Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

 I took the kids to the pumpkin patch the other day and so I put the kids in their costumes so that I could get pictures at the patch. Unfortunately, it was super cold at the pumpkin patch, so the kids were bundled up and I couldn't see their costumes. So, I took some pictures back at home too.

Nicole chose to be Minnie Mouse this year. No surprise there. She loves Minnie. She sleeps with 3 Minnie Mouse stuffed animals in her bed every night.
I love this picture of Nicole! She is looking at the camera, smiling and everything.

Dano was a giraffe this year. The same thing that Nicole was two years ago.

 I asked Dano what the giraffe says, but he didn't "moo" like Nicole did when she wore the costume. Of course, Dano doesn't even think that a cow says "moo," so I shouldn't be too surprised.

Nicoley when she was the giraffe at 18 months old.
When we got to the pumpkin patch, the kids didn't want to pose for pictures. They didn't even want to look at the camera. They just wanted to put as many pumpkins as they could lift into our pumpkin cart.

See, I'm the worst picture taker ever. Ugh, I need a professional photographer walking around with me all the time. Or maybe I need picture taking lessons.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pain in My Back

I thought that my back had healed, my pain was mostly gone and I was doing good. Then, for no reason at all, my pain started to return in my lower right back, and down my right leg, in my right knee and my right hip. Ugh. I don't care for being in pain.

So, I suppose I will do my exercises and my stretches and hopes that it heals on its own because I don't know what the cause of all this pain is. I have already been to three different doctors for this and they all seem to think that it is nothing that will go away. So, there is no point in going back to have them tell me the same thing again.

I just have to work through the pain because there is no other option. I still have to go to work and I still have to be a mommy. No break from that.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Norwex Party

So, last night I went to a Norwex party at my Mom's house. What is a Norwex party you ask? It is one of those parties that you go to and someone tries to sell you stuff. I usually never go to these... ever. For multiple reasons. First, because I always thought it was weird to invite people over to you house to buy stuff. Second, because I always end up buying stuff. I am a sucker for a good pitch.

But, I skipped the first Norwex party that I was invited to and this one was actually on the only night that I actually CAN go out because Matt gets home from school at 7pm and can therefore watch the kids so that I can go out. So, I went. And of course, I was sucked in to the coolness of the product.

Here is what I bought.

The dusting mitt

The enviro cloth

The window cleaner
Why are these so special you ask? They look like regular cleaning towels. Well, these cleaning towels are laced with... silver. Weird right? Why would you want silver in your cleaning towels? Well, because silver is an organic, antibacterial agent.

So, instead of using cleaners to antibacterial my counters and table and stove, all I do is get the cloth wet, wipe my counter and it is sanitized. With only water!

Matt and I have been trying to go more organic and buying food and products with more natural ingredients because I do not think it is a coincidence that cancer is on the rise. I feel like the move toward chemicals to fix our foods and to clean our houses has something to do with the increase in cancer. I just don't think anyone knew about it because it takes so long to see the effects of it. Maybe I'm naive, maybe I'm wrong, but as I have become a parent I feel the need to protect my children as much as possible; hence the organic switch.

Anyway, when an organic option to keeping my kitchen sanitized was presented to me, I wanted it. The presentation was very enticing. The consultant wiped raw chicken on a surface, then swabbed it for bacteria (which turned pink). Then, she wiped it with the Norwex cloth and swabbed it again (no pink!). It really does work.

There were a lot of different products and I had to refrain myself from buying more. There were a few things that I wanted, but refrained from purchasing. Because well, I just don't know if I could justify spending a large portion of our monthly budget on cleaning supplies.

Body wash towels
These body wash towels replace your soap and sponge in your shower or bath. Yes, you heard me, no soap. It cleanses your body and gets the bacteria out of your pores. It helps with skin rashes, sanitizing cuts, and even helps clear up acne.
Mattress spray
The mattress spray sanitizes your mattress and kills dust mites living in your mattress. It even repels future dust mites from moving in to your mattress for 6 months. It has been known to help people who wake up with allergy problems every day. Matt has allergies and has problems most mornings with being stuffy and having a sore throat. I am actually allergic to dust mites, and am stuffy every morning. I wanted to get this to see if it would improve our health, but I am going to try out my Mom's first. If it works, I'll buy a bottle of my very own.

It was tough restraining myself from buying lots and lots of stuff. But, one thing that helped me refrain was that if I host my very own Norwex party, I can get a lot of stuff for free. I would get the body towels and a credit for free stuff for myself.

