Saturday, June 12, 2021

Read the Alphabet Challenge
[MIDYEAR UPDATE]

 
This year I am partnering with the lovely Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag, and we're doing a little something called: Read the Alphabet Challenge. What? Another challenge? Yes! Why not? We all love challenging ourselves, and this one has very unique limitations. Starting in January, you will be challenged to read books that start with specific letters, and obviously some months will be harder than others (what books start with Q, X & Z??).

The months will be organized like so:

JANUARY: AB
FEBRUARY: CD
MARCH: EF
APRIL: GH
MAY: IJ

JUNE: KL
JULY: MN
AUGUST: OP
SEPTEMBER: QR
OCTOBER: ST
NOVEMBER: UVW
DECEMBER: XYZ

Guidelines:
  1. This challenge will run from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021 (your local time). You can sign up now or in June -- it doesn't matter! The form will remain open all year (on this post and the corresponding post at Shooting Stars Mag).
  2. The goal is to read books that start with a certain letter, and each month will present a new challenge.
  3. The books can be in any format (audio, ebook, physical -- whatever floats your boat).
  4. Any and all genres count -- whoop.
  5. Re-reads are also allowed! If you read the book this year -- and it starts with the right letter -- it counts.
  6. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate! You just need a way to track your progress (Goodreads, Instagram, LibraryThing, YouTube, etc.).
  7. Create a post somewhere that states your intention to participate. If you're a book blogger, you can just grab the button from the top of the page (please give credit and list the blogs hosting this challenge), and do a quick post letting everyone know that you've accepted the RTA challenge. Sharing is caring! Competition is fun!
  8. We will do an update and a giveaway every quarter (that's once every three months: March, June, September, December), and there will be a Google form that you can fill out all year! Read a book. Add a book. There is no limit to the number of books you can read for this challenge!
  9. You have to review the book in some capacity (on any platform). It can be a tweet, an IG post, a vlog -- whatever makes you happy. You'll need to leave a link for each review that you want an entry for.
  10. Have fun! Re-read some old favorites, challenge yourself to read a title you've never heard of, or dig deep and only read books with specific letters every month. It's entirely up to you!
  11. Books that start with the can be used during October, or you can choose to go with the next word in the book's title. We're not going to be picky about this, just play honestly!
Don't forget to SHARE your updates on social media! Official Challenge Tags: #ReadTheAlphabet2021 #ReadTheAlphabetChallenge2021 #RTA2021 #RTAC2021

You can sign up for the Read the Alphabet Challenge 2020 here. It's also where you'll be able to link up the books you've read! Just save/favorite the page for future use.

Lauren and I said we'd choose a winner every three months, but time got away from us! We've randomly selected two winners for June to make up for it. πŸ˜…

And the winners are... *imaginary drumroll* 
Thank you both so much for participating in this challenge! Lauren is going to email you with more information. Please make sure you respond within 48 hours, or another winner will be randomly selected. 

Everyone else: It's not too late to sign up for the Read the Alphabet Challenge! We'll be giving away two more books (up to $15) in December, so make sure you're logging your books on the form.


BOOKS I'VE READ SO FAR:
Ant-Man #4 by Zeb Wells, Dylan Burnett, Eduard Petrovich
Ant-Man #5 by Zeb Wells, Eduard Petrovich, Dylan Burnett
The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Float Plan by Trish Doller
Guardians of the Galaxy #4 by Al Ewing, Juann Cabal, Ivan Shavrin

Guardians of the Galaxy #5 by Al Ewing, Juann Cabal, Ivan Shavrin
I'll Meet You in Your Dreams by Jessica Young, Rafael Lopez
The Last Witch #4 by Connor McCreery

Friday, June 11, 2021

Curse of the Spector Queen by Jenny Elder Moke
[Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway]

 
Halito! Welcome to the next stop on the Curse of the Spector Queen blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Thanks for stopping by today, and don't forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom! For the full tour schedule, please visit the Rockstar Book Tours website.

