Tuesday, March 31, 2020

March 2020 Reading Wrap Up

Goodbye March!
This month has been stressful. I had a hard time concentrating on anything. It took me all month to finish Station Eleven and I could not start anything new while reading it because my attention span has suffered thanks to CV19. I think my reviewing has suffered a bit through this as well but here's all my stats!

Books I Finished in March:

Chapter Books I Read Aloud:

Started but didn't finish (yet):

March Reviews:

Picture Books
How To Read A Book by Kwame Alexander
We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
How to Catch A Dinosaur by Adam Wallace
How to Catch A Dragon by Adam Wallace
The Bad Seed by Jory John
The Cool Bean by Jory John
Stick and Stone Beth Ferry
Tree Song by Tiffany Stone

Children's Nonfiction
Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor by Patricia Valdez
How to Make A Better World by Keilly Swift

NatGeo Readers: Susan B. Anthony by Kitson Jazyncka
StarWars: Be More Leia by Christian Blauvelt
Coral Reefs by Gail Gibbons

Other Fiction
Born A Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
The Conference of the Birds by Ransom Riggs

Challenge Progress:

ABC Challenge
Read Q & S

Beat the Backlist / Tackle My TBR
Station Eleven
Queen of the Sea

New Release Challenge

No new releases read this month.
PopSugar Reading Challenge

1001 Books to Read Before You Grow Up List
7 in February
2 in March
What Do People Do All Day?


I love music. Music heals.
I'm always on the lookout for something new and would like to keep track somewhere besides my bujo so here are my latest faves!

links to youtube

Gloria  by  The Midnight
Sunset  by  The Midnight
Phoenix  by  Rhye
Feel Your Weight  by  Rhye

Here's to hoping that April is not as bad as predicted.
Stay safe, my friends!
Happy reading!


Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Sunday Post - 2020 Week 13 - Stay At Home

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
and is a chance to share news, both new and old!

Hey there, bloggers!

How's everyone doing? Stir crazy yet?
It's getting crazier out there and I'm in Florida so that's saying something. The local groups are all sharing their 10+ people boat parties and kids' corona parties (as if treating this like chickenpox is a grand idea). People asking where to take their infants out to play or swim. People licking things in public to prove a point?! 
I'm just over here shaking my head.
I'm missing my outdoor adventures but I'm lucky to have a yard and a garden to play in. That and yoga are saving my sanity. We've got dandelions starting to sprout up and lots of veggies started but we're in a drought and it's been extra hot this week so I have to water often. 

This whole ordeal has changed quite a bit in our daily routine and I spent the week sorting it out rather than reading or writing so I have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to reviews! I'm making the rounds around the blogs now since I didn't have a moment last week!

New to our shelves:
One good thing from all this is the Amazon Kindle freebies! I've been seeing a lot of popular authors sharing their children's books. 
Here are a few I've come across in the past day or so! 
These were free at time of posting!

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate Dicamillo

My First I Can Read! series
Pete the Cat's Train Trip (Amazon)

Clark the Shark and the Big Book Report (Amazon)
Digger the Dinosaur (Amazon)
Biscuit in the Garden (Amazon)

Currently Reading:

I'm still struggling to read anything but kid lit but I'm determined to spend a chunk of today finishing Station Eleven and I plan on reading The Invisible Man next.

Recently Posted Reviews:

I posted Coral Reefs by Gail Gibbons on World Water Day last Sunday and finally got around to finishing up my review of The Conference of the Birds by Ransom Riggs but otherwise haven't had time to write a lot!

What I'm Watching:

So this show is all anyone is talking about around here right now so I started it and wow. I don't usually watch stuff like this but it's set in Florida and has its particular brand of crazy. Plus big cats.

Happy reading!


Friday, March 27, 2020

The Conference of the Birds (Miss Peregrine's #5) by Ransom Riggs (YA Fantasy Book Review)

The Conference of the Birds
(Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series #5)
by Ransom Riggs
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers
on January 14, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Length: 400 pages
Ages: 12 - 17 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

"Do you trust me?"

