Book Reviews · Charlie's Corner · Recommendations

Charlie’s Corner: Catla and the Vikings by: Mary Elizabeth Nelson

Welcome to Charlie’s Corner, named after my little boy. Here I will share children’s product and book reviews.

Catla and the Vikings
By: Mary Elizabeth Nelson

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Published: March 2012
Published by: Orca Book Publishers
Format Read: eBook, Libby App
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis

In the fall of 1066, a thirteen-year-old Anglo-Saxon girl named Catla watches from afar as Viking raiders burn her village and imprison her family and the other villagers. No one sees her as she flees toward Aigber, the closest village, praying the people there will help.

Catla must ignore her terror as she makes her way to the standing stones, a place of refuge, where she meets Sven, an older boy from her village. Together, they continue toward Aigber and are able to alert the village of the coming peril. Catla and Sven rally the villagers of Aigber, and with Catla’s help, a plan is put in place that will save both villages from the Nord-devils.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Catla and the Vikings introduces young readers to a brave girl as she attempts to save her Saxon village from a Viking invasion. Mary Elizabeth Nelson presents an exciting adventure about a time in history I had not yet explored. While I appreciated how women were portrayed as warriors amoung men, I was disappointed by how abruptly the book ended. Another aspect of this book that I found to be well done, was in the way such a violent event as an invasion, was presented, so that it was appropriate for its younger audience.

Although it didn’t conclude to my satisfaction, I would still recommend Catla and the Vikings to fans of middle grade historical fiction.

Book Reviews · Charlie's Corner · Recommendations

Charlie’s Corner: The Missing Potty

Welcome to Charlie’s Corner, named after my little boy. Here I will share children’s product and book reviews.

Forgive me if this topic is TMI for anyone reading this post, but today we are going to talk about that time in every toddlers life where its time to crack down on potty training. That time is upon us in my household and I am hoping that some fun picture books about the topic will help to encourage Charlie in this endeavor. Today I’d like to share Anita Bijsterbosch’s The Missing Potty.

The Missing Potty
By: Anita Bijsterbosch

The Missing Potty
Source: Barnes & Nobel

To be Published: May 2021
Published by: Clavis
Format Read: ARC, eBook, Kindle
Genre: Children’s Books, Picture Books

NOTE: I was sent a copy of The Missing Potty by Anita Bijsterbosch, from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

A happy book to help toddlers with potty training, with surprising flaps! For toddlers ages 30 months and up.
Bunny loves her potty. She likes to sit on it all the time. But one day, Bunny can’t find it. And Bunny really needs to go potty! What will she do now? She can’t hold it anymore! Will using the real potty be as scary as it looks?

Source: Barnes & Nobel

My Thoughts

While perusing NetGalley one day I came across Anita Bijesterbosch’s The Missing Potty and it couldn’t have caught my eye at a better time. As the mother of a very stubborn toddler, I am looking for any way to encourage my little boy to ditch the diapers. The fact that this picture book follows his favourite animal; a bunny, made me jump at the chance to share this with him.

As Bunny goes around searching for her potty at the houses of her friends, she asks “Are you using the potty?” and readers are asked to open a flap to see who is there. Although this is a cute idea to show children that they aren’t the only one who has to go, I think that this might give them the idea that they can barge in on anyone using the facilities. However I liked that Bunny’s friends encourage her to use the toilet instead because as they say in the story “You can never lose a real potty.”

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Verity by Colleen Hoover

Verity
By: Colleen Hoover

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Published: December 2018
Published by: Hoover Ink Inc.
Format Read: eBook, Kindle
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.
Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.
A standalone romantic thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

I admit that I was very apprehensive to read Verity by Colleen Hoover, after hearing all the hype about it in the book community and the comments about how twisted the story is. Needless to say, my curiosity got the best of me. I am glad that I gave it a chance because not only couldn’t I put it down, but it became my first 5 star read of 2021.

I wouldn’t describe Verity as a scary novel, but I would say it was disturbing. There was one part in particular that almost made me give up reading the book.

In the end I was able to predict how it would end, however that didn’t take away from the fact that this book was well written and captivating. I would highly recommend Verity by Colleen Hoover to fans of the thriller and suspense genres.

Challenges · Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: March 2021

Total Books Read in March: 5
Total Books Read in 2021: 12

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The Perfect Couple
By: Elin Hilderbrand

Read by: Erin Bennett
Genre: Contemporary fiction, Mystery, Romance
Rating: 4/5

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Catla and the Vikings
By: Mary Elizabeth Nelson

Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
Rating: 3/5

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Abduction!
By: Peg Kehret

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 3/5
NOTE: This book was listed as middle grade because of the age of the children involved. but it wasn’t written that way. Therefore I have decided to just list the genre as mystery/thriller.

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The Mystery at Lilac Inn
(Nancy Drew, 4)
By: Carolyn Keene
Read by: Laura Linney

Genre: Mystery, Middle Grade, YA Lit
Rating: 2.5/5

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The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
By: Dawnie Walton

Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
NOTE: I was sent a copy of The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.


The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 5
Total Number of Fiction: 5
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 1
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 1
Total Library Books Read: 3

Formats Read

Physical Books: 0
eBooks:
 2
Audio Books: 
3

Currently Reading

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Book Reviews · Recommendations

After You (Me Before You, 2) by Jojo Moyes

After You
(Me Before You, 2)
By: Jojo Moyes

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Published: December 2016
Published by: Penguin Group
Format Read: Paperback
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Series

Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis

The sequel to Me Before You, which is now a major motion picture.”We all lose what we love at some point, but in her poignant, funny way, Moyes reminds us that even if it’s not always happy, there is an ever after.” —Miami Herald

“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding–the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await. 

