Tuesday, January 18, 2022

New year, new blog!

I've been blogging here since 2011 and I've really enjoyed it, but since I've had my second baby I'm finding my free time has been cut way down. (Who would have thought that double the kids means double the work, huh?) I've been thinking of how to keep on reading and blogging with the time I do have, and I came up with this idea...

For the foreseeable future, this blog will be on hiatus. Instead, I'll be blogging about all things historical in kidlit & YA over at my new wordpress blog, the Peapod Historical Bookery.

So if you're into historical fiction, historical fantasy, nonfiction history, and anything and everything between, please follow me over to my new blog! I'd love to connect with you there!

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

One year later...

Hello there, fellow readers! It's been A YEAR since I updated my blog. Ouch. I'm sad that it's been so long, but it's been quite a year, so I'm trying to forgive myself, because...

I had a baby! :D 

Yep, now I'm a momma of TWO tiny peas! Being pregnant with another small pea running around was tough, and the newest pea spent some time in the NICU, and then it's been crazy getting used to being a family of four and all finding our new normal together. Pea #2 is finally starting to sleep better, so I'm hoping I'll have some time in the evenings to get back into blogging. 

Hope things have been going well for you all! Looking forward to chatting books again soon! :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Review: The Nutcracker by words&pictures

 The Nutcracker
by words&pictures; illustrated by Cynthia Alonso

Series: Step Into...
Publisher: Quarto Publishing Group – words & pictures
Publication date: November 17, 2020
Available as: board book
Pages: 12
Suggested tags: baby & toddler, Christmas, classics

From the publisher:

"Step inside the classic story of The Nutcracker. With gentle, engaging text, beautiful illustrations, die cut and layered pages, all of which encourage the reader to interact with the book and turn each page to delight in the increasingly expansive spreads."

I love reading Nutcracker retellings. It's just such a classic, dreamy story and I love seeing how different authors and illustrators choose to interpret it. This version is kind of a simplified, modernized Nutcracker, and it's super cute! 

This board book is formed from die-cut pages, giving you just a peek of each page visible from the front of the book. As you turn each page, a bit more of the story is revealed.

This version also feels very fresh and contemporary. The illustrations are simple yet beautiful with vibrant colors. Marie (aka: Clara) wears two-piece rainbow-print PJs instead of a frilly dress, something that many little readers themselves might be wearing while they read this. The Sugar Plum Fairy and her dancers add some diversity to the story.
The story is condensed and there is only a sentence or two on each page, which I think is perfect for a board book audience. It's a quick introduction to The Nutcracker to get little ones familiar with and interested in the story. I think the mix of the artwork, the simple text, and the die-cut pages will definitely make this a hit with tiny readers! 

Final verdict: I loved it! I thought this book was great! I might buy it for myself and I would definitely recommend it to others.

{ Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy.
My reviews are honest and my opinions are my own; 
your reading experience may vary, so give it a read and see what you think. :) }

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up: October 18-24, 2020

It has been A WHILE since I've posted one of these. I found my first "best of 2020" booklist this week and I got really excited, so I figured what better time to jump back in to sharing the news & such I've found lately. 

Here's my weekly collection of news, announcements, and booklists I've found while browsing around the internet. Hope you enjoy! :)


  • 2020 Little Rebels Award winner announced - the award "recognizes children’s fiction (for readers aged 0-12) which promotes social justice or social equality, challenges stereotypes or is informed by anti-discriminatory concerns" (source).



New & Upcoming Books

I'm sharing my Weekly Wrap-Up posts on 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Review: Gargantis by Thomas Taylor

by Thomas Taylor; illustrated by Tom Booth

Available as: hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 352
Publisher: Walker Books US
Publication date: May 26, 2020
Suggested tags: middle grade, fantasy
Series: The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea (#2)
(You can read my review of Book #1, Malamander, here!)

From the publisher:
"In the second fantasy set in Eerie-on-Sea, Herbert and Violet team up to solve the mystery of Gargantis — an ancient creature of the deep with the power to create life-threatening storms.

There’s a storm brewing over Eerie-on-Sea, and the fisherfolk say a monster is the cause. Someone has woken the ancient Gargantis, who sleeps in the watery caves beneath this spooky seaside town where legends have a habit of coming to life. It seems the Gargantis is looking for something: a treasure stolen from her underwater lair. And it just might be in the Lost-and-Foundery at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, in the care of one Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder. With the help of the daring Violet Parma, ever-reliable Herbie will do his best to figure out what the Gargantis wants and who stole her treasure in the first place. In a town full of suspicious, secretive characters, it could be anyone!"

It was SO GOOD to return to Eerie-on-Sea! I loved the first book in the series, Malamander, because it was adventurous and exciting and creepy and the setting was so wonderfully depicted. And I'm delighted to report that all my favorite elements of #1 reappear just as strongly in #2, Gargantis!

