suicide. One of my children attempted suicide. Those events affected my other children, my spouse, our family, our finances, our jobs. Yeah, really tough stuff.

The adult coloring craze has been great for a lot of reasons but I think this particular book has been one of the true gems. I only got a digital copy to look at so I can't really claim to have colored in it. But I found the content to be just the sort of thing I was in need of during some really hard times.

If you're struggling with grief and sadness, hopelessness and discouragement I can't guarantee this is going to make you feel better. What it can do though, is help you distract yourself when you need it and provide words and imagery that might be just what you need to be thinking about when things are a struggle.

I would recommend this for those hurting from a death or other form of loss and anyone who is struggling to cope with depression.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

Colors of Loss and Healing: An Adult Coloring Book for Getting Through Tough Times
by Deborah S. Derman Ph.D.  (Author), Lisa Powell Braun (Illustrator)
Art, Death & Grief, Adult Coloring, Relaxation, Self-Help
Print (80 pages)
Colors of Loss and Healing is the first coloring book designed specifically for adults experiencing a significant loss or challenge in their lives. Through 35 words, one on each page embedded in lavish illustrations, the book provides a sort of guided meditation and a quiet, contemplative activity to ponder a proven path toward healing and recovery.

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Book Review: Live Fast Die Hot by Jenny Mollen

Not as hysterical this time. (3 stars)

I loved Mollen's I Like You Just the Way I Am. It was hysterical, insecure, and felt just a little bit overly embellished. Reading it was like going down the Hollywood rabbit hole but only getting to look through the keyholes. I was excited for another round.

Sadly, Live Fast Die Hot just wasn't very funny. Amusing, sometimes just cheeky enough to earn a snort or a chuckle. But this time around it Mollen's look at her life lacked the punchy wit. I found myself very much noticing how much more mature she sounded and while part of me was happy for her as she now has a child to be a grown up for... a part of me felt like that was what made it not so funny. Much like all of us who have kids and find ourselves no longer getting up to our wild antics, Mollen seems to have done the same. Yay for her but enh for her book.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Live Fast Die Hot by Jenny Mollen
Biography, Humor, Motherhood
Digital/Print/Audio (273 pages, DOUBLEDAY)
Jenny Mollen is a writer and actress living in New York. Until two years ago, her lifewas exciting, sexy, a little eccentric, and one hundred percent impulsive. She had a husband who embraced her crazy—who understood her need to occasionally stalk around the house in his ex-girlfriend’s old beach caftans and to invite their drug dealer to Passover seder (so he wouldn’t feel like they were using him only for drugs).
Then they had their son, Sid, and overnight, Jenny was forced to grow up: to be responsible, to brush her hair, to listen to her voicemail.
Live Fast Die Hot is a collection of stories about what happens when you realize that some things are more important than crafting the perfect tweet. It follows Jenny to Morocco, where she embarks on a quest to prove to herself that she can travel alone without reenacting a plotline from Taken. It shows her confronting demons—most of them from childhood, a few from the spirit realm. And it culminates in Peru, where Jenny decides that maybe the cure for her anxiety as a mom lies at the bottom of a cup of ayahuasca.
Hilarious, outlandish, and surprisingly affecting, Live Fast Die Hot reminds you that even if you aren’t cut out for parenting, at least you can be better at it than your mother.

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Book Review: Alice in Wonderland by Jun Abe

Unless you're obsessed... (3 stars)

I really enjoy adaptations of Alice in Wonderland and the Tim Burton film was no exception. So I was eager to have a look at this manga version from Jun Abe. The art is truly lovely but this is 100% a direct copy of the film. There's absolutely nothing new. No new dialog, style tweaks. Nothing new.

Because it lacked anything new or different to make it feel special it wasn't long before I began skimming. I just didn't see the point of reading it when I could just as easily be watching the film.

If you've not seen the film this is a great manga to read before you do or instead of. Otherwise, unless you're really obsessed with the film I can't recommend it.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

Alice in Wonderland by Jun Abe
Manga, Classic, Movie Tie-In
Digital (352 pages, TOKYOPOP)
Manga publishing pioneer TOKYOPOP is back … bringing readers Disney Tim Burton’s "Alice in Wonderland," a retelling of the film in manga style. Alice Kingsleigh was a young girl when she visited the magical world of Underland for the first time. Now a teenager, she spots a white rabbit at a garden party and tumbles down a hole after him where she is reunited with her old friends. Alice soon learns it is her destiny to end the Red Queen's reign of terror.Publisher Site: website
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