5M4B disclosure

space saverSpace Saver: Ben has, as usual, come to Mission Control after school. Both his parents work there, and it’s usually a great place to hang out. But today, something is wrong. Everyone is shouting and upset, and there aren’t even any biscuits for his tea.  That morning, a wheel fell off the Moon Buggy with the new spy camera mounted on it, and the astronauts weren’t able to work with the tiny screws to fix it. They have flown away and left the buggy with the spy camera just lying there on the moon, where anyone could get at them.  Even the Prime Minister calls to yell about it, and Ben answers the phone. “I expect you to sort this problem out straight away,” shouts the PM. Ben takes his words to heart, and sets about to solve things in his own inimitable way.

Space Saver is a delightful book that will spark children’s imaginations. Most kids I know dream of floating about in space, and everyone loves to picture themselves handily fixing a problem that is stumping the grown-ups.

 

 

alfieAlfie’s Great Escape: In Alfie’s Great Escape we meet Alfie, a baboon who lives in a safari park. He knows lots about humans, he thinks, because he sees them every day, driving through his home. They seem to always be happy, chatting and eating ice cream and enjoying each other’s company. So Alfie decides to steal bits of people’s cars until he could make a car of his very own, which allows him to drive off in search of human companionship.

He ends up at a birthday party. Unsurprisingly, he really doesn’t know how humans behave, and makes rather a (sorry!) monkey of himself. But he learns important lessons about contentment and friendship, and the party ends up being a success in spite of his rather unexpected present for the birthday girl.

Space Saver and Alfie’s Great Escape both feature speech bubbles to enhance the story, and both are fun, well-told tales. Both titles are rated as “blue bananas.” Egmont Press uses a simple color-coding scheme to let kids and parents know if the book is appropriate for their reading level. Blue is the middle level, for kids who are getting more comfortable with reading on their own yet who still like pictures on each page.

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Until You’re Mine

There’s nothing like a good psychological thriller. With the smashing success of Gone Girl (linked to my review), I have a feeling we’ll continue seeing even more books in this genre.
Until You’re Mine: A Novel is the kind of novel where you are never quite sure what to believe. Just when you think you have one character’s motives figured out, something happens that turns that on end.
Claudia is the stepmother to preschool twin boys who lost their mother when they were infants. Their dad/her husband is a naval man who is gone on assignment for months at a time. So when Claudia finally gets pregnant — something we sense has been difficult for her — and he’s going to be away for the

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We’ll Always Have Paris #Giveaway

I would LOVE to be able to travel the world with my kids. I’m not sure that’s going to happen in this lifetime, so reading Jennifer Coburn’s memoir of the 4 trips she took over 8 years with her daughter Katie might have to do for now.
I know I won’t be spending a month in Spain, but I do hope to plan a mother-daughter trip of my own sometime.
Check out my full review of We’ll Always Have Paris at 5 Minutes for Mom and enter to win one of two copies.

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Always Emily #MMGM

I have been a fan of Michaela MacColl for a while. I loved her first novel. Scroll all the way to the bottom to see links in the recommended posts to two of her other books I enjoyed.
Earlier this year, I decided to reread Wuthering Heights. It was interesting, but I stalled a bit. Reading Always Emily about the life of Emily and Charlotte Bronte in their teen years revived my interest.
Michaela MacColl writes historical fiction that will appeal to fans of the genre. I read it at times, but it’s not my favorite genre, but I always enjoy her books. They are written for an older middle grade through young adult audience (probably 5th to 8th grade), but are so enjoyable for

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Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir

Frances Mayes is best known for her memoir Under the Tuscan Sun. In her latest work, she returns to her childhood, spent in the small town of Fitzgerald, Georgia, in a time when the family was still served by a black maid and Southern women were expected to behave in certain specific ways.
Under Magnolia: a Southern Memoir opens when Mayes makes a stop in Mississippi in the middle of a book tour. Her housing arrangements have fallen through and she ends up staying in a bed and breakfast. Entering the bedroom, she says “a thousand memories suddenly free-fall through me.” (xvi) This is the story of a journey home, a way to make peace with a childhood that often wasn’t peaceful. She likens it

