Book Review “Brain Rules for Baby” John Medina

What’s the single most important thing you can do during pregnancy? What does watching TV do to a child’s brain? What’s the best way to handle temper tantrums? Scientists know.

In his New York Times bestseller Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina showed us how our brains really work—and why we ought to redesign our workplaces and schools. Now, in Brain Rules for Baby, he shares what the latest science says about how to raise smart and happy children from zero to five. This book is destined to revolutionize parenting. Just one of the surprises: The best way to get your children into the college of their choice? Teach them impulse control.

Brain Rules for Baby bridges the gap between what scientists know and what parents practice. Through fascinating and funny stories, Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and dad, unravels how a child’s brain develops – and what you can do to optimize it.

You will view your children—and how to raise them—in a whole new light. You’ll learn:

Where nature ends and nurture begins
Why men should do more household chores
What you do when emotions run hot affects how
your baby turns out, because babies need to feel safe
above all
TV is harmful for children under 2
Your child’s ability to relate to others predicts her
future math performance
Smart and happy are inseparable. Pursuing your child’s
intellectual success at the expense of his happiness
achieves neither
Praising effort is better than praising intelligence
The best predictor of academic performance is not
IQ. It’s self-control
What you do right now—before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and through the first five years—will affect your children for the rest of their lives. Brain Rules for Baby is an indispensable guide.

brain-rules-for-baby-cover

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When I was pregnant with my first child I worried about everything. Me and every pregnant woman ever. I wish I would of have this book! Almost every question I had as a soon to be mom is answered! Best part about this book is that if, like me, you don’t find it while pregnant, the information has a wide age range. I learned a lot and will be implementing new approaches to my parenting.  My husband learned a ton too! This is a must have for both Mom & Dad!

The book is split into chapters and answers some of the most pressing issues parents face. Medina cites his methods with solid research and when the science is a bit lacking he is upfront and explains why he included that bit of information. So much of this book is backed up by research that your reading list will grow longer as you work your way through the book.

I found a lot of other good reading from this book and I, for one, am thankful that Medina so meticulously cited everything. With the absolutely insane amount of parenting books on the market, Medina’s book stands as a shining example to other authors. If you’re going to give advice….have the proof to back it up. Don’t contribute to the noise.

My favorite section of the book is “Smart Baby: Seeds”. Medina breaks down each point in an easy to understand format but goes into great detail. This book really is the holy grail.  

Medina includes interesting anecdotes throughout the story that are sometimes funny but always thought provoking. I really loved how Medina gave us the history of the IQ test! I had no idea!

In conclusion, I strongly recommend this book to parents. Medina has written a solid “manual” for not messing up your kid.

Thanks friend!

5 stars!

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Brain Rules for Baby | Series: N/A  |  Author(s): John Medina  |Publisher: Pear Press  / Publication Date: 4-22-2014 |Pages: 336 (Print) | ISBN: 978-0983263388 |Genre(s): Parenting / Non Fiction|Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 1-08-2017 |Source: Copy from library.

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Book Review “The 5th Wave” Rick Yancy

synopsis

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

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Funny story, I’ve had this book on my shelf for awhile. I passed over it time and time again while choosing my next book to read. I had no idea what I was missing! I also had no idea there was a movie. Goes to show how much I pay attention. 

I made the mistake of beginning this book later in the day so I ended up binge reading it and stayed up literally all night. This wasn’t the best plan since I am the mother of two small children. Lots of coffee was drank the next day. I finished it about an hour after my husband left for work that next morning and as much as I should regret staying up all night…..I don’t. Yancey’s writing sucked me in and didn’t let go. I was jonesing so hard for the next book that the minute my husband got home from work I raced to the bookstore. I’m 100% sure that’s the only time I’ve gone more than 5 over the speed limit in probably 3 years.

I liked how real Cassi came across. She wasn’t just scared. She was angry and sad and terrified and brave.

She represents humanity. We never have just one emotion. All of our emotions are a jumbled mess and the complex decisions we make aren’t always based on emotion or logic. Sometimes they are a mix of both.  Her name….it’s fitting really. Cassiopeia. She’s a child of the stars while being entirely human.

The bravery Cassi shows comes across as a bit insane at times and very paranoid at others. I can’t brag enough on Yancey.

Cassi feels like a scarily real person in a terrifyingly real scenario. 

There are so many elements to this story and I think that is why it drills into the imagination so easily. It’s scary and brutal. It’s tender and loving. It’s suspenseful and chill inducing. It’s life.

