Review Roundup

Masquerade Season by ‘Pemi Aguda [short story]

This one really made me think and it hit me harder than I anticipated. Actually, Masquerade Season reminded me of The Giving Tree, honestly. One of those stories where the message makes you ache and it leaves you deeply melancholy.

The Sea Is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt [fiction]

I got a chapter sampler version, so I’m only reviewing the couple of chapters I read, but I really, really like the prose in this one. There’s a very distinct voice, which is so nice to find. The set up is very intriguing, and I’m really curious to see how it’s going to wrap up.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC-excerpt. Excited to read the full book!

Dust Bowl Venus by Stella Beratlis [poetry collection]

Woe be unto us: We thought dancing did not matter.

I really do have, like, a thing for poetry. I truly do. Poems are so fly, and these ones are awesome.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

A Peek at Beaks: Tools Birds Use by Sara Levine [children’s books]

This is such an informative and awesome kid’s book! It’s interactive, which is great for teaching kids and getting them engaged with the material, and there are so many different birds that are described herein. It also delves briefly into how evolution and Darwinism work. A lovely, colourful book for young readers!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Winter Soldier Vol. 1: The Longest Winter by Ed Brubaker [graphic novel/comic books]

I’m gonna admit, I picked this up because of the show. It’s awesome to finally have the focus on Bucky’s character, who I’ve always found interesting. This comic was quite compelling and I really liked the artwork. I was a bit confused? I feel like there was backstory I didn’t have, but maybe it’s just because I’m so used to the show/films universe. Like, I wasn’t expecting Bucky and Natasha to be so close! I liked them together, I was just a bit thrown. That said, I liked it overall. Definitely going to read a few more Winter Soldier tales. 

Mika and the Dragonfly by Ellen Delange [children’s books]

Do you need a spoiler warning for a kid’s book? It’s only 17 pages, so I have no idea! But, uh, spoilers? Haha. The artwork in this is absolutely lovely, and there’s a good message about being kind to insects and making friends. I’m a little unsure about the method of resolution, though: the dragonfly’s wing fell off and the kid ends up gluing it back on.

Adults don’t take kid’s books literally, of course, but I’d just be sure to tell the kid you’re reading this to not to attempt gluing a dragonfly’s wing back on. I really worry about the dragonflies, okay?! That’s my only nitpick, though. Overall it’s a very sweet little book and definitely worth picking up.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Six fabulous children’s books!

I’m hoping to get back to some longer fiction in the coming weeks, as my TBR is piling up and there are so many that I want to read, but it’s been so hard to have time to sit down and properly devour a long book lately that I can only consume comics, novellas and children’s books. I’m really loving the ones I’m finding! Some seriously adorable and inspiring works here!

♡ thank you netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review ♡ 

Opal the Octopus is Overwhelmed by Ashley Bartley

‘Opal Octopus says yes to everything, without taking time to think through it. Now she’s overwhelmed by too much on her plate, because she’s quick to agree’

Summing up this book in three words is easy: PRECIOUS. RELATABLE. IMPORTANT.

My mind feels squishy and scattered. I can’t focus on one thing at a time. Wanting to be perfect at everything I do really makes my anxiety climb!

Preach, Opal. As a perpetual juggler of too many things at once, I related to this lovely little book so much. Like, honestly, everyone should read this whether they’re a kid or an adult. Trying to balance everything at once is exhausting and stressful and, in the words of dear Opal, anxiety-inducing. Listen to this octopus and make time for yourself!

I Can Say No by Jenny Simmons

I can use my words
If someone looks down on me.
For the color of my skin
Or the makeup of my family.
I can say, ‘No!
There is no room here
For hate, injustice,
Unkindness, or fear.’

Why, what a wholesome, powerful little book about teaching kids to stand up for themselves and others, to show the importance of boundaries and individuality and self-care. Gotta say, for such a short and sweet book, it packs a profound punch. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous, vibrant, rich and detailed. There’s excellent diversity and representation. Definitely a fantastic book for kids!

I can say NO
to the thoughts in my head
that tell me I’m worthless
because I messed up again.

Um, yes?! Let’s be instilling this in everyone. *throws confidence confetti into the air* Say no with gumption, kids! Talk down your demons and embrace your own path!

My no is my no – there’s no need to explain.

HEAR HEAR

Of course, the author does illustrate the importance of choosing when to say no, or when you can’t – like listening to your parents about chores, haha – and thus provides a balanced approach to saying no.

How to Tap a Maple! by Stephanie Mulligan

This is a cute little informative book about the process of tapping maple syrup from trees in the winter snow. It’s a good explanatory book for children curious about how syrup is refined through boiling and straining before it can be served. It’s set in Maine, which is a lovely state, but of course now I’m missing Canada! And I also want pancakes. 😉

The Froggies Do Not Want to Sleep by Adam Gustavson

Seriously, 100%, could not stop laughing at these froggies.

This absolutely gorgeously illustrated book is light on the words, but the artwork is some of the best I’ve seen in a while. Simply splendid! The writing, honestly, reads like some exasperated, knowing parent, who simply cannot get the froggies to go to sleep and I just cracked up laughing every page.

‘They want to sing opera while firing themselves out of cannons’ but they certainly do NOT want to go to sleep.

I giggled. Hard.

The Speckled Feather by Johanna Ries

The artwork in this straight up left me like:

I think it’s hand drawn, water-colour-y and lush and lovely, and I’m absolutely enamoured. You just want to fall into the artist’s world and live inside these colours. So, so beautiful. Hats off to the artist!

The story itself is an important one about friendship, care and the downside of selfishness. Three birds live with an elephant and are protected from predators by the elephant until they start fighting with each other about who gets to keep the speckled feather that blows their way one day. Mr Elephant ain’t about that nonsense and teaches them a valuable lesson.

