Author Archives: Carrie
As a parent, one of the most important things you can do for the health and safety of your child is purchase the best car seat you can afford. So often, people get lost in all of the research you must do when trying to find the seat that’s best for you. I’ve found a site that helps you compare and contrast dozens of seats, giving you the scoop in easy to understand language: Best Car Seat Hub.
Best Car Seat Hub has all the info you need to research seats in one place. Whether you’re looking for infant seats, convertible seats, boosters, or travel system information, you can find it there.
Not only can you see convertible and infant car seat reviews on bestcarseathub.com, you can get information on your state’s regulations, recall updates, and tips on how to clean your seat.
Best Car Seat Hub helps you by putting the statistics and ratings found on such sites as Consumer Reports Reviews in one easy to use, simple to understand place. I will be using the pros and cons on different convertible seats soon to find a secondary car seat for my one year old.
If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed by all the car seat hubbub on the internet, visit Best Car Seat Hub and find out what you need to know, quickly.
Microsaurs: Follow That Tiny-Dactyl
by Dustin Hansen
Danny and Lin never say no to adventure, so when Danny’s spy camera captures a tiny dinosaur crashing into Lin’s helmet during her skateboarding tryouts they know they have to investigate. But even they weren’t prepared for a secret laboratory filled with amazing inventions (including the Shrink-a-Fier and the Expand-o-matic 2) and astonishing discoveries (Triceratops are NOT fond of the color red!).
Who knew that tracking one tiny pterodactyl would open up such a giant world of adventure with the Microsaurs!?!
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids meets Jurassic Park in this new action-packed illustrated chapter book series from author and illustrator Dustin Hansen.
I have to say, first off this book and the idea of tiny dinosaurs reminded me of this movie from my childhood:
I wish it were streaming somewhere so I could show my older son! We read Microsaurs together. He immediately wished he could have a tiny dino as a pet and described to me all the places we could take him 😀
My son is a second grader, but a bit of an advanced reader for his age, and only had trouble with a handful of words. We both enjoyed the silly parts and watching the little dinos be adventurous. This is a cute, fun series that I think boys and girls will love equally. We can’t wait to read the next installment.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I’m a small town boy at heart. I grew up in rural Utah, where I could find adventure an hour in any direction. I spent a great deal of time in the outdoors, hiking, biking, and fishing like a Viking. (Vikings fly fished for small mountain trout, right?).
I remember many times going on ‘an adventure’ with my sisters as we explored the rattle snake infested acreage behind our home in Pigeon Hollow. The landscape was barren, yet beautiful, and while we walked and chewed on the sack lunches we always brought along, we made up fantastic tales, ranging from daring survival stories to walking with the giants of old.
This imaginative upbringing led me to a career as a visual artist in the video game industry, but my passion for telling stories was always tickling in the back of my mind.
2. What made you want to become a writer?
A lot of road led me to this point in my life. Most of them were dirt roads full of rocks, ruts, and pot holes, but all of them wound through the same fertile grounds. Family. I remember fondly having my dad read The Secret Garden to us as children, one chapter a night until we begged him to finish the last quarter of the book as we drew closer to the end. I remember making up stories with my sisters as we played for hours with our Fischer Price Adventure Set. And as I grew older and had a family of my own, I began to understand the importance of storytelling, and how it not only provides entertainment, but how it can empower, enlighten, and strengthen us. The first book I wrote that I was willing to share I read a chapter a night to my young children. They were, and still are, my biggest supporters, and their desire to add to the story, read sections aloud to each other, and demand me to hurry as I approached then end was all the fuel a tired writer needed to continue.
So, that’s really it. I became a writer to share my dreams and weird wanderings with my family. It’s just that now, my reading family is growing.
3. What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
I’m a pretty simple guy. I’d be lying if I said that my desk wasn’t covered in the ghostly remains of empty Diet Mt. Dew cans, but other than that, a little solitude, a warm blanket on my lap, and a bit of time is all I need to get the old words to travel from my brain to the keyboard.
