Book Reviews · Charlie's Corner · Recommendations

Charlie’s Corner: Waiting for Snow by Marsha Diane Arnold

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

Waiting for Snow
By: Marsha Diane Arnold
Illustrated by: Renata Liwska

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Published: November 2016
Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers
Format Read: eBook, Library book, Libby App.
Genre: Children’s fiction, Picture Book

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

Badger cannot wait one more minute for it to snow. When his friend Hedgehog explains that everything comes in its time, Badger is as unconvinced and impatient as ever. But Badger’s friends have a few tricks up their sleeve to try to get the snow’s attention and distract their pal in the meantime. In the end, Badger sees there’s no trick—only waiting—until at last, it’s time. 

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Badger can’t wait for snow so he and his animal friends try to think of ways they can bring on the weather. In this cute picture books, children are taught the importance of patients. Waiting for Snow by Marsha Diane Arnold and illustrated by Renata Liwska is the perfect read for those little ones who can’t wait to get out and build a snowman or go for a sled ride.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy

Lumberjanes
Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy
By: Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooklyn Allen, Maarta Laiho, Aubrey Aiese

Book Cover

Published: April 2015
Published by: BOOM! Box
Format Read: eBook, Libby App.
Genre: Graphic Novel, Comics, Fantasy, Young Adult

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX!

At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… And they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.

Collects Lumberjanes No. 1-4.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

I picked up this graphic novel on a whim when I saw it was available at my local library via the Libby App. I had heard rave reviews about this first installment and the series as a whole, when it was released. However I didn’t pay much attention to it as I had never been interested in graphic novels before. Thankfully I decided to give it a shot as it was such a fun reading experience.

I was surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did. Although you don’t get as much written detail in this format, the cast of characters are vibrant and unique. If I had to compare it, I would say that Lumberjanes is a combination of Percy Jackson meets a sarcastic troop of Girl Guides. It was clever and humorous, with some great themes. Although I felt it ended abruptly, I am really looking forward to reading the second installment of this series soon.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

The Wives
By: Tarryn Fisher

Book Cover

Published: December 2019
Published by: Graydon House
Format Read: eBook, Libby App
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

New York Times bestselling author Tarryn Fisher delivers a pulse-pounding, fast-paced suspense novel that will leave you breathless. A thriller you won’t be able to put down!

Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.

But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.

What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.

You’ll have to grab a copy to find out why.

My Thoughts

In 2019 when Tarryn Fisher’s The Wives was released, I remember other bloggers and BookTubers mentioning it, but it didn’t really catch my attention at the time. If I hadn’t joined a local book club, I would have missed out on one of the most binge-worthy books I’ve read in a long time.

I couldn’t put this psychological suspense down! Tarryn Fisher had me captivated from the start. Although some readers felt unsatisfied with the ending, I thought it was still 5 star worthy. I highly recommend The Wives and can’t wait to read more from this author.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Quick Thoughts on Recent Short Listens

Today I am going to share some quick thoughts on two of my most recent short stories that I listened to in audiobook format.

Tinaca Jones
By: Matt Boren
Narrated by: Retta

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Published: January 2020
Published by: Audible Audio
Format Read: Audio book, Audible
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Audio Book, Humor

Rating: 2/5

Quick Thoughts: Told in interview format, cashier and entrepreneur-to-be Tinaca Jones discovers that her identity has been stolen by a women seeking fame. This short Audible Original chronicles Tinaca’s humorous testimony. Although it had some laugh out loud moments, and I enjoyed the pop culture references, I did find it to be quite long winded. Still, I think that there is an audience for this audiobook, and I would recommend listening to it.

100 Ways to Motivate Yourself
By: Steve Chandler

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Published: January 2006
Published by: HighBridge Company
Format Read: Audiobook, Libby App
Genre: Self-help, Non-fiction

Rating: 3/5

Quick Thoughts: We can all use some extra motivation from time to time. This is especially true for me as I can be quite the procrastinator. Steve Chandler, offers 100 ways to motivate yourself .Several tips I found to be of interest and I enjoyed the quotes that were included, especially the story about Arnold Schwarzenegger and the importance of creating a vision of yourself and then living your life accordingly. One specific tip that has helped me to be more productive was, aside from writing a to-do list, also make a list of your accomplishments. Although I found this book to be helpful, I found the narration to be less than captivating and would therefore recommend reading a physical copy.

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

My First Experience With Graphic Novels

During the month of April, I decided to read a graphic novel, for the first time. It is a genre, I have been curious about, but I didn’t really have any interest in typical superhero comics. Then I came across one that was more to my interest. Here are my quick thoughts on the graphic novel I read.

