Photo Challenge #21 / Wanderlust

20220514ma_0643“Looking Across the River” / Theme: Wanderlust

A little about this photo…

One of my favorite vacation things-to-do is to visit historic sites. These historic pilgrimages definitely qualify for “wanderlust” in me! This is the view of Fort Niagara at the mouth of the Niagara River. I’ve never been. But seeing this fort makes me want to go visit. Maybe one of these days…

 


THIS 2022 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGEThis year is my fifth year of doing this challenge! (I began in 2018.) For more information about the list of prompts for this year, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2022picoftheweek

PB Review / Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess

logprincessBook: The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess (2021)
Author/Illustrator: Tom Gauld
Genre: Picture Book

Opening Lines of the Book…
Once there lived a king and queen who happily ruled a pleasant land, but they had no children.

MY THOUGHTS…

This is an original fairy tale. It features a King and Queen who want children. They end up with a son (the robot) and a daughter (the log princess). But, this being a fairy tale, things don’t go well. Being a fairy tale, the log princess turns into a log every night until you say the magic words.

Really, it’s a lovely story about a brother and sister. They work together to get out of their predicament. One of my favorite parts is when the author hints at all the adventures they have which we don’t exactly see. Like meeting the Magic Pudding or the Lady in a Bottle. There are actually two of these sections in the book. As a kid, I would have LOVED this because it meant I could make up my own story with the two characters.

Tom Gauld’s illustrations are quite wonderful. I love the detail and everything. The beetles are adorable! I would recommend this book to those who love fairy tales or any type of adventure story. And who doesn’t love a fairy tale or adventure story?

Thank you @KimALarson7 for recommending this book to me!

 


12-PBs-May

12 CHALLENGE

12 months to read 12 books recommended by 12 friends…

This picture book review is part of a monthly challenge I’ve set for myself. I’ve asked my friends on Twitter to recommend picture books they’ve enjoyed reading (published within the past 3 years). I will choose to feature one each month.

Note: The original 12 Challenge isn’t necessarily just for picture books. But I’ve set it up this way for my own challenge.

Review / The Shattered Castle

20220428ma_0584Book: The Shattered Castle (2021)
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Genre: MG, Fantasy
Series: The Ascendance Series, The False Prince #5

Opening lines from the book …
Throughout the year, I’d faced death more times than I could count, fought a war, endured the loss of my parents, and survived torture, cruelty, and multiple insults in the form of overcooked meat at the supper table. I thought that I had already faced the worst of anything this world might offer. Then Lady Batilda Lamont came to the castle. Imogen’s mother.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) Have I mentioned that King Jaron has such a great voice? Of course, I have. And it’s still true.

2) This book takes place pretty much in the castle at Drylliad. As promised in the preceding book, we get a castle under occupation. We get plenty of scenes in dungeons and lots of people (okay, mostly the king) in disguise.

3) And if you are looking forward to Jaron getting whipped and beaten up, you will not be disappointed. Yes, it happens in EVERY single book. (Not my favorite parts, but I do like his resolve. My favorite part is in this book when he’s in his own dungeon and his guard … well, I’ll leave you to read that part for yourself.)

4) I will say that I really enjoyed the little twist with regards to Imogen’s mother. Really, you will not appreciate it until you read these books.

5) There’s also a really cool cave in this book. And a waterfall. (If you guess that “someone” has to jump over said waterfall then … well, I won’t say what happens. What are you waiting for? Get reading this book now!)

FINAL THOUGHTS

Again, I really enjoyed these last two books in the series. (If you haven’t read the first books, you really do need to read the series in order!)

 


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Photo Challenge #20 / Starts with an M

20220512ma_0628“Memory” / Theme: Starts with an M

A little about this photo…

This locket belonged to my grandmother. That’s her photo (I think she was in her early 20s). Anyhow, this locket has a photo of my grandfather and my dad. It’s probably not the most expensive piece of jewelry I’ve ever seen. But the memories it carries mean a whole lot more. This coming week would have been her birthday. Happy heavenly birthday, Oma!

 


THIS 2022 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGEThis year is my fifth year of doing this challenge! (I began in 2018.) For more information about the list of prompts for this year, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2022picoftheweek

Review / The Captive Kingdom

20220428ma_0586Book: The Captive Kingdom (2020)
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Genre: MG, Fantasy
Series: The Ascendance Series, The False Prince #4

Opening lines from the book …
One may ask, how is the great King Jaron described by those who know him? The answer rarely includes the word “great,” unless the word to follow is “fool,” though I have also heard “disappointment,” “frustration,” and “chance that he’ll get us all killed.”

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) Jaron has such a great voice in these books! And what’s even more fun is the knowledge that he’s also a bit of an unreliable narrator. So half the fun is trying to figure out what he’s NOT telling us.

2) So fun to be back with everybody… Roden, Tobias, Imogen, Amarinda, Mott, Fink. And of course, the pirates. Who doesn’t come into the story. (Well, there are a few who stay behind in Drylliad). But we also get introduced to some new characters like …

3) A new villain in the form Captain Strick, not a woman you’d want to mess with. And then there’s one of her lackeys, the one Jaron calls Lump is great! Not to mention the poor damsel in distress, Wilta, that’s on board the ship. (Although, she’s got a firey personality behind that red hair of hers.)

