Book Reviews · Charlie's Corner · Recommendations

Charlie’s Corner: Book Review: Little People, Big Dreams: Lucy Maud Montgomery

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

Little People, Big Dreams:Lucy Maud Montgomery
By: Mª Isabel Sánchez Vegara
Illustrated by: Anuska Allepu

Published: October, 2018
Published by: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Format Read: ARC, Net Galley
Genre: Children’s Picture Books, Non-fiction

Rating: 3/5
♥♥♥

Mª Isabel Sánchez Vegara’s Little People, Big Dreams series are a collection of picture books for children that aim towards inspiring the younger generations by profiling prominent historical figures. Previous installments have featured; Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo and Agatha Christie.

The latest release shines the spotlight on beloved Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery and her how she persevered to become a writer. Illustrated by Anuska Allepu, this book inspires children to follow their dreams.

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Recommendations · Tags

The Fall Book Tag

 

1
The Fall Book Tag was created by Bionic Book Worm

Crisp Fall Air
A book that felt fresh and new.


The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

Howling Winds
An ending that blew you away

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Leaf Fight
A book with non-stop action


Breaking the Story by Ashley Farley

Pumpkin Spice
Your most anticipated read


The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Comfy Sweaters
A book that gave you the warm fuzzies


The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Bright Colours
A cover with either red, orange or yellow.

Four to Score (Stephanie Plum, #4) by Janet Evanovich

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
By: Becky Albertalli

Published: January, 2018
Published by: Balzer + Bray 
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance

Rating: 3.5/5
♥♥♥.5

 

Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

My Thoughts

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is an award winning YA novel about a closeted homosexual teenage boy and his first love. This was my first time reading a male/male romance and I found it to be quite cute and innocent. I think that there will be a lot of people who could relate to Simon’s character.

Unfortunately I felt quite underwhelmed by this novel. I had heard so much hype about how wonderful it was, that it was one of my most highly anticipated books to read. However, in my opinion it was just an okay story. I didn’t absolutely love it like I thought I would, which was disappointing. Hopefully I will enjoy the movie adaptation more.

Still I think it is a decent book, with a good message and I would recommend it to fans of Young Adult LGBT fiction.

Note: I read the movie tie-in edition of this novel, which featured bonus content including; excerpts, an interview and photos from the movie.

Book Reviews · Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: September 2018

Total Books Read in September: 4
Total Books Read in 2018: 24

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1) by Jacqueline Winspear
Narrated by: Rita Barrington
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Series
My Rating: 4/5

 

The Law of Dreams by Peter Behrens 
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 2/5
Quick Thoughts: Peter Behrens The Law of Dreams follows an orphaned boy during the Irish potato famine, as he forges a new life for himself. Many historical fiction novels I’ve read doesn’t delve far into why immigrants leave them homelands. However this book did and for that I found it interesting. Unfortunately I struggled with some of the disturbing content and found it quite long. I didn’t feel as if I got to know our main character as well as the people he came across on his journey.

 

Baby Proof by Emily Giffin
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
My Rating: 3.5/5

 

Deadly Voyage: R.M.S. Titanic, Jamie Laidlaw, April 14, 1912 by High Brewster
Genre: Middle-grade, Historical Fiction
My Rating: 4/5

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 4
Total Number of Fiction: 4
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 0
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 3
Total Library Books Read: 1

Formats Read

Physical Books: 2
eBooks: 1
Audio Books: 1

 

Currently Reading

 

October TBR

Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

The Perfect Mother
By Aimee Molloy

Published: May 2018
Published by: HarperLuxe
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Rating: 4/5
♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

They call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centered lives.

When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but the May Mothers insisted that everything would be fine. Now Midas is missing, the police are asking disturbing questions, and Winnie’s very private life has become fodder for a ravenous media.

Though none of the other members in the group are close to the reserved Winnie, three of them will go to increasingly risky lengths to help her find her son. And as the police bungle the investigation and the media begin to scrutinize the mothers in the days that follow, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured.

My Thoughts

The Perfect Mother was an enjoyable mystery that I flew through. As newer mother, I found that I could relate to a lot of the emotions the women felt postpartum and how overwhelming life with a newborn can become. I too even joined a local mommy group, like they did in this novel. Thankfully I’ve met some wonderful people, however, unfortunately the plot of this story isn’t quite so far fetched as it may initially sound.

Several times while reading The Perfect Mother, I thought I had the mystery solved, but then a twist would send me off in another direction. Even though I wasn’t able to perfectly predict the outcome, I didn’t find the ending to be quite as suspenseful or thrilling as I anticipated.

I would recommend Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother to fans of contemporary mysteries.

Charlie's Corner · Product Review · Recommendations

Charlie’s Corner: VTech Favourites

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

Christmas is always a special occasions for my family, but this past one was was sons first and therefore it was even more of a significant celebration. Charlie was 8 months old at the time and received several interactive toys. (Ok, I’ll be honest he was a bit spoiled.) In April he turned 1 year old and was spoiled yet again, adding some more noise to his collection. Several of these toys were manufactured by VTech. Today I would like to share some of our favourites from their line of baby toys.

Busy Learners Activity Cube
Offers several different ways a baby can entertain themselves, with fun songs and sounds to keep interested. This one keeps Charlie busy for quite a while as he enjoys flipping it around to the multiple sides.

