July Reading Wrap Up

Hi everyone!

Today we will be sharing our reading wrap up for the month of July. We hope that you had a fantastic month!

During the month of July, I read a lot of very informative and lighthearted reads. This isn’t surprising as many of my books were children’s books or middle grades up for review. Though, many of them were also emotional.

I tended to enjoy reading medium paced books but I do like that there were some fast and slow paced books thrown in.

We were craving and loving so many nonfiction reads!

And of course, many of the books we read were children’s literature and therefore on the shorter page limit.

We took a break from readathons this month – it sure was a busy month. I worked quite a bit and didn’t have too much time extra time. Plus we had family visiting! I wanted to join Grinchathon in July. This is hosted by Izzy from Punk Rock Girl PA – we had a lot of fun participating last year and hope to next year!

We reviewed 8 electronic Galleys from NetGalley – 7 of these were advanced reader copies. We only completed 4/7 July TBR game books; however, we are completing the fifth one tonight, DNFing one for now, and transferring over Lore to August.

Yes, here are our 12 books! All of our NetGalley books have a little sticker on them the image above.

Below are full reviews of all of the books for which I have reviews that haven’t been posted yet.

If I have already reviewed them, I’ve provided the link.

And there are some outstanding reviews are still to come.

Enjoy!

Reviews:

How Science Saved the Eiffel Tower
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

Storygraph | Goodreads

Click here for review

With the Right to Fight: Planting Peace
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

Review:
What a beautifully illustrated nonfiction book!

The book beautifully illustrates the story of Wangari Muri Maathai from childhood to adulthood, where we go from Kenya to the USA, then back back again. Themes include the importance of nature, education, resourcefulness, imagination, community, ingenuity, and female empowerment.

I’m such a fan of the art style and the composition of the book. It flows, reads, and illustrates the story’s beautifully.

I think that this book should be read in as many classrooms as possible! I wish I learned Wangari Muri Maathai’s story and her amazing Novel Peace Prize achievement much earlier. This is an inspirational and informative book perfect for young readers (and adults, too!)

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
(5 stars)

Review:
Beautiful book filled with various illustrations and descriptions of diverse women throughout history and their accomplishments/works of advocacy.

There were a lot of women that I learned about from this collection! I love that this is now in board book format. Each of the illustrations are so uniquely drawn yet the colour palette is consistent throughout, with bright and bold colours.

I definitely recommend this one!

Lola and the New School
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
(4.25 stars)

Storygraph | Goodreads

Click here for review

Surviving the City
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
(4.25 stars)

4.25.

This was an impactful graphic novel about very important topics. You are introduced to the main characters Miikwan (Anishinaabe) and Dez (Inninew) who are both best friends. Dez’s grandmother falls ill and Dez is told she’s not able to live at home with her anymore and the threat of having to live in a group home is looming. Dez, overwhelmed, runs away and goes missing and Miikwan is desperate to find her.

I found the story to be quite emotional and impactful. The illustration style is very beautiful and the writing is well done. It is a fairly quick read but I think it’s an important story that includes a dialogue on missing and murdered indigenous women.

Content Warnings (via Storygraph)

Wildseed Witch
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
(4 stars)

Storygraph | Goodreads

Click here for review.

From Eve to Dawn
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
(4 stars)

Storygraph | Goodreads

Review to come …
See our interim thoughts here.

Yasmin the Detective
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
(4 stars)

Storygraph | Goodreads

Click here for review

Radium Girls
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
(3.6 stars)

Storygraph | Goodreads

Review to come …

Shoo!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
(3.5 stars)

Storygraph | Goodreads

Review to come …

Always Never
⭐️⭐️
(2 stars)

Review:
Honestly, this one just fell completely flat for me. The art style and story.

Content Warnings via Storygraph

I am a Cat
*undecided*

Storygraph | Goodreads

I am not sure how to review this one. I’ll need some time before I do!

That’s everything for our wrap-up!

Note: Chart data collected from Storygraph; graphs constructed using Canva.

QOTD: What was your favourite book read this July? Let us know!

Children’s lit Reviews | Lola and the New School, Yasmin The Detective, and How Science Saved the Eiffel Tower!

Today is August the first and we would like to wish a warm publication day to Lola and the New School, Yasmin, and How Science Saved the Eiffel Tower!

