February Hopefuls

Happy February friends! We made it through what is arguably, the longest month of the year! I don’t like committing to a TBR, because I feel like it puts me in a box, and if I don’t read those books I’ve failed somehow. So instead, I saw someone on instagram post about their next month’s “hopefuls”. Without further prelude, here are my February Hopefuls!

If I Never Met You
By Mhairi McFarlane

This is a book I won through a Goodreads giveaway! This is an ARC of a romance novel that comes out in March!! I’m so excited to read this and get my review out before its release date.

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I Wish You All the Best
By Mason Deaver

When I worked at the public library, one of my amazing coworkers loaned me her copy of this book. That was MONTHS ago and I still haven’t read it. I figured February’s theme could be all types of love stories, and here we are. I’m finally gonna read this one and return it to my very kind, and patient, friend.

The Flight Girls
By Noelle Salazar

This is one of my much overdue Netgalley ARCs. This is a historical fiction novel about women working in WWII. It sounds like something I’m going to love, and something I’m going to cry over. Is it silly to hope that a WWII novel has a ‘happy’ ending?

A Treason of Thorns
By Laura E. Weymouth

This is another one of my much overdue Netgalley ARCs. This is a Young Adult fantasy novel about a girl trying to unravel the mystery of what her father has done, while magic is running wild…literally. Everything around her is turning in vines and briars. I’m very excited to dive into this magic system and uncover family secrets.

The last two books on my February Hopefuls list are Carry On and Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell. I recently attended a book signing (more on that later) in the most gorgeous little bookshop, and had to pick these up. After hearing Rainbow discuss this world, these books seem as much as a romance as they do high fantasy. And boy oh boy am I ready to drown myself in romance themed books this month!

What are you reading in February? Do you choose books based on a theme each month? Let me know!

January 2020 Reading Wrap Up

The Wedding Party was a really great romance novel. I loved the chemistry and the growth between our two characters. I loved all the really important discussions this novel had on various topics, including POC in the workplace, and single mothers. Highly recommend. See my full review here.

Tidelands was a historical fiction novel that made me really sad. For that reason alone this wasn’t a winner for me. The time, effort, and research that went into this novel is incredible and should be praised. The story itself was just too upsetting for me to get past. If you’re looking for a good cry, and to lose faith in our past humanity, then go for it. See my full review here.

The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon was a wonderful biographical picture book. This followed the life of painter and astronaut, Alan Bean. It was incredibly interesting and beautiful to flip through. I’d highly recommend this to children who may not be sure about themselves or their future. This story reminds us that it’s okay to like art and to like science. You don’t have to push one passion aside to accommodate the other. You can do both, if you want to. See my full review here.

Tomorrow Most Likely was a picture book teaching children about the adventures waiting around ever corner. Every new sound, every new sight that is waiting to be explored. I think this novel did a great job reminding me personally, that not everything needs to be scary. It allowed me to view the world through a kid lens, and I appreciated the reprieve from my adult fears while sitting with this book. Full review coming soon…

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut is an incredible picture book depicting one aspect of the African American experience: the barber shop. I loved this book, and my students are loving it too. The illustrations are beyond impressive, and the text is written in a prose style that flows like water through one page to the next. Do yourself a favor and read this book. See my full review here.

The Right Swipe was an adult romance novel centered around two competing dating apps. This novel also focused really heavily on mental health, PTSD, and sports concussions. The chemistry between our main characters was off the charts!!! And what they navigated individually was really important to witness. While not my all time favorite romance, this gets a high passing grade. See my full review here.

Serafina’s Promise is a haunting children’s book written in prose. We follow a young Haitian girl on her journey to become a doctor. She goes through really traumatic events, and the story doesn’t truly have a conclusion. You get to decide if she had a happy ending or not. I’ve been pushing this book on my students, but I haven’t had any takers yet…I’ll have to come up with a different approach. See my full review here.

The Great Cheese Robbery was such a fun children’s book! We follow a band of pocket pirates on an adventure to get their stolen cat back! This was a fast paced read, that also taught students about the Trojan Horse. See my full review here.

