In the Mail and Blog Goals for 2014

Every year I receive numerous unsolicited books for review. Sometimes I read them, oftentimes I don’t. As we move into 2014, I’m setting new goals for all my blogs. The largest change is that I will be participating in fewer virtual book tours next year. I’ve been blogging since 2007; and while I enjoy new reading material, at this point I have more than I could read in five years. I also want the freedom to read for pleasure instead of sticking to a strict blogging schedule. While I will definitely keep blogging–I truly love it–I want to share more posts that interest me (and hopefully you) than promote books being featured on dozens of other blogs at the same time.

To get the new year started off right, I am going to make a brief mention of some of the unsolicited books I’ve received lately. You might see reviews of some popping up later in 2014, but for now I simply want to share them and then move forward.

mne_HK_We Love Each Other_Cov_z_Layout 1Love is everywhere! And it’s not just us humans. From birds to elephants, rabbits to turtles, there is love and togetherness on every page.

Very young readers will enjoy the surprises in this cheerfully inventive little book.

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A stunning reworking of the classic tale.h & g

Once upon a time, there lived a poor woodcutter with his wife and two children, Hansel and Gretel …

And so begins the thrilling story of two children relying on their wits to survive in a hostile world. Sybille Schenker’s evocative and exquisite illustrations bring a unique beauty and graphic excellence to this enduring fairy tale.

Blogger’s note: I realize the story of Hansel and Gretel is a classic, but it is such a frightening story (made even more so by this black cover). The artwork is beautiful and the book’s design unique, but if I had read this to the girls when they were younger they would have nightmares for days.

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guinea piugsFuzzy and Coco are guinea pigs who live with their kindly owners, Ben and Henrietta Bliss. Coco likes to spend her days pampering herself and listening to harp concertos. Fuzzy is much more down to earth – he is a passionate cook who wants nothing more than to learn to make delicious meals for Ben and Henrietta.

So when Fuzzy spots an ad run by glamorous local chef Scarlet Cleaver stating ‘Guinea Pigs Wanted’, he is enormously excited – what a chance to learn some cooking skills! Coco warns him that the ad is not what he thinks, but he won’t listen; when she’s not looking, he sneaks off to find the restaurant.

And so Coco has to get online to try track Fuzzy down. But when Micespace reveals that guinea pigs from all over town have been taken away in a van by Scarlet Cleaver herself, Coco must set off on a rescue mission to prevent Fuzzy from ending up as main course on The Meat Cleaver’s menu!

A captivatingly funny story that will delight readers age 5+.

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ghosts

Frightfully Friendly Ghosties, described as “exciting, charming and ridiculous,” by The Guardian, is a hilarious book for young readers about the adventures of a funny, charming, and terribly polite group of ghosts who just want to get along with their housemates. The cast of classic characters, brilliant one-liners, and clever plotting will delight children and parents alike.

Tabitha Tumbly, Charlie Vapor, Rusty Chains, and their friends can’t understand why the still-alives in their house are so mean. The friendlier the ghosties are—whether hiding under beds and rushing out to read the still-alives a bedtime story or swooping down the chimney just to say hello—the meaner the still-alives become!

When the still-alive family puts garlic around the house and calls in a priest, however, the ghostie gloves come off. Tabitha and Charlie decide to invite The Ghoul to sort out the still-alives once and for all. But could the terrifying Ghoul prove to be more trouble than the ghosties bargained for?

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zoo

Sammy Feral is a lucky boy. His family run a zoo and so he spends his spare time hanging out with orangutans, crocodiles and snakes. But his luck has just run out – his entire family has been infected with a werewolf virus! Now his mum, dad and sisters are howling at the moon, craving raw meat and, worst of all, trying to infect Sammy! Luckily, Donny and Red – a crack team who investigate animals that don’t exist – are on hand to help. But with an evil professor determined to take over Feral Zoo and no known cure for the virus, things aren’t looking good for Sammy!

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Meet the Rat: A dancing, football-playing gangster-baiting ten-year-old. When she foresaw her father’s death, she picked up her football and decided to head for New York.Unhooking the Moon

Meet her older brother Bob: Protector of the Rat, but more often her follower, he is determined to find their uncle in America and discover a new life for them both.

On their adventures across the flatlands of Winnipeg and through the exciting streets of New York, Bob and the Rat make friends with a hilarious con man and a famous rap star, and escape numerous dangers. But is their Uncle a rich business man, or is the word on the street, that he something more sinister, true? And will they ever find him?

Hughes has created a funny, warm, unique world that lives and breathes. Like I Capture the Castle, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Curious Incident, Hughes’ story and characters will resonate for many and for years to come.

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