Friday, August 12, 2022

Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega (Middle Grade Fantasy Book Review)

by Claribel A. Ortega
Published by Scholastic Press
on April 5, 2022
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Length: 334 pages
Ages: 8 - 12 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

A magical adventure for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers and Nevermoor, about three witchlings who must work together to do the impossible if they have any hope of earning their full powers. 

Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches. 

And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can't wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, in front of the entire town, Seven isn't placed in one of the five covens. She's a spare! 

Spare covens have fewer witches, are less powerful, and are looked down on by everyone. Even worse, when Seven and the other two Spares perform the magic circle to seal their coven and cement themselves as sisters, it doesn't work! They're stuck as Witchlings--and will never be able to perform powerful magic. 

Seven invokes her only option: the impossible task. The three Spares will be assigned an impossible task: If they work together and succeed at it, their coven will be sealed and they'll gain their full powers. If they fail... Well, the last coven to make the attempt ended up being turned into toads. Forever. 

But maybe friendship can be the most powerful magic of all...

My Thoughts:

Seven Salazar can't wait for the Blood Moon Ceremony where she and her best friend will be placed into a coven to become witches instead of just witchlings. Seven and two others, Thorn, and Seven's bully, Valley, end up as Spares, meaning they will stay witchlings, unless they can succeed at an impossible task. Even worse, Seven's best friend, Poppy, is placed into a coven and leaves Seven behind without a second thought. 
Seven will learn a lot about herself and who her friends really are as she attempts to earn her powers and a place in her magical world. 

This was a lot of fun!
There's magic, suspense, spooky atmosphere, lurking villains, and great character development with a focus on friendships.

It's based in what seems to be an entirely magic community that casts aside its 'Spares', forces them to do the 'grunt work', or worse-turns them into toads if they don't become full-fledged witches. Our MC's entire world is flipped upside when the ceremony doesn't go as planned and she becomes a Spare who must finish an impossible task to seal her fate. Seven struggles with being cast out, and alongside her bully at that, but is determined to find her place and save her world as she knows it. 

Perfect for fans of HP, The Worst Witch, or the newer Amari and the Night Brothers


Friday, August 5, 2022

Louisa June and the Nazis in the Waves by L.M. Elliott (MG Historical Fiction Book Review)

 I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Louisa June and the Nazis in the Waves
by L.M. Elliott
Published by Katherine Tegan Books
on March 22, 2022
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction
Length: 320 pages
Ages: 8 - 12 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

In this moving and timeless story, award-winning author L.M. Elliott captures life on the U.S. homefront during World War II, weaving a rich portrait of a family reeling from loss and the chilling yet hopeful voyage of fighting for what matters, perfect for fans of The War That Saved My Life.

Days after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Hitler declared war on the U.S., unleashing U-boat submarines to attack American ships. Suddenly, the waves outside Louisa June's farm aren't for eel-fishing or marveling at wild swans or learning to skull her family's boat--they're dangerous, swarming with hidden enemies. 

Her oldest brothers' ships risk coming face-to-face with U-boats. Her sister leaves home to weld Liberty Boat hulls. And then her daddy, a tugboat captain, and her dearest brother, Butler, are caught in the crossfire. 

Her mama has always swum in a sea of melancholy, but now she really needs Louisa June to find moments of beauty or inspiration to buoy her. Like sunshine-yellow daffodils, good books, or news accounts of daring rescues of torpedoed passengers. 

Determined to help her Mama and aching to combat Nazis herself, Louisa June turns to her quirky friend Emmett and the indomitable Cousin Belle, who has her own war stories--and a herd of cats--to share. In the end, after a perilous sail, Louisa June learns the greatest lifeline is love. 

My Thoughts:

Louisa June and her siblings live what Louisa's big brother, Butler, would have called an idyllic life, all together on a family farm nestled on the coast of Virginia. Louisa's mom grows daffodils to sell at market, her father captains a tugboat, and her siblings are finding their way, ready to head off to college. Except that it's the 1940's and war has descended upon the U.S.
Just four days after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Germany declared war on the United States, sending U-boat submarines to take out as many oil tankers, freighters, and other vessels along the East Coast as they could. When Louisa June's father and brother, Butler, are caught in the crossfire, Louisa must step up, take on more responsibilities, and fight to keep her mother's spirits up, all while eager to fight the Nazis herself.

Focused on a little-known bit of WWII history pertaining to the U.S, this heartwarming middle-grade story features a happy, loving family that is directly affected by the Nazi submarines that terrorized the East Coast of the U.S. 
Despite the focus on war and the disaster that torpedoes brings to the coastal communities, this is a magnificently positive story that finds the light and hope (and poetic beauty) in every little moment of every day. Louisa June is a brave and resourceful character that is always willing to help and finds every opportunity to tackle and turn around her mother's occasional melancholy and bring her family together.

This middle-grade novel is well-researched and includes extra information on the events mentioned in this book in the author's note at the end of the story.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy!
This was such an enjoyable read!


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Kids Cook Dinner by Deanna F. Cook (Children's Nonfiction Cookbook Review)

 We received a temporary digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Kids Cook Dinner:
23 Healthy, Budget-Friendly Meals
from the best-selling Cooking Class series
by Deanna F. Cook
Published by Storey Publishing
on August 2, 2022
Genre: Children's Nonfiction, Cookbooks
Length: 64 pages
Ages: 8 - 12 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

It's kids' cooking night--and they're in charge of making dinner!