Estranged is a junior grade Graphic Novel that I loved! We follow two boys, one is a fay changeling, and the other is his human counterpart. I’ve been reading so much adult/ya fiction about faeries, it was so cool to have an even younger perspective on this lore. The story was exciting, and captivating, while the illustrations really threw me head first into this new world. Highly recommend! Full review coming soon…

The Amazing Spider-man Marvel Origin Story is a picture book about the origins of Spider-man. Considering the many different remakes of the spider-man movies, I was excited to see what direction this story would take. It focuses heavily on learning right from wrong, which I appreciate as an Elementary Librarian. I think kids will get the excitement of the superhero story, while also learning valuable life lessons.

The Magic and Mystery of Trees is one of the most beautiful children’s nonfiction books I have ever seen! It takes you through every aspect of a tree in nature. How they form, where they form, why they form, what they feel, how they protect themselves, how they evolve. It was absolutely incredible. Every few pages I was audibly going HUH! over facts I didn’t know. Did you know trees have all five senses? You’ll have to read this book to find out more. Full review coming soon…

This was a lot for one month! I don’t know if I can keep reading at this pace for the rest of the year, but I’m definitely proud of my progress so far. I’m also personally proud of the conglomerate of age ranges here! My job enables me to read books for younger readers, while my own reading tastes allow me to dive into books intended for older audiences as well! I hope you like my blog/reviews, and will find that I have a little something for everyone here.

Crown: Picture Book Review

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
Written by Derrick Barnes
Illustrated by Gordon C. James

I spotted this book during our Scholastic Book Fair this year, and knew I had to get it into our library, permanently.

Crown is a wonderful novel, representing an own voices narrative. The combination of the writing and the illustrations transports you into the mind of this young African American man during a trip to the barber shop. This picture book is incredibly immersive, empowering, and self affirming.

The art style is detailed and beautiful. The writing is lyrical and, in a sense, magical. I can see how this book would boost the self esteem of many young men, and introduce role models into their lives.

I absolutely love this book, who it represents, and how it could help my students who struggle to take pride within themselves.

The Great Cheese Robbery: Book Review

The Great Cheese Robbery
by Chris Mould

2019-2020 SSYRA Jr. Book

This was a really fun elementary grade chapter book. It’s listed for our junior readers, grades Kindergarten through Second grade, but it is definitely a higher difficulty for these students. This book would work great as a read-aloud, or for kiddos who are reading way above their reading level. 

This is the first book in a brand new series about pocket sized pirates! In this adventure, the pocket sizes pirates realize their cat has been taken hostage by the evil mice that roam the junk shop, where they all live. Every few pages include wonderfully funny illustrations, depicting the heist and goings on of the pocket pirates on their adventure to get their cat back!

The pocket pirates end up using the Trojan Horse method to rescue their cat. I really enjoyed how this fun light-hearted story, was able to add a quick history lesson right in the middle of all the action. For such a quick read (for me, as a 27 year old avid reader) I thought the characters were fleshed out really well. Each pocket pirate had a distinct personality, good qualities, and flaws. These qualities and flaws helped the pirates work together as a team to rescue their faithful friend. 

This story was a bunch of fun! I’m going to be encouraging more of my students, and even our teachers, to be checking this one out and enjoying it in their classrooms.

The Astronaut Who Painted The Moon: Picture Book Review

The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon
Written by Dean Robbins
Illustrated by Sean Rubin

The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon is a biographical picture book about Alan Bean, one of the first astronauts to ever land on the moon.

The storytelling in this biography was really lovely. It weaved between two timelines; Alan Bean as an adult and Alan Bean during his childhood. The art followed a specific color scheme throughout as well, which was beautifully executed.

The amount of research that went into this biography was impressive and appreciated. The last few pages of the book are filled with timelines of real events, and more information on Alan Bean’s life.

