Saturday, May 1, 2021

May 2021 Reading Goals & TBR

 Hello May!

I can only hope that I have another good reading month because I have quite a few big books on my tbr pile this month! 
I don't have many plans otherwise except for skating more!

See what I read in April here! 

I'm starting the month reading a physical copy of The Desolations of Devil's Acre (Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children #6) by Ransom Riggs and an ecopy of My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell.

The #Bookstorians historical fiction pick for May/June is The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman and I was able to borrow a copy so I'll be starting that asap! 
I also have a few other books in from the library, including Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon and...

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve and The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben, if I can fit them in. 

I haven't chosen a graphic novel to read for the month yet but I do have a manga and some more nonfiction that I really want to get to soon!

What are you looking forward to reading in May?

Keep up with what we're reading at
@LazyDayLit & @LazyDayKidLit


Friday, April 30, 2021

April 2021 Reading Wrap up

Goodbye, April!

 April was a pretty decent month full of great books and fun adventures but I struggled with my mental health and with keeping up with my instagram and reviews thanks to my junky old laptop that finally kicked the bucket. Thankfully, I was able to replace it today and can hopefully get back into the flow of sharing! 

In my personal life:
We had several fun adventures in April, including a primitive camping trip, canoeing, swimming, and several long hikes on portions of the FL Trail. 
I also did a thing and bought rollerblades for me and quads for my Little to start skating! I haven't skated since I lost my blades 15+ years ago and though the muscle memory is still there it's basically like relearning all over again and it's quite challenging! 

We are winding down with homeschool and have been taking more outdoor field trips than anything this month. I'm not sure if we will take a summer break since we are so used to incorporating learning into our daily lives but it's nice to feel like we are almost finished! 

My garden is going well, though we did have almost all the pest problems this month. A hairy caterpillar invasion decimated my beautiful potato greenery and my avocado tree. I'm still scouring the yard for Eastern Lubber Grasshoppers that will get as big as my hand and eat everything in sight but we have an abundance of black beans, peppers, brussel sprouts, and green tomatoes right now! 
My star jasmine is prolific this year and smells amazing and I saw a rain lily pop up yesterday morning. Those little bright bursts of color make me so happy these days. 

I think that's all there is to share for now so here's my reading stats!


I loved The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate which I read for a challenge prompt but also because it is being adapted into a film (or already has?) and Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell was my historical book book club read for Mar/Apr with the #Bookstorians (on instagram). 

I read the 'A Girl Called Echo' sequential art series by Katherene Vermette while camping. 

And also started Bill Bryson's 'A Walk in the Woods' about his hike on the Appalachian Trail while camping and hiking our state trail. 

Then I flew through these fantastic adult novels, The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah about the Texan Dust Bowl and You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes, the 3rd book in the YOU series, which was adapted into a Netflix series. 

I borrowed Amanda Gorman's newly infamous poem, The Hill We Climb, from the library to read and also finished a novella called Animal Barn: A Cautionary Tale by David Spuler that I won from Goodreads. I'll have my thoughts up on all of these asap! 

Started but haven't finished:

Chapter Books Read to my Little

Challenge Progress


Mar: 12/26
Apr: 15/26

O - The One and Only Ivan
W - A Walk in the Woods
Y - You Love Me


12. A book you've seen on someone else's shelves
The One and Only Ivan
30. A book set somewhere you'd like to visit
A Walk in the Woods
33. A book featuring three generations
The Four Winds
17. A book that has the same title as a song
You Love Me


4. An author that is deceased
Beverly Cleary
13. Includes an exotic animal
The One and Only Ivan
15. Mentioned in another book
The One and Only Ivan (mentioned in The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise)
21. A book by Kristin Hannah
The Four Winds
24. A book you think should be read in schools
Animal Barn
28. Includes a historical event you know little about 
The Four Winds (The Dust Bowl)
31. Shares a similar title to another book
Animal Barn / Animal Farm

Katherine Applegate (maybe)
Maggie O'Farrell
Katherene Vermette
Bill Bryson
Amanda Gorman
David Spuler
Kate Elizabeth Russell

(My attempt at tracking settings)

[The One and Only Ivan]


[A Walk in the Woods]
Springer, Georgia
Amicolola Falls
Fontana Lake
Clingman's Dome
Rockfish Gap
Front Royal
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

[The Four Winds]

[You Love Me]
Bainbridge, Washington
Los Angeles

[Listen, Slowly]
Los Angeles, CA

1001 Children's Books to Read Before You Grow Up list

Now We Are Six
Frog and Toad are Friends
Amelia Bedelia

April: 179/1001

Ramona the Pest


What was your favorite read of the month?