4. What are some of your favorite books?
Oh boy. This is the most difficult question you could ask. Okay. I’ll try. I’m a huge fan of all things Roald Dahl. In many ways he is my storytelling ideal. I faked sick in the 8th grade to read Robinson Crusoe in a single sitting (first time I’d ever done that with a novel). The same year I read my first Stephen King novel, It, and it rocked my 13 year old world and set me on a 15 year King obsession. Those were definitely my formative books. But today, I LOVE Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Those books just tap my funny bone. The One and Only Ivan reminded me that heart is the most underappreciated element of children’s lit. Somehow I had forgotten this over the years. And A Monster Calls reminded me that young readers are not only able to handle big topics, but in many cases they are better at it than we adults are.
5. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Yes, and no. My main character, Lin, is loosely based on my daughters, Malorie and Annie. She kind of pulls her snarkiness from one, and her bravery from the other. But Twoee, the lovable puppy-ish triceratops is absolutely based on my 7 year old pal, Rusty. He’s a big brown puppy and when he’s not proofreading my rough drafts, he can be found lounging under my writing desk with one of his stuffed animal toys.
About the Author
Dustin was raised in rural Utah, where his imagination was his most constant companion. A reader, artist, and gamer from an early age, Dustin was encouraged to mine his talents, follow his passions, and find the fun in everyday life.
Dustin studied art in college, and entered the exciting world of video game development in 1994. His career has taken him and his family from coast to coast, but he always considered the small town he grew up in, Ephraim, Utah, his true home.
After spending a year as a director at Habro, Dustin, his wife, and four kids moved back to Ephraim, where he lives today in the shadows of a fine mountain, writes books about video games and dinosaurs, and takes long walks with his dog, Rusty.
Oh, and he loves the Utah Jazz, but that’s another story all together.
PURCHASE THE BOOK:
Joining the bandwagon for this year’s expectant Hollywood celebrities is the lovely couple Kel Mitchell and wife Asia Lee. And by the look of it, Kel is ready to take the order! Kel took to Instagram for his pregnancy announcement as he posted a photo of him and his wife, in an iconic Good Burger theme.
The post was captioned: “We have a bun in the oven! thank you @therealasialee for being the best Wife to me the best Friend to me and now the best Mom to our blessed baby!! I love you so much! #thankyouJesus #Blessed #specialdelivery #myWiferocks photo credit: @ohmyjosephine.”
In the photo, the couple is seen wearing a Good Burger employee hat while holding a cheeseburger while Asia shows off her bare bump as she holds a bottle of orange soda – certainly in an homage to Mitchell’s character in Nick’s Kenan & Kel.
Kel Mitchell played Ed in the famous comedy Good Burger in 1997 along with Kenan Thompson. Back in 2015, he talked about a possible sequel on an interview with Us Weekly. The former child star stated: “Everybody is talking about a Good Burger 2, us doing a Bad Boys type of film. It’s just a thought, just a thought. But there’s definitely a possibility of something. So you just got to keep watching!”
Mitchell and Lee wed in 2012. Before this pregnancy, Mitchell was already a father of two young kids with ex-wife Tyisha Hampton.
Valentine’s Day is less than a week away! If you are looking for a sweet read to gift your little one or budding reader, check out these offerings out recently from Macmillan Children’s Publishing.
XO, OX: A Love Story
by Adam Rex, illustrated by Scott Campbell
The hilarious tale of love between a hapless ox and a fabulous gazelle, told in correspondence.
For some time now I have wanted to write a letter to say how much I admire you. You are so graceful and fine. Even when you are running from tigers you are like a ballerina who is running away from tigers.
I think that what I’m trying to say is that I love you.
And so begins an epic, if initially unrequited, love affair between a graceful gazelle and a clumsy, hapless ox. Romance will never be the same.
Adam Rex’s hilarious, sweet, and at times heartbreaking letters between a hopelessly romantic ox and a conceited, beautiful gazelle is paired perfectly with Scott Campbell’s joyful illustrations to bring you a romance for the ages.