But, upon thinking about having my own Norwex party, I realized that I don't have a lot of friends. My friends from high school and college do not own their own homes, so I don't think that they are willing to invest in cleaning supplies. And, I don't really have a lot of mommy friends because I'm a working mom. I have working friends, but our relationship has not ventured outside of the work place. I have family, but most of my family went to my Mom's party. I just don't know if I am "popular" enough to pull in 5 people to see a Norwex presentation. It is sad really. Raise your hand if you would come to my house, eat yummy treats and listen to a presentation on organic cleaning products.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Sunday morning the kids and I were at Marie's house because we had spent the night. Nicole was having a bad morning. She refused to eat her breakfast and so I sent her to time out at the bottom of the stairs and went upstairs to pack up our stuff so we could go.

I was at the top of the stairs with a backpack, a purse, a duffle bag, and the portacrib in my hands. It was just then that the shoulder strap on the duffle bag decided to break. I bent down to retrieve the duffle and accidentally dropped the portacrib. It went sailing down the stairs at a speed that I did not think possible. It was like a bobsled going down the bobsleddy slide thing that bobsleds go down.

I grabbed for the playpen, but was too slow. I looked down the stairs in fear and saw both Nicole and Dan at the bottom of the stairs, because Dan was sitting with Nicole while she was in time out.

Being the "awesome" mom that I am and using really dumb logic, I yelled, "Look out! Look out!" knowing that there was nothing else that I could do to save my children from the portacrib sailing down the super steep flight of stairs.

My kids, being the wonderful 3 and 1 year old that they are, look up at me with innocent looks on their faces that say, "What Mama?" Just in time for the portacrib to smack right in to Nicole's face, knocking her off the stairs and onto the wood floor below.

I run down the stairs to my now screaming child. I pick her up, cradle her in my arms and look for injuries, only to see blood all over her face and hair. I have an immediate panic feeling in my chest. I am terrified. I look up to see Marie and Anthon standing there and I say, "I don't know what to do. What do I do?"

Marie and Anthon have calm heads and can actually think logically. Marie presses tissues to Nicole's head so that we can actually see where the blood is coming from. There is a small gash on Nicole's forehead and I panic again. My baby has a gash on her head! I feel like hyperventilating, I feel like crying, I feel guilt, I feel like I need Matt to tell me what to do because this mommy is ill prepared for this situation.

We clean her up, put some gauze on her and Anthon packs up the car so that I can head home. I get home, wake up Matt (because he had just got home from his 12 hour night shift) and have him look at Nicole's head because I am convinced that she need stitches but don't want to go to the emergency room unless I am absolutely sure because our copay is 300 dollars. I think the insurance company has astronomical copays to discourage you from going to the doctor. Evil. Stupid Obamacare.

Matt concurs with my need to go the doctor, but we head to Instacare instead. Matt is more familiar with head wounds than I am since he had them quite a few times as a child.

By this point, Nicole is not crying any more, but rather is ready to play and eating a sucker. Her calmness makes me calmer too. If she is ready to play, there is obviously no lasting damage.

Us at Instacare. We are all still in our pajamas and pacifiers were still in the mouth.
 The doctor looked at Nicole's head and decided that they could glue it shut rather than stitch it. I breathed a sigh of relief because I knew that stitches were going to be awful for her. Thank goodness someone invented skin glue.

Close up and out of focus picture of the gash. It doesn't look like much here, but it was pretty deep and man did it bleed a whole lot.

Dan and Matt at the doctor. Oh yeah, it was a family trip.
Nicole was freaked out by the chair that raised up high at the doctor's office, but other than that, she was a champ. She was convinced that she was going to fall off of the raised chair. Matt stood with her while the doctor glued her head shut and I managed the wild man Dan.

I didn't get an after shot with the glue in it, but it looked really wonky with glue bubbling out of the cut.

Nicole is okay and the cut is healing and hopefully there won't be much of a scar.

I did it, I survived our very first big kid trauma, though I still feel shaken by the whole event. I still feel guilty and my regular mommy worry meter is heightened to high alert.

I know that there are accidents and that kids get hurt, but I don't like it. Can't I just keep them in a bubble where they are safe and happy all the time? Being a parent is hard. If I didn't love my kids so stinking much, then maybe I wouldn't worry so much. But I do, I love them so much, and I worry about them all the time.