The overarching message from this book, and from Alan Bean himself, was that he saw himself as an artist who was also once an astronaut. The message encourages children to pursue all their passions, regardless of whether they are intellectual, artistic, or physical passions.

After reading this novel I’d like to learn more about Alan Bean’s life, and how he managed to balance his passion for art and his knowledge of space exploration. It further proves that you really can do anything you set your mind to.

The Right Swipe: Review

The Right Swipe by Alisah Rai

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free ARC of this novel. Regardless of the way I acquired the novel, the thoughts, opinions, and views stated in this review are completely unbiased and one hundred percent my own.

This is my last ARC that I have already read, and then forgot to review. I’m officially caught up! In that sense at least…

I didn’t love this novel the first time around, and I think I finally pinpointed why: the villain of this story matches a villain in my own story. Initially, I think I was so jarred by the comparison that I couldn’t focus on anything else. I’m very thankful that I decided to read this story for a second time, and focus more on our main characters.

Rhi is crazy smart, intelligent, and successful. She doesn’t fail in what she pursues, despite her existing PTSD and anxiety from the aforementioned villain. Her counterpart, Samson, is an unintentional hero for standing up for better sports medicine and concussion research.

It has been really wonderful to see romance novels infuse such meaningful topics into their characters worlds. This novel had a positive display of boundaries, consent, and an interesting discussion on ethics in the workplace.

I thought this book could have been shorter and still packed the appropriate social and romantic punch. Despite the length, the chemistry between Rhi and Samson never dimmed. I absolutely adored that we had this famously retired football player who didn’t know how to date women, but was smooth as butter when it came to the one woman he was actually interested in.

I admired how strong Rhi was portrayed as a business woman, as an employer, and as a friend. Part of her journey through this novel is learning how to depend on others, and when to lean on her friends or family for help. It was a good reminder that even your strongest friends need to be checked in on.

The chemistry and the discourse in this novel were very enjoyable. I just wish it had been edited down a bit more. I think a shorter novel, with the same outcome, may have had more of an impact during the finale.

Winter 2019-2020 Book Haul

The new year is here, and it’s time to talk about new books!

I think there’s a trend in the book community, that in December you make all your big book purchases with the hope that they will tide you over into the new year, so that you don’t spend as much money on books…or that’s just me. December was the month I got down to business and did as little damage as possible.

My first stop was a trip to Target to pick up medication. While we waited, I made the wise choice mistake to browse through their book selection. That’s where I picked up Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. Leigh Bardugo is one of my favorite authors and favorite people on the planet. I adore her and her novels, I adore her honesty with her fans, and I’m just a huge supporter of her in general. So this was a no brainer. I audibly gasped out loud when I saw this in person for the first time. *heart eyes*

Next up was a purchase from Amazon. With all the hype surrounding the new Netflix show, I knew I couldn’t wait to borrow this from the library, I had to have my own copy of The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski.

This next section is my BookOutlet haul! BookOutlet is an amazing book retailer that sells discounted, and sometimes scratched or dented, books for a lovely low price. As you’ll see, some of these books complete a series or were on my 20 Books I Want to Read in 2020 post.

An Enchantment of Ravens & Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. Both of these books are so beautiful, and would be cover buys alone if I hadn’t heard such absolutely wonderful things about them both! An Enchantment of Ravens is about a Fae painter who meets a Fae Prince, while Sorcery of Thorns is about a magical libarary. Sold and sold.
I’ve heard Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan is a very gory, dark read. I’m excited to explore this world, and see if it’s like anything I’ve ever read before.
A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer is a beauty and the beast retelling? I think? If it sucks me in the same way A Court of Thorns and Roses did we’re golden.

Bloodwitch & Windwitch by Susan Dennard third and second book in the Witchlands series. I’m excited to binge this series and learn about this magic system!

Torch Against the Night & A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir are the second and third books in the An Ember in the Ashes series. I have heard so many good things about this author and all of her books that I’m very excited to dive into her writing.

Well…along with my weekly library check outs, these should hold me over through most of 2020! Which one should I read first?!