Sunday, December 12, 2021

Book Review: The Unlikely Art of Parental Pressure

I have no idea how I'm going to get through this upcoming week, I feel like THIS IS IT and all of my Christmas prep needs to be done by Sunday night. You know, NO PRESSURE or anything.  

The Unlikely Art of Parental Pressure 

Dr. Chris Thurber

Parents instinctively push their kids to succeed. Yet well-meaning parents can put soul-crushing pressure on kids, leading to under-performance and serious mental health problems instead of social, emotional, and academic success. So where are they going astray?  According to Drs. Chris Thurber and Hendrie Weisinger, it all comes down to asking the right question. Instead of “How much pressure?”, you should be thinking “How do I apply pressure?”
The Unlikely Art of Parental Pressure addresses the biggest parenting dilemma of all time: how to push kids to succeed and find happiness in a challenging world without pushing them too far. The solution lies in Thurber and Weisinger’s eight methods for transforming harmful pressure to healthy pressure.
Each transformation is enlivened by case studies, grounded in research, and fueled by practical strategies that you can start using right away.  By upending conventional wisdom, Thurber and Weisinger provide you with the revolutionary guide you need to nurture motivation, improve your interactions with your child, build deep connections, sidestep cultural pitfalls, and, ultimately, help your kids become their best selves.
As a mom to four kids, ranging in ages 5 to 16, I struggle so much on how to parent, how to put good pressure on them, but not too much pressure, but also push them to do better, try harder, etc. It's really a lot harder than anyone can imagine and unless you're knee deep in it, you can't possibly know how hard it is. 

I have gone through this book twice already, and to be honest I think I need to read it a third time. Each time I've read it I've gained a new piece that I missed. I really liked that some chapters had the parent's point of view and also the child's, which I think is so key. One thing that really stands out is being able to look at different situations/problems from different perspectives. We can't ever know which one fits the bill of our child that day, with that problem, but kind of being prepared for anything is huge. Some of the scenarios are based on real experiences and some felt a little unrealistic, but others actually ARE realistic because parenting teenagers is WILD. I also really appreciate that the book can also be looked at from an educator's eye and there is a joint epilogue for parents and educators that I felt was really relevant. 

Overall, I really liked this one. I think no matter where you are in the world of parenting, there will be something you can take away from it. Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Dr. Chris Thurber for having me on this tour and sending me a copy for review. 
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Book Review: The Hookup Dilemma

I can't even bring myself to acknowledge that I am 19 books behind in my Goodreads Challenge. I set my goal for 128 and I'm at 101... well, 102 if I count this one. Do I think I'm going to read 19 books between now and the end of the year? Man.... I don't know, but it isn't looking good. 

The Hookup Dilemma - Constance Gillam

Rashida Howard has never been a one-night-stand kind of woman, but she has good reason for making an exception with Elliott after meeting him in a bar. Cliché? Yes. Utterly amazing? Absolutely. Regrets? None.

Elliott Quinn is a workaholic. The one night he decides to break his routine, he has an encounter with the woman of his dreams. But no matter how amazing they are together, work will always come first.

Both of their lives get turned upside down when they find themselves on opposite sides of an ongoing fight between Elliott’s company and Rashida’s community. Though their chemistry is undeniable, neither of them will risk their integrity…or their heart.

And just when they think they might have found a solution that benefits both sides, they uncover a secret that will change everything.
Have you ever been in a reading rut and you're struggling to find something that will snap you back to it? I can say fully that The Hookup Dilemma is the book to snap me back into it! I thought this was snappy and fun, it reminds me that romance with some humor thrown in is one of my favorite genres, and I like a playful banter between my characters. This one really reminded me of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, but also not quite, if that makes sense. There are definitely enough differences between the two to make each their own book, but the sarcastic banter, characters who really want each other but also really can't (albeit for dumb reasons that as a reader you're screaming to just get over it already!), and I just loved this. It was fun, it was light, it was a fast read, it was definitely entertaining, and it makes me want more from author Constance Gillam. I want all of her romance books, like just send them all to me. 

