REVIEW | Shoo!

Synopsis (from Amazon):
A raucous debut picture book about an invasion of pesky animals.

Mrs Golightly doesn’t like animals – and now a whole zoo has moved next door! No matter how hard she tries to shoo them away, she finds animals everywhere: a kangaroo on the loo, a giraffe in her bath, and even ants in her pants.

What can she do to get rid of these stinky, bothersome creatures?

Bursting with colour, delightful rhyme and outrageous humour, Shoo! is acclaimed children’s author Susie Bower’s first picture book.



Review

This eARC was a cute picture book about Mrs. Golightly, a character who does not like the company of animals; however, a zoo opens up next door. What is she to do?!

The illustrations were adorable and filled with cute creatures that each display so much personality. I enjoyed the rhymes within, their structure and placement, and the themes of tolerance, acceptance, and embracing/adapting to change.

Some text was hard to read (e.g., black font on a grey/dark blue/dark green background). While I liked the themes, I think the story itself was alright. The illustrations had a simple colour palette of neutral and dark greens, greys, blues, and reds which were melancholy.

I enjoyed that you do see personal growth with Mrs. Golightly as she adapts to the neighbouring zoo and root for her and the zoo’s inhabitants to befriend, or at the very least, coexist with each other. And to be flexible while adapting to these changes, which can be a challenging thing to do!

Thank you to NetGalley for a review copy. All opinions are my own.

Themes

  • Tolerance
  • Facing changes

Feelings

  • Funny
  • Lighthearted
  • Reflective

Rating

Numerical Rating: 3.5 stars

QOTD: What is the last children’s
book you’ve enjoyed? Let us know!

REVIEW | A Treacherous Tale

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Lately, Molly has been feeling that she might have fallen into a fairy tale: she’s reinvigorated the family bookshop Thomas Marlowe—Manuscripts and Folios, made friends in her new home of Cambridge, England, and is even developing a bit of a romance with the handsome Kieran—a bike shop owner with a somewhat intimidating family pedigree.

Having recently discovered The Strawberry Girls, a classic children’s tale, Molly is thrilled to learn the author, Iona York, lives nearby. But while visiting the famous author at her lovely cottage in nearby Hazelhurst, an old acquaintance of Iona’s tumbles off her roof to his death.

Then, when one of Iona’s daughters—an inspiration for the original Strawberry Girls—goes missing, Molly begins to worry this story might be more Brothers Grimm than happily-ever-after. Especially after Molly learns about the mysterious long-ago death of Iona’s husband and co-author of The Strawberry Girls…could past and present crimes be linked? Molly must put the clues together before someone turns this sweet tale sour.


Review

A dark fairy-tale of a cozy mystery. And an absolute pleasure to read.

This is the second book in The Cambridge Bookshop Series by Elizabeth Penney and I was so excited to read it, especially after enjoying Book 1 – Chapter and Curse. They both have their charm and Book 2 was an absolute delight to read. I loved learning about the mysteries that cat lover and bookshop part-owner Molly Kimball gets pulled into along the way.

This time, Molly is meeting with Iona York, co-author of The Strawberry Girls to discuss her latest book, The Strawberry Girls. While visiting, a family acquittance of Iona’s, Robin, has tumbled off her roof to his demise. Additionally, Iona’s daughter suddenly goes missing and is nowhere to be found. Was Robin’s death an accident? Or could there be a link between the two events, and perhaps to a crime committed in the past that still leaves questions to this day? Molly, yet again, is left to uncover the truth.

This book will have you hooked and wanting to know more after the very first chapter. In fact, every chapter leaves on a bit of a cliff-hanger, encouraging you to keep reading which I absolutely love. Molly is a character that truly seeks to support her friends and family and is fiercely loyal to them, and I think that acts a powerful driving factor as to why she is so invested in helping to investigate these cases, despite not being a formal investigator herself.

I loved the mysteries in this book, which had a scavenger hunt feel to them at times, but I truly loved one element which is the incorporation of a story-within-a-story. The Strawberry Girls was co-written by Iona’s former, Nate, who also had a similar suspicious death to that of Robin. Passages of the book are incorporated into the novel, and I absolutely loved that! It really helped set the stage and evoked mystery and intrigue in the story, while also making you feel as if the real-life characters of the book were in their own dark fairy tale.