The teddy bear was a nice touch too. 

I don’t want to say much else for fear of giving anything about the book away. Just know that it is absolutely worth the money and be sure to schedule enough time to read it in one sitting.

5 stars.

5 stars

The Technical Data:

Title: The 5th Wave | Series: The 5th Wave  |  Author(s): Rick Yancey  |Publisher: Speak  / Publication Date: 2-10-2015 |Pages: 512 (Print) | ISBN: 978-0142425831 |Genre(s): Science Fiction / Action / Romance / Suspense / Horror / Dystopian |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 1-06-2017 |Source: Copy from personal collection.

Battle Of The Book Cover #5

Hello everyone! Welcome to AlliesOpinions

BATTLE OF THE BOOK COVER! 

How does it work? Well, I will put two different covers of the same book or different books and you must judge which book you would most likely pick up based ONLY on the cover!  Don’t forget to explain your choice.

The winner gets a free book spotlight! If shopping small is on your list of must haves…..look no further and buy Indie! Self-published means that your dollars go to the author and not some gigantic publishing company!

Put your vote in the comments!

aerisia book cover New Cover NOVUS

psst….click on the covers to learn more about the book!

May the odds be ever in your favor!

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Book Review Schedule

Hi bookland! How goes it? I’ve recently had a few authors inquire when their books were up for review. Here’s a list of the next 5 books that you can expect to see reviews for. If your book isn’t on this list, keep your eyes peeled. I’ll get to it. This list is not a “To Be Read” list. I’ve already read these books. I don’t always have time to write a review the second I finish reading. This is why I keep notes about each book I read and often will write up parts of the review while I’m reading. Enjoy!

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the-infinite-sea-cover

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What have you been reading?

Book Review “The Shade of the Moon” Susan Beth Pfeffer

The eagerly awaited addition to the series begun with the New York Times best-seller Life As We Knew It, in which a meteor knocks the moon off its orbit and the world changes forever.

It’s been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved. His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in a well-protected enclave. But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can put his life and the lives of his mother, his sister Miranda, and her husband, Alex, in jeopardy. Can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong?

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This is the fourth book in the “Life As We Knew It” series. It remains one of my all time favorite apocalyptic stories. Pfeffer has crafted these characters so expertly that I often find myself missing them and rereading the series. From the beginning, this story has rang so terribly real that I often open my curtains to check on the moon. You know, just in case.

One of my favorite things about this addition to the series is Jon’s narration. Before reading this book, he was the character I felt I knew the least about. In the other books he has mainly been in the background. It was interesting to see this world from his perspective. Interesting to see him deal with the two worlds he finds himself part of. That constant uncertainty would be unnerving. 

The class system that Pfeffer created is fascinating. The dehumanization of the “grubs” is a lot like what we do to the poor. Towards the end of the book, the “clavers” no longer acknowledge that the “grubbs” are human. Powerful people were spreading stories to further that ideology. Watching Jon struggle with the entitlement of living in the enclave while also being constantly reminded that he didn’t actually “belong” there was conflicting. Part of me wanted to kick his butt for being such a little jerk and not appreciating everything that everyone was doing for him. That part of me was assuaged when Jon rallies and helps his sister.

This series is a good look into a possible future and a cautionary tale to remind us all how fragile our society really is.

5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Shade of the Moon | Series: Life As We Knew It  |  Author(s): Susan Beth Pfeffer  |Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers  / Publication Date: 9-16-2014 |Pages: 304 (Print) | ISBN:  978-0544336155 |Genre(s): Science Fiction / Young Adult / Apocalyptic |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 1-04-2017 |Source: Copy from personal collection.

Children’s Book Review “REX” Simon James

From the inimitable Simon James, a heartwarming story about a surprising dinosaur adoptive dad.

Once upon about 65 million years ago, a terrifying tyrannosaurus roams the earth. He spends his days raging through the jungle, scaring every other dinosaur in sight with his fierce roar. Then, one night while he is sleeping, an abandoned egg cracks open and out pops a tiny dinosaur who decides right then and there that this scary tyrannosaurus is his father. And so begins the touching story of a little dino and his search for a dad—a tale sure to resonate with families of all stripes.

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When it comes to Children, there is undoubtedly a huge demand for anything Dino. Both of my kids love dinosaurs and we have thoroughly exhausted two libraries worth of anything and everything Dinosaur. The same themes are often seen but when I picked up REX, I found a story that was not only fun for the kids but also dealt with a weighty issue.