MY THOUGHTS: A lovingly oblivious Ox has fallen for a rather conceited Gazelle who at first insists she wants nothing to do with him. Cute, but depending on the reader could be taken in a negative light. As for myself, I found it light hearted and kind of funny that the Ox was really in a world of his own and found every thing the Gazelle said and did a sign of her devotion.
Hug it Out!
by Louis Thomas
A fresh, funny take on sibling rivalry and conflict resolution, as two sparring siblings are forced to “hug it out.”
Mom has had enough of Woody and Annie’s incessant fighting. When her pleas for sharing and apologizing are ignored, she demands they “hug it out.” At first, the warring siblings are confused. Hugging? But after a long afternoon of forced embraces, the brother and sister decide to call a truce to avoid yet another icky hug. However it doesn’t take long for them to miss that newfound closeness. And soon they’re looking for something to fight about so they can hug it out once more!
Adults will delight in a new solution to conflict, while kids will enjoy yelling “HUG IT OUT!” at each familiar situation. With subversive humor and smart, eye-catching illustrations, Louis Thomas’s debut is a cheeky tribute to sibling rivalry and (cuddly) compromise.
MY THOUGHTS: A brother and sister who constantly fight are forced to find a way to get along when their mom decides to force them to–yuck!–HUG!! I do have two boys but the youngest isn’t old enough to be fighting with his older brother yet. I will keep this for of discipline in mind though! This book is perfect for kids who are close in age or those who argue and pick. Lessons learned include that time on your own can be OK, and that fighting with your sibling isn’t nice.
All Kinds of Kisses
by Heather Swain, illustrated by Steven Henry
A grasshopper mouth opens east-west but not south. They’re like scissors for chopping up leaves.
“Don’t try to hide from a kiss on its side,” says grandpa grasshopper to nymphs.
How would a grasshopper kiss?
Whichever it is, this much is true. When we say goodnight, I love all kinds of kisses from you!
We humans smooch with our lips. But how do giraffes, whales, hummingbirds, tree frogs, and other creatures kiss? It’s fun to wonder about and to see in the pages of this charming book, which includes facts about each animal at the end.
MY THOUGHTS: This book is perfect for a bedtime story! It gives a look into how different animals, such as giraffes, piranhas, and even humpback whales, might give kisses to their young. Older kids will love the scientific facts, and little ones will like trying to act out the different kinds of kisses. I adore books that give chances for kids to interact with what they are hearing!
Hedgehugs and the Hattiepillar
by Steve Wilson and Lucy Tapper
In this sequel to Hedgehugs, Horace and Hattie return for another sweet story of friendship.
It’s spring! And everything is colorful—rainbows in the sky and flowers blossoming on trees. When Horace and Hattie Hedgehog see a caterpillar become a butterfly and take flight, they decide to try a transformation of their own. When these two best friends put their minds to solving a problem, nothing can stand in their way!
MY THOUGHTS: Sweet and charming board book about a pair of hedgehog best friends who find a caterpillar. The story moves quick and has a concise ending, which is good for storytime with wiggly toddlers. It encourages kids to use their imagination.
Shiny Shapes: Love You Always
by Roger Priddy, illustrated by Lucy Fleming
Cute and cuddly animals wear their hearts on their sleeves in this charming board book with Valentine’s Day rhymes. There are tactile, heart-shaped holes on every page, while glitter and foil add a sprinkle of Valentine’s Day magic to this endearing book for the little one you love.
MY THOUGHTS: Colorful illustrations and eye catching glitter on the pages will keep the attention of even the littlest ones at bedtime. A quick, easy rhyming read about a duck and bear who are best friends. Super sweet way to show your love this Valentine’s Day!
Thank you so much to Macmillan for providing these books for review! Find more information on these titles, activity kits, and so much more at http://us.macmillan.com/mackids/.
When my older son received a guitar for Christmas year before last, my husband and I quickly learned that we were being introduced into a new and sometimes overwhelming world. Musical instruments require care, usage, and many accessories. We weren’t sure what the best guitar music center was, but we quickly found out that Guitar Center was a one stop shop for all our needs.