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

I enjoyed this story of moving on after tragedy. Lou’s family brought a touch of humor to the sad situation and Ambulance Sam was a great love interest. However I found the plot moved along slowly, which I should have expected as the first book was written in the same vein. I wonder if this is just the style of Jojo Moyes’ writing?

I highly advise readers to read Me Before You, first before picking up this sequel, as it will spoil the outcome of the first book. I would recommend After You to fans of the contemporary romance genre.

Challenges · Memes · Recommendations · Tags

Top 10 Tuesday: Amusing Book Titles

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Today’s topic we are sharing for Top 10 Tuesday is Funny Book Titles, which I have adapted to Amusing Book Titles.

I love a title with a pun. It might not give me those laugh out loud feelings, but they definitely put a smile on my face and attract me towards the book.

  • One series that comes to mind when I think of clever title names is the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I especially like how the “Between the Numbers” novels are a play on words with the last name of the main character.
  • Another series that has some very amusing titles is The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson books by Louise Rennison. Here are some of my favourites:
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On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, 2) by Louise Rennison
  • In the same vein or genre as the Georgia Nicolson books are the Mates, Dates series by Cathy Hopkins.
  • The next book is amusing in that it sounds very unlikely, which only added to its appeal.
  • Next is a title that I found amusing simply because I can (or could at the time I read it) totally relate.
  • And finally I had to include this last book because Betty White is amazing! Enough said haha.

Books Hauls · TBR

January & February Book Haul

January Books Hauled

Sent for Review

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

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Audio Books

Ask Me No Questions (Lady Dunbridge Mystery, 1) by Shelley Nobel

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Cafe by the Sea (Mure, 1) by Jenny Colgan

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February Books Hauled

Sent for Review

For the Love of Friends by Sara Goodman Confino

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Free Download

Iditarod Dreamer: A Rookie Team’s Journey by Hank DeBruin & Tanya McCready

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Audio Books

Daisy Chains by Lynn Vande Stouwe

Daisy Chains Audiobook By Lynn Vande Stouwe cover art

A Vineyard Valentine by Nina Bocci

A Vineyard Valentine Audiobook By Nina Bocci cover art

The Magic Flower Shop by Gina Mayer

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Bridesmates by Sydney Smyth

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A Tail as Old as Time by Elle Hay | Goodreads

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Book Reviews · Recommendations

Buried Deep by Margot Hunt

Buried Deep
By: Margot Hunt

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Published: December 2019
Published by: Audible Original
Format Read: Audio book, Audible
Genre: Mystery, Short Story

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

In this pulse-pounding short thriller, Maggie Cabot refuses to sit by idly as police re-open an investigation into the mysterious death of a woman her husband used to know.

After two decades in a near-perfect marriage, Maggie and James Cabot are enjoying their first year as empty-nesters in their charming Florida suburb, until two detectives arrive at their front door and change their lives forever.

The remains of a young woman have been found at a campsite in the Florida Keys. Hannah Nilsson, only 21 at the time of her disappearance, was last seen on a camping trip with a group of friends—including James, who dated Hannah long before he and Maggie ever met. Shocked and heartbroken, everyone on the trip said they assumed Hannah had wandered off toward shore, intoxicated from a long night of partying, and drowned. But the discovery of her body 25 years later, half a mile away from the campsite and buried six feet deep, makes it clear that her death was not accidental.

As the police dig back into the case, Maggie begins her own investigation, desperate to piece together the truth and clear her husband’s name once and for all. 

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Buried Deep is a short mystery available exclusively as an Audible Original. I was instantly drawn into the plot and was curious to find out the truth about what happened to Hannah Nilsson all those years ago.

I was surprised by the more contemporary tone to the narration by Therese Plummer. I think that this fit better with the length of the audio book, as it takes time to build up suspense.

I appreciate that the author compared how the justice system is portrayed on television and in movies, to that of real life. And I also liked how the story concluded in an unexpected way.

Other reviewers have compared this book to Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, however I have never read that book so that could have played into my five star rating. Needless to say I really enjoyed this audio book.

I would highly recommend Buried Deep by Margot Hunt to audio book lovers who are looking for a quick mystery.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

The Cheerleaders
By: Kara Thomas

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Published: July 2018
Published by: Delacorte Press
Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe. 

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

I began this Young Adult Mystery with high expectations. Although I wasn’t immediately hooked by the story, I was able to appreciate that fact that Monica’s voice and actions felt authentic to that of a teenage girl. I preferred the chapters that were written from Jennifer’s perspective to that of her younger sister.

My interest in the plot did grow, the further into the book I got. In the end I didn’t find The Cheerleaders to be as thrilling or suspenseful as I anticipated, however I did enjoy the journey discovering what really happened to the five cheerleaders. I would recommend this novel to readers of Young Adult fiction.

Challenges · Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: February 2021

Total Books Read in February: 3
Total Books Read in 2021: 7

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Verity
By: Colleen Hoover

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Rating: 5/5

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Buried Deep
By: Margot Hunt

Genre: Audio book, Short Story, Mystery
Rating: 5/5

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After You
By: Jojo Moyes

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Series
Rating: 3.5/5

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 3
Total Number of Fiction: 3
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 0
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 3
Total Library Books Read: 0

Formats Read

Physical Books: 1
eBooks:
 1
Audio Books: 
1

Currently Reading

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