 

Click & Count Remote

I was surprised by the amount of sounds and music this remote has. Its size was slightly too big for 8 month hands, but once my little man got a bit bigger, this toy became one we take everywhere. It is also a great to swap out when he snatches up the real television remote.

Roll and Surprise Animal Train
Charlie loves the sounds this train makes. In the earlier months he enjoyed popping up the animals and slamming them down again. Now that he is more mobile this toy is super easy to pull and push around.

This is just a short list of VTech’s baby toy collection, however there are many more interactive toys of different sizes and age groups. These products are great for development and their battery life is good.

So what is Mommy’s favourite part of these toys? The volume control and on/off buttons, of course. Haha!

Book Reviews · Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: August 2018

Total Books Read in August: 3
Total Books Read in 2018: 20

Tide and Tempest (Edge of Freedom, #3)
By: Elizabeth Ludwig
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction
My Rating: 3/5
Quick thoughts: Tide and Tempest was an interesting end to the Edge of Freedom series. I enjoyed the time period, New York city setting and being reunited with characters from the previous two novels. However this wasn’t my favourite book in the trilogy as I didn’t find the main characters to be as interesting as others. I also felt that the end was rushed. I would still recommend Elizabeth Ludwig’s novels to fans of Christian historical fiction.

 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
By: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
My Rating: 3/5

 

An Amish Kitchen
By: Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kelly Long
Narrated by: Heather Henderson
Genre: Amish Fiction, Christian Fiction
My Rating: 4/5

 

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: 2
Total Library Books Read: 1

Formats Read

Physical Books: 1
eBooks: 1
Audio Books: 1

Currently Reading

 

September TBR

 

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Ebb and Flow by Heather Smith

Ebb and Flow
By: Heather Smith

Published: April 2018
Published By: Kids Can Press
Format Read: Hardcover, Library Book
Genre: Middle Grade, Poetry

Rating: 4/5
♥♥♥♥

 

Synopsis

One summer,
after a long plane ride
and a rotten bad year
I went to Grandma Jo’s.
It was my mother’s idea.
Jett, what you need is a change of scenery.
I think she needed a change of scenery, too.
One without me.
Because that rotten bad year?
That was my fault.

Thus begins the poignant story, told in free verse, of eleven-year-old Jett. Last year, Jett and his mother had moved to a new town for a fresh start after his father went to jail. But Jett soon learned that fresh starts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. When he befriended a boy with a difficult home life, Jett found himself in a cycle of bad decisions that culminated in the betrayal of a friend – a shameful secret he still hasn’t forgiven himself for. Will a summer spent with his unconventional grandmother help Jett find his way to redemption?

Writing in artfully crafted free-verse vignettes, Heather T. Smith uses a deceptively simple style to tell a powerful and emotionally charged story. The engaging narrative and the mystery of Jett’s secret keep the pages turning and will appeal to both reluctant and avid readers. This captivating book offers a terrific opportunity for classroom discussions about the many ways to tell a story and how a small number of carefully chosen words can have a huge impact. It also showcases the positive character traits of empathy resilience, courage, and responsibility.

My Thoughts

Ebb and Flow is another library book that I picked up on a whim. The cover instantly reminded me of Newfoundland and I was pleased to learn that it was indeed set in that province. I’ve never been a fan of poetry, but decided to give this book a try anyway.

Surprisingly this was one of the top books I’ve read in 2018 to date. Wrote in free verse, it tells the story of a troubled boy, sent to spend the summer with his Grandmother. In flash backs, readers learn about the terrible year he had.

Geared for the Middle Grades it teaches an important lesson about following your moral compass and forgiveness. It was beautifully written, which interesting characters. I found several poems to be really touching and the metaphors can be applied to many different situations.

I would highly recommend Heather Smith’s Ebb and Flow. It would be a great addition to school curriculum’s as well.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1) by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)
By: Colleen Hoover

Published: December, 2012
Format Read: eBook, Kindle
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 5/5

♥♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

My Thoughts

Colleen Hoover is another author who I became curious about after hearing a lot of hype on Book Tube. I definitely wasn’t prepared for how much of an emotional impact Hopeless would have.

The dramatic prologue to Sky’s story had me hooked immediately.  However I was unsure if I wanted to continue once I figured out where the plot was heading. The subject matter featured in this book is extremely hard to read. Some may even find it very problematic and triggering. Thankfully I decided to continue on, as this ended up being a 5 star read for me.

Hopeless was one of the most intense books I have ever read. Although I was able to predict early on the outcome, I still couldn’t put it down.

I would highly recommend Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless to fans of new adult fiction. However I advise caution to those who are sensitive to triggering subject matter.

Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: July 2018

Total Books Read in July: 3
Total Books Read in 2018: 17


Ebb and Flow by Heather Smith
Genre: Middle Grade, Poetry
Rating: 4/5


A High-End Finish (A Fixer-Upper Mystery, #1) by Kate Carlisle
Gene: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Series
Rating: 2.5/5


The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Rating: 4/5

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: 1
Total Library Books Read: 2

Formats Read
Physical Books: 2
eBooks: 1
Audio Books: 0

Currently Reading