These were all wonderful children’s books; two of which are fiction and one is nonfiction. Regardless of what you are after, I definitely recommend each one. Below are our spoiler free reviews of each book.

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publishers for these advanced readers copies in exchange for honest reviews.

Lola and the New School

Review:
4.25. This is a cute story by author Keka Novales who grew up in Guatemala and illustrator Gloria Félix, raised in Mexico.

It is about a girl named Lola who has changed schools in the middle of the school year, saying goodbye to her old connections and learning to adapt and make friends at her new school.

I really liked the format of the book – you are first introduced to the main characters, including Lola, Mama, Dad, Abuelita, and Abuelo and are given some interesting facts about each of them. Then starts the story which features several beautiful illustrations representative of the story, each featuring our main character, Lola. This is followed by both an English and Spanish glossary, questions and writing prompts, a recipe (Abuelita’s freshly squeezed Limeade), and author biographies.

My favourite part about the book is how strong Lola’s bond is with her family, and in particular, how her mother and abuelita give her strength and knowledge to face challenges at her new school environment. Abuelita is such a wonderful, kind and loving individual who shares highly meaningful and impactful advice that I think can be applied in many new environments and situations. I really love the incorporation of Spanish and Guatemalan facts/heritage within the novel and would definitely recommend this to young readers ages 5-7 and for children educators!

Yasmin

Review:
This is a very beautifully illustrated chapter book written by Pakistani American author Saadia Faruqi and illustrated by Egyptian-born illustrator Hatem Aly. In this book, Yasmin’s grandmother loses several objects which include a button, a thimble, and a pair of glasses and Yasmin is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery at play!

I really enjoyed the illustrations and thought they were drawn beautifully! The colours and the image placements were done very well throughout the book. Each character has distinct features and focused on elements that enhanced the story well. For example, the image that showed Yasmin watching her favourite detective Dr. Hoo while being completely engrossed in the story as Nani comes in to discuss her dilemma. It introduced characters and their interests well.

There are some discussion prompts that are helpful for learners and educators and there is a Urdu glossary at the end with a pronunciation key for various terms in Urdu. Fun facts were provided about Pakistan at the end of the book, and a binocular DIY guide is added in for extra fun!

Regarding the story, I really enjoyed Yasmin and her family and I thought it provided a fun and easy to follow mystery to be solved for young readers. I did have one qualm re: the story when it came to the retrieval of items, though it’s very minor, I simply think that both parties could have been happier at the end. Nonetheless, it was very cute! And a good read for readers K-2.

How Science Saved the Eiffel Tower

Review:
What a cool and uniquely illustrated children’s nonfiction book packed with awesome scientific and historical information!

Written by Emma Bland Smith and illustrated by Lia Visirin, “How Science Saved the Eiffel Tower” details how exactly the Eiffel Tower was effectively saved and not torn down due to the scientific additions added to the building by Gustave Eiffel.

Each page has beautifully illustrations of the Eiffel Tower’s construction during the late 1800s and the reaction of the general public and officials at the time. The clothes, buildings, structures, and environment displayed wonderful detail and the text was readable (though, at times a bit small) throughout.

I had not realized how many scientific applications there were re: the Eiffel Tower, from weather measurements, to aerodynamics, even wireless radio transmission! I also did not realize there were restaurants and an apartment at the tower as well in which it’s creator, Gustave Eiffel, lived in until passing away at 91 years of age.

At the back of the book, there are many features: an epilogue, French glossary, interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower, a Timeline, and author/illustrator biographies. (There’s even a cat on the back cover – how purr-fect!)

I would definitely recommend this book to young readers as I thought it was trés fantastique! Perfect for young readers aged 8-10.

QOTD: Which book suites your tastes the most? Let us know!

The Sunday Post #5 & More! | Olivia’s purr-spective on “I Am a Cat” by Sōseki Natsume

Hello, everyone! Today we are linking up with:

This past week really got away from us and we are now trying our best to catch up, alas The Sunday Post is being posted on a Monday. Hope you enjoy it!

Olivia Update 🐾

A major update of our week is reading the book, “I am a Cat” by Sōseki Natsume. When we started the book, she was very happy to have found a feline protagonist. As the book went on, unfortunately, there was less and less cat in the book and she had quite a few issues with that. The book instead started to revolve around our cat’s owner and his friends, at times with very little cat insights thrown in.