Cats Puck and Clarence are always a joy to read, and we hope to see much more of them in future instalments!

Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for an advanced eGalley of this book. All opinions are my own.

Themes

  • Murder Mystery
  • Missing Person
  • Uncovering secrets
  • Family
  • Loyalty
  • Fairy Tales

Feelings

  • Light-hearted with dark elements
  • Mysterious
  • Enchanting
  • Adventurous

Rating

Numerical rating: 4.25 stars

QOTD: do you enjoy cozy mysteries?
Let us know!

REVIEW | Radium Girls

Title: Radium Girls
Author: Cy
Release Date: 23 August 2022
Pages: 136
Publisher:
Format: E-ARC
Letter Better Publishing Services, Iron Circus Comics
Source: NetGalley

Synopsis:
It’s 1918 in Orange, New Jersey, and everyone knows the “Ghost Girls.”

The proud holders of well-paying jobs at the local watch factory, these working-class young women gain their nickname from the fine dusting of glowing, radioactive powder that clings to their clothes after every shift painting watch dials. The soft, greenish glow even stains their lips and tongues, which they use to point the fine brushes used in their work. It’s perfectly harmless . . . or so claims the watch manufacturer.


When teeth start falling out, followed by jawbones, the dial painters become the unprepared vanguard on the frontlines of the burgeoning workers’ rights movement. Desperate for compensation and acknowledgement from the company that has doomed them, the Ghost Girls must fight, not just for their own lives but the future of every woman to follow them.

A stunning graphic novel retelling of the shocking and inspiring true story.


Review

This graphic novel did a good job of giving an inside look into the lives of “Radium Girls,” a group of women in the early 1900s that were instructed to point the tip of their paintbrushes with their mouth when painting dials, thus leading to radiation poisoning.

It is very grim to read about the working conditions women had to endure, and it’s very frustrating that they were lied to about the inks, being told they were harmless and not to worry about applying the brush to their lips.

The illustrations within are fairly simple and I think that allows the story to make quite a big impact. There are two colours used, greens and purples. I’m not sure I am a fan of the used of coloured pencils, and think perhaps the illustrations would have looked even better had the crayons been blended together. As is, the colouring looks a bit unfinished/unpolished but I still overall enjoyed the illustration style.

I recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning more about this topic. Before reading this book, I didn’t know that these events happened and I feel like I learned quite a lot about both the events that took place and the importance of having conditions in place that protects workers from these sorts of occupational hazards in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing an e-ARC in exchange for a review copy. The expected release date is August 23rd 2022.

Themes

  • Educational: reviews the lives of working-class young women who suffered radiation poisoning from painting dials on watches with self-luminous paint.
  • Fighting for compensation/acknowledgement from the watch manufacturer company.
  • Occupational hazards in the workplace.

Feelings

  • Emotional
  • Informative
  • Reflective

Rating

Numerical Rating: 3.6 stars

QOTD: What is the last children’s
book you’ve enjoyed? Let us know!

Most Anticipated Books Releasing In the Second Half of 2022

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Top Ten Tuesday graphic icon
Top Ten Tuesdays by http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com


Hello everyone!

Welcome to today’s blog. There are so many good books coming our way in the second half of 2022! Needless to say … pinning this down to 10 books is a very big task – a challenge, if you will! And …

We are happy to tackle this in our first Top Ten Tuesday!

And yes, while there is some fantasy, and some contemporaries, we are gearing up for spooky season starting …

NOW!

July

Book cover of Night of the Living Rez: STories by Morgan Talty

Goodreads | The Storygraph

July 5th, 2022

Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty

How do the living come back to life?

Set in a Native community in Maine, Night of the Living Rez is a riveting debut collection about what it means to be Penobscot in the twenty-first century and what it means to live, to survive, and to persevere after tragedy.

In twelve striking, luminescent stories, author Morgan Talty—with searing humor, abiding compassion, and deep insight—breathes life into tales of family and community bonds as they struggle with a painful past and an uncertain future. A boy unearths a jar that holds an old curse, which sets into motion his family’s unraveling; a man, while trying to swindle some pot from a dealer, discovers a friend passed out in the woods, his hair frozen into the snow; a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s projects the past onto her grandson, and thinks he is her dead brother come back to life; and two friends, inspired by Antiques Roadshow, attempt to rob the tribal museum for valuable root clubs.