If I had to give any critique, it would definitely be that I wish it were more of an enemies to lovers trope, which is the vibe you get from the cover and the description. It really wasn't that, mostly because Elliott was SUCH a nice guy, it was more of a trust issue kind of thing, but also not really? I guess I can't really nail down the trope, it was kind of sort of combination of a few. The chemistry is on point, they have some steamy scenes, and I just really enjoyed this. Have I mentioned I enjoyed this? 

No surprise this is coming from Entangled Publishing, who I've yet to read a book I didn't like from, so thank you to Entangled and TLC Book Tours for having me on this tour. They graciously sent me a copy for review and I am so glad because this has booted me out of my weird reading funk I've been in. 
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Saturday, December 11, 2021

Book Review: The Flirtation Experiment

Well, I'm behind in life... as usual. Actually, all of this week was mostly spent laying in bed because vertigo strikes again. I also started having tremors but only in my torso, arms, hands, and head, so that was fun. I have no idea what is causing them, but I've increased my cortisol treatment in the hopes I've just got some weird thing and my body needs extra help fighting it off. I have no idea, it's really just a guessing game anymore. 

The only good part was I got to read a little more! Well, at least until the tremors made the book move too much and I got dizzy. I'm a super fun time, y'all. 

The Flirtation Experiment  

Lisa Jacobson and Phylicia Masonheimer

Romance novels, Hallmark movies . . . the immense demand for romantic stories reveals a deep, unsatisfied longing that can be found in many marriages, but does it have to be that way? Is it possible that the best marriage has to offer can grow, rather than fade after you say “I do”? Lisa and Phylicia say, “Absolutely yes!” 

So what is the secret to a happy, thriving, loving marriage, where the fire of romance and close friendship do not fade? While The Flirtation Experiment includes the frisky side of marriage, it’s far more than a good romp. By degrees, each chapter takes you to a deeper place, covering themes every beautiful marriage has in common, such as covenant, healing, and hope. 

After reading The Flirtation Experiment, wives will be filled with hope and encouragement for how they can make a powerful, positive change in their marriages, become empowered to pursue their husbands romantically, understand the Bible invites women to be proactive in their marriages, be motivated to consistently love in creative ways, and forge closeness and intimacy in their marriages. 

In June Matt and I will celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary, and that seems crazy to me. It's equal parts of feeling like it's been an eternity with him, and then other times I feel like it can't possibly be that long already. I always tell people that anything that could be thrown at a marriage has been thrown at us at some point. We've done the richer or poorer thing, we've done sickness and in health, we've dealt with financial highs and lows, literally every milestone people our age could deal with, and we've definitely had good times and bad, but we still keep plugging along. Not that it has been a smooth or easy road, but I think we just both made a conscious decision we were going to make this work, somehow, some way. 

One of the challenges that we, and most other couples, face is keeping that spark alive. I always laugh when I hear people say, "I love him but I'm not in love with him" because to me, that's insanity. The love you feel at the beginning isn't meant to last. Things change as you change, and you just have to go with it. 

So let's talk about this book, it is a rather quick read, so I'm confident you can get through it in a weekend easily. Matt and I aren't particularly religious so while the book does feature a Christian approach to marriage, there is still a lot of things to take away from it that you'll find useful in your own marriage. One thing that was a huge learning moment for me in our early years of marriage is that a fear of intimacy can manifest as anger. The authors mention that "anger can be a gut-level response to fear of loss, fear of intimacy, or fear of failure. In my case, I lashed out at Josh whenever I felt like I was failing." 

Hi- I'm fully guilty of that. I know that I get angry with or towards Matt when I'm stressed out, I'm overwhelmed, I'm anxious, I feel like I really suck at life. I think we all do that at some point. It's taken me a lot of years to make myself pause and really ask myself WHY am I so angry right now? Does yelling at anyone really help this situation? Do I get it right every time? Good lord no. I try really hard though and I think that's something that comes with getting older and gaining maturity, too. 

