Saturday, April 6, 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry

I recently came across an author I really like, Jonathan Maberry. The first book I read was Patient Zero (review & giveaway coming soon) and I was hooked. I decided to read his Pine Deep trilogy. The first book, Ghost Road Blues, introduces you to Pine Deep, Pennsylvania, which is known as "The Spookiest Town in America." Pine Deep seems like a quaint , tourist town which thrives on the Halloween season, but it has a dark, evil history.

Jonathan Maberry uses a vibrant cast of characters and amazing description to draw you into the secrets of Pine Deep and it's residents. Action packed and just enough gore makes Ghost Road Blues a page turner that will be impossible to put down. Here's the excerpt from the back cover of the book:

Evil Doesn't Die
Pine Deep buried the horrors of its past a long time ago.
Thirty years have passed since a serial killer sheared a bloody
swath through the quiet Pennsylvania village. Now residents
and tourists enjoy the country's largest Halloween celebration
in what is cheerfully called "The Spookiest Town in America".

It Grows Stronger
But a month before Halloween it begins again. Unspeakably desecrated
bodies. Inexplicable insanity. And an ancient evil walking the streets,
seeking to shred the very soul of this vulnerable community. Yes, the 
people of Pine Deep have faced a killer before. But this time, evil has
many faces- and the lust and will to rule. This struggle will be epic.

And epic it was! This series kept me guessing all the way to the end. Ghost Road Blues definitely deserved to win the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel! See for yourself, enter below to win a copy of the book for yourself! Also watch for reviews and giveaways for the other two books in the Pine Deep series in the near future! Good luck to all and thanks for reading!

**I was not compensated for this review and giveaway. All opinions are my own and completely unbiased.**

Friday, April 5, 2013

Left Behind...

I was recently called in for a conference by my daughter's 1st grade teacher. Not having any problems brought to my attention prior to the conference, I went in expecting to hear good things. I was shocked and upset by what I was told.

After saying hello to the teacher I sat down. Normally when I've met for conferences it was always one on one, parent and teacher only. I got a bad feeling when two other women walked into the room each carrying a pretty thick folder. The feeling got worse when the teacher began with "She's a joy to have in class, so sweet and friendly, but...". My heart sank, here it comes my first bad parent/teacher conference.

The teacher started telling me that my daughter is really struggling with reading. She began showing me test scores and they were horrible, I couldn't believe it. The school year is almost over and this is the first I've heard about the fact that my child can hardly read, and has been working with three other teachers, 4 days out of the week for over two months! I was pissed and sad for my daughter at the same time because I had no idea. Needless to say with all the extra help at school she is still struggling.

We've been doing a lot of extra reading at home since the conference and I just found out she can get free tutoring through the district so we are starting that next week. Also she is set to attend a 6 week intensive reading camp. Until this we really had no reading routine at our house. I read to my kids a lot but not every day until now. Now my oldest reads for 30 minutes by herself and then my youngest daughter reads aloud to me for 30 minutes. If you are having reading troubles with your kids or just want to avoid problems here are some tips on how to get a routine going.

Pick a Theme
Getting the whole family involved is important. Having different age groups means different reading levels. Picking a theme makes it easier to be able to talk about what you are reading about.

Set a Time
Set a time aside for the whole family to read together. This has been one of my favorite parts because it's great quality family time.

Create a Space For Reading
There's nothing better than curling up with a good book, a blanket, and some cocoa. We've designated our bed as our reading area. This way there's room for everyone cuddle up and enjoy a story! The kids are comfy and so are hubby and I!

Have Fun
Hubby and I often read out loud together. He does all the boy parts and I do all the girl parts. We get into it and create voices for the characters and this gets the kids attention too, they really get into the story.

Talk About the Story
When you're finished reading, talk about it with your kids. This helps you gauge their comprehension of what was read.

Reward your kids for reading! If they read a certain number of books in a month maybe give them a gift card to the bookstore or credit for their Nook/Kindle to get more books.

Reading is so important! Encourage it, feed it, don't let your kid get left behind.