book review MG fiction

Dear Sweet Pea: an ARC Review

Did you love Dumplin’? Me too. Dear Sweet Pea is Julie Murphy’s first Middle Grade book.

Patricia “Sweet Pea” DiMarco is having a bit of a rough year. Her parents are getting divorced, she’s got friend drama in middle school and on top of all that she starts answering letters written to her neighbor’s advice column.(without permission)


  • I’m a sucker for a cute cat and her cat Cheese and all his antics made me smile.
  • I Love how hard her parents try to make things okay for her, when they just can’t fix the way things have to be now.
  • Giggled at her parents’ attempt to keep things “normal” by living in twin houses on the same street. Weird, yet endearing.
  • Oscar- the best of best friends

This is a quick, easy read for the middle school reader in your world. As always, Julie models lots of body positivity and her characters have authentic reactions to their circumstances which is always awesome for this age of readers to see and hopefully emulate.

Two thumbs way up! You’ll have to wait a while for this one as right now I see the publish date as October 1, 2019.

book review fiction

Meet Me in Monaco: ARC Review

This story was a breath of fresh air. It’s a perfect beach read although I’m just imagining that part as I read it during a snowy April weekend.. It may pull me straight into the historical romance genre. Is that a thing? I should check. Anyway,
I loved this story that I thought would be about the wedding of Grace Kelly and her Prince.

Instead James the photographer and Sophie the perfumer are in the forefront of this story that reads like the script of Roman Holiday or some other classic Hollywood flick. In a way both James and Sophie are alchemists and I loved the detailed descriptions of both of their arts.

The entire love story of James and Sophie captivated me. Grace Kelly turns out to be a bit of a fairy godmother in this tale of second chance love and I could picture the Cote d Azure setting perfectly in my minds eye.

If you are looking for a delightful grown up fairy tale that has a satisfying surprise ending this book is for you.

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

July 23, 2019

book review picture book

The Hug: A book review

My youngest child is 13 years old and we still sometimes end up with new picture books on our shelves. This flippable book is especially cute. Read from one side then flip it and read from the other side. You end up in the same spot and it is all adorable. You see, tortoise and hedgehog both just want a hug and are turned down by all the other animals until they find each other in the center of the book.

It’s a creative concept that will keep what is a short picture book in the toddler rotation much longer. I think it would be a great addition to an Easter Basket. This book is brand spanking new so you can pick it up anywhere and get that immediate gratification.

My thanks to Faber and Faber for the review copy!

The Hug by Eoin McLaughlin and Polly Dunbar

April 2, 2019

book review MG fiction

Scary Stories for Young Foxes: Book Review

The title says scary and it means it. This collection of short stories is wildlife documentary scary. If you’ve ever watched PBS and yelled for the baby animal to “Watch Out!” You’ll love this. I’ll give this warning: the stories included are dark and sometimes disturbing. I read parts to my 13 yo and he agreed that at 9 or 10 he would have had nightmares. I’d be completely fine calling this YA, but in my opinion it is not suited for kids under the age of 12. Your mileage may vary. Pre-read it if you have any doubts, by page 33 six foxes have died.

The story aside I want to talk about the actual book a little. It features excellent thick paper, and an easy to read typeface. The best part is that the interaction between foxes (hearing the story) happen on black pages with white print and the stories they are being told to foxes are on white pages with black typeface. It’s simple, and brilliant all at once.

Things I like about this story include that it is perfect for reading a little a day. I’d say bedtime, but you know- scary. The foxes personified keep you at the edge of your seat. I’ll not that one story vilifies Beatrix Potter in a way that although true never occurred to me.

In the end it all wraps up with a happy ending and I loved it.

Scary Stories For Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker

July 30, 2019

book review nonfiction

Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative In Good Times and Bad

The book everyone needs to read. Austin Kleon seems to know just what creatives want and need to hear at any given time. Mostly because he is in the trenches with us trying to figure it all out too. Reading his books is like bouncing ideas around with a good friend. It is rather one sided though. 🙂

I requested this book from my library and it was in my inbox this morning much earlier than when Amazon will deliver my print copy this afternoon. I don’t feel like waiting to review/post after my quick five a.m. read, so please excuse the screen shot images. These are my stand out very first impressions:

  • Permission to not be connected at all times. You may not realize how much you need to hear that. Those notifications are the enemy of your creative time.
  • Bliss Station? I’ve read The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell and a lot of of what David Thoreau has to say and missed this concept in all the places it is mentioned. You’ll need to pick up Keep Going to get Austin’s entire take on the concept but I’ve created a spot like that in my home without realizing that’s what I was doing. I call it my writing nest, but it is a bliss station and my alone time in it is the best time of my day.
  • Point 7: You are allowed to Change Your Mind. Even if you don’t have an artist page social media expects you to be on brand. It’s okay to change your mind about things, have different interests, be off-brand, off line.

This book earns a complete and total thumbs up from me. I may edit and add more thoughts later, but I wanted to get my initial thoughts posted first thing this morning. So many great ideas for what to do when you get stuck, and how to go on creating while your life unfolds around you.

Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon

book review MG fiction

Dog Days in the City- Book Review

My thanks to the #KidLitExchange for this review copy. Getting books in the mail is always so fun!

This book is the sequel to An Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City which I read in 2017, not sure if that review made it over here, but I remember liking it. You can jump right into this story without reading the first book if you want to.

Animal loving kids will adore this one! Our main character Josie (and her lovely large family) are back and she has given up ballet lessons to help out at the animal shelter. Someone drops off a litter of puppies and chaos ensues. In the midst of all that her own dog is quite ill, her neighbor is moving and she has some typical middle school drama.

I’d say that kids on the younger side of middle grade will enjoy this the most, it does involve some tear inducing pet moments so be aware of that before starting it.

All in all a solid sequel. Dog Days in the City by Jodi Kendall