This installment of Herbert and Violet's story involves a huge storm, local fisherfolk lore, a sea monster, a clockwork crab, another terrifyingly not-quite-human bad guy, and some more hints revealed about the possible fates of Herbert and Violet's parents! All of my favorite characters from the first book appeared again - including Seegol and his seaside diner, which never fails to make me really crave a good batch of fish and chips.

I really cannot rave about this series enough. If you like your middle grade fiction chock full of adventure and mystery, featuring smart and capable characters, with just enough scary stuff to give you goosebumps without keeping you up all night, all set in the most fantastically developed and deliciously eerie seaside town, THIS IS FOR YOU.

Final verdict: I'm obsessed with it! I thought this book was amazing! It's now officially one of my favorite books! I shall be shouting about it from the rooftops for days and I am currently recommending it to everyone I come in contact with!

{ Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy.
My reviews are honest and my opinions are my own; 
your reading experience may vary, so give it a read and see what you think. :) }

Monday, July 13, 2020

Review: Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky

by Jill Baguchinsky

Available as: hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 333
Publisher: Turner Publishing
Publication date: November 6th 2018
Suggested tags: young adult, realistic fiction, paleontology

From the publisher:
"The summer before her junior year, paleontology geek Natalie Page lands a coveted internship at an Ice Age dig site near Austin. Natalie, who’s also a plus-size fashion blogger, depends on the retro style she developed to shield herself from her former bullies, but vintage dresses and perfect lipstick aren’t compatible with prospecting for fossils in the Texas heat.
But nothing is going to dampen Natalie’s spirit — she’s exactly where she wants to be, and she gets to work with her hero, a rock-star paleontologist who hosts the most popular paleo podcast in the world. And then there’s Chase the intern, who’s seriously cute, and Cody, a local boy who’d be even cuter if he were less of a grouch.

It’s a summer that promises to be about more than just mammoths.

Until it isn’t.

When Natalie’s hero turns out to be anything but, and steals the credit for one of her accomplishments, Nat has to unearth the confidence she needs to stand out in a field dominated by dudes. To do this, she’ll have to let her true self shine, even if that means defying all the rules for the sake of a major discovery.

Ok, a plus-size fashion blogger who is also a paleontology geek, who uses her smarts and talents to land an awesome internship? I am SOLD. I want to read more books about girls who have off-beat interests and are not afraid to follow their passions and do awesome things!!

I loved reading about Natalie and her friends at this paleontology internship. My undergrad degree was in Anthopology/Archaeology and I went to field school, so some of the paleontology parts of the book gave me some familiar vibes, and I really enjoyed reliving those memories! And I was crushed when she discovers her hero is not who he thought he was. Argh, what a devastating reality strike. I hurt alongside her - those sorts of life lessons are the worst.

The only thing that bothered me a bit was that some of Natalie's decisions made me want to pull my hair out. She landed this amazing internship, which she's really wanted and worked hard for, and then she's going to put it in jeopardy by *repeatedly* making some really poor choices that she knows she shouldn't, doing things that she knows would get her kicked out if she was discovered. I would allow *one* time, caving to peer pressure or just generally being an impulsive teen whose brain has not yet fully formed the decision-making parts. (No offense intended to any teens! Science says your brains are not done growing!) But multiple times? Girl! No!! Use your smarts and do what you know is right! You're sending my anxiety through the roof, you've come so far and I don't want you to fail!!

*deep breaths*

Ok... I'm good now. To sum it up, I did like this book and its amazingly talented main character, although I didn't like all the choices she made, and I am so serious about wanting to read more books about girls who have obscure interests and who follow those interests fiercely and bravely!  

Final verdict: I liked it! I thought this book was good! I enjoyed reading it and I would probably recommend it to others.

{ Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for providing me with a review copy.
My reviews are honest and my opinions are my own; 
your reading experience may vary, so give it a read and see what you think. :) }

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Quarantine update

Hello fellow bookworms... Hope you're all doing well and staying healthy and happy. Some reports I've seen are saying COVID-19 is starting to improve in some parts of the world, so congrats to you all for doing your part and I hope you get to enjoy your summer!

Where I am... we're not there yet. I'm still hunkering down at home, only going out for groceries. It's gonna be a long summer for us. But I'm trying to stay positive and look towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

I keep thinking, I could be doing so much reading. And reviewing, and blogging... But for some reason, I'm having a reeeeally hard time focusing on books. I'm doing better with fantasy books, books that are in no way realistic and are just total escapism reads. So I'm reading some books I've had on my TBR for forever, and some stuff I might not have picked up otherwise, and I'm enjoying it. I do want to make better use of my time and catch up on books that are waiting to be reviewed, and get back into a blogging routine, but I need my brain to get in the game and *focus*.

How about you? How are your reading habits this summer? Are you tearing through books at light speed? Or are you struggling a bit like I am? Trying some new books/genres or going back to old favorites?