Definitely recommend!

Norman’s First Day at Dino Day Care by Sean Julian

Maybe together it’ll only be half as scary

Aww, this is a sweet little story about how to believe in yourself, even when you’re shy and nervous and don’t feel up to public speaking. A great message for kids! And the drawings are adorable.

Four great books for kids!

I’ve been mixing up my comic book binge and non-fiction pile and fantasy/sci-fi tomes with kid’s books. They’re just innately cheerful. Like, even at my age, I just absolutely love how whimsical and colourful these books are. Fantasy is basically a given and every book is upbeat and vibrant and boisterous.

You can’t get through these books without smiling – TRUE FACTS. And it’s really making me miss all the books I grew up with.

all arcs received from netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Busy Spring: Nature Wakes Up by Sean Taylor & Alex Morss

I wasn’t expecting this to be so educational and informative! I picked it up thinking it was just a picture book for kids, and it is, but when you finish the sweet story of the family welcoming spring, the rest of the book focuses on educating kids about plants, animals, migration, life cycles, climate change and safeguarding the natural world. How wonderful! This is a lovely little book for parents to read to their children, perhaps before starting a garden or teaching them about kindness to all creatures, large and small.

The Chicken Who Loved Books by Angela Elwell Hunt

Okay, this is cute. Like, I couldn’t stop giggling. It’s 17 pages of a chicken getting mad at a little boy for bringing his videogame to the chicken coop instead of bringing a book to read to them. It could have been a liiiiittle bit longer, I reckon, cos I felt like it stopped a wee bit abruptly, but the illustrations are super cute and I now want to go find a flock of chickens who want to be read to. The dream, honestly.

Lockdown Hair by Linda Steinbock

Pandemic books for kids is definitely going to be a thing after this last year. I mean, I grew up with environmental warning books like The Wump World, so that’s not surprising. As I’m sure you guess going off the cute cover, this one has a great message and focuses on being safe and oh my gosh, it is ADORBS.

Who doesn’t love a book about staying safe in lockdown with a quote at the end by Greta Thunberg? This is seriously so sweet. The plot follows a young girl trying to come up with inventive ways to help at a hair salon during the pandemic. The leaf blower for hair drying to stay two metres apart rather than a blow dryer was particularly cute!

So You Want To Build a Library by Lindsay Leslie

Every book – and library – is made better by dragons.

Well, obviously.

And don’t forget about TEENY TINY NOOKS for teeny tiny fairies with their teeny tiny books.

Oh my goodness gracious, be still my heart! THIS BOOK.

Who hasn’t dreamed of building their own library and filling it with floofy chairs, water slides, a bathtub, dragons, fairies and much, much more?! I, for one, am waiting for my own personal library to curl up in with my giant, dragon and fairy friends. *taps foot impatiently*

Anyways, this is super cute and a lovely book for kids!

Buffy, Willow and Comics Galore!

Oh my gosh, the new Buffyverse comics by BOOM! Studies are simply wonderful. The Willow comics take place after Hellmouth, which happens partway through the new Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics. So I suggest starting with Buffy, Volume 1 and then going to the Willow comics when the timelines diverge. Basically, the comics reboot the original show in the modern day, with all the characters’ appearances based on the actors themselves i.e. Buffy looks like Sarah Michelle Gellar, etc. The whole thing feels like an AU (but in a great way!).

The Willow comics are such a fabulous side adventure to the new Buffy. And isn’t the artwork so lush? I’m obsessed with these covers, my word. In this storyline, Willow’s a witch from the start, not after spending ages researching alongside Giles like in the show and she’s taking a break from Sunnydale after events in the Buffy reboot. It’s only five issues long so far – not sure if it’s getting more? – so it’s a fun little fest that’s a great way to spend a couple hours. And, again, the artwork. (✿◠‿◠)

SPOILER WARNING! The Buffy reboot starts with Buffy, Willow and Xander in very different places than they started in the show. Willow has a girlfriend from the start, Xander is much less of a ‘nice guy’ and more nuanced (thank goodness), Joyce has a boyfriend who treats Buffy well, Giles and Jenny are already dating, Robin Wood is in school with the rest of the cast and has a side story with Kendra, and Spike and Drusilla arrive in season one. I haven’t reached Angel’s appearance yet in the comics, but I’m sure he’s coming as there’s also an Angel reboot comic.

In addition to all the Buffyverse comics, I also tried out Artifice and Vision #1. I also read and reviewed two great kids books: We Are All Under One Wide Sky and Theo’s Princess. All very good!

And now on to the Angel comics … (^o^)

Book Review: The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me (1985)

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The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl

This is one Roald Dahl book I’d actually never heard of! I’m surprised, because it was written in 1985, but somehow it slipped past me until today. I didn’t love it as much as MatildaThe Witches and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but it’s very cute in its own right! The audio book is narrated by Hugh Laurie, which I thoroughly recommend. He sings!

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Also, the list of sweets at the end is an absolute delight! You can tell Dahl loves sweets, haha. Apparently he published a cookbook as well? What rock have I been living under? I really want to try some of his recipes now. I mean, the man who gave us The Chocolate Factory can only create epic dessert, surely? 😀

Anyways, super cute book, definitely recommend.

Book Review: Matilda (1988)

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Matilda by Roald Dahl

The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.

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This is one of my forever-favs. This book gave me so much joy as a child and it still holds a special place in my heart. Little Matilda Wormwood with her wretched family, her wretched headmistresses, and so much cunning in her mind that she devises a way to help herself, her classmates and the wonderful Miss Honey.

Four for you, Matilda.

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