See, there are a lot of kids out there who either have no family or live in a single parent household. Speaking as a child who was abandoned by both of my biological parents, there is a truck load of emotions that accompany these situations. As a kid who loved to read, it seemed that every book I picked up was about families or the main character had a family member who was trying desperately to find them.  

There really isn’t much children’s literature that deals with adoption or abandonment. This book handles it well. 

When we first meet little Rex, we know he is abandoned and that emotion is merely mentioned but not explored on. I was dissapointed until I read further and discovered that it is handled. This book doesn’t deeply examine this situation but in my mind, it’s perfect for its age range. It hits on the beginning of what children like me are looking for… association. Just to know that someone (even a make believe Dinosaur) knows about my life would of let me know as a child that I was not as alone as I felt.

Fantastic job. 5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: REX | Series: N/A  |  Author(s): Simon James  |Publisher: Candlewick  / Publication Date: 7-12-2016 |Pages: 40 (Print) | ISBN:  978-0763672942 |Genre(s): Preschool / Adoption / Foster / Orphan |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 1-02-2017 |Source: Copy from Library.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Wanted To Read In 2016 But Didn’t.

This prompt comes from the ever resourceful “The Broke and Bookish”. Each week there is a different theme! It’s a fun way for bloggers to connect and readers to get to know us better! It helps the writing community get a little extra promotion for their work as well as give some pretty great intel to readers looking for a new read!

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The original prompt is below:

Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To (But TOTALLY plan to)

                           hillbilly-elegy-cover        the-girl-in-the-red-coat-cover

                          the-lost-time-accidents-cover      what-lies-between-us-cover

                         here-i-am-cover         what-is-not-yours-cover

             harry-potter-and-the-cursed-child-cover          heartless-cover                                  salt-to-the-sea-cover

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What’s on your list?

Best Dinosaur Books For Kids!

Do you have a kiddo who is absolutely obsessed with Dinosaurs? My three year old son and even my one year old daughter are entranced by everything Dino! They live and breathe Dinos! They sleep in Dino pajamas. They eat off Dino plates. Heck, they even have Dino silverware. Having this level of obsession in my home has given me an insight into some pretty great Dinosaur books for kids. Let me tell you, there’s a whole lot of them. Here is a list of ten that we have read (not yet reviewed) and loved!

Treat the Dino lover in your life!

  rex-cover  revenge-of-the-dinotrux-cover

oh-my-dinosaurs-cover     how-do-dinosaurs-go-to-sleep-cover

im-a-t-rex-cover  thats-not-my-dinosaur-cover

oh-say-can-you-say-dinosaur-cover     saturday-night-at-the-dinosaur-stomp-cover

dinosaur-dig-cover     dinosaur-dance-cover

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What Dino books have your kids attention? We would love to see your list!

Best 50 Books of 2016

How goes it my fellow bibliophiles? 2016 has been one hell of a year. This year we have seen the death of many a beloved celebrity, a sketchy election and monumental social action. As for books, well, this year I have read some truly amazing stories. From fiction to non-fiction, my world has been rocked by the talent and bravery of so many authors. AlliesOpinions reviews a wide range of genres and I know there is something for every one this list! I am proud to present my picks for your viewing pleasure.

Note: Not all of the following books were released in 2016. This list is made up of books that I read, reviewed and loved this year. Click on the covers to learn more!

Enjoy!

delilah-dusticle-trans-adventure-new-cover         Fairest Book Cover            Life after the undead cover           Stick and Stone Cover     the-cabin-angela-shori-new-cover             The Dean Machine Cover sol of the coliseum cover        The Free Bronotosaurus      inequality book cover visionsight cover           The Split Book           walk in the flesh cover Britain at War Cover      The Insect Hotel Cover     Where Death Is A Hunter Cover

A Frog In the bog cover    Clean Cover       Smashing Book Cover                         The island on the edge of forever revised cover         Simply the wildside cover    Kyle evans cover Silverwood Cover               reaperlands-updated-cover     Eboracum Cover The Unknown Soldier cover               Titanborn Cover        Into The Dark Cover      Delivering Virtue New Cover      Solomon Crocodile Cover     The Keeper and the rulership cover       The Poverty Industry Cover            Private Lucky Cover          trauma shame and the power of love Cover        A Howl for Mayflower Cover           Fling Cover          sirens-song-cover

a-place-to-call-home-cover           the-virgin-queens-daughter-cover         all-her-secrets-cover

there-was-an-old-sailor-cover       hands-across-the-sky-cover              i-become-you-cover

moonstone-beach-cover             burned-cover       missing-mona-cover

the-oldest-soul-cover   where-memories-meet-cover  Timesmudger Cover

 

 

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2016 delivered some awesome books! I’m looking forward to what 2017 will bring!