Overall, this was alright. I'd give it a solid 3 stars for me but I think that's also because again, we aren't particularly religious, so a lot of the Bible references weren't relevant to us. I think if you have a relatively good marriage, this might be helpful to make it better, or work on some areas that need improvement. If your marriage is really struggling, this isn't going to get you out of the ditch, so to speak. It is a pretty quick read though, and the humor throughout really helped this from feeling like a self-help but rather, an informative counseling session with a friend who has been there and done that. 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending me a copy for review and having me on this tour! 

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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Book Review: The Book of Timothy

Um, where are my true crime junkies at? If you know me in real life, you know that I am obsessed with true crime documentaries, podcasts, books, etc. so when I saw this one come up I literally squealed out loud because I knew this was going to be wild. I wasn't wrong. 

The Book of Timothy 

 Joan Nockels Wilson

Set in Rome, Chicago, and Anchorage, and spanning thirty years from crime to confrontation, The Book of Timothy: A Sister's Pursuit recounts in lyric movements a sister's journey, partly through trickery, but eventually through truth, to gain a long-absent admission from the priest who abused her brother. While on that journey, Nockels Wilson, a former prosecutor, confronts not only the priest, but her personal quest for vengeance. She further seeks an understanding of how the first Book of Timothy, the work of St. Paul, contributed to the silencing of women in her once loved Catholic Church. This Book of Timothy promises to take the reader on a quest for justice and down a path of unexpected coincidences that ends where it first began: out of a great love for a brother and in the power of first memory. 

I'm not going to lie, I am probably the most impatient person I know, so this one got a little slow for me in parts, but I'm glad that I stuck with it. I'm also not really a religious person, so though this is heavily centered around religion, I was here for the greater story- the love this woman had for her brother, and trying to not only get the truth out of the man who changed her brother's life forever, but also somehow make it right. 

Huge trigger warning though, this book revolves around sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests, so if that triggers you in any way, this is not the book for you. I can see how large portions of this book would be upsetting to anyone who has gone through that, or even somehow connected to it, so just know that's what this book is about. 

Interestingly, this is mainly Joan's story, of being a sibling to someone who was a victim of these awful acts, and how she is really a secondary victim of this. I also really like the connection being made to survivor's guilt, which is something I never really understood until going through it myself, not related to sexual abuse but instead my surviving death experience. I really struggled for a long time with wishing I had just died, and feeling guilty knowing there were so many women who would give anything to be here, but they did. Why me? Those are some really strange feelings to have so in a way I could relate to this author. I also really liked her explaining what it was like to know after the fact that these awful things were happening and they really had no idea. It speaks to the insidious nature of sexual predators and proves that they are really, really good at what they do. It's evil and it speaks to the power they have over their victims. 

Parts of this book were hard for me to read, and others were just fascinating because her perspective was one we don't always hear from. To combine that with faith, and trusting the word of God, and that God always has a plan for you, meanwhile you, or someone you love, is being abused in such an awful way, it makes it hard to understand how this is part of the plan. Nevermind the fact that many of these priests used scripture to justify their actions, it's just wrong on every level, and I can understand how someone may not come out of it OK in the end, no matter the therapy they receive. 

My only issue, which might be just my cognitive impairment showing up here, is the jumping around in the timeline. It skipped forward, and then jumped back quickly, and I had a hard time following along. I just wish the story was more linear because I found myself having to re-read sections just to understand where we were in the story. I'm not sure if others had this issue, so it might really just be me, but I had a hard time with that. 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours, author Joan Nockels Wilson, and Boreal Books for having me on this tour and sending me a copy for review. Definitely a fascinating story on a topic that just keeps popping up and it's so damn sad. 

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Monday, December 6, 2021

Book Review: Cynthia Starts a Band

Happy Monday! 