In a collection that examines the consequences and merits of inheritance, Night of the Living Rez is an unforgettable portrayal of a Native community and marks the arrival of a standout talent in contemporary fiction. (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

My cat Olivia and I always enjoy reading a good collections of stories together. We are very intrigued to read a book set over the authors lifespan set in a Native community in Maine.

Exciting news – today is publication day!

Goodreads | The Storygraph

July 19th, 2022

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night comes a dreamy reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico.

Carlota Moreau: a young woman, growing up in a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The only daughter of either a genius, or a madman.

Montgomery Laughton: a melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast who assists Dr. Moreau with his scientific experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.

The hybrids: the fruits of the Doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.

All of them living in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Doctor Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.

For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite.

THE DAUGHTER OF DOCTOR MOREAU is both a dazzling historical novel and a daring science fiction journey. (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

When Olivia and I first read Mexican Gothic together, we just knew that Silvia Moreno-Garcia would be an auto-buy author! We love her writing and the immersive, atmospheric settings she creates. And we’re so excited to read this retelling! And by the way, did you see that cover?!

YES.

Goodreads | The Storygraph

July 26th, 2022

Violet Made of Thorns (Violet Made of Thorns #1) by Gina Chen

A darkly enchanting fantasy debut about a morally gray witch, a cursed prince, and a prophecy that ignites their fate-twisted destinies—perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince and Serpent & Dove.

Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased—and not always true—divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer—unless Violet does something about it.

But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom—all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. Violet faces her own choice: Seize an opportunity to gain control of her own destiny, no matter the cost, or give in to the ill-fated attraction that’s growing between her and Cyrus. Violet’s wits may protect her in the cutthroat court, but they can’t change her fate. And as the boundary between hatred and love grows ever thinner with the prince, Violet must untangle a wicked web of deceit in order to save herself and the kingdom—or doom them all. (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

We are constantly on the lookout for books that feature witches, and we are looking forward to reading about Violet, a morally gray witch. We also love books with synopses reminiscent of fairytales. And skimming reviews, it looks like there will definitely be some fairytale elements in this book.

We are in!

Goodreads | The Storygraph

July 21st, 2022

The Family Remains (The Family Upstairs #2)

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell comes an intricate and affecting novel about twisted marriages, fractured families, and deadly obsessions in this standalone sequel to The Family Upstairs.

Early one morning on the shore of the Thames, DCI Samuel Owusu is called to the scene of a gruesome discovery. When Owusu sends the evidence for examination, he learns the bones are connected to a cold case that left three people dead on the kitchen floor in a Chelsea mansion thirty years ago.

Rachel Rimmer has also received a shock—news that her husband, Michael, has been found dead in the cellar of his house in France. All signs point to an intruder, and the French police need her to come urgently to answer questions about Michael and his past that she very much doesn’t want to answer.

After fleeing London thirty years ago in the wake of a horrific tragedy, Lucy Lamb is finally coming home. While she settles in with her children and is just about to purchase their first-ever house, her brother takes off to find the boy from their shared past whose memory haunts their present.

As they all race to discover answers to these convoluted mysteries, they will come to find that they’re connected in ways they could have never imagined.

In this masterful standalone sequel to her haunting New York Times bestseller, The Family Upstairs, Lisa Jewell proves she is writing at the height of her powers with another jaw-dropping, intricate, and affecting novel about the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love and uncover the truth. (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

Lisa Jewell has become a favourite when it comes to Thrillers. We have read a few in the past and cannot wait to read this one – with just one caveat. We will want to read The Family Upstairs first before reading the sequel as we haven’t read book one yet. That will change very soon!

We are in!

 

August

Goodreads | The Storygraph

August 9th, 2022

Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean

One phone call changes everything.

At thirty-five, Mika Suzuki’s life is a mess. Her last relationship ended in flames. Her roommate-slash-best friend might be a hoarder. She’s a perpetual disappointment to her traditional Japanese parents. And, most recently, she’s been fired from her latest dead-end job.