Hopefully, the next time this happens I will be calmer, I will know what to do and I will be a better Mommy. Not that I plan to send a portacrib down the stairs toward my children again, but I know that this will not be the last time that they get hurt.

Despite the fact that I am upset by the whole thing, at the same time, I am grateful. I am grateful that she wasn't more hurt. I am grateful that it only hit one of my children. And, as bad as it sounds, I am grateful that it hit the older child and not the younger one. If it had hit Dan, things could have been much worse.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sometimes I'm Crafty-ish

The cold is coming and I once again have the crocheting bug. I go through these phases where I just want to crochet a lot. And sometimes I go crazy and make a lot of things. But, this year, I was just trying to use up yarn that I already have. So, I started making hats... a lot of hats.

I had some red yarn left over from a scarf that I made for my sister. So, I thought I would make a hat. But, I didn't have enough red yarn to finish the hat, so I added a bunch of stripes of other yarn. Then, there was a big ugly seem where the rows started, so I covered it up with a flower. And tadah! Flower hat.

I made this for Dan, but he will not wear it, so I suppose I should give this away or sell it.

I made this little one for Nicole because she has grown out of her hat from last year.

Here I am modeling my creation.

Here Nicole is, modeling her owl hat.
I liked making the first flower hat so much, that I decided to do it again. I used up the last of this blue and off white yarn making this hat. But, it is a little too big for my head, so I have to find another person to own this hat.

Here is a detail pic of the flower. I pulled that button from my scrapbook button supply.

My flower hats with ear flaps weren't fitting me quite right, so I decided to make a beanie hat instead. It was a little trial and error trying to figure out how to make it fit my head and make it the right length. And then it was so long that one flower wouldn't cover the ugly seam. So, I did three flowers. I may have a flower making problem. But, I don't care, I love it and it matches a scarf that I made for myself three years ago.

Detail pic of the flower.
My sister, Marie, had a diaper party this week for her upcoming baby. I went on Youtube and figured out how to make a diaper cake and this is the result.

Of course, I added an owl hat to the back of the cake that I made for her baby boy. Now her boys will both have owl hats.

This last little hat used up the last of my purple yarn that I had left over from when I made an afghan for Nicole when she was a baby. This little hat is going to be a baby shower gift.
And that ends all the crafts that I have done lately. I mostly crochet when Matt is doing homework at night or when I am alone at night on the weekends. It calms me and lets me do something with my hands so I don't get all anxious when I am alone. I wish I had more crochet patterns because I really like to do it, but I don't, so I work with what I've got and make up patterns when inspiration comes.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dan is 18 Months

Dan is 18 months old, a year and a half, and I'm not ready for it! My sweet baby boy is now my little boy, but I can't seem to stop calling him "baby." It is possible that I am in denial because of the baby hunger. But, he very much wants to be a big boy and do everything that his older sister does.

Matt took him to the doctor yesterday and here are his 18 month stats.

Weight: 25lbs; 40%
Length: 33in; 70%
Head: 19in; 60%

So, he is hanging around average on all his stats, though he is a little tall for his age. I certainly have noticed that he is taller because he is getting into more things. Now he can just get his fingers over the lip of the counter and if anything is too close to the edge, he will pull it down. I've started moving everything to the center of the counter, but that is only going to work for so long.

Dan is a rascal! He gets into everything! His favorite things to get into that I am constantly trying to stop him from doing....
  • Throwing things in the toilet. Read about that here or here.
  • Playing with the toilet brush (that cleans the toilet). Two days ago, he pulled it into the bath with him when I wasn't looking and started stirring the bath. Ugh!
  • Getting into my kitchen things (utensils drawer, bowls, baking pans, tuperware) and then either hiding them around the house or throwing them in the garbage. I lost two cutting boards to the garbage when a sitter was watching him.
  • Putting things in a hole in the wall. Behind our garage door that comes into the kitchen, there used to be a metal plate so that when the door handle hit the wall, it wouldn't dent the drywall. Nicole pulled the metal plate out of the wall a few months ago, leaving a little, pinky sized hole. Dan discovered that he could stick different items in the hole in the wall; wooden spoons, suckers, crayons, fingers, etc...
  • Taking the cushions off of the couch. He started this a couple weeks ago and we let he and Nicole do it because we are lazy and just let them play. Mistake. Now, he takes the cushions off of all the couches all the time! I put the cushions back on 4 times a day and I only have the kids in the evening! I'm sure that Matt is putting them back on more than I am. It drives me crazy.
  • Playing on the elliptical. Since we moved Nicole into the office, I had to find a new home for my elliptical. It now lives in the family room. Dan loves to play on it, but it is not really safe for child play. One day he got himself stuck between the pedal and the center and it took me quite a while to figure out how to get him out. He was all read from being squished when I finally got him out. But, it doesn't stop him from trying to play on it some more.
  • Turning off the furnace. We started turning on the furnace at night because it is getting cold at night. Two nights ago, the furnace didn't kick on and Matt woke up to it being 60 degrees in the house. He went to look at the furnace and discovered that Dan had flipped the switch and turned off the furnace. The switch is at his eye level and looks like a light switch, so he just flipped it. Since then, every time he sneaks into the laundry room, we catch him going for the switch again.
Having a toddler boy is definitely different from having a toddler girl. I have to keep a closer eye on this boy because he is just into everything!