An instant bestseller, A Map of Days launched readers into the previously unexplored world of American peculiars, one bursting with new questions, new allies, and new adversaries.

Now, with enemies behind him and the unknown ahead, Jacob Portman's story continues as he takes a brave leap forward into The Conference of the Birds, the next installment of the beloved, bestselling Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children trilogy for its mixture of historical fiction, fantasy, and horror and for its unique addition of peculiar photographs. I loved the story and the peculiar characters and was so excited when I heard about a second trilogy in the works. I loved the new direction that A Map of Days took Jacob in, taking us the Americas where Jacob saves a highly sought-after peculiar named Noor. His actions change the direction of the original trilogy to something new altogether and I'm eager to see how it's going to finish up!

I remember starting A Map of Days and thinking that it was like coming back to an old friend; or a group of friends, really. I hadn't realized how much I had missed these peculiar characters.

In The Conference of the Birds, the fate of all peculiars seems to hang in the balance. Jacob must gather his old friends to keep Miss Peregrine and the other embrynes safe. And Noor as well.

I especially like the direction the author has taken with this new trilogy. I feel like he had a total change of heart about the story and Jacob reflects that. His attachments and friendships change and Jacob starts making his own choices, even though they go against what Miss Peregrine and his friends want. I also appreciate that this book points out the problematic eras of American history.


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Coral Reefs by Gail Gibbons (Children's Nonfiction Picture Book Review)

Coral Reefs
Written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons
Published by Holiday House
on November 12, 2019
Genre: Children's, Nonfiction, Science
Length: 32 pages
Ages: 4 - 8 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

What is life like in a coral reef? What do corals eat? Why are corals more colorful at nighttime? Learn about some of the most beautiful locations in the natural world. 

Marine biologists believe coral reefs existed 400 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Today this active environment is home to about 20,000 kinds of brilliantly colored corals, plants, and animals--more sea creatures than are found anywhere else in the world. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is so large that astronauts can see it from outer space! Children in early elementary grades will enjoy Gibbon's informative text and clear, detailed illustrations on this journey into the unique lives of coral reefs.

Our Thoughts:

 Learn everything there is to know about coral reefs in this beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book!

In this new and updated edition, Gail Gibbons has featured important facts about the many different kinds of coral reefs, from where they are found and what temperatures they live in, to the different reef zones, how they are threatened, and more. 

Each page is filled with colorful corals, fish, and other sea dwellers, all neatly labeled so that there is plenty to explore and learn!

The text is simple and separated by boxes but there's plenty of extra facts thrown in along with the labels of each type of coral and sea creatures so that there is a plethora of information to absorb on each and every page! 

The Sunday Post - 2020 Week 12 - Crazy Train

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
and is a chance to share news, both new and old!

Hey there, readers!

In some semblance of normality, 
Happy World Water Day!

But also, wtf.
I feel like we're in some absolutely twisted alternate reality right now. I mean, what kind of toxins are they putting in the water these days? Is this a dream? I'm just plotting my next never-to-be-finished novel, right? Oh wait, this is real life. It feels like a warzone because it's not 'just the flu' for some of us and people still have jobs to go to and families to return to.
How did we go from 'oh, this is a hoax' to 'up to 18 months, definitely going to be a recession now, probably another great depression? How are you all coping with this?

My week was pretty basic but also really busy.
 I braved going out to vote and even though I wasn't able to go early, it was empty except for one other voter. Florida will probably have a super low voter turnout because of this virus. Everyone was either panic shopping or living it up Spring Break style at the beaches. Yes, they're still open. Apparently,our government officials didn't see the need to stop massive Spring Break gatherings during a serious pandemic. Yay! 

Also, gardening. Lots and lots of gardening. It's the only thing grounding me right now.  I miss my adventures but for the good of the country I'm going to stay tf home. I hope you'll all do the same!
Stay safe and happy reading!