About the Book: 

Title: CURSE OF THE SPECTER QUEEN (A Samantha Knox Novel Volume 1)
Author: Jenny Elder Moke
Pub. Date: June 1, 2021
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 352
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, Audible, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org

A female Indiana Jones meets Tomb Raider when Samantha Knox receives a mysterious field diary and finds herself thrust into a treacherous plot. After stealing a car and jumping on a train, chased by a group of dangerous pursuers, Sam finds out what’s so special about this book: it contains a cipher that leads to a cursed jade statue that could put an end to all mankind.

MAY THE HAZEL BRING YOU WISDOM AND THE ASPEN GUIDE AND PROTECT YOU...

Samantha Knox put away her childish fantasies of archaeological adventure the day her father didn't return home from the Great War, retreating to the safety of the antique bookshop where she works. But when a mysterious package arrives with a damaged diary inside, Sam's peaceful life is obliterated. Ruthless men intent on reclaiming the diary are after Sam, setting her and her best friend, along with her childhood crush, on a high-stakes adventure that lands them in the green hills outside Dublin, Ireland. Here they discover an ancient order with a dark purpose - to perform an occult ritual that will raise the Specter Queen, the Celtic goddess of vengeance and death, to bring about a war unlike any the world has ever seen. To stop them, Sam must solve a deviously complex cipher - one that will lead her on a treasure hunt to discover the ancient relic at the heart of the ritual: a bowl carved from the tree of life. Will she find the bowl and stop the curse of the Specter Queen, or will the ancient order bring about the end of the world?

Indiana Jones gets a refresh with this female-driven mystery adventure, set in the 1920s, full of ciphers, ancient relics, and heart-stopping action - the first in a brand-new series!


Curse of the Spector Queen was a blast to read! I love stories set in the 20's, and I really enjoyed this book's Indiana Jones vibe. When I was a little kid, I wanted to be an Archeologist, so this book really checked ALL of the boxes for me. The characters were wonderful, the romance was sweet, and the friendships were authentic and relatable. 

I was glued to the pages as soon as I started, so definitely make sure you have a few hours to spare before starting this book. ;) I'm already looking forward to the next one!



Advance praise for CURSE OF THE SPECTER QUEEN:

"Pure fun from start to finish. Curse of the Specter Queen is a delightful historical romp, riddled with cryptic puzzles, hints of romance, and an adventurous cast of characters. An ideal escape for fans of curses, magic, and mystery."—Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Caravel series

“This lush, high-stakes, adventure tale has it all—a rollicking plot, a sweet slow burn of a romance, and a heroine on an epic journey filled with ciphers, curses, and twists that kept me guessing at every turn. A delightful read from start to finish, Curse of the Specter Queen is one of my new favorites.”—Alyson NoΓ«l, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Immortals

“Apocalyptic curses, blood-chilling demons, and a centuries-old treasure hunt with a brilliant bookish heroine. Curse of the Spector Queen had me feverishly turning pages until I finally arrived at the epic conclusion.”—Livia Blackburne, New York Times best-selling author of Rosemarked and Midnight Thief


About Jenny Elder Moke:

Jenny Elder Moke writes young adult fiction in an attempt to recapture the shining infinity of youth. She worked for several years at an independent publisher in Austin, TX before realizing she would rather write the manuscripts than read them. She is a member of the Texas Writer’s League and has studied children’s writing with Liz Garton Scanlon. She was a finalist in the Austin Film Festival Fiction Podcast Competition in 2017 for her podcast script, Target. When she is not writing, she’s gathering story ideas from her daily adventures with her two irredeemable rapscallions and honing her ninja skills as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Jenny lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two children.


Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of CURSE OF THE SPECTER QUEEN, US Only.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Faraway Things by Dave Eggers, Kelly Murphy (Illustrator)
[Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway]

 
Halito! Welcome to the next stop on the Faraway Things blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Thanks for stopping by today, and don't forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom! For the full tour schedule, please visit the Rockstar Book Tours website.

About the book: 

Title: FARAWAY THINGS
Author: Dave Eggers, illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Pub. Date: June 8, 2021
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 40
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, TBD, Bookshop.org

From a bestselling author comes an evocative, classic-feeling adventure tale about a boy and his sword, and how giving away something precious leads to an even more important discovery.