Did you guys do anything fun this weekend? I have been busy catching up with my blog, and reviews, made some ornaments, wrapped a bunch of presents, and I think I only have one more to get for one of my kids and then I'm even with everyone. (I have a thing about being even, it drives Matt nuts.) I even ordered our Christmas cards, got our Christmas letter printed, and hopefully I can get those out this week. Oh man.... that means I need to go to the post office. I dread that place in December, it's absolute chaos. Maybe I'll just send Matt... ha! 

Cynthia Starts a Band - Olivia Swindler

Eleanor Quinn was America’s sweetheart.

The lead singer in a wildly successful band and dating the most beautiful man in America, she lives a life most could only dream of. Then on the night of her engagement, she vanishes, leaving the world to wonder where and why she has gone. Eleanor sets out on a journey to regain agency in her life, to be something other than “Eleanor Quinn”. She moves to Seattle determined to find herself again. Riddled with self-doubt, she realizes the only way she can ever be free is to share her side of the story. Although starting over is not as simple as she imagined as the ghosts from her past force their way to her. Cynthia Starts a Band tells the story of starting over and discovering who one is when the world isn’t looking.

Definitely a quick read, this is mostly a book about a character and not really about... things happening, if that makes sense? We have Eleanor/Cynthia, a successful artist, with this great guy, but after this amazing proposal, on stage, things kind of go sideways. It becomes clear that Eleanor/Cynthia is no longer in charge of her own life, so she does what any of us would do, she competely disappears and starts a new life in Seattle. Right? We would all totally do that, I'm sure of it. 

Once there, she decides she's starting over, going back to basics. She's living with her cousin, changes her name to Cynthia, and decides to take a writing class. While this all sounds lovely, you can't run away forever, and it becomes increasingly clear that things can't get better unless she reconciles the things she ran away from to begin with. Her fiance is very much a dirtbag who, to the rest of us reading this book, is completely controlling and abusive and she needs to RUN, not walk away from. Like everything else in life, hindsight is 20/20 and when she is able to put some distance between them, she's slowly realizing that what she thought was normal was incredibly toxic and awful. It wasn't just him either, everything she was surrounded by was essentially using her and while everyone kind of blows it off as show business, Eleanor/Cynthia is deciding that she isn't going to settle with that. 

To be honest, it kind of reminds me of Taylor Swift... kind of. While everyone assumes Eleanor/Cynthia will just go with the flow and let it unfold the way they want it to, she decides she's going to take control of her life for real this time, and tell her side of the story. She's going to stand up for herself and if people don't like it, that's alright because she's OK with who she is. She isn't relying on that validation from others anymore. 

Overall, I liked this one. I liked the story, I found it relatable for all women, I think we all go through that phase where we lose ourselves a bit and it takes a conscious effort to get back to the path we're supposed to be on. I love that the author showcases that relationships can be toxic and abusive without overt violence, which is something that I don't think teens and young adults recognize until they are far away from it, if they even get that chance. I also really liked how the author drove the point home that the key to success and happiness comes from us, that's our job, and no amount of validation from others is going to do that for us longterm. It's OK to be scared to step out on your own, and it's OK to insanely mess up when you do it, but it isn't the end of the world, you can always bounce back. 

Thank you to Morgan James Fiction, author Olivia Swindler, and PR by the Book for having me on this tour! I love reading debut authors, and I am so excited to see what Olivia does next, I definitely encourage you to pick this one up.  

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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Book Review: Wild Seas

I am all about a good gift book and National Geographic is BRINGING it this year. You could probably get a book for every person on your shopping list and the best part? Books are super easy to wrap, am I right?? 

Wild Seas - Thomas Peschak

From gregarious gray whales plying the waters of Baja California to acrobatic manta rays in the Maldives and parading penguins in Antarctica, National Geographic photographer Thomas Peschak has spent a lifetime documenting the beauty and fragility of underwater life and the majesty of wild coastlines.