Our 8 year old is now taking lessons with a customized guitar and doing very well! We jazzed up his instrument with a designer strap, fret stickers, and more. He loves going to Guitar Center to see the new and cool ways he can make his guitar learning experience even better.
Almost every person on Earth has shared their life with a pet of some kind. Growing up, I always thought I was more of a cat person, even though we usually had both cats and dogs around the house. As I am older now and have my own family, I have recognized the special relationship that humans and dogs can share. This amazing phenomenon is at the heart of the film A Dog’s Purpose, out in theaters January 27, 2017.
Based on the beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose, from director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Dear John, The 100-Foot Journey), shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad) who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love. The family film told from the dog’s perspective also stars Britt Robertson, KJ Apa, John Ortiz, Juliet Rylance, Luke Kirby, Peggy Lipton, Pooch Hall and Dennis Quaid.
Our family adopted Jasper, a rat terrier mix, right around Christmas of 2013. We found he and his siblings near a busy highway, and he was the runt of the litter. We took him home and after a few days he warmed right up to us.
Jasper has been my boys’ best friend through the past few years!
He has been such a special part of our family and we now are dog people, I suppose!
Would you like to win a FANDANGO gift card so you can see A Dog’s Purpose in theaters? Leave me a comment telling me about the wonderful pet in your life! I will choose a winner on February 3 to receive a $25 Fandango gift card!
by D. Melhoff
A remote summer camp becomes a lurid crime scene when the bodies of two teenagers are found in a bloody, real-life rendering of a classic Grimm’s fairy tale. Trapped in the wilderness, the remaining counselors must follow a trail of dark children’s fables in order to outwit a psychopath and save the dwindling survivors before falling prey to their own gruesome endings.
Drawing on the grisly, uncensored details of history’s most famous fairy tales, Grimm Woods is a heart-pounding thriller about a deranged killer who uses traditional children’s stories as tropes in elaborate murders. Set against the backdrop of modern-day Michigan, it’s a journey through the mind of a dangerous zealot and a shocking glimpse into the bedtime stories you thought you knew.
MY THOUGHTS: 3 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
I will admit that my initial instinct about this book, after reading the first 10 chapters or so, was to put it down and give it a DNF. For some reason I continued though, and although I can’t say I’m exactly super thrilled I did, the book was worth the time it took to read.
It seems the author was trying to create a Friday the 13th, slasher flick atmosphere; in some ways he succeeded, in some ways not. This is a horror book for sure though; very gory and not for the faint of heart.
Scott Mamer and a dozen other college aged students are counselors at a fairy tale themed camp for kids in the middle of the woods. Before the kids even arrive, the counselors are being picked off one by one, their bodies displayed in gruesome ways. When the murders continue after the children get there, Scott takes it upon himself to see who is really behind the killing and try to stop it.
Don’t get twisted–Scott is no hero, though. He’s not even really likeable as a character. No one in this novel truly is. It’s soon discovered all of the counselors have been handpicked for a reason and they will pay for the sins of their past. The victims and the ways they are killed are all, in some cases very tentatively, connected to old school, violent fairy tales. In some instances I could see the connection, but in others it was a stretch.
I had a TON of questions as I was reading this book and seeing as this was a mystery, decided to keep reading and see if they would be answered. For the most part, they were, but some things still don’t make sense to me. It’s difficult to explain myself more without giving away the plot.
I feel that in some ways the author was trying too hard. He uses big, uncommon words when simpler ones would have fit better. There are mentions of torture devices and methods of killing that are kind of shoehorned in, as if the author was just trying to say, “Look, I know this.”
Though in many ways I was dissatisfied, Grimm Woods was a quick, thrilling read for me and I was totally escaping into the world when I was reading. The author does do a great job with descriptions, whether it’s the setting, or the bloody details of how someone is killed. It’s very vibrant and you can really see it in your mind’s eye.
In my opinion the basis for the story was a creative one and it took me for a ride, but the author just has some writing issues he needs to work on. I would revisit his work in the future.