Currently Reading:

IS anyone reading right now? I wish I could but I have too much to worry about. 

Recently Finished:

Yeah, no.

Recently Posted Reviews:

The Cool Bean (Bad Seed #3) by Jory John
Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry
Tree Song by Tiffany Stone
Coral Reefs by Gail Gibbons

What I'm Watching:

The world go to shit from my phone.

On a positive note, I'm thankful to all those making this a little easier by offering up free ebooks and learning resources for all the kids out of school right now. Our local library hasn't added any digital material for children to their Overdrive or Libby during all of this and we're too at risk to do the curbside pickup so I'm extra thankful for Scholastic's BookFlix right now. It has popular animated picture books paired with children's nonfiction and my kiddo is loving all the extra storytime!
There's also a ton of free Sesame Street books on the Kindles Freebies list right now!

What I'm Listening To:
Ozzy's 'Crazy Train' keeps playing in my head lately. 

Also, some super chill, relaxing music from Aphex Twin that always always relaxes me when I listen to it. I hope it helps!


'Stone in Focus'

Have a good one!


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Tree Song by Tiffany Stone (Children's Picture Book Review)

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

Tree Song
Written by Tiffany Stone
Art by Holly Hatam
Published by Annick Press
on April 2018
Genre: Children's, Picture Books
Length: 32 pages
Ages: 4 - 7 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Listen to the music of the trees. This joyful book follows the life cycle of a tree as it grows from seedling to mature tree and finally gives way to a new sapling. At every stage of the tree's life, children are seen playing under its branches. Each season brings with it new sounds, whether it's the chirping of birds in the spring or the flitter flutter of leaves in the fall. As well as a home for animals, the tree provides a canopy for a summer picnic and a perfect place to hang a swing. Most important of all, when old age fells the tree, it provides an acorn from which a new tree will grow. Colorful illustrations with lots of small details will capture the attention of young readers, while the lyrical text makes this an ideal read-aloud book. It can also serve as the perfect introduction to nature's life cycles.

Our Thoughts:

Tree Song is a beautiful lyrical poem paired with soft but detailed illustrations of children in outdoor settings in every season and the lifecycle of trees, starting with a seed.

It begins with the wind blowing seeds (acorns) from the trees, and as the seasons pass, the seed sprouts and grows into a sapling and eventually an oak tree. The forest teems with life and the trees sing for those willing to listen.

This is a celebration of trees and their beauty throughout the seasons as well as the life cycle of trees and their importance to us. 

I really enjoyed this as a read-aloud. It was calming and almost meditative in its rhythm and somehow made me feel like I was right in the middle of a magical season-changing forest listening to the wind blowing in the leaves!

My kiddo thinks this should be my new favorite picture book because I love trees and their 'song'. She enjoyed learning that acorns are seeds that can grow into trees!


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry & Tom Lichtenheld (Children's Picture Book Review)

Stick and Stone
Written by Beth Ferry
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
on April 7, 2015
Genre: Children's, Picture Books
Length: 40 pages
Ages: 4 - 8 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor?

Author Beth Ferry makes a memorable debut with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand. New York Times bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld imbues Stick and Stone with energy, emotion, and personality to spare.


Our Thoughts:
Stone resembles a zero and Stick resembles a one. Both are alone but along comes Pinecone who bullies Stone. Stick does what sticks do best and sticks up for Stone. A friendship quickly grows between the two. Then a storm blows Stick away and Stone goes on a rescue mission to find his best friend!

Stick and Stone is a super sweet story about two lonely beings that quickly become friends who help each other out when they're in trouble. It has strong and easy to understand lessons about bullying and friendship.

Told in a short and simple but fun rhyming prose, this is a great picture book for early readers. The sentences are short with no more than four to six words in each and include some onomatopoeia.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Cool Bean (Bad Seed #3) by Jory John & Pete Oswald (Children's Picture Book Review)

The Cool Bean
(Bad Seed #3)
Written by Jory John
Illustrated by Pete Oswald
Published by HarperCollins
on December 3, 2019Genre: Children's, Picture Books
Length: 40 pages
Ages: 4 - 8 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository


Everyone knows the cool beans. They're sooooo cool.