Mika is at her lowest point when she receives a phone call from Penny—the daughter she placed for adoption sixteen years ago. Penny is determined to forge a relationship with her birth mother, and in turn, Mika longs to be someone Penny is proud of. Faced with her own inadequacies, Mika embellishes a fact about her life. What starts as a tiny white lie slowly snowballs into a fully-fledged fake life, one where Mika is mature, put-together, successful in love and her career.

The details of Mika’s life might be an illusion, but everything she shares with curious, headstrong Penny is real: her hopes, dreams, flaws, and Japanese heritage. The harder-won heart belongs to Thomas Calvin, Penny’s adoptive widower father. What starts as a rocky, contentious relationship slowly blossoms into a friendship and, over time, something more. But can Mika really have it all—love, her daughter, the life she’s always wanted? Or will Mika’s deceptions ultimately catch up to her? In the end, Mika must face the truth—about herself, her family, and her past—and answer the question, just who is Mika in real life?

Perfect for fans of Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age, Gayle Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and Rebecca Serle’s In Five Years, Mika in Real Life is at once a heart-wrenching and uplifting novel that explores the weight of silence, the secrets we keep, and what it means to be a mother.

In this brilliant new novel by from Emiko Jean, the author of the New York Times bestselling young adult novel Tokyo Ever After, comes a whip-smart, laugh-out-loud funny, and utterly heartwarming novel about motherhood, daughterhood, and love—how we find it, keep it, and how it always returns. (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

Olivia and I really enjoyed reading her book Tokyo Ever After and are curious to read another book from her that is separate from that series.

Goodreads | The Storygraph

August 23rd, 2022

Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang.

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation — also known as Babel.

Babel is the world’s center of translation and, more importantly, of silver-working: the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation through enchanted silver bars, to magical effect. Silver-working has made the British Empire unparalleled in power, and Babel’s research in foreign languages serves the Empire’s quest to colonize everything it encounters.

Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, is a fairytale for Robin; a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge serves power, and for Robin, a Chinese boy raised in Britain, serving Babel inevitably means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to sabotaging the silver-working that supports imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide: Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? What is he willing to sacrifice to bring Babel down?

Babel — a thematic response to The Secret History and a tonal response to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell — grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of translation as a tool of empire. (Source)

Why We Want to Read This Book

I absolutely love the concept of this – training in languages during the 1800s. The dark academia vibes. And I think this book would be an amazing buddy read due to it’s popularity already, even before it is out! So looking forward to this one and I can’t wait to get a copy.

September

Goodreads | The Storygraph

September 6th, 2022

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson

New York Times bestselling author Tiffany D. Jackson ramps up the horror and tackles America’s history and legacy of racism in this suspenseful YA novel following a biracial teenager as her Georgia high school hosts its first integrated prom.

When Springville residents—at least the ones still alive—are questioned about what happened on prom night, they all have the same explanation . . . Maddy did it.

An outcast at her small-town Georgia high school, Madison Washington has always been a teasing target for bullies. And she’s dealt with it because she has more pressing problems to manage. Until the morning a surprise rainstorm reveals her most closely kept secret: Maddy is biracial. She has been passing for white her entire life at the behest of her fanatical white father, Thomas Washington.

After a viral bullying video pulls back the curtain on Springville High’s racist roots, student leaders come up with a plan to change their image: host the school’s first integrated prom as a show of unity. The popular white class president convinces her Black superstar quarterback boyfriend to ask Maddy to be his date, leaving Maddy wondering if it’s possible to have a normal life.

But some of her classmates aren’t done with her just yet. And what they don’t know is that Maddy still has another secret . . . one that will cost them all their lives. (Source)

 

Why We Want to Read This Book

 
We were hooked when we saw another Tiffany D. Jackson book to be released later this year. Just say her name and we will show up with excitement.
 
But, my gosh. When we saw the cover, and we got MAJOR Carrie retelling vibes, we knew this had to be prioritized. I am not quite sure how we are going to wait until September to read it, but if you’re as thrilled as we are, it’s ok — we can make it! Just a couple of months to go!
 

September 27th, 2022

Spells for Lost Things by Jenna Evans Welch

From the New York Times bestselling author of Love & Gelato comes a poignant and romantic novel about two teens trying to find their place in the world after being unceremoniously dragged to Salem, Massachusetts, for the summer.
 