Lucian's father called them
faraway things, those mysterious objects orphaned upon the windswept shore, their stories long lost in the shroud of ocean fog. Lucian's discovery on the beach this particular day, though, is no ordinary faraway thing. It's a cutlass: strong, shiny, and powerful. As its history comes to light, Lucian faces a choice: cling to the sword he loves or accept a gift that shines farther, wider, and deeper than he could have ever dreamed.

Stunningly illustrated with evocative art by Kelly Murphy and written by award-winning and bestselling writer Dave Eggers, here is a profound and resonant tale about the reward of letting go.


I really enjoyed the soft, dreamlike quality of the illustrations! I honestly thought Lucian would wake up at any moment and realize that everything had happened while he'd been sleeping, especially after he said his dreams "stayed with him, and became memories, and those dream-memories became, in Lucian's mind, almost as real as his real memories, which he worried were fading." I was a little disappointed when the story continued and we realize that he's definitely awake and just having a very unrealistic experience. 

I liked the concept of faraway things and wish that aspect of the book had been expanded on. It was something Lucian shared with his father - a connection that continued even after his death (this is an assumption, since we're not actually told what happened to his father) - and I wanted to know more about the various objects he's found and collected on the beach. We see a few items around his room, but we can only assume those are things he's found and not been given over time. I wanted to explore Lucian's relationship with his father, and what faraway things meant to them both. Unfortunately, we only see Lucian find the cutlass and what happens afterwards. Do people still carry cutlasses?

I don't think this book was "a profound and resonant tale about the reward of letting go," because Lucian doesn't really have time to form an attachment to the cutlass. Everything happens really quickly, and if the synopsis meant that Lucian would learn to let go of the loss of his father (still an assumption), then that wasn't really portrayed or explained well either. Lucian should give back something that doesn't belong to him, whether it's a faraway thing or not. The captain didn't have to trade him anything for it, since it was his property to begin with. The blurb just makes you think this book is deeper than it actually is, because it really only addresses surface-level feelings.

I had to suspend my disbelief for this one to work, and I would've preferred a more realistic spin on the story. I think the author had a chance to explore a child's emotions regarding the loss of a parent, but we stick to light topics and mostly unbelievable occurrences. As a mother, I would not let my child play with a sword (or any sharp object) they discovered on the beach. It's incredibly dangerous, and Lucian misjudging a swing and chopping off a sleeve only proves my point. (I have no idea how he managed to cut his sleeve all the way off without removing his arm in the process.) If he had hidden the cutlass from his mother, that's one thing, but he showed it to her and she seemed perfectly fine with him having it.

Additionally, Lucian talks to strangers - even gets into his rowboat and boards their ship - all without telling his mother or getting her permission. My kids know they're not supposed to talk to strangers without me being there, and they are definitely not allowed to go anywhere with them. I think this aspect of the story should've been handled better, because it could give children the wrong idea. 

Also, I don't think a lighthouse would be allowed to exist without a light. Don't they have to function so ships don't crash or get stuck? I'm not up-to-date on how lighthouses work, but I feel like they're there for a reason, which makes Lucian's "trade" seem like a waste. Would it have even worked? 

Faraway Things was a quick read for me, but definitely more of a bedtime story. Eggers isn't stingy with his words, which makes for a longer children's book than most, so it might take them a while if they're reading it themselves. Murphy's illustrations are still my favorite part of the book, and I will definitely look for more of her work in the future. Parts of the story were problematic, but if you can suspend your disbelief and explain to your children what not to do, it's an okay read. (★★★☆☆)


Praise for Faraway Things

"Lyrical, descriptive language allows Lucian's story to gently unfold... [a] beautiful story about adventure and honoring a father's memory, this is a noteworthy addition to elementary school libraries."―School Library Journal

* "An ingenious choice for a muted palette...[an] evocative picture book bildungsroman with equally atmospheric illustrations."―Kirkus Reviews

* "Sweeping multimedia art by Murphy gives the galleon, its crew, and the ocean grandeur... Eggers tells his swashbuckling yarn with screenplay-like polish that feels just as expansive as Murphy's art."―Publishers Weekly