Although he is a rascal, he is also a sweetheart. This boy is a snuggler like Nicoley never has been. He will come and sit in my lap and snuggle into my chest and just sit there contentedly with me. Nicole likes to be held, but cannot stop wiggling once she is on my lap and I usually can't tolerate it for more than a minute. Dano just loves the snuggles. In the mornings, on the weekends, he gets into bed with me and snuggles in and watches Go Diego Go and I love it. I don't know why, but his snuggles make me feel like he is still a baby for just a little bit. Dan still loves to sleep in my arms too and I love that too. He snuggles into my chest and I have a baby again... until he wakes and goes wild.

Though he is adventurous, Dano is still a Momma's boy. We have tried nursery the past couple of weeks and it has been a failure. He just cries and cries when I leave and when I come back to get him, he clings to me, hiccuping with cries, and will not let go, for fear that I will once again leave him. I will just have to go with him to nursery for a little while because he just isn't ready.

Dan's language has been getting a lot better recently. For a long time he did not have many words and almost all of his words started with a "b." Now he has a lot of words that he says. But, not all of his words are intelligible to people who are not his parents.
Bup= up
Dow= down
Mamo= Mama (he used to call me Mama, but he has recently changed)
Do Diedo Do= Go Diego Go (his favorite show)
Nigh Nigh = Night Night
Yesh = Yes

Dano often surprises me with things he says because he is learning new words all the time that I didn't know that he knew. A lot of the time though, he mimics phrases that Matt and I say, except it is all in vowel sounds. "Lets Go!" becomes "Es Dough!" "Where Are You?" becomes "Air Ahhh Oooo?" He gets the intonations right and the vowel sounds right, but lacks the ability to form consonants. But, I'm not worried, he will get it eventually. Not every kid can be Nicole, who was speaking in sentences by 18 months.

Dano is my handsome little man and brings so much joy to my life. I love this little boy so much! I can't imagine my life without his little face, which now looks more little boy then baby *sob*.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Way Dan Plays Peekaboo

 Dan plays peekaboo a little differently than it is usually played. Instead of covering up his eyes, he covers his ears. But, he still thinks that he is playing it right.

Here he is playing it with Nicole.
Where's Daniel? Where's Daniel?

There he is!
So exciting!!

I'm thinking that maybe he covers his ears instead of his eyes because when he covers his eyes, he can't see the person he is peekabooing with. Hard to say why he does it because Dano still isn't talking. He parots, but doesn't come up with his own thoughts usually.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Books I've Been Reading

My sister Sarah is on some sort of reading spree, so I thought that I ought to try and read more books to keep up with her. Plus, some of her recommendations were so good that I really wanted to read the books. So, here is what I have been reading. And yes, it is all fantasy books because that is what I read. I'm so niche.

Shatter Me
By Tahereh Mafi

This book follows Juliette who can't touch anyone without causing extreme pain. Well, almost anyone. Of course there is a person she can touch, who just so happens to be a boy, in her age range, totally available, and beautiful, and in to her. You know, the typical fairytale. The world is in chaos, Juliette is in chaos and awesomeness ensues. Read this book, you will love it!

You know how YA writers all write the same and have the same basic plot lines with the same basic characters? Though her plot lines and male leads seem to follow the YA standards, the voice of her main character is not something that I have read before (and a read a bit more than average).  This is something interesting and new and not annoying. I don't like most female, YA protagonists. They are annoying and dependent, and whiny (*cough* Bella). But I actually like Juliette. So, read it, and love it.
5 stars

By Catherine Fisher
This book follows two sets of characters, those in the prison (called Incarceron) and those outside of the prison. No one knows where Incarceron is, just that thousands of people were sent to live in the prison many years ago. No one goes in, no one goes out, and no one knows where it is, not even the people inside. The prison is a living, self sustaining organism that is the sole keeper of the prisoners. Finn, a prisoner, is trying to find a way out. Claudia, the wardens daughter, is trying to find her way in.