About the Author
D. Melhoff was born in a prairie ghost town that few people have heard of and even fewer have visited. While most of his stories are for adults, he also enjoys terrifying younger audiences from time to time, as seen in his series of twisted picture books for children. He credits King, Poe, Hitchcock, Harris, Stoker, and his second grade school teacher, Mrs. Lake, for turning him to horror. For more information, visit grimmwoods.com.
Buying a house is the largest purchase you will ever make in your life. Therefore, you should do everything you can to keep it looking great while you are living there. You will get a number of benefits from this. First of all, you will have a home that is the envy of your neighborhood. You will also increase the overall value of your home if it is kept in good condition. This will allow you to make a nice profit on your home if you decide to sell it in the future. One of the most important areas you need to focus on is the landscaping. Here are some of the ways to find a reputable and talented landscaping company to keep your home looking beautiful.
1. Ask your friends and family members for the names of the landscaping companies they are using.
The best place to start your search for a landscaping company is by talking to all of the people in your life who you trust completely. This would obviously be your friends and family members. Ask these people who they use for their various landscaping needs. You might be able to discover some great landscapers that you previously never knew existed. It is always best to get recommendations from your friends and family because these people do not have any ulterior motive to recommend a specific landscaper to you. Therefore, you can always believe what they are telling you.
2. Make sure that the landscaping company you hire has been in business for a long time.
Experience is something you need to take into consideration when you are looking at Toronto landscapers. It goes without saying that you do not want a bunch of novices trimming your trees and hedges. There is an art to these tasks that experienced landscapers have. Deciding to go the cheap route and hiring inexperienced landscapers in an attempt to save some cash would be a huge mistake on your part. Your yard will not look as good as it would have if you had hired seasoned professional landscapers who have been in the business for many years. Ideally, you should seek out landscapers who have no less than three years of experience working in your area. Hiring a landscaper with this level of experience will ensure that you get the quality of landscaping that you are looking for.
3. Does the landscaping company charge a competitive fee for their services?
The fees that landscapers charge can tend to vary greatly. Therefore, you owe it to yourself to contact many different landscapers in your area and get quotes from all of them on their services. You should never pay more than you need to for quality landscaping. You will find that some companies will charge twice as much as others for the same amount of work. Smaller companies traditionally charge less than the big ones because they have much less overhead.
4. Consider signing a long-term contract with a landscaping company.
One of the most popular methods that people use to save money on landscaping is to enter into a long-term agreement with a landscaping company. Decide how often you want the company to come to your home. Landscapers will usually give their customers a significant discount in exchange for giving them the repeat business. Find out what type of discounts are offered for signing a long-term contract with all of the companies you talk to.
5. Ask all of the landscapers you are considering to provide you with a list of references.
It is essential that you see examples of the work that each landscaping company is capable of doing before you decide which one you will hire. All of the reputable companies will be happy to provide you with several references that you can contact. Get in touch with these people and take a look at their property. Ask the people about the landscapers to find out if they were on time and how long it took them to finish their work. This is important info so you can get a sense of the company’s overall professionalism. You can then use this info to help make your final decision.
Strong, independent heroines join together with mysterious, dangerous heroes in explosive conflicts that are as much external as they are internal.
Hidden Realms has all of this along with mermaids, shape shifters, demigods, fae, demons and half-breeds with even darker inheritances. There’s love, both forbidden and true, and there’s all the sacrifice it takes to keep it. Regardless of what your preferred flavor of paranormal romance or urban fantasy actually is, there is something in this collection of 10 novels that will knock your socks off.
Hidden Realms contains multiple books that are otherwise only available for $2.99 or more, and it’s available for FREE—but only for a limited time!
Torn by Dean Murray
Shape shifter Alec Graves has spent nearly a decade trying to keep his family from being drawn into open warfare with a larger pack. The new girl at school she seems to know things she shouldn’t about his shadowy world, and the more he gets to know her, the more mysterious she becomes.
Is she an unfortunate victim or bait designed to draw him into a fatal misstep?