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The Beatles in Comics!
By: Michels Mabel and Various Artists

Genre: Graphic Novel, Biography, Non-fiction
Rating: 2.5 Rating
Quick Thoughts: The Beatles in Comics! is a graphic novel telling the rise and breakup of the Fab Four. Each chapter begins with a paragraph on a certain era of The Beatles career and is illustrated by different artists. It was interesting how each artist depicted their sections and I enjoyed re-visiting the biography of one of my favourite bands. However I did find it quite repetitive and decided on a 2.5 rating.

My overall first impression of graphic novels:

Although I am happy to have finally experienced this genre with a topic of my interest, I don’t think that it is a format I will be picking up on a regular basis. That is unless I come across more that really grab my attention.

What do you think of graphic novels? Have you read any? Leave me a message in the comments.

Currently Reading · Memes · Personal Post · Read-a-thons · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: April 2020

Another month has gone by and we are still social distancing. We had a very quiet and sparse Easter this year. It was the first holiday we spent at home. Instead of turkey, I did a small roast for the three of us.The Easter Bunny left some treats and an egg hunt for my son Charlie. April is also the month in which my family has many birthdays to celebrate; both my parents, my niece and several cousins. Charlie celebrated his birthday in April too. My little guy is now 3 years old!

I didn’t feel as motivated to read this past month, as I did in March. I read my first ever graphic novel, which I borrowed from my local library in eBook format. I also read a short story. Both of these I have included in my monthly total.

Total Books Read in April: 5
Total Books Read in 2020: 23

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Bundle of Trouble (Maternal Instincts Mystery, 1)
By: Diana Orgain

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Series
Rating: 2.5/5

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The Beatles in Comics!
By: Michels Mabel and Various Artists

Genre: Graphic Novel, Biography, Non-fiction
Rating: 2.5/5

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The Heiresses
By: Sara Shepard

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
Rating: 3/5

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The Engagement Party
By: Kimberly Freeman

Genre: Historical Fiction, short story, ebook
Rating: 2.5/5

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The Unexpected Everything
By: Morgan Matson

Genre: Contemporary fiction, YA Lit, Audiobook, Audible
Rating: 4/5

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 5
Total Number of Fiction: 4
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 1
Total Books Sent for Review: 0
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 3
Total Library Books Read: 2

Formats Read

Physical Books: 1
eBooks:
3
Audio Books:
1

Currently Reading

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May TBR

Bout of Books 28 begins on May 11. I’m going to sort through my collection for books to read during this week long challenge.

My possible read-a-thon TBR includes:

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And that’s all for this wrap-up. Wishing you all a safe and healthy May.

NOTE: Please excuse the unaligned images. Once again I am having trouble formatting my post. Has anyone else had this issue with WordPress?

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (Shopaholic 2) by Sophie Kinsella

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Shopaholic Takes Manhattan
(Shopaholic, 2)
By: Sophie Kinsella

Published: September 2001
Published by: Dial Press Trade Paperback
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Series

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis

With her shopping excesses (somewhat) in check and her career as a TV financial guru thriving, Becky Bloomwood’s biggest problem seems to be tearing her entrepreneur boyfriend, Luke, away from work for a romantic country weekend. That is, until Luke announces he’s moving to New York for business—and he asks Becky to go with him! Before you can say “Prada sample sale,” Becky has landed in the Big Apple, home of Park Avenue penthouses and luxury department stores.

 

Surely it’s only a matter of time until Becky becomes an American celebrity. She and Luke will be the toast of Gotham society. Nothing can stand in their way, especially with Becky’s bills an ocean away in London. But then an unexpected disaster threatens her career prospects, her relationship with Luke, and her available credit line. Becky may have taken Manhattan—but will she have to return it?

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

The second book in the Shopaholic series takes Becky Bloomwood on a potentially life-changing trip to Manhattan with her workaholic boyfriend Luke.

I couldn’t remember if I had read this installment of the series back in the early 2000s, but as I got further into to story I realized that I had indeed read it. My first impression of it probably played a role in my decision not to continue on with the third book. I supposed I found our main character as annoying then as I do now.

I understand that Becky’s personality is supposed to be taken as humorous (and there are moments when it is) but for the most part I find her to be a whiney liar. Shouldn’t that be seen as more of a problem, than for entertainment value? I also don’t really like her and Luke as a couple. However this could be due in part to the limited time given to establish their relationship.

So why have I decided to continue on with the Shopaholic series, you ask? Well there were parts of Shopaholic Takes Manhattan that I did enjoy like the NYC setting and the direction the story took in the end. I also do enjoy Sophie Kinsella as an author and reading this series makes me nostalgic for the fashions, décor and all things late 90’s- early 2000s.