I actually listened to the audio book of this. I like to listen to audio books in my car because the radio has become this really boring/lame thing that I hate. So, I checked this out at my library and I enjoyed it.
I enjoyed it enough to check out the second book in the series too. But, if I had been just reading the book, I probably wouldn't have made it past the first three chapters.

This book is very slow and very confusing. I didn't know anything about the books before I listened and I didn't realize that Incarceron was the prison until I was a ways into it. Either I'm really dumb, or the book is confusing... or it just doesn't translate well to audiobook. The characters are annoying and their motives are often unclear. Plus, the characters have clipped speech patterns. I bet if I was reading it, it would have been annoying too.
I don't really recommend these books, but if you are in a pinch or bored on a long road trip, they are worth a read.

 2 stars

Bitterblue (from the Graceling series)
By Kristen Cashore
 This book is the third book in the Graceling series. I read Graceling a few years ago and as I opened up Bitterblue to read, I was surprised by how very lost I was. I had forgotten so much from the original books that I felt very lost when I started reading this book. I should have read the first two books again before reading this one, but when my hold finally came up, I was ill prepared.

This book follows Bitterblue, who is a new princess to the once corrupt kingdom of her evil father, Leck. (weird names throughout the book) Bitterblue struggles to take command of a kingdom that is in disrepair while still trying to find out what exactly her father did to corrupt it.

I loved the original Graceling novel. I flew threw it and it was interesting and awesome. I liked the second book, Fire, less because it was confusing and seemed to have nothing to do with Graceling. This third book, Bitterblue really ties the two books together and I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had refreshed my memory on the first two books. I like the characters in this book because they are disturbingly interesting.

I recommend these books, but read them one after another, right away. Don't be lame like me.

4 stars

City of Lost Souls
By Cassandra Clare
This is the... 6th? 7th? book in the "City of..." book series. Every book starts with "City of.." I really like this series. It follows Clary, who is a shadow hunter (a.k.a. demon fighter imbued with angel blood). Clary is in love with Jace, who is also a shadow hunter, but their love is doomed (of course). Clary loves Jace, but Jace is possessed by a demon and hijinks ensue.

I recommend this book, because it has romance, fantasy, action, and awesomeness. But, you should most likely read the first books in the series first or this book will make the kinda sense that is none. The first book is the "City of Bones."
5 stars

The Golden Lily (bloodlines series)
By Richelle Mead

 This is the second book in the Bloodlines series, which is a spin-off series of the Vampire Academy series. This follows Sydney, an alchemist. In this world, alchemists are humans who are in charge of keeping the vampire world a secret from the rest of humanity. Sydney is assigned to a specific vampire, Jill and is in charge of not only keeping Jill safe, but also keeping the fact that she is a vampire a secret while they attend boarding school together.

I really liked the original Vampire Academy series, though I would qualify it as more on the Adult side of Young Adult as there are steamy scenes in the books.
This series is a lot more mild than the original series. Less smooching, more violence. I really liked the character of Sydney as she is conflicted between what she has always been taught about the evil vampires and what she has discovered about them from her own experiences.

I recommend these books, but you should probably read Vampire Academy first or you will definitely be lost. Which is quite a commitment since there are like 6 Vampire Academy books. But I can't help it, I'm a sucker for a vampire book.
4 stars

By Julianna Baggott
This book is a dysotopian novel. It is a "what if" story. What if, a nuclear bomb was dropped on the US and everyone outside of a protective dome either died or became mutants? If you were outside during the bomb and survived, you became fused to whatever you were touching. Laying on the ground? Fused to the ground, now you are a dirt person. Hugging your child? Fused to your child, now you are a multi-person mutant. Holding your dolly? Fused to your dolly! Now you have a doll for a hand. Main character, doll hand, girl is trying to survive in a world where everything is scary and resources are grim.

This book is weird, and disturbing, and a little gross. I just couldn't handle how effective the author is at describing the mutations and items fused to the people in this disturbing world. I could not stomach it. Maybe if the author was a little gentler in her descriptions, or if she was bad at it, I could have been able to handle it, but *shiver* no.