And then there's the uncool has-bean...

Always on the sidelines, one bean unsuccessfully tries everything he can to fit in with the crowd--until one day the cool beans show him how it's done.

With equal measures of humor, wit, and charm, the #1 NewYork Times bestselling duo Jory John and Pete Oswald craft another incredible picture book, reminding us that it's cooler to be kind.

Our Thoughts:

The Cool Bean
is about a cute little garbanzo bean that finds himself feeling like he doesn't quite compare to the 'cool beans'. They used to be like peas in a pod but they grew apart and now this little bean is feeling like a 'has-bean'. He notices something about the cool beans though. They really are cool, and kind, and helpful, and once he turns his perspective around, he realizes he can be just as cool. 

When I first read the synopsis for this I thought it was going to be about bullying but it's actually kind of the opposite. The 'cool beans' in this story are role models and help this little bean find his confidence to fit in and be kind and helpful to others. 

This series is so great. I love the mental health themes that the picture books in this series touch on. Seed learns to shed his bad rep by making good choices. Egg learns not to let others get under his shell and how to self-heal. Bean learns that self-confidence and kindness are contagious. 

This is a great new take on the 'be kind' trope. There are lots of great puns and humor that will appeal to both children and adults. 

More from this series:

The Bad Seed
The Good Egg


Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Sunday Post - 2020 Week 11 - CoronaVirus

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
and is a chance to share news, both new and old!

Hey there, bloggers!

I feel like it's been so much longer than a week but maybe that's because I have plenty to share. Fun stuff first?
We had a great adventure last weekend where we saw mermaids and a manatee and a bunch of other wildlife. My mini-me got to hold a turtle and pet a snake so she was in heaven.
We went swimming at the springs and I braved a tourist season book sale.
 Other than that, we've been doing a lot of gardening and fun nature science activities and crafts. We also painted an oak tree mural on our glass door and it matches the lovely bright greenery outside. I love it.

In other news, every single post on my Facebook feed  (and everywhere else) is about the coronavirus this week, which is understandable. I'm glad I haven't had to go shopping because from what I'm hearing it's pure madness out there. It's like hurricane season but weirder.  Of course, all the locals are on the 'it's all a hoax' train so I'm just going to stay cautious and avoid the world for a couple of months or more. As usual.

How are you all holding up during all of this? Are you staying home with your books?

Currently Reading:

I just started Poldark #5 despite that I already have so many other current reads. I needed something I could easily get lost in and I'm already familiar with the characters and setting.
I'm having a hard time focusing on anything else right now with everything going on, but hopefully, I'll finish some of these this week! 

Recently Finished:Nothing. I've been too busy to read or write!

Chapter Books We've Finished Recently:

Recently Posted Reviews:

We read and reviewed two 'How to Catch' books from Adam Wallace and Andy ElkertonHow to Catch A Dinosaur and How to Catch A Dragon.  Am I terrible for thinking that their next book should be 'How To Catch A Virus'?!

I reviewed a Nat Geo Reader, Susan B. Anthony by Kitson Jazyncka for the publisher and a novelty StarWars book, Be More Leia: Find Your Rebel Voice and Fight the System by Christian Blauvelt.

I also finally got my review of The Bad Seed by Jory John and Pete Oswald up! This is the first in the trilogy that includes The Good Egg and The Cool Bean.

What I'm Watching:
Still finishing up The Walking Dead.
My mini and I watched Disney's Pocahontas after finishing the junior novelization.

What I'm Listening To:

'Gloria' by The Midnight
I shared another song by The Midnight last week and have since discovered this other track that I can't get out of my head now. It's upbeat and has major 80's vibes.

Have a great week! Stay safe!
Happy reading!