This awe-inspiring book of photography charts his transformation from marine biologist to full-time conservation advocate, armed with little more than a mask, fins and a camera. In these vivid pages, Peschak photographs sharks in a feeding frenzy, tracks sea turtles the size of bears, and dodges marine poachers, to reveal the splendor of pristine seas as well as the dark side of pollution, overfishing, and climate change.

Filled with magnificent images from Southern Africa, the Galápagos, Seychelles, and more, this illuminating collection offers an impassioned case for revering—and preserving—the world’s oceans.
I have to start by saying the picture of a bunch of penguins swimming on page 114 rocked Lucy's world. If you know Lucy in real life, you know she's a penguin fanatic and nobody knows why, and she now wants a penguin for a pet. 

Not surprisingly, Matt says absolutely not. 

Also, there is a photo on page 123 of a Cape gannet bird and it is flying directly at the camera and it is terrifying. 

I don't know if it's obvious yet that the section on seabirds was my favorite, but it is what it is. I'm a fan of seabirds. The photos in this book are, quite possibly, the best photos I have EVER seen in any National Geographic book, and if you know NatGeo at all you know that's a pretty major statement. Not surprisingly, Thomas Peschak is one of National Geographic's most popular photographers and this book showcases that start to finish. 

I loved that the book shows us all of the beauty and the best of the oceans and seas around the world, making you feel incredibly tiny and insignificant, but also the destruction that humans are causing. I went through this book learning new things, but also learning more about things I already knew, while at the same time having the point that there is a whole lot about our planet we don't know anything about driven home. 

The book is broken up over seven sections: Sea Turtles, Manta Rays, Seabirds, Sharks, Sardines, Galapagos, and Conservation. I already mentioned the Seabirds section was my favorite, but if there was ever a section to keep me firmly out of the water all together, it would be the Galapagos section. The subtitle? Dragons and Vampires. Just..... just don't read that if you are planning a tropical bitch vacation anytime soon because it will ruin it for you because it is full of creatures nightmares are made of. To think all of those, and so many more we don't even know about, and just..... swimming around under water? NOPE. A whole bunch of nope, nope, nope. 

This book was wild, y'all- I so highly recommend it. Thank you to TLC Book Tours and National Geographic for having me on this tour and sending me a copy for review. I'm going to stick to pools, I'm just throwing that out there. 

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Friday, December 3, 2021

Book Review: Dude Perfect

I mean, if there is a cooler book to get a tween/teen right now, I don't know what it would be, to be honest. 

Dude Perfect 

This photo-intensive, behind-the-scenes look at the viral sensation Dude Perfect offers step-by-step instructions for great do-it-at-home stunts along with valuable life lessons such as perseverance and teamwork, direct from DP headquarters.

Tweens and teens, ages 8 to 12, will enjoy complete panda-monium with this incredible look at Dude Perfect: five guys (and one mysterious panda) who are kickin' it, throwin' it, tossin' it, and shootin' it for more than 53 million YouTube subscribers with more than ten billion views.

With an oversize format and Dude-worthy graphics, Dude Perfect 101 Tricks, Tips, and Cool Stuff includes . . .

Step-by-step instructions on how to perform some of the Dudes' dynamite tricks using easy-to-obtain items.
Behind-the-scenes glimpses at those hilarious stereotype videos and extreme sports moments.
Dude-perfect teaching about what a blast patience, perseverance, teamwork, friendship, and faith can be.
Fun science facts behind the seemingly impossible tricks--because really, how did they do that?!
Infographics with "No way!" truths from the inspirational to the absurd.
A deeper look into each Dude's personal life, including stats, favorite stunts, and insights.
Ideal for down time or simply a weekend at home, each trick in Dude Perfect 101 Tricks, Tips, and Cool Stuff is the perfect combination of challenging and doable to keep your young reader off-screen for hours. This interactive book is a great gift for birthdays, Easter baskets, holiday gift giving, or just because.

Whether your own trickster wants to perform solo, challenge a friend, or host a family date night, this visually engaging book is a slam-dunk for anyone who is young at heart.