As I continue on to read the third book, I hope to see more character growth.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Book of Gutsy Women by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton

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The Book of Gutsy Women
Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience
By: Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton

Published: October 2019
Published By: Simon Schuster
Format Read: Hardcover, Library Book
Genre: Non-fiction

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, share the stories of the gutsy women who have inspired them—women with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done.

She couldn’t have been more than seven or eight years old. “Go ahead, ask your question,” her father urged, nudging her forward. She smiled shyly and said, “You’re my hero. Who’s yours?”

Many people—especially girls—have asked us that same question over the years. It’s one of our favorite topics.

HILLARY: Growing up, I knew hardly any women who worked outside the home. So I looked to my mother, my teachers, and the pages of Life magazine for inspiration. After learning that Amelia Earhart kept a scrapbook with newspaper articles about successful women in male-dominated jobs, I started a scrapbook of my own. Long after I stopped clipping articles, I continued to seek out stories of women who seemed to be redefining what was possible.

CHELSEA: This book is the continuation of a conversation the two of us have been having since I was little. For me, too, my mom was a hero; so were my grandmothers. My early teachers were also women. But I grew up in a world very different from theirs. My pediatrician was a woman, and so was the first mayor of Little Rock who I remember from my childhood. Most of my close friends’ moms worked outside the home as nurses, doctors, teachers, professors, and in business. And women were going into space and breaking records here on Earth.

Ensuring the rights and opportunities of women and girls remains a big piece of the unfinished business of the twenty-first century. While there’s a lot of work to do, we know that throughout history and around the globe women have overcome the toughest resistance imaginable to win victories that have made progress possible for all of us. That is the achievement of each of the women in this book.

So how did they do it? The answers are as unique as the women themselves. Civil rights activist Dorothy Height, LGBTQ trailblazer Edie Windsor, and swimmer Diana Nyad kept pushing forward, no matter what. Writers like Rachel Carson and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie named something no one had dared talk about before. Historian Mary Beard used wit to open doors that were once closed, and Wangari Maathai, who sparked a movement to plant trees, understood the power of role modeling. Harriet Tubman and Malala Yousafzai looked fear in the face and persevered. Nearly every single one of these women was fiercely optimistic—they had faith that their actions could make a difference. And they were right.

To us, they are all gutsy women—leaders with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done. So in the moments when the long haul seems awfully long, we hope you will draw strength from these stories. We do. Because if history shows one thing, it’s that the world needs gutsy women.

-Goodreads

My Thoughts

The Book of Gutsy Women was a fascinating journey through history, profiling women who fought for their rights in a world run by men. From politics to sports and science, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton shine a light on those who have paved the way for future generations.

This was a true mother-daughter project, with each author injecting their own personal thoughts and connections with woman being discussed. Some of which I had heard of before, but many I had not. It was a great learning experience for me and I feel encouraged to do more research into history making women, myself.

I was pleasantly surprised that this book didn’t shy away from noting the less than glamorous aspects of American history and included women from around all around the world. Unfortunately I was disappointed that there wasn’t mention of Canadian historical figures.

I would highly recommend The Book of Gutsy Women to those interested in women’s rights and female historical figures


Book Reviews · Charlie's Corner · Recommendations

Charlie’s Corner: Let it Snow!

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

Today I would like to share two library books we enjoyed, that had the same theme: snow!

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The Snow Day
By: Komako Sakai

Published: January 2009
Published by: Arthur A. Levine Books
Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: Children’s Books, Picture Books

Rating: 3/5

Quick Thoughts

The Snow Day follows a little bunny, who wakes up to discover that his city is covered in snow and school is closed. No only is he stuck inside, but his Father’s plane is cancelled and he can’t make it home due to the storm. The little bunny and his mother spend the day waiting for the snow to stop. Children who live in apartments and cities will be able to relate to the little bunny. As will those whose parents often travel for work. This setting was a different perspective than is normally seen in children’s books, which was refreshing. My toddler and I enjoyed reading this story over and over again. The illustrations were dreary in colour, however it fit with the tone of the snow storm.

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Just a Snowman
(Little Critter)
By: Mercer Mayer

Published: September 2004
Published by: HarperFestival
Format Read: Paperback
Genre: Children’s Books, Picture Books, Series

Rating: 4/5

Quick Thoughts

My toddler and I enjoyed being back in the world of Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter series. In this installment, Little Critter is enjoying a snow day and his one goal is to just make a snowman. However his friends and family keep him busy with other fun activities including: skating and snowball fights. As to be expected, this story is delightful and chalk full of funny irony. We look forward to reading more Little Critter books in the future.