"Using wide pictures rendered in muted tones set alongside sparse text, the reader is given a window into the life of Lucian....[t]his story presents a short, yet important journey of loss, growth, and empathy."―School Library Connection

About Dave Eggers:

Dave Eggers is the author of ten books, including most recently Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, The Circle and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern), and a monthly magazine, The Believer. McSweeney’s also publishes Voice of Witness, a nonprofit book series that uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. Eggers is the co-founder of 826 National, a network of eight tutoring centers around the country and ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organization designed to connect students with resources, schools and donors to make college possible. He lives in Northern California with his family. Website | Goodreads
About Kelly Murphy:

Kelly Murphy is a New York Times-bestselling author-illustrator and recipient of the E.B. White Award. She has notably illustrated the works of William Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Beatrix Potter, as well as book covers for various Newbery Medal winning novels, creating award-winning art for clients worldwide. Her 40+ books have been translated in 16 languages, earning countless awards and starred reviews, featuring on "best books of the year" lists by Publishers Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, Kirkus and The New York Times. Kelly teaches illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design, is a keynote speaker, competition juror, and leads professional workshops nationwide. She lives in Providence, RI, with her husband, author-illustrator Antoine Revoy, and their many animal companions. Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads 


Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of FARAWAY THINGS, US Only.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

My Weekly Pull [171] & Can't-Wait Wednesday [146]

 
My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, there's a link-up at the bottom. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Wynd #7 by James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas
Proctor Valley Road #4 by Alex Child, Grant Morrison, Naomi Franquiz 
Spider-Man Spider's Shadow #3 by Chip Zdarsky, Pasqual Ferry, Phit Noto

Jacob's comics for the week!

Transformers Vol 4 Annual 2021 by Brian Ruckley, Alex Milne
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #117 by Sophie Campbell, Kevin Eastman

I don't know why, but all of the Eastman covers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #117 were SOLD OUT on Midtown Comics, so I had to look elsewhere. I ended up finding a copy on eBay, but had to pay waaaay more than I should have. People suck. Stop buying up comics just so you can resell them for more! IT'S SO FRUSTRATING.


Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly feature that's hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. It highlights the upcoming releases we're really excited about reading! CWW is a spinoff of the feature Waiting on Wednesday (WoW), that was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Capture the Crown (Gargoyle Queen, #1) by Jennifer Estep
Expected publication: July 6th 2021 by Harper Voyager

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Bestselling author Jennifer Estep returns to her Crown of Shards world with an all-new trilogy and a bold new heroine who protects her kingdom from magic, murder, and mayhem by moonlighting as a spy.

Gemma Ripley has a reputation for being a pampered princess who is more interested in pretty gowns, sparkling jewelry, and other frivolous things than learning how to rule the kingdom of Andvari. But her carefully crafted persona is just an act to hide the fact that Gemma is a powerful mind magier—and a spy.

Gemma is undercover, trying to figure out who is stealing large amounts of tearstone from one of the Ripley royal mines when she encounters Prince Leonidas Morricone of Morta—her mortal enemy. Gemma tries to steer clear of the handsome prince, but when she finds herself behind enemy lines, she reluctantly joins forces with Leo. Also coming to Gemma’s aid is Grimley, her beloved gargoyle.

Despite the fact that Andvari and Morta are old, bitter enemies, a dangerous attraction sparks between Gemma and Leo. Further complicating matters is Leo’s murderous family, especially Queen Maeven Morricone, the mastermind behind the infamous Seven Spire massacre.

The closer Gemma gets to the stolen tearstone, the more deadly plots she uncovers. Everyone is trying to capture the crown, but only one queen can sit on the throne…

*Share your My Weekly Pull post! Please leave the direct link to your My Weekly Pull post and not just your blog's URL. Thank you for participating and happy reading!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
[Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway]

 
Halito! Welcome to the next stop on the Instructions for Dancing blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Thanks for stopping by today, and don't forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom! For the full tour schedule, please visit the Rockstar Book Tours website.

About the Book: 

Title: INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING
Author: Nicola Yoon
Pub. Date: June 1, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 304
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, Audible, B&N Exclusive Signed Edition, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org

#1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star Nicola Yoon is back with her eagerly anticipated third novel. With all the heart and hope of her last two books, this is an utterly unique romance.