 

Book Review “The Mirage On The Brink Of Oblivion” Andrew M. Crusoe

synopsis

What if you could hold a memory in the palm of your hand?

In the Mirage, you can. Reachable only by leaving the physical body and entering the out-of-body state, the Mirage allows all within it to trade memories like souvenirs and create structures that defy physics. And now, after centuries, even the memory of the devastating Vakragha attack on their world has all but been forgotten, and most have lost touch with the physical world altogether.

Jyana is different. Driven by her desire to understand the natural world, she dedicates herself to studying the sea below Mirage City. Yet when she finds that the coral reef is being decimated by an unknown cause, no one will take her seriously, not even Torin, whom she loves more than anyone. Ambrosia supply shortages are getting worse, and Torin fears a crisis is brewing. Its formula a state secret, ambrosia gives architects the power to form colossal structures, and without it, their ancient civilization would surely collapse.

In the midst of this, everyone is shocked when a refugee from before the attack returns. Filled with questions, Asha has come with a secret mission which may destabilize their entire planet, causing the end of the Mirage itself.

A fast-paced, out-of-body Sci-Fi adventure, THE MIRAGE ON THE BRINK OF OBLIVION is the triumphant 3rd installment in the EPIC OF ARAVINDA.

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I would like to start this review with a few of my favorite passages from the book.
“To try, as best as we possibly can, to find the place where those three parts agree, because they all have something valuable to say.” 
“But what if you can’t find that space where they agree? What then?”
“Well, then you remember their strengths.”

“The Mirage On The Brink Of Oblivion” is the third book in the “Epic Of Aravinda” series. Want to see my reviews of the first two books? Click on the covers below.

the-truth-beyond-the-sky-cover The island on the edge of forever revised cover

Now that I am three books into this series, I have to brag on Mr. Crusoe a bit. The first book was really good and I enjoyed reading it. The second not quite as good and the message of “one” kind of took over the story. In this, the third book, Mr. Crusoe’s writing has started to gain some finesse and it’s been a real treat to watch him evolve as a writer. That alone is a fun reason to keep reading the series.

In “The Mirage” (shortened the title), a beloved character from the first book comes back in a very unexpected way. I definitely did not see that coming. I have been wondering about the fate of said person since they went missing. Needless to say, a lot of the loose ends from the previous books are beginning to be revealed.

A bad habit that Mr. Crusoe has with his dialogue is over explaining situations. There is no need to simplify every single event. I suggest trying to replace some of that dialogue with action scenes. Show us, don’t tell us. And PLEASE don’t repeat dialogue. I got it the first time. If you’re trying to update a new character through an old character just write “Asha filled her in”, or something like that. Don’t re-explain! Argh! That drove me nuts. That is really the only thing left for Mr. Crusoe to work out.

The “Mirage” was an interesting place. This is a great example of how much Mr. Crusoe’s writing has improved. The picture he paints of this ethereal world is fantastic. It sounds beautiful and magical. I would love to see this world brought to life in film or animation.

Learning more about Asha was a real treat too. Her character is growing and I’ve built a real fondness for her. She’s strong and intuitive but not egotistical. The relationship that her and Zahn are building is beautiful to witness. The bond between them grows stronger every page. They bring a new definition to “soul mates”.

Speaking of growing character, Zahn is getting wise and very philosophical! There are a ton of points that he makes in the story that stuck me right in the heart. Between him and Asha, they would make one heck of a governing system. I would like to see them move up the ranks.

The action in this story is steady and is paced well to keep you on your toes! The creative plot twists were surprising and interesting.

I still have a few questions that I would like more information on. The biggest is the Confederation. We really don’t know much at all about them. I would like to see that part of the story fleshed out more. How does it work? Who is in it?

I’m rating this 4 stars.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Mirage On The Blink Of Oblivion | Series: Epic of Aravinda  |  Author(s): Andrew M. Crusoe  |Publisher:  Aravinda Publishing / Publication Date: 7-20-2016 |Pages: 241 (Print) | ISBN: B01GWD5A4O  |Genre(s): Young Adult Science Fiction |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 12-10-2016 |Source: Copy from author.