4) There’s also a character that may or may not be from Jaron’s past. Not even Jaron knows for sure. (No spoilers from me.)

5) Finally, I will say that I was totally surprised to see this book at my library. I had NO idea that there was a new book in this series! To be honest, I’m kind of glad I didn’t… until now. Because I got to read these book (and the next one – but more on that next week) back-to-back. Yes, each book is technically a stand-alone book, but this one ends with a promise that there are more adventures to come. (Stay tuned for my review of Book 5 in the series.)

FINAL THOUGHTS

High praise for this whole series from me. I was a little worried that this book wouldn’t live up to the previous books, but it did not disappoint!

NOTE: Do NOT read this series out of order. If you haven’t read THE FALSE PRINCE, you need to read that one first.

 


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Photo Challenge #19 / Numbered

20220429xs_046“Number 8” / Theme: Numbered

A little about this photo…

Ever since this new building went up, I’ve noticed the interesting pillars. Then it dawned on me. It’s a roman numeral eight! VIII. Is this building number 8? 🙂

 


THIS 2022 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGEThis year is my fifth year of doing this challenge! (I began in 2018.) For more information about the list of prompts for this year, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2022picoftheweek

Review / Over the Top

20220428ma_0587Book: Over the Top (2021)
Author: Alison Hughes
Genre: MG, Contemporary

Opening lines from the book …
There was no getting away from it: the house was pink. It wasn’t a shade of coral or peach. It wasn’t pinkish. It was vivid, candy-floss, lip-gloss pink. Bright pink. Deliberately pink. In-your-face pink.

 

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) The opening lines made me cringe just as Diva (the main character) cringes. A pink house? And yet this is the one main feature that grabs her mother’s attention. Not really a spoiler: They buy the house.

2) Oh boy, her mother. What a character! She is definitely over the top. But I do love the character arc here. I mean, just the fact that she names her kids Diva and Hero! Oh, and she has a party planning business. How fun is that!

3) I loved Hero the younger brother. I like how he connects with Diva. They have such a good relationship. And he also inspires Diva with his outgoing personality. (She’s actually rather shy/quiet. The opposite of her name!)

4) The theatre angle was great. The show is The Wizard of Oz and well Diva gets quite the interesting part in the musical. Of course, she’s up against her nemesis: Miranda. Yes, not only is Miranda a bully, but she’s also Diva’s next door neighbor.

5) I totally got Diva’s reaction to her mother’s birthday “surprise.” No spoilers, but … just wow.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, I did enjoy this book. I especially related to Diva and loved watching her grow and navigate her new world. And even though it was hard, she made some good choices.

 


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Photo Challenge #18 / Cheeky

20220413ma_0529“White Squirrel!” / Theme: Cheeky

A little about this photo…

White squirrels are NOT the norm around us. So, this guy definitely caught my attention as he was climbing all around the tree. I thought it’d work for the “cheeky” prompt.

 


THIS 2022 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGEThis year is my fifth year of doing this challenge! (I began in 2018.) For more information about the list of prompts for this year, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2022picoftheweek

Review / One Kid’s Trash

20220401ma_0495Book: One Kid’s Trash (2021)
Author: Jamie Sumner
Genre: MG, Contemporary

Opening lines from the book …
The beautiful and terrible thing about having your bedroom in the basement is that you never know what time it is.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) Hugo’s the new kid in town. And it’s nice that he has a cousin to help him navigate the new school. I liked their relationship. And I like how it’s treated throughout the book. It’s not all smooth sailing.

2) This is a story that talks about garbology. Who knew there was such a thing. Anyhow, it turns out that Hugo, the MC, can look at people’s garbage and make some pretty good educated guesses about that person. It turns Hugo from a nobody into one of the more popular kids in school!

3) I liked the newsletter (i.e. student newspaper) angle. Hugo and Vij join a bunch of other kids to create the school news. Em, the student leading the charge, is pretty dedicated. And she gets frustrated with her team of not-quite-as-enthusiastic student contributors, including Hugo! Of course, you know this’ll play into the plot.

4) Then there’s the bully, Chance. He gives Hugo a hard time. I like how Hugo decides to retaliate, but that it turns out not to be the smartest move on his part. There are consequences to becoming a bully, yourself.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I enjoyed this book about a new kid finding his strength in garbology. It’s certainly not something I’ve ever read before!


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Photo Challenge #17 / Green Thumb

20220422ma_0564“Spring Garden” / Theme: Green Thumb

A little about this photo…

After quite a cold winter, it’s nice to see all the spring flowers. These are the tiny daffodils that grace our front beds. Not sure I have exactly what you’d call a green thumb (at least for indoor plants!), but I guess I have one for my outdoor plants!

 


THIS 2022 WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGEThis year is my fifth year of doing this challenge! (I began in 2018.) For more information about the list of prompts for this year, click on this link. And join me in posting your own photos every Saturday with #2022picoftheweek