Evie Thomas doesn't believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.

As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything--including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he's only just met.

Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it's that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk? 


Praise for INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING:

A Junior Library Guild selection

★ “An endearing, affecting exploration of the journey of love. Everything Yoon touches turns to gold and this cinematic supernatural romance will be no exception.”—Booklist, starred review

★ "A remarkable, irresistible love story that will linger long after readers turn the final page."—Kirkus, starred review

★ “Yoon delivers a story of love’s unpredictability and the importance of perspective that unfolds with ease and heart.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ “A sweet, genuine love story sure to pull on the heartstrings.”—School Library Journal, starred review

★ “Yoon delivers this captivating story of first love with beautiful prose, clever dialogue that swings between laugh-out-loud funny and wildly insightful, clear respect for the complexity and nuance of her teen characters’ perspectives and emotions—and just enough magic to make it all truly unforgettable.”—BookPage, starred review

 


I went into this one thinking it would be a fluffy, fun book, but I was wrong! Instructions for Dancing gave me ALL THE FEELS, Y'ALL. I don't think my heart will every fully heal after reading this one. It's definitely an experience I won't soon forget. The story was magical, entertaining, and contains an epic love story. That ending though...πŸ™„

Yoon has written a story that isn't just about falling in love, but what happens when you fall out of it, too. We get to see what happens when a main character chooses themselves over someone else. It was a rough read, I'm not going to lie, but I think it was beautifully written and really captured the essence of love in its many forms. 

I loved the magical twist to this book, and think it added another layer to Evie and her story. The dancing was an added bonus, too. SPICY! I want to find someone to salsa with! I enjoyed watching Evie try and learn new things, but I also liked seeing her grow into herself. I'm 90% sure there going to make a movie out of this one, because how could they not?


About Nicola Yoon:

Nicola Yoon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Instructions for Dancing, Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star. She is a National Book Award finalist, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book recipient and a Coretta Scott King New Talent Award winner. Two of her novels have been made into major motion pictures. She’s also co-publisher of Joy Revolution, a Random House young adult imprint dedicated to love stories starring people of color. She grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the novelist David Yoon, and their daughter.



Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING, US Only.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

What I've Been Reading with My Monsters [1]

 
What I've Been Reading with My Monsters is a new feature I'm starting to showcase which books I've been reading with my kiddos (in case the title wasn't super obvious, haha). I'm really bad about reviewing children's books (unless they're ARCs or for a blog tour), so hopefully this helps me stay on top of all the other books we read together throughout the week.

Solid, Liquid, Gassy (a Fairy Science Story) by Ashley Spires

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Esther the fairy is back, to investigate the water cycle! From the award-winning author of The Most Magnificent Thing, for fans of Ada Twist, Scientist and Hidden Figures.

Esther the fairy doesn't believe in magic. But fairies are all about magic, despite Esther's best efforts to reveal the science of their world. This time around, though, she's got her fairy pals Clover and Fig, along with trusty sidekick Albert the bird, to help create a more science-oriented entry for their school's Magic Fair -- Pixieville's magical answer to a science fair, which has never gone well for Esther before. When the local pond disappears, Esther realizes this might be the perfect opportunity for a real experiment! It's up to Esther and her fairymates to ask questions, make hypotheses, do research and show their conclusions -- this time, all about the water cycle. But when everyone Esther knows believes that Jack Frost is responsible for ice and that moon sneezes cause evaporation, she'll have to learn that sometimes discovery is its own reward.

Solid, Liquid, Gassy (A Fairy Science Story) is the second book in Ashley Spires' hilarious picture book series about a charming, determined heroine who celebrates the joys of curiosity and wonder.

I love books that mix magic and science! I also really enjoyed the author's previous book, The Most Magnificent Thing, which addresses frustration and how being angry only makes a problem worse. Spires makes learning - whether it's about science or dealing with emotions - fun and informative. The kids really loved the illustrations in this book, and they also liked making their own guesses about the character's experiments. They had some prior knowledge going into this one (they love Story Bots and Bill Nye the Science Guy), but were still somewhat surprised by the outcome. I was also really glad that everything didn't work out perfectly for Esther and her friends, because life rarely happens exactly the way we want it to. It was realistic despite being fictional. 

