Armchair BEA: Children’s Literature

Design credit: Nina of Nina ReadsChildren's LiteratureI am so excited that children's literature is one of the Armchair BEA topics this week! This is something I've been wanting to post about for a while, especially since I get a lot of requests to review children's books.When it comes to children's literature, there is a word that describes what I avoid:Now, before you protest: Dr. Seuss books, Edward Lear's nonsense poems, and the like are not examples of twaddle! These works employ clever word plays, rhyming schemes, and use of rhythm. They don't talk down to children; they encourage and stretch their growing minds.Author Catherine Levison says, ". . . dumbed-down literature is easy to spot. When you’re standing in the…

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Armchair BEA: Non-Fiction

Design credit: Nina of Nina ReadsNon-FictionI'm definitely a fan of non-fiction! I usually have a fiction and a non-fiction book going at the same time. Here are some of my favorite non-fiction titles.Classical music and music history books are obviously at the top of my list. I barely needed to attend music history class as an undergrad simply because I'd read so much, even devouring CD liner notes. My top five classical music books:Music, My Love by Jean Pierre-RampalEvening in the Palace of Reason by James R. GainesBeethoven's Hair by Russell MartinWhat to Listen For in Music by Aaron CoplandChopin's Funeral by Benita EislerBut there are so many more types of non-fiction I enjoy!Popular science books like Malcolm Gladwell's Blink…

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Armchair BEA: Ethics

Design credit: Nina of Nina ReadsEthicsFor today's Armchair BEA discussion on ethics, I'd like to share some thoughts on plagiarism. I know it's naive to believe that plagiarism doesn't exist in the book blogging community. We are such a supportive, friendly, and honest community! Unfortunately, I've seen a few Twitter exchanges to know that blatant plagiarism does occur. That aside, though, it is possible for plagiarism to unintentionally sneak in. An idea can stick in your head, and your mind can trick you into believing a clever thought is your own.Once I was improvising a bit while working on an arrangement of a hymn tune. A lovely 16-measure section came forth... at first, I was excited about how beautiful it…

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Armchair BEA: Blogger Development

Design credit: Nina of Nina ReadsBlogger DevelopmentI'm still new to the book blogging community, but two places have especially helped me to develop as a blogger:1. Bloggiesta. This is blogging marathon that focuses on improving your blog, checking items off your blogging to-do list, and learning new things from other bloggers. The main event occurs twice a year, with mini-events occurring quarterly and Twitter chats monthly in between. I've learned about writing review policies, SEO, using a spreadsheet to help organize my reading/reviewing (and oh boy, that  one has been a godsend!), and more. Friday, June 21 at 9:00 pm EST is the next Bloggiesta chat. Simply use the hashtag #bloggiesta and join in! (Using Tweetchat or Hootsuite makes these chats a bit…

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Review: A Complicated Marriage by Janice Van Horne

I'm excited to be a part of the blog tour for Janice Van Horne's A Complicated Marriage. Thanks to TLC Book Tours for supplying me with a review copy. This tour runs May 14-June 26; be sure to check out the complete tour schedule and read reviews posted on other stops!Title: A Complicated Marriage: My Life with Clement GreenbergAuthor: Janice Van HornePublisher: Counterpoint PressReleased: March 2012Source: publisher (TLC Book Tours)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsSynopsis:In 1955, Jenny Van Horne was a 21-year-old, naïve Bennington College graduate on her own for the first time in New York City. She meets 46-year-old Clement Greenberg who, she is told, is “the most famous, the most important, art critic in the world!” Knowing nothing about…

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Washing Cars & Wasting Time by John C. Oliva

Title: Washing Cars & Wasting Time Author: John C. Oliva Publisher: Orange Hat Publishing Released: March 18, 2013 Source: author Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads Synopsis: Have you ever been given the impromptu offer to buy a crossbow from a random stranger? Has your life ever been threatened over $1.75 in quarters? Can you say that you have ever been so bored that sifting through broken glass and cigarette butts constituted an accepted pastime? Those are just a sampling of the many adventures that I had while working as an attendant at Speedee Car Wash in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I also learned to never untie a plastic grocery bag that you find in the trash. I was taught that…

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Little Music Lessons for Kids by Tatiana Bandurina

Title: Little Music Lessons for Kids: Lessons 1-2-3: Three Cheerful Music Stories about a Staff, a Treble Clef and the Line NotesAuthor: Tatiana BandurinaPublisher: CreateSpace (self-published)Released: May 6, 2013Source: Amazon (free special for Kindle)Amazon | GoodreadsSynopsis:You can teach your child music theory with help of the series "Little Music Lessons for Kids" even if you are a total newbie. Magical stories with bright pictures and a cute musical puppy teach your little one about the music staff, how to write a treble clef, and line notes. A step-by-step instruction guide for parents is included at the end of each lesson..The first three lessons in the Little Music Lessons for Kids series was a free download on Amazon yesterday. Being an independent music…

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The Composer Is Dead by Lemony Snicket

Title: The Composer Is DeadAuthor: Lemony SnicketPublisher: HarperCollinsReleased: March 2009Source: borrowed from local libraryAmazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsSynopsis:There's dreadful news from the symphony hall—the composer is dead! If you have ever heard an orchestra play, then you know that musicians are most certainly guilty of something. Where exactly were the violins on the night in question? Did anyone see the harp? Is the trumpet protesting a bit too boisterously? In this perplexing murder mystery, everyone seems to have a motive, everyone has an alibi, and nearly everyone is a musical instrument. But the composer is still dead. Perhaps you can solve the crime yourself. Join the Inspector as he interrogates all the unusual suspects. Then listen to the…

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The Longing by Cornelia Warmenhoven

I'm excited to be reviewing The Longing by Cornelia Warmenhoven as part of Tell Me Press's "Reads for the Whole Family" Blog Tour! For more details about the Tell Me Press virtual tour hop on over to the JKSCommunications website.Tell Me Press is a publisher based in New Haven, Connecticut. The company was launched in 2006 with the goal of creating smart, thoughtful, and fun books with a focus on culture, music, health & well-being, and lifestyle. Visit Tell Me Press to learn more about this Independent Publishing House, as well as all of the titles they have to offer. Tell Me Press is the place where curiosity, practicality, discovery, and whimsy intersect!Author Cornelia Warmenhoven has led a storied life…

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Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

Title: TwerpAuthor: Mark GoldblattPublisher: Random House Books for Young ReadersExpected Release: May 28, 2013Source: publisher (NetGalley)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsSynopsis:"It's not like I meant for Danley to get hurt. . . ." Julian Twerski isn't a bully. He's just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade--blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying…

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