Willow has never felt like she belonged anywhere and is convinced that the only way to find a true home is to travel the world. But her plans to act on her dream are put on hold when her aloof and often absent mother drags Willow to Salem, Massachusetts, to wrap up the affairs of an aunt Willow didn’t even know she had. An aunt who may or may not have been a witch.
 
There, she meets Mason, a loner who’s always felt out of place and has been in and out of foster homes his entire life. He’s been classified as one of the runaways, constantly searching for ways to make it back to his mom; even if she can’t take care of him, it’s his job to try and take care of her. Isn’t it?
 
Naturally pulled to one another, Willow and Mason set out across Salem to discover the secret past of Willow’s mother, her aunt, and the ambiguous history of her family. During all of this, the two can’t help but act on their natural connection. But with the amount of baggage between them—and Willow’s growing conviction her family might be cursed—can they manage to hold onto each other? (Source)
 

Why We Want to Read This Book

 
Love & Gelato, anyone?
We absolutely loved the book and we were thrilled to see an upcoming new release from Jenna Evans Welch! During Summer and Fall we really love to settle into thrillers, and we feel like a contemporary YA romance during spooky season will be a good addition to the mix. We love the promise of visiting Salem, Massachusetts, and the incorporation of an unknown family history and uncovering mysteries within!
 
Olivia and I cannot wait!

October 4th, 2022

Jackal by Erin E. Adams

A young Black girl goes missing in the woods outside her white Rust Belt town. But she’s not the first—and she may not be the last. . . .
 
It’s watching.
 
Liz Rocher is coming home . . . reluctantly. As a Black woman, Liz doesn’t exactly have fond memories of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a predominantly white town. But her best friend is getting married, so she braces herself for a weekend of awkward and passive-aggressive reunions. Liz has grown, though; she can handle whatever awaits her. But on the day of the wedding, somewhere between dancing and dessert, the bride’s daughter, Caroline, goes missing—and the only thing left behind is a piece of white fabric covered in blood.
 
It’s taking.
 
As a frantic search begins, with the police combing the trees for Caroline, Liz is the only one who notices a pattern: a summer night. A missing girl. A party in the woods. She’s seen this before. Keisha Woodson, the only other Black girl in school, walked into the woods with a mysterious man and was later found with her chest cavity ripped open and her heart missing. Liz shudders at the thought that it could have been her, and now, with Caroline missing, it can’t be a coincidence. As Liz starts to dig through the town’s history, she uncovers a horrifying secret about the place she once called home. Children have been going missing in these woods for years. All of them Black. All of them girls.
 
It’s your turn.
 
With the evil in the forest creeping closer, Liz knows what she must do: find Caroline, or be entirely consumed by the darkness. (Source)
 

Why We Want to Read This Book

 
Reading the synopsis, I am hooked into Erin E. Adams’ debut novel already. It is so haunting and compelling. Just looking at the italic font sends shivers up my spine! That is exactly the mood we are seeking going into October. I literally want to start reading it right now because I need to know what happened to Caroline!? Caroline, where are you!?
 

December

Goodreads | The Storygraph

December 13th, 2022

A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar

Adiba Jaigirdar, author of one of Time‘s Best YA books of all time, gives Titanic an Ocean’s 8 makeover in a heist for a treasure aboard the infamous ship that sank in the Atlantic many years ago.
 
A thief. An artist. A acrobat. An actress. While Josefa, Emilie, Hinnah, and Violet seemingly don’t have anything in common, they’re united in one goal: stealing the Rubaiyat, a jewel-encrusted book aboard the RMS Titanic that just might be the golden ticket to solving their problems.
 
But careless mistakes, old grudges, and new romance threaten to jeopardize everything they’ve worked for and put them in incredible danger when tragedy strikes. While the odds of pulling off the heist are slim, the odds of survival are even slimmer . . .
 
Perfect for fans of Stalking Jack the Ripper and Girl in the Blue Coat, this high-seas heist from the author of The Henna Wars is an immersive story that makes readers forget one important detail— the ship sinks. (Source)
 

Why We Want to Read This Book

This sounds super awesome! Count us in! We’re looking forward to seeing these four women in action and exactly how they are going to pull this off!

 
We have not yet read a book by Adiba Jaigirdar but are definitely looking forward to it!

QOTD

How do you decide on your most anticipated reads?
Let us know!