In a perfect world, Esther would have been able to convince the other fairies that their problem was solved by science. Unfortunately, her fellow fairies want to believe that magic is the solution to everything, even when shown otherwise. It was a good lesson in letting things go and moving on despite not noticing an immediate change in the people around you. People's perceptions and ways of thinking aren't going to change overnight, but it's no reason to give up or stop trying to make a difference. "...she'll have to learn that sometimes discovery is its own reward." (★★★★☆)

.

Hilda and the Mad Scientist by Addie Adam, Lisa Thiesing (Illustrations)

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Chillingly silly describes this monster of a picture book about a Dr. Frankenstein wannabe who meets his match in the form of an unstopable . . . housekeeper. With its comic text and lively pictures in cartoonlike style, this Frankenstein spoof about a mad, magical mix-up is sure to give readers a spell of the giggles. Watercolor and ink illustrations.


I didn't love Hilda and the Mad Scientist, but it wasn't terrible. The kids didn't really have any feelings about it either, so it's not one we'll be reading again.

"Chillingly silly" isn't a great description though, since there's nothing scary about this book. The "Dr. Frankenstein wannabe" spends most of his time trying to rid himself of a housekeeper he didn't want in the first place. Hilda shows up unannounced and uninvited, then proceeds to do whatever she wants in someone else's home. I think she said something about going where she's needed, but no one ever asked for her help. She also seems to make a mess of things instead of actually helping. It's not something that's addressed in the text, but the illustrations show Hilda being clumsy and destructive.

Maybe this would work better for younger children? The silly aspects may potentially be better suited for those that fall into the 0-3 age group. The Dr. creating his "worst nightmare" at the end also fell a little flat and was something that had to be explained to my kiddos. They didn't understand why he'd be so upset by the development, which also showed me they hadn't really understood the character flaw that made Hilda so unappealing as a "helper." (★★★☆☆)


Churchill's Tale of Tails by Anca Sandu

Synopsis (via Goodreads): When Churchill the pig loses his precious tail, his friends help him hunt for a new one. But trying new tails is so much fun that soon Churchill has forgotten his friends completely. Can Churchill learn to put friendship first, and solve the mystery of his missing tail?


Churchill's Tale of Tails is a book we've read many times! The girls really love it and think having a tail as an accessory is something to aspire to (#kidgoals). 

I really enjoyed seeing the various tails Churchill tried on, and thought the author came up with creative ways to show what made each tail so special. As Churchill gets more and more obsessed with  obtaining new tails, he stops hanging out with his friends. Thankfully, his tail isn't lost forever. He thought his tail was perfect, and while he liked trying on the others, he still missed his own. Very cute story with wonderful illustrations! (★★★★☆)

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

My Weekly Pull [170] & Can't-Wait Wednesday [145]

 

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, there's a link-up at the bottom. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Family Tree #12 by Jeff Lemire, Phil Hester

Jacob's comics for the week!

Young Hellboy The Hidden Land #4 by Mike Mignola, Tom Sniegoski, Craig Rousseau, Anthony Carpenter
Heroes Reborn American Knights #1 (One Shot) by Paul Grist, Chris Allen, Declan Shalvey
Savage Avengers #21 by Gerry Duggan, Patrick Zircher


Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly feature that's hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. It highlights the upcoming releases we're really excited about reading! CWW is a spinoff of the feature Waiting on Wednesday (WoW), that was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Paper & Blood (Ink & Sigil, #2) by Kevin Hearne
Expected publication: August 10th 2021 by Del Rey Books

Synopsis (via Goodreads): New York Times bestselling author Kevin Hearne returns to the world of his beloved Iron Druid Chronicles in book two of a spin-off series about an eccentric master of rare magic solving an uncanny mystery in Scotland.

Charming and unconventional Scottish detective Al MacBharrais returns in the second installment of the magical murder mystery series Ink & Sigil.