Keep up with what we're reading at
@LazyDayLit & @LazyDayKidLit


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (Adult Historical Fiction Book Review)

by Maggie O'Farrell
Published by Knopf 
on July 21, 2020
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Length: 310 pages

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Literary Awards:
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction (2020)
National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction (2020)
Waterstones Book of the Year (2020)
Women's Prize for Fiction (2020)
Walter Scott Prize Nominee for Historical Fiction Shortlist (2021)

A thrilling departure: A short, piercing, deeply moving new novel from the acclaimed author of I Am, I Am, I Am, about the death of Shakespeare's eleven-year-old son Hamnet--a name interchangeable with Hamlet in fifteenth-century Britain--and the years leading up to the production of his great play. 

My Thoughts:

I joined a historical fiction book club, called the Bookstorians, on Instagram for the first time this year and this was our group's choice for Mar/April. I luckily had it on hold previously and was able to read it within the allotted time frame! I'm not sure that I would have picked this up without the book club to nudge me but I love reading out of my usual comfort zones and I'm glad I read it even though some of the content left me rather glum afterward. 

In Hamnet, a young Latin tutor (Shakespeare) falls in love with and marries the wild and beautiful Agnes (aka Anne Hathaway). 
The story is foreshadowed by the death of their son, Hamnet, who died of the plague and would become the main character of one of Shakespeare's most infamous plays. 
The real focus, though, is not on Shakespeare, who is never truly named in this book, but on his fascinating wife, Agnes, and their children. 

The author has a unique and descriptive writing style that I really enjoyed, at least once I was invested in the characters, which wasn't hard. Agnes is a bit unconventional, preferring the forest to any other place and with a knowledge of plants and herbs that people come to her for. I related to her the most.

As much as I enjoyed this, it was also a difficult read. The ending left me so so down. I was mostly ignorant of Shakespeare's life and his relationship with his wife, which was a big focus in this book, alongside the grief of losing a child, and I wasn't expecting to be so disappointed with the characters.


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Keeping A Nature Journal, 3rd Edition by Clare Walker Leslie (Nonfiction Book Review)

 I received a free ecopy of this book from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Keeping A Nature Journal
3rd Edition
by Clare Walker Leslie
Published by Storey Publishing
on April 27, 2021
Genre: Adult, Nonfiction, Art, Nature
Length: 224 pages

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Originally published in 2000 with endorsements from E.O. Wilson and Jane Goodall, Clare Walker Leslie's Keeping a Nature Journal was at the forefront of the nature observation and journaling movement. Leslie's approach has long been acclaimed for its accessible style of teaching people to see, witness, and appreciate the wonders of nature. This third edition features more of Leslie's step-by-step drawing techniques, a new selection of pages from her own journals, and an expanded range of prompts for observing particular aspects of the natural world in any location. With an emphasis on learning to see and observe, Leslie shows how drawing nature doesn't require special skills, artistic ability, or even nature knowledge, and it is a tool everyone can use to record observations and experience the benefits of a stronger connection to the natural world. 

My Thoughts:

Journaling is something I've done for most of my life and I adore art as well as being outside in nature so with all the time I spend outdoors with my child it has just come naturally to 'nature journal'. Of course, I always wonder if there are ways I can improve or include or share with my Little.

This fantastic guide introduces nature journaling, contemplates reasons to do so, and includes a plethora of fantastic ideas and examples of ways you can get out into the world and notice more or do more worth journaling about. 

Keeping A Nature Journal is absolutely packed with illustrations and doodles and sketches with notes and footnotes to help you both know what to look for but how to record it. There are tons of tips and tricks for drawing flowers, trees, birds, and more! I've already had so many new ideas for my own journal and feel a little more confident about how to go forward with my journaling.

Whether you're new to nature journaling or just looking for ideas, this helpful guide is sure to inspire!


Thursday, April 22, 2021

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (MG Book Review)


The One and Only Ivan
(The One and Only Ivan #1)
Written by Katherine Applegate
Illustrated by Patricia Castelao
Published by HarperCollins
on January 17, 2012
Genre: Children's / Middle Grade
Length: 307 pages
Ages: 8 - 12 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Literary Awards:
California Book Award for Juvenile [Gold] (2012)
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Middle Grade & Children's (2012)
SCBWI Crystal Kite Member Choice Award for CA/HA (2013)
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Nominee (2014)
Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award for Grades 3-6 (2014)
Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award Nominee (2015)
Oklahoma Sequoyah Award for Children (2015)
Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award Nominee (2015)

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks of it at all. 

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home--and his own art--through new eyes. 