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Seduction

The title and the cover art of M.J. Rose’s novel Seduction may give the impression of a sexually natured theme, but this novel is more about a seduction of spirit, an emotional temptation. Combining a suspense novel with historical fiction, Rose takes readers on a journey through time, inspired by beloved author Victor Hugo’s real-life experiences with loss and his pursuit of connecting with the “other side.”
I enjoy novels that have alternating plot lines, and the tie-in with Victor Hugo was the initial draw for me when I first heard of this book. While I have loved Les Misérables for many years, so much of Hugo’s personal history was unknown to me. Though this novel fictionalizes the specifics of his storyline, the author constructed

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5 Books That Hooked My Non-Reader {Friday’s Five}

To call my 10 year old son a non-reader is a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.  Like many parents, especially those who love to read, I’ve read to both of my boys since birth. Board books, picture books, early readers, we’ve read them all.  Bedtime has always been our time to read, and that has continued for Alex, who has been reading independently for a few years now and moved from our family reading time in the loft to his bean bag in his room.  During the school year he has required reading that’s part of his homework, sometimes it’s a book they’re reading in class, but often he just has to read.  If he had his way, he would read graphic novels,

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RIO 2 Movie Review

Michelle of Honest & Truly! had the opportunity to travel to see the world premiere of RIO 2 in Miami and interview the cast, courtesy of 20th Century Fox. There was no other compensation, and all opinions remain her own.
In 2011, the wee ones – and I – fell in love with Blu in the animated hit RIO. We loved the colors and the music and the personalities of the birds and their friends and so much more. When I heard that RIO 2 was coming out on April 11, I couldn’t wait to see where they’d take this story next.

Fast forward from the last movie, and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) now have three children and are happily living in

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The Last Original Wife

There are a lot of distinct flavors of chick lit and its slightly deeper cousin, women’s fiction. There are the single gal looking for love stories, or the single empowered gal who realizes she doesn’t need love. Then as the woman moves into her 30′s, there are the home/life balance books which can focus on motherhood or career or trying to balance the two. Women in their 40′s can deal with crises regarding rebellious teenagers or husbands or losing themselves or finding themselves.
Dorthea Benton Frank‘s novels seem to deal with women in their 50′s. They too might deal with any of these issues, though the “kids” are now adults, not much has changed. Some of them might be starting over or struggling to hang

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Love Illuminated: Exploring Life’s Most Mystifying Subject

Quick–what’s the most important thing in your life? Chances are, unless you’re PMSing and answered chocolate, that your answer had something to do with love and relationship. Love is a endless subject, isn’t it? It’s a continuing topic in books and movies of all types–not just romances or rom-coms, but dramas, history, thrillers, and more. It saturates our music and poetry, and all aspects of our lives. And we are endlessly fascinated by it, as all those songs and books and movies show.
Daniel Jones is the editor of a personal-essay column about modern love for the New York Times, and as such has become basically an expert on the subject of what Americans are struggling with and enjoying today. Complete strangers reveal to him

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National Geographic Kids: Look & Learn Series #Giveaway

Don’t you just love board books? Even though my own children have aged out of this stage of books, I have a collection of board books that I’ve never been able to give away, and I know that Jennifer feels the same way, too. Now that I spend my days with toddlers, I’m thrilled to be revisiting the world of literature for the littlest ones.

National Geographic Kids has a fun series of board books called Look & Learn, and the six that I was sent for reviewing purposes are just delightful.
Head over to 5 Minutes for Mom to read my take on what makes them fun for toddlers and preschoolers, and be sure to enter to win a prize pack of all six Look

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The Opposite of Maybe

Read Michelle’s thoughts first, and keep reading for Jennifer’s thoughts on this novel:
Jonathan and Rosie are the couple who have never grown up in The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson. Their best friends are all married couples who get along great, and their kids are growing up and near ready for college. In comparison, Jonathan and Rosie still have their college dorm chic furniture and working jobs that get them by without having an actual career. As sympatico as they are, there are still areas of stress in the relationship as Jonathan remains the selfish teenage boy and Rosie is starting to look more at the world around them.
Rosie no longer wants to be the butt of their friends jokes as the

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