The story line of the book is interesting enough and captivating enough to keep the story moving, but I just couldn't get past how disturbing the descriptions of characters in the book were. If you are into that kinda thing, then yeah, read it... otherwise, I do not recommend. I know there are more books in this series, but I will not be reading them. Can't handle it.
2 stars

By Sophie Jordan

 This book follows Jacinda, who is a teenager girl, just trying to be herself and have her freedom... as a dragon! But, her Pride (group of dragons) and her mother keep trying to dictate her life. Oh, and, of course, she falls in love with her mortal enemy, but is already betrothed to another at the dictate of her Pride. It is the basic Romeo and Juliet story.

These books are a lot of fun to read. The writing isn't anything special, and the characters are your basic YA teenage angsty characters. The hook factor in these books are that they are people who also turn into dragons.

I really enjoyed these books. They are fast moving books that I consumed in a day each. I am on hold at the Library for the third book. I recommend.

The only thing that is a little confusing about the book is that the author does not describe how they look as dragons very well. I'm still a little confused. They turn into dragons, but I'm pretty sure they are the same size as they are when they are human. And also they seem to retain feet and hands and stand upright rather than four feet on the ground. The characters keep doing things with their hands when they are in dragon form that would not be possible if they had stubby feet for hands. It is a little confusing.

Oh and one more thing that I think is a little bit of a problem, the main character turns into a dragon every time she gets aroused. It just seems like this is going to be a problem if she wants a future with Romeo. The last book will hopefully resolve this.
4 stars

By Lauren Oliver
This book is another dysotopian novel. What if the world believed that Love was a disease and everyone was forced to have a surgery that would remove their capacity to love when they turned 18?

Lena, a 17 year old girl, has believed that Love is a disease that should be feared and reviled... until she falls in love. Then, she sacrifices everything, and rethinks everything she has ever learned to keep love in her life.

The first book, Delirium is really interesting and has that exciting edge to it because not only is Lena's love a forbidden thing, but all love is. Even parent and child love. Which, if you ask me, means no child would be born or ever survive if their parents didn't love them. With the amount of work that goes into raising my children, I know that if I didn't love my sweet children, they would never survive because I would not care enough to take care of them.

But, putting that aside, and putting aside the fact that no children would ever be created in this world since everyone who has their love removed also gets their sex drive removed; I really enjoyed the book. Even though the concept is a little flawed, it is an interesting idea and the author does a really good job getting you to root for the survival of love. I recommend.
4 stars

The Serpent's Shadow
By Rick Riordan
This is the third book in the Kane Chronicles which follows brother and sister, Carter and Sadie, who are imbued with the power of the old gods of Egypt. They fight to save the world from bad egyptian gods while also dealing with growing up... as they are both children.

This is definitely a children's book. As are all of Rick Riordan's most famous books. It is an interesting story about that includes a lot of historical facts about Egyptian gods and pairs with brotherly and sisterly love. I recommend if you are fond of children's literature (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Fablehaven, etc...)
3 stars

A World Without Heroes
Seeds of Rebellion
By Brandon Mull
Jason is a kid who accidentally falls into the pen of the hippo at the local zoo and is swallowed whole by the hippo and then finds himself in another world. A world of magic and mystery that is ruled by an evil dictator. Only Jason can save the world by finding a  magically word that can destroy the evil dictator.

This is a children's book with the typical fantasy, children's story plot. Child lives in reality and then is pulled into a world of fantasy, which is convenient because then the other characters can describe all the rules of the fantasy world via dialogue rather than exposition.

But, even though it follows typical conventions, Brandon Mull is good at describing his world and creating interesting and new characters that I haven't seen before. Sometimes you read a book because it has a unique idea and sometimes you read a book because the author is just really good at describing his story, even though it seems you have read the story before. I recommend.
4 stars

Heather Dixon
Ever heard of the 12 dancing princesses? This book takes that idea and runs with it. Once upon a time, there were 12 princesses, whose mother had just died. And these girls loved to dance, but are forbidden to by their father while they mourn their mother. So, the princesses find a secret passage in the castle that leads to a magical world where they can dance every night without their father's knowledge. But, of course, good things come with a consequence and the girls find themselves entwined in an evil magicians net.

This fairytalesque book was an enjoyable read. I believe that this is the author's only book she has ever written, but it is written really well. The author describes the dances so well that you can see the princess gliding along the dance floor through her words. I recommend if you want an easy and enjoyable read.
4 stars