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan's unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope. 

My Thoughts:

The One and Only Ivan is an old silverback gorilla that lives in a small habitat inside the Exit 8 Big Top Mall off I-95 along with a few other animals that include an elephant named Stella and a stray dog named Bob. When the owner buys a baby elephant to add to the mall, Stella asks Ivan to make a big promise, to save Ruby from the same fate as them. 

Told from Ivan's point of view, this anthropomorphic story is incredibly heartwarming (and a little tearjerking) and even more so that it's based on a true story! There really is (was?) a silverback gorilla named Ivan that was enclosed within a mall and loved to paint, just as the Ivan in this story did. 

This is a beautiful tale of friendship and selflessness. Ivan seems to be content with his life, but once Ruby comes into the picture, he realizes he wants more for her and sets about doing what he can to help save her.

This was an incredible story! I'm almost kicking myself for not reading it sooner! 

I read this for the 52BookChallenge for the 'book mentioned in another book' prompt. It's mentioned multiple times in The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart.


Friday, April 16, 2021

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (Adult Nonfiction Book Review)

A Walk in the Woods:
Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
by Bill Bryson
Published by Anchor Books
First published in 1998
Genre: Adult, Nonfiction
Length: 397 pages

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America--majestic mountain, silent forests, sparkling lakes. If you're going to take a hike, it's probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you'll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hard (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way--and a couple of bears. 

My Thoughts:

Whenever I ask for recommendations for books with settings in or about the Great Smoky Mountains or the Appalachian Mountains, 'A Walk in the Woods' is almost always mentioned. Throw in that I'm a regular outdoorsy hiker type and it's described to me as a 'must read'. 
 I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed a few years ago and really enjoyed it but it is set on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail, on the West Coast) and I'm on the East Coast and the AT has been sitting in the shadowy depths of my bucketlist for years so I definitely wanted to cross this one off of my TBR. 

I'm going to be a bit negative and POSSIBLY SPOILERY from here on out because, unfortunately, I didn't get much out of this and couldn't help but compare it to Wild, which was written by a female whom hiked a much longer distance, alone, on hardly any funds, and seemed to have more purpose to what she was doing.

Bryson starts the book with the gruesome statistics and details of others' hiking trips gone wrong; bear attacks, maulings, murders, and moonshine-addled hillfolk. Then he ropes an old friend along for the ride, paying most of his way just so he doesn't have to go alone, and makes fun of just about every other hiker he comes across (especially if they're female). They skip big portions of the trail once they realize their first week or so was only a tiny portion of the trail on the full map, and they take a cab and hang out in hotels every chance they can get. And then they go home, but the book isn't over with! Bryson rambles on about different day trips and hikes he partakes in on his own, usually to places of historical interest, sometimes droning on about the place instead of anything to do with hiking. I basically skimmed the last third of the book because I was bored. 

Overall, it seemed less about hiking (and even less about him hiking) and more about the history of the trail and gruesome events that have happened on or near it. I would definitely recommend it if you're serious about hiking the AT or like nonfiction.


Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Enchanted Egg (M.A.A.A. #2) by Kallie George (Children's Fantasy Book Review)

The Enchanted Egg
The Magical Animal Adoption Agency #2
Written by Kallie George
Illustrated by Alexandra Bolger
Published by Disney-Hyperion
on November 3, 2015
Genre: Children's, Fantasy
Length: 144 pages
Ages: 7 - 10 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

There's a new resident at the Magical Animal Adoption Agency- but this one hasn't hatched yet! 

In the second book in Kallie George's delightful illustrated chapter book series, Clover meets a jovial pair of giants, a cupcake-baking ghost, a colorful young leprechaun, and a very special magical animal; one that must be seen to be believed! 

My Thoughts:

We return to the Magical Animal Adoption Agency, this time as Mr. Jams includes a mysterious magical egg to their magical menagerie. Clover is left to care for the egg as Mr. Jams goes off in search of an egg expert and while he is away, the egg hatches! But Clover can't seem to find the creature that has hatched from it! What could the creature be? And can Clover find it before it's too late? 

We have been really enjoying Kallie George's stories!

This is a whimsical little chapter book series for young readers that includes an MC who finally seems to find her luck when she stumbles upon the Magical Animal Adoption Agency within the woods her pet bird flew off into. She volunteers, thinking that if she can't keep a pet, she might as well work with them instead!
Our favorite part of these books are the magical creatures that Clover and Mr. Jams take care of and find homes for but also sweet Clover who is always trying her best, despite her perceived bad luck. 

This is a super cute, illustrated series that is easy to follow and perfect for chapter book readers or little listeners!