This selection of 25 easy, budget-friendly dinner recipes from the best-selling Cooking Class series teaches kids how to make tasty, healthy meals with easy-to-follow step-by-step photos. With instructions on basic cooking skills, like chopping vegetables and stir-frying, grocery shopping, and kitchen safety, Kids Cook Dinner offers aspiring chefs ages 8 to 12 everything they need to know to successfully put a healthy, homecooked meal on the table that the whole family will love. 

Our Thoughts:

Kids Cook Dinner is perfect for those apt children who love helping in the kitchen and have their minds set on making dinner ALL BY THEMSELVES!

My own Little has been helping us in the kitchen for years and is always thinking up new meals she can make for us and asking to cook alone. We've browsed so many children's cookbooks and have tried so many recipes but nearly all of them require the help of a parent.
Kids Cook Dinner not only shares twenty-five easy-to-make, budget-friendly meals, but it starts out teaching and showing kids everything they need to know about getting started, kitchen safety, food safety, how to budget for and buy groceries at the best price, how to build a nutritional meal, and more so that they can confidently create a meal for themselves or their family. 

This cookbook includes a fantastic array of recipes for delicious snacks and meals that are loved by many. Photographs paired with step-by-step instructions help kids successfully maneuver cooking on their own.
The 'Think Spring Rolls' are perfect for this time of year but our favorite from this book (and the Cooking Class series altogether) is the beef empanadas! Sooo good! 

I personally loved how much great "adulting" information there is in this book! If you want your children to grow up well-rounded and independent enough to safely cook for themselves and others, this is the perfect addition to your household library!


Monday, August 1, 2022

LazyDayLit's AUGUST 2022 TBR & Reading Goals

Hello August! 

We are 'back to (home)school' this month so I expect to read less than I did over the summer but I still have plenty of books on my TBR that I'm hoping I can make time for! 

Here are my August hopefuls:

For Review

Many thanks to Sourcebooks, Alfred K. Knopf, Aladdin Books, and Atria Books. 

Borrowed Books

From My Shelves:

What are you most looking forward to reading this month?

You can keep up with what I end up reading over on Bookstagram @LazyDayLit


Sunday, July 31, 2022

LazyDayLit's JULY 2022 Reading WrapUp & Challenge Progress


Hello readers! 

July was another month filled with graphic novels & audiobooks and I ended up reading 20 books in all for the second month in a row! 

We had a lot of excess heat and lightning storms in July which kept us inside reading or playing family games most days but it was also a really good month with a camping trip, a beach day, and lots of swimming. 
We've also been prepping for our third year of homeschooling and I'm looking forward to all the new stories and nonfiction resources we will use. I may attempt to keep a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly update on our homeschool and KidLit reads here on the blog but that really depends on how much time I set aside! Blogging has taken the backburner this year but I'm still sharing our reads over on instagram! 

Did you get any extra reads in over the summer?




Started But Haven't Finished




20 / 26

JAN: +7
C, E, G, H, L, N, V

FEB: +5
A, B, M, P, R

MAR: +2
F, W

APR: +1

MAY: +2
O, S

JUNE: +1

JULY: +2
I, U

It's In His Kiss
Ugly Love

BookRiot's READ HARDER Challenge

JAN: 1/24
FEB: 4/24
MAR: 4/24
APR: 4/24
MAY: 5/24
JUNE: 6/24

JULY: + 3

7. Read a romance where the protagonist is over 40:
Lore Olympus Vol 2 (Hades is 2000+ yrs old)

16. Recommended by a friend with different reading tastes:
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

21. A queer retelling of a classic in the canon, fairytale, folklore, or myth:
The Girl From the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag

The52BookClub Reading Challenge

18 / 52

JAN: +5
FEB: +3
MAR: +1
APR: +2
MAY: +2
JUNE: +2

JULY: +3

2. Featuring a library or bookstore:
The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

17. Picked based on the spine:
On A Sunbeam

21. Published by Simon & Schuster:
Ugly Love

PopSugar Reading Challenge

Jan: 4 / 40
Feb: 7 / 40
Mar: +1 = 8/40
Apr: +0 = 8 / 40
May: +2 = 10/40
JUNE: +5 = 15/40


Jillian Tamaki
Mariko Tamaki
T. Kingfisher
Peng Shepherd
Molly Knox Ostertag
L.M. Elliott
Rio Youers
Colleen Hoover
Thi Bui
Gwenda Bond
Hester Fox
Tillie Walden

And that's about it for stats!

Happy reading! 


Friday, July 1, 2022

LazyDayLit's JULY 2022 TBR & Reading Goals

Hello July!

I read twenty books in June thanks to a new library card & too much rain/heat to spend much time outdoors. I'm hoping for a similar month but also need to catch up on reviews and stuff so I may take it easy, depending on my mood and how much of an escape I need, I suppose.

What has been your favorite book to escape into so far this year?


For Review

 Many thanks to Katherine Tegan Books, Little Brown Books, & William Morrow for these review reads! 

Borrowed Books

Graphic Novels:

What are you most looking forward to reading this month?

You can keep up with what I end up reading over on Bookstagram @LazyDayLit