While we certainly agree that Sōseki is a great writer, we are highly conflicted about this one due to the lack of cat content in the book. We also found the book difficult to read because of some of the content warnings which we should have read beforehand – there was a whole lot of body shaming and misogyny in the book (while we understand that this book was written over a century ago, we were very alarmed by the high volume of this sort of content). Most alarmingly, there was animal cruelty, so you can imagine my dismay reading these portions with Olivia (I was at a loss of how to comfort her – all I could do was provide her with her favourite tuna squeezie treat while I skipped these parts.) The plot was very minimal as well and it could be a bit tiresome to read at times. However, it is not all bad – Sōseki is able to blend silliness with beautifully analytical and philosophical writing. We laughed out loud so many times during this book that we made a thread of some of our favourite quotes!

As well, some of the philosophical questions had Olivia and I deeply invested. Through both our nameless feline protagonist and the various characters, the book discusses a wide range of topics: God, creation, death, Westernization, and existence, to name a few. So I will sit with our thoughts on the book for some before committing to a review and star rating. We are comfortable saying that this book is not for who are looking for cat content since it’s so sparse, or for those who have a difficult time reading literature with any of the issues mentioned above.

In other news, Olivia also had a good time being on bird watch this week! There were quite a few spottings, which she alerted me of with a few cackles and chirps to sound the alarm.

Life Update

What a busy week this was! Our entire week of blogging and booktube went straight out the window, but for a good reason. This month we had a family member visit us so we had a marvellous time eating at cafés, attending some highly important events, visiting the ice cream shop (they have some vegan flavours!), and exploring the city together. With work thrown into the mix, all of our days were full with varying degrees of business. We are so happy to have hosted our family member and the outdoor plants have really enjoyed the sun! Temperatures should be a bit cooler this week – I hope they are going to drop for you all in the hot destinations as well.

A major help this week was ordering some vegan salads from a local shop nearby. Here you can see a few of them: Kale Tabouli Salad, Summer “Pasta” Salad, and Beet Poke Salad. Of these, the Summer Pasta Salad was such a win! And the selection really inspired us to get creative with our salad combinations moving forward.

Reading Update

Recently Finished

As you can see from the Olivia Update, we read I am a Cat by Sōseki Natsume and had a very conflicted feel about the book.

I finished Always Never by Jordi Lafebre, read via my Hoopla app. Last week, I mentioned that I was very lukewarm about this read, and that feeling never went away. My biggest issue with the book again lies within the content warnings (I’m starting to think that I really need to pay a bit more attention to those moving forward) and the illustration style. However, my opinions are not necessarily what the majority of readers thought as the book is very highly rated on Goodreads and Storygraph, so don’t let my review throw you off too much!

We also stacked our NetGalley shelf and read several books, focusing on children’s literature! Look out for reviews this week. We enjoyed and recommend all of them but especially loved With the Right to Fight – Planting Peace, How Science Saved the Eiffel Tower, and Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls!
(Galleys are provided via NetGalley – all opinions are my own).

Currently Reading

We started A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria and we are enjoying it so far! It is a second chance romance and is book #2 in the Primas of Power series. I’ve only read the first chapter, but have found it intriguing so far and can’t wait to learn more about Michelle and Gabe.

We are so happy we were approved for A Treacherous Tale by Elizabeth Penney! This is book #2 of the Cambridge Bookshop Series and it follows our protagonist Molly Kimball who runs a bookshop in England. Thrilled because we very much enjoyed book #1, Chapter and Curse. We’ve only read the first chapter but are loving it so far. Olivia especially loves cats Puck and Clarence!

Next Read

Immediately next, we want to finally start Lore by Alexandra Bracken! Our TBR game has been difficult to complete this month, and we are afraid that some books will have to be read in the month of August. We will be doing a TBR game in August as well! Haha but at least it should be fairly quiet this month and so we hope to finish all of our books – crossovers and new additions, alike!

We’ll see … but The Daughter of Doctor Moreau is looking pretty enticing right about now … how can I possibly focus when there are so many great books to read? I supposed you could say we’re overbooked 😹. We are so happy we received this gorgeous book mail earlier this week!

This Week on the Blog

Next Week on the Blog

  • Weekly memes (hopefully) for TTT and Stacking the Shelves/Sunday Post/Sunday Salon
  • ARC reviews for books published on Aug 1st – now live!

QOTD: Did you have a good weekend? Let us know!