Awaken by Skye Malone
Chloe had never been to the ocean, and now one simple vacation has altered her life forever. Her body is changing in bizarre ways, a mysterious boy is following her, and she’s become the target of killers too. Ancient and deadly secrets surround her and it’s going to take everything she has to discover the truth.
Beautiful Demons by Sarra Cannon
Harper moves to Peachville hoping for a fresh start, but when evidence ties her to the gruesome murder of a Demons cheerleader, she discovers this small town has a big secret.
Five by Christie Rich
Rayla Tate dreams of escaping her ordinary world for a bright future in the art world. Throw in an overbearing aunt who is keeping major secrets, a disgruntled best friend tagging along to college, and a bunch of fae warriors waiting in the wings to claim her the minute she leaves her sleepy little town, and Rayla’s dreams are about to shatter.
Bitterroot by Heather Hildenbrand
Charlie and Regan Vuk have secretly always wanted a sister. Now, they finally found each other, only to be forced into a head to head contest for pack alpha. A competition that threatens to destroy their new bond and 1 sister’s chance for true love. Bitterroot is a 3-part Young Adult Paranormal novella series with a dose of sibling rivalry… Who will you root for?
Bound by Duty by Stormy Smith
Amelia Bradbury is the last living Elder. She has power she can’t control, a prophecy dictating her fate, a betrothal she can’t stop and a heart lost to a human.
Ignited by Desni Dantone
When evil forces come for Kris Young, she is forced to go on the run with the young man she has long considered her guardian angel. As they search for the truth behind her role in the long-running battle between good and evil, they discover that nothing is as it seems, and nothing, least of all their hearts, are safe.
King of Ash and Bone by Melissa Wright
When monsters break through the veil between worlds, Mackenzie Scott devises a plan to stop them, whatever the cost. She finds an injured stranger who just might hold the key, but he’s not the helpless boy he appears to be. He’s one of them, and he’s got plans of his own.
Xoe by Sara C. Roethle
Xoe never thought she’d be the type of girl to contemplate murder. Of course, she never thought she’d be dealing with werewolves on top of her own strange, budding powers. Everything comes crashing down at once when her best friend’s life is put in peril, and Xoe will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it involves trusting a tall, handsome vampire with an infuriating attitude.
Meeting Destiny by Nancy Straight
Lauren is visited in her dreams for years by a stranger claiming to be her destiny. Destiny becomes reality when paths cross during a failed robbery attempt.
Redoing your kitchen can be an exciting prospect. However, as you begin the project, you realize that you have dozens if not hundreds of options for new fixtures from which to choose. How can you decide what kinds of counters, flooring, and more that you want if you cannot get all of the details you need about them? You can make solid decisions regarding your remodeling project when you shop for flooring, counters, and kitchen cabinets online today.
Why Shop Online
What advantage does shopping online have over shopping in your local home improvement stores? When you shop virtually, you can take your time and browse the selections of cabinets and more available to you without feeling pressured to make a fast decision. You are not stalked and followed by commissioned sales people who may want you to choose fixtures that are out of your price range. Likewise, you can get all of the information you need about these options by clicking on the pictures of them. The information is factual and up-to-date, meaning that you do not have to take the word of a sales person who might be newly trained or not well-versed on the cabinets.
Likewise, when you shop online, you can find fixtures that fit your budget without having to wade through pages of cabinets that are out of your price range. You can narrow your search on the website by indicating what price range you have in mind. The site will then show you models that fit within that search criteria.
Shopping online does not mean that you sacrifice quality or style. Your local home improvement stores are not the only ones that sell the latest choices for the most modern and beautiful kitchen fixtures.
The website makes available cabinets and more in the most appealing materials including oak, pine, and other woods. The quality rivals those of the cabinets found in your local stores. You can buy these fixtures on the Internet and know that you are getting cabinets and more that will last for years.
If you do have questions or concerns, you are not alone when you shop on the website. You can ask questions and have concerns addressed quickly by using the site’s virtual chat option. Shopping for cabinets and more online proves to be as enjoyable and easier than shopping in local stores.