We love the Cannonball Holiday Swap!

The kids made us all wait until Christmas Eve to open our Cannonball goodies under the tree. What a treat!

Thanks Malin and The Mama. What a wonderful way to start off the holiday!

Again, our thanks to Jen K for organizing. Hope this becomes an annual tradition!!

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Look What We Got!

When Malin sent a package to Joemyjoe and Bunnybean right at the start of the wonderful Cannonball Holiday Swap, they decided to leave the presents under the tree and open them on Christmas Eve.

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And today, when I opened up a delightful package from The Mama, I was told I MUST DO THE SAME.

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We will report in after opening, but they look wonderful and we are all happy as can be. Thanks!!

 

Bunnybean’s #CBR5 Review 10: Chrissa by Mary Casanova

Unknown-3I read Chrissa, a book based on the 2009 American Girl doll of the year. It is about a girl named Chrissa and how she stood up to a group of mean bullies at her new school.

She’s the new girl, first of all, which must be so hard. Some mean girls named Tara (the head of the group), Jadyn (who follows along with everything and is sassy), and Sonali (who hates to be mean or hurt anyone but she is Tara’s best friend) gang up on Chrissa for no reason. Chrissa hates her new school. The only good thing she likes about it is that she made a new friend, Gwen, who Tara says is also a loser and they could both create their own little goofy club.

To make matters worse, Tara CUTS Gwen’s hair when Gwen closes her eyes. Then she lied that Chrissa was the one who gave such a terrible trim to Gwen’s bangs. Gwen didn’t even talk to Chrissa anymore, she was so angry! Until Chrissa finally told her parents everything, and her parents talk to the principal and teachers at the school, getting the mean girls in a bit of trouble. Sonali even quits being friends with the “mean bees”, and became friends with Chrissa and Gwen!

I liked Sonali, because she did what her heart told her to, Gwen because she was a good friend, and Chrissa because was strong and was a great main character. I watched the movie and I’m going to read the second book soon.

You can read more of Bunnybean’s reviews on her mom’s blog.

Bunnybean’s #CBR5 Review 9: Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan

Unknown-6I read the third book in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series: The Titan’s Curse.

Percy and his friends Annabeth and Grover are sent on a mission to find two new half-bloods at a boarding school in New Hampshire. Something goes wrong, there is a battle, and they are rescued by Artemis and her hunters. But Annabeth is kidnapped and may be in terrible danger, and it’s up to Percy and his friends to save her.

The goddess Artemis is also captured by someone that Percy and his gang don’t know. The half-bloods need to save Artemis and Annabeth, and stop a new villain called The General and their old enemy Luke from getting their evil army stronger.

Back at the camp, the students receive a prophecy that states:

Five shall go west to the goddess in chains,
One shall be lost in the land without rain,
The bane of Olympus shows the trail,
Campers and Hunters combined prevail,
The Titan’s curse must one withstand,
And one shall be perished by a parent’s  hand.

The students who are sent on the quest are: Zoe and Bianca (two of Artemis’ best hunters), Grover, and Thalia. Even though Percy isn’t chosen, he tags along anyways. He really wants to save Annabeth.

It was hard to save Annabeth and Artemis, though.

Atlas was the person who captured them both. He made Artemis hold the universe for him, and he threatened that if she didn’t hold it, he would kill Annabeth. He wanted to get revenge on the gods. But Percy and his friends came along and saved them.

Sadly, only 3 people survived on this quest: Grover, Percy, and Thalia. Bianca sacrificed herself for the quest. And Zoe turned out to be Atlas’ daughter, who was killed in the battle against him.

But the quest had succeeded! And all is well until the next book, The Battle of the Labyrinth.

You can read more of Bunnybean’s reviews on her mom’s blog.

Scootsa1000’s #CBR5 Review 39: Lexicon by Max Barry

Unknown-4About 8 years ago, when Bunnybean wasn’t even a year old, we moved from Boston to the Washington DC area. And I went from being a working mom to a stay-at-home mom. And at first, I wasn’t very good at it. I couldn’t get Bunnybean to sleep when she was supposed to, and spent a lot of time driving around so that she would nap in her car seat. And then, randomly, one day, I saw Christa Miller (we loved her from Scrubs!) on the Ellen show talking about the book she had written the introduction to that was about helping your baby develop healthy sleep habits. I ran out to Borders the very next day and bought the book. And soon, Bunnybean was sleeping like a champ.

