Book Review: Travels with Gannon and Wyatt

IMG_7880.jpgAs a Mom of boys I am always on the lookout for good book series that will appeal to boys. It seems like many of the books written for boys are full of potty humor and silliness.

I was presented with the opportunity to read and review a new book series called Travels with Gannon and Wyatt written by Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet. It is based on a web series that follows two boys on travels around the world. The books are written as journal entries that alternate between the boys. So far, two books have been published, Botswana in May 2013 and Great Bear Rainforest in October 2013, and another is due to be released in January 2014 called Egypt.

Jack, our eight year old son, has read with us the first book, Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Botswana. It is a little bit of a stretch book, but he has really enjoyed it. I interviewed him about the book and here is what he had to say.

Travels with Gannon and Wyatt- Botswana

Did you like the book?
Yes, I liked that it was an adventure and mystery combined together.

What else did you like about the book? I liked that kids are trying to solve the mystery and save the lioness in Botswana. It was fun that it was written as a journal and both boys tell the story from their point of view. I like that they use real photos instead of drawings to relate to the story.

Did you relate to anything in the book or the characters? I related to Gannon more, because he has more questions about the people he meets.

What do you think about characters that are real kids that travel to real locations? I like it more because it makes the store feel more real. You can tell the kids have been to these locations because of how they describe them. I like reading stories that use real locations as part of the story.

Would you recommend these books to your friends and what would you say?

Yes. It is an adventure and mystery book. Gannon and Wyatt are two boys that travel around the world to help solve mysteries and have adventures.

I loaned Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Egypt to a friend’s son. He enjoys reality-based stories and nonfiction. He said

“The book was adventurous and exciting. Gannon and Wyatt are risk-taking and never give up. I can’t wait to read the next one!”

These books are a great beginning to what could become a fun series. I would recommend them to anyone with a child who loves adventure books, especially boys. I am happy to also give the opportunity to one of my readers to get copies of all three books in the Travels with Gannon and Wyatt series. You can enter the giveaway below. Be sure to do it today as the giveaway ends on Sunday November 25, 2013 at midnight Pacific. a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Minting the Holiday with a Card

The holiday season is fast approaching and it is time to start thinking about holiday cards. I put a lot of thought into our holiday card each year — from selecting the card design to choosing the photos that make the cut.

I love receiving holiday cards and we prominently display them each year on our card tree well into the New Year. Our whole family loves looking at all of the photos and seeing what friends near and far did during the year.

Each year I look at Minted for card trends and inspiration. Ever since I ordered some personalized notebooks from them a few years ago, I have loved their designs. This year is no exception.

website

In their holiday collection, they have cards with real foil lettering, multi photo layouts and fun shapes. Most of their designs allow you to pick from a few colors and customize the back of the flat cards (my favorite) with photos or a design. You can add liners to your envelope and have Minted print the return address or label.

To help with the busy holiday time, Minted will address your card envelopes for free. Using the Minted Address Assistant, they will print your recipients’ addresses on the envelopes. Then all you have to do is sign your card, add postage and mail. So easy, I may have to use this service this year.

Some of my favorite designs this year include Merriest Snowbursts, Breaking the Grid and Joyful Type.

breaking the grid  Joyful type

merriest snowbursts

With so many great ones how will you choose?

 

This post is sponsored by Minted. I have been compensated for writing this, but the opinions are all mine.

NetZero Hotspot: Initial Review

I have been thinking about getting a wireless hotspot for a while to help me stay connected when we are traveling. My iPad is wireless only, so a hotspot would allow me to stay connected with all of you when we are on the go.

NetZero MB Logo - colorNetZero has given me the opportunity to use their 4G Hotspot. It is a neat little device that is compact and easy to travel with. I haven’t had a chance to take it anywhere other than around town, but plan to take it on our Christmas trip and test it in several locations. It is battery operated so it can be used when you are away from your power source.

You can connect to the device by selecting it in your Wireless settings and use the password that is displayed on its screen. Any device that is wirelessly enabled should be able to use it, including laptops and tablets.

NetZero offers easy, no-contract variable plans that allow you to select the amount of data you need and length of coverage. They offer two connection devices — the 4G Hotspot, which I am using, and 4G Stick. The Stick plugs into a USB port on a laptop or netbook. The Hotspot is a stand-alone device, just a bit bigger than a pack of cards.

IMG_6750_cleanedIf you are considering a mobile hotspot, be sure to take a look at the NetZero line of products and services. I thought I might actually have to use it today to upload this post, because our power went out overnight. Luckily it came back on this morning and I am in a warm house.

As a part of this campaign, NetZero is offering an additional 4G Hotspot and three months of their platinum service to one of our readers. You can enter the giveaway below. Be sure to do today as the giveaway ends on Friday December 21 at midnight Pacific.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can find out more about all of NetZero’s products and services at their website and Facebook page.

Disclaimer: I am part of the Mom It Forward blogger network. Mom It Forward and NetZero partnered in support of this campaign. NetZero compensated me for participation in this campaign. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Cars 2 Review

cars2_logoWhile we were in California, I took the boys to see the movie, Cars 2. Jim and I wanted to take them before we left on our trip, but couldn’t find the time. So I picked a day when the workload wasn’t too much and surprised them with a trip to the movies.

They were so excited, jumping up and down and dancing. We planned to go to a morning movie and then meet Yaya for lunch. Popcorn and candy in hand we got settled into the theater only to be greeted with a 40 minute delay due to a projector problem. There was a 15 minute period of time where I thought I was going to have to drag two hysterical children out of the theater because they were going to cancel the showing. Somehow miraculously Will sat in his seat eating popcorn and reading books until they finally got it working.

Eventually the movie got going and I have to admit I was underwhelmed. I had heard that some of the reviews were negative, but I don’t always agree with the critics. This time I did.

First of all, Lightning McQueen was hardly in the movie; Mater and the new character Finn McMissile were definitely the stars. The story was a lot more complex and violent than it needed to be. The oil and alternative fuel message was too complex for children to understand and if Disney/Pixar put that in for the adults it wasn’t necessary. Interjecting humor throughout the movie for adults is enough. Due to the oil and secret agent storyline there were a lot of guns, shooting and violence. It was bordering on not appropriate for Will.

The best part of the movie, the races and the characters, Lightning McQueen and the race cars from around the world, were completely overshadowed by the oil and secret agent story. They didn’t even show the end of the last race in London. The story could have easily been the races around the world with the big question being who will win. That would have been enough for the kids and for me.

Although the kids will say they loved it, I can say that it is far from my favorite. With that said there were some good moments. My favorite had to be in the very beginning when Crabby, a character designed after the crab fishing boat the Northwestern from Deadliest Catch and voiced Captain Sig Hanson (both from Seattle) took Finn out to the secret oil rigs. I also felt that they did a good job paying tribute to Doc, voiced by the late Paul Newman.

Overall I was disappointed with this much anticipated sequel, because the first one is still one of my favorite cartoons. Maybe they will do better with the next one, if there is a next one. Based on how long it took to make this one, and given its bad reception, I won’t hold my breath.

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