I LOVED the first book (Ink & Sigil) so I was THRILLD when the publisher reached out about reading an ARC of Paper & Blood. If you're looking for a book with hilarious characters and a fun story, definitely consider giving this one a go. Click here to read my review of the first book. 

*Share your My Weekly Pull post! Please leave the direct link to your My Weekly Pull post and not just your blog's URL. Thank you for participating and happy reading!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

State of the ARC [31]

 
State of the ARC is a monthly meme hosted by Avalinah at Avalinah's Books! It's an opportunity for readers to catch up on their long overdue ARCs, but right now I'm using it to keep up with my upcoming ARCs instead. It helps me stay organized! Edit: State of the ARC is currently being hosted by Sarah (All the Book Blog Names Are Taken) while Evelina is on hiatus.

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin (6/1)
Dead Dead Girls (Harlem Renaissance Mystery, #1) by Nekesa Afia (6/1)
The Library of the Dead (Edinburgh Nights, #1) by T.L. Huchu (6/1) 🎧
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (6/1) 🎧
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris (6/1)

Trouble Girls by Julia Lynn Rubin (6/1)
Better Together by Christine Riccio (6/1) 🎧
Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon (6/1)
One Great Lie by Deb Caletti (6/1)
Long Division by Kiese Laymon (6/1)

Catch (Love Story, #13) by Tracey Ewens (6/8)
The Stars of Whistling Ridge by Cindy Baldwin (6/15) 🎧
Blood Like Magic (Blood Like Magic, #1) by Liselle Sambury (6/15)
Plot Twist by Bethany Turner (6/15)
Shutter by Melissa Larsen (6/15)

What You Can See from Here by Mariana Leky, Tess Lewis (6/22)
The Tragedy of Dane Riley by Kat Spears (6/22)
The Girl Least Likely by Katy Loutzenhiser (6/29) Review
To Sir, with Love by Lauren Layne (6/29)

Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy (7/6)
The Bone Code (Temperance Brennan, #20) by Kathy Reichs (7/6)
Falling by T.J. Newman (7/6)
Where It All Lands by Jennie Wexler (7/6)
The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison (7/13)

Flash Fire (The Extraordinaries, #2) by T.J. Klune (7/13)
Weird Kid by Greg Van Eekhout (7/20) 🎧
When We Were Young by Richard Roper (7/20)
Heartbreak for Hire by Sonia Hartl (7/27)
Godspeed by Nikolas Butler (7/29)

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould (8/3)
Stowaway by John David Anderson (8/3) 🎧
Ghosts by Dolly Alderton (8/3)*
Where the Truth Lies by Anna Bailey (8/3)
Love and the Silver Lining (State of Grace, #2) by Tammy L. Gray (8/3)


The Show Girl by Nicola Harrison (8/10)
Paper & Blood (Ink & Sigil, #2) by Kevin Hearne (8/10)
The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye (8/10)
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (8/17)
Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece (8/17)

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche (Enola Holmes, #7) by Nancy Springer (8/31)

Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn (9/7)
Nice Girls by Catherine Dang (9/7)
Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian (9/7) 
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (9/7)
Major Detours: A Choices Novel by Zachary Sergi (9/7)

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun (9/7)
When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting (9/21)
Some Faraway Place (The Bright Sessions, #3) by Lauren Shippen (9/28)
The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews (9/28)

Cold-Blooded Myrtle (Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries, #3) by Elizabeth C. Bunce (10/5)
Remember Me by Estelle Laure (10/12)
Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cole (10/26)

You've Reached Sam by Dustin Thao (11/2)
Heard It in a Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves (11/2)
Never Fall for Your FiancΓ©e (The Merriwll Sisters, #1) by Virginia Heath (11/9)
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood (11/9)

The Audacity of Sara Grayson by Joani Elliot (12/1)*
If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales, Cale Dietrich (12/7)
A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw (12/7)

*there's conflicting information about this book's release date

So June REALLY snuck up on me! πŸ˜… I'm going to be behind all month! Are any of these on your TBR? What do you think of my ever-expanding list of books to read? I'm honestly finding it a tad overwhelming right now, and should probably slow it down on the requests. It's just so hard not to click on them when they pop up...