But I digress…because of this book, I started to pay a bit more attention to Christa Miller. I realized she was really smart and funny and watched CougarTown just because of her. She was one of the first people I followed on twitter. And she gives great book recommendations, too. She recommended Where’d You Go, Bernadette? months before I had heard of it. and so, a few weeks ago, when she said that she stayed up all night reading Lexicon, I knew I’d be reading it next.

Thanks, Christa. Another great choice.

Lexicon starts out with a man named Wil being accosted by two strange guys in an airport bathroom. They ask him a bunch of non-sensical questions and then inject a syringe into his eyeball, with no explanation. Bang — all of this in the first page or two, and the book barely lets up from there.

Told in alternating narratives and timelines, Lexicon is about a secret government agency that monitors the power of words and the persuasion that certain words have over certain people.  The bulk of the plot is centered around an ancient and powerful word that is let loose in Broken Hill, Australia, provoking the citizens of the small town to commit unspeakable acts. Who brought the word there? And why?

Max Barry brings this crazy world alive with a lot of humor and action. I haven’t enjoyed an action book like this in quite a while — I hate to compare it to The Rook (because that book really does stand on its own), but Lexicon did remind me of it several times. But all in a good way. I really enjoyed it and will look forward to reading more Barry in the future.

 You can read more of my reviews (as well as Bunnybean’s!) on my blog.

Bunnybean’s CBR5 Review 8: Awesome Blossom by Lauren Myracle

Unknown-2I read this book from our public library. It’s about the four flower friends (Milla, Yasaman, Katie-Rose, and Violet), their year at school, and great big secrets: Milla’s going to go on a date with Max, Yasaman accidently kind of read a secret loveletter between her two teachers, and Katie-Rose is going crazy because she keeps getting mysterious stuffed hegehogs in weird places!

And why is the new girl (Hayley) hanging out with the “three evil chicks” from school? (Modessa, Quin, and Elena)?!  Violet dosen’t know what’s happening with all her friends!

Milla’s date at the Olive Garden turns out really weird. Katie-Rose and her family come to the Olive Garden too, and Preston (a boy from class) really likes Katie-Rose so he makes the waitress give Katie-Rose the first mysterious hedgehog with her meal.

But the whole thing turns out really fine. Milla and Max have a great time, Preston just really loved Katie-Rose, and Hayley promises not to hang out with the bullies anymore. Everyone’s happy at the end. This is part of a series of books about the Flower Friends. I would like to read all of these books, and I really enjoyed reading it.

You can read more of Bunnybean’s reviews (and her brother’s, too) on her mom’s blog.

Bunnybean’s #CBR5 Review 7: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

UnknownI listened to this audio book on the way to our family’s beach trip on Cape Cod. Its the second book about a boy named Percy Jackson (I alreadyreviewed book one of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Lightning Thief), who goes on a quest to save his beloved camp, Camp Half-Blood. Percy is the son of Poseidon, and Camp Half-Blood is a place where all of the children of the Greek Gods can live in safety.

Thalia’s magical tree that protects the camp’s borders from monsters is dying, and the magic is slowly fading away. And that means that there is no safe place for the half-bloods anymore. Percy and his friends Annabeth and Tyson (as well as Percy’s enemy Clarisse, daughter of Ares) go on a dangerous journey to save their old friend Grover, who knows where the famous Golden Fleece is. The Fleece is the only thing in the world that can cure Thalia’s magic pine tree.

Luke, a villain from the first book, is the one who poisoned the tree. He’s also trying to raise an army to destroy all of the half-bloods and the Gods on Mount Olympus.

Meanwhile, Polyphemus, a terrible cyclops, has captured Grover the satyr. Grover needs help and can also lead his friends to the Fleece.

While on their quest, the demigods face many terrible monsters, such as the hydra, the sirens, and Charybdis and Scylla. They travel on many different boats, and all of the either got lost, blew up, or sunk.

In the end, the get the Fleece and save Grover. The Fleece cures Thalia’s tree, and turns her into a regular girl again (she is the daughter of Zeus).

I really liked the new character of Tyson, a baby cyclops, who turns out to the Percy’s baby brother and new friend. I also liked Annabeth, Percy, and Chiron the centaur who helps to save Percy and get back to the camp.

I liked this book a lot and am already reading the third one!

You can read more of Bunnybean’s reviews on her mom’s blog.