Do you remember when kids were constantly flipping water bottles and trying to do challenges with it? If that was your kid, they will love this book! In fact, there is an entire section dedicated to water bottles. Ha! 

This book is full of boredom buster activities involving things you already have around your house. If you're reading the In The Kitchen section, one challenge is tossing toast (or waffles) into the toaster using one hand, flipping a straw into your cup, or flip a pancake behind your back and make it land on someone's plate. You can even learn how to do a trick shot of flipping three spoons into three cups at the same time. At least for me, it's probably a good thing I still own plastic cups because my kids would be breaking glasses left and right. Not only are we doing tricks that will drive us parents nuts, but the book has really cool fun facts throughout, like how a Minnesota Vikings kicker actually invented the Nerf football. I also really liked that despite the silliness of some of the tricks, they reiterated that safety was key and rules still apply.... even for adults. 

A section that I know every kid will geek out over? World records. When I worked in a school library, the book that kids fought over was any that included world records, no matter how bizarre! 

Kids are going to really enjoy this one and if you're a school librarian, or maybe just want something fun for in the classroom, definitely add this to your list. If you're shopping for a kid who has everything and wants nothing, this is the ideal gift. They won't be able to say the dreaded, "I'm bored" again! 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Tommy Nelson Books for sending me a copy for review! Penelope and I have been trying tricks for about a month and even at six years old, she's better than me at basically everything. 

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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Book Review: Baby, Unplugged

I'm slowly getting through my stack of books I have to review, but at least I had the prescence of mind to take notes as I went through books. Sometimes I'm just super smart, you know? 

Baby, Unplugged - Sophie Brickman

A charming, meticulously researched, and illuminating look at how technology infiltrates every aspect of raising children today, filled with helpful advice parents can use to best navigate the digital landscape, and ultimately learn to trust their own judgment.

There’s an app or device for nearly every aspect of parenting today: monitoring your baby; entertaining or educating your toddler; connecting with other new parents for tips, tricks, and community—virtually every aspect of daily life. But it isn’t a parenting paradise; the truth is much more complicated.

The mother of two young daughters, journalist Sophie Brickman wondered what living in a tech-saturated world was doing to her and her children. She turned to experts, academics, doctors, and innovators for advice and insight. Baby, Unplugged brings together Brickman’s in-depth research with her own candid (sometimes hilarious) personal experience to help parents sort through the wide and often confusing tech offerings available today and to sort out what’s helpful and what’s not.

Filled with relatable and entertaining stories as well as practical takeaways, Baby, Unplugged is destined to become a touchstone for parents today, giving them the permission to forge their own path through the morass of technological options, to restore their faith in themselves, and to help them raise good, social, and engaged people in the modern world.
Parenting is really hard, folks. I think parenting has always been hard, and every generation has a particular challenge to overcome. Right now, you can go on literally any parenting message boards and easily find countless posts about teens on social media, but more of an umbrella topic is kids and technology. Children have access to various forms of technology at younger ages and while parents are guilty of handing a tablet over to their child to keep them quiet while they shop, sit at a restaurant, travel, etc., and we're all so busy that we aren't really thinking about the long term consequences of that. 

I'm fully guilty of doing this myself, so I can't even sit here and act like I'm the better mom with this. 

What I can tell you is this book is a really interesting dive into parenting in current times, while giving kids access to technology at reasonable levels. What is a reasonable amount of time for someone to be on a computer, tablet, phone, etc? How do you decide? You also have to look at other forms of tech, how can we limit our children's access when we are attached to our phones? I know I'm guilty of being on my phone, taking photos of everything, documenting all of the fun our family is having. Which is great, but where am I? I'm not in it. I'm not having the fun, my children aren't going to have photos of me being with them, and that's a topic we're seeing more of on various parenting websites. 

The author covers all of that in section one. You know what else is covered? Shopping online. (I'm seriously writing about this as the UPS guy is dropping boxes off at my back door. It's shameful. I'm literally the mom the author is talking about here.) What else are we guilty of? 

You know you've flipped on some Daniel Tiger, left the cute kiddos in front of it so you can go start some laundry or eat your hidden candy as you cry in a closet. 

I know I'm not alone on this. 

It's totally covered in this book. In all though, this is a really interesting book, which covers all of the big topics we wonder about. I'm not going to lie, when I think about technology and children, I'm more worried about my elementary school aged children, and of course the middle/high school kids, too. I feel like it is easier to control the technology access with babies and toddlers than it is older children. Regardless, this is a pretty solid read for parents who struggle with technology, they will likely relate to the author because Sophie Brickman relates in a way that it feels like you're chatting with your friend who knows what she's talking about. 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for having me on this tour and sending me a copy for review!

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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Book Review: Ocean

I mean, I'm a Pisces and I am a Pisces through and through. Literally obsessed with the ocean, all things water, I'd like to be a fish or something, but I know I'd probably be eaten on day one so I guess maybe that's not a great plan. When I saw this I literally HAD to get my hands on it and whoa boy..... it DELIVERED. 

Ocean - National Geographic

Discover the world's ocean--from tides and currents to the creatures living in it to the impact it has on our lives, whether we know it or not--in this richly illustrated overview of the life force that defines and sustains our planet, written by world-renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle.

Everything you want to know about the ocean can be found inside these beautiful and dynamic pages. National Geographic Ocean unveils the power and significance of our planet's watery essence: the fundamental importance of the ocean in shaping Earth's climate and chemistry as well as its vital role in supporting a multitude of life-forms, including our own human race.

World-renowned oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer in Residence Sylvia Earle--affectionately called "Her Deepness"--guides readers with her lyrical style and inspiring wisdom, describing the evolution, beauty, and impact of our ocean; the challenges it faces, such as climate change, plastic, and overfishing; and the myriad ways we can help protect it.

This comprehensive reference explains the fundamental science of the ocean--from plate tectonics to seawater makeup, including a fascinating illustrated guide to marine life, from sponges, kelp, and zooplankton to whales, sharks, and sea turtles. More than 100 maps and diagrams, including seafloor and political maps of all Earth's seas and oceans, elucidate Dr. Earle's authoritative text.
If you're looking for a last minute gift for anyone, pick up literally any National Geographic book and it will be a hit. If you have someone obsessed with the ocean, ocean animals, science, or all of it, you absolutely need to pick this up. The book is massive, just over 500 oversized pages, and it is FULL of amazing science information and photographs. The very last section talks about the southern oceanic area, which begins with a double page photo of penguins, which are Lucy's favorite animal. I think we stared at the penguins for a solid five minutes. I'm not quite sure what she was studying but she was fascinated by a photo of a ton of similar looking penguins. Honestly, to be in the mind of a five year old would be fascinating. 

Penelope really liked learning why the sea is salty, she's particularly offended by the salt content in the Gulf of Mexico. The last time we went to Florida was her first time really being able to play in the water and she unintentionally swallowed a bunch of it and I feel like all of Madeira Beach heard about her experience and exactly how she felt about it. 

I really enjoyed all of the photos of the interesting life you'll find below the surface. On page 170 there is a photo of a European fan worm, which sounds alarming and immediately like I'm not interested, but it's actually quite beautiful. Of course, if you're interested in learning about the sometimes terrifying looking creatures of the deep sea, those are included too and yeah, they are still scary looking. 

I love how the book explains our impact on the ocean, and how it'll impact all of us in the future without positive changes. Some of it we knew, some of it was new to me information. I finished the book feeling really overwhelmed, slightly alarmed, and a greater appreciation for the power of the ocean and how, no matter where we live, we're all at the mercy of it. 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and National Geographic for having me on this tour. If you're an educator, this would be an incredible classroom resource, even for kids to just page through. You're going to learn something even through a quick flip of the pages, and those are the best books to surround kids with. 
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