Photo Challenge #16 / Hands

IMG_8770“Easter Tradition” / Theme: Hands

A little about this photo…

Hands do so much, don’t they? Here they are, dying Easter eggs for tomorrow. It’s one of my favourite Easter traditions. (I also happen to love eating hard-boiled eggs.)

And it’s fun to share this tradition with the younger generations.

THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2019picoftheweek


Review: Checked

checkedBook: Checked (2018)
Author: Cynthia Kadohata
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Basic Plot: Conor MacRae is really into hockey. Just like his dad. But then Conor’s dog Sinbad gets sick. So sick that he’s going to need chemotherapy, which will cost $7000. It will mean sacrificing some of his training, but Conor is determined to do whatever it takes to save his dog. But then there’s his dad…


1) I’m not really a hockey person, but I did enjoy that aspect of the story. I felt Kadohata dealt with all the hockey details in such a way that you don’t necessarily have to know the game.

2) I liked the bond between Conor and his dog Sinbad. I thought that was developed quite nicely. I really liked how responsible Conor was with regards to his dog.

3) Mr. Reynolds, the neighbour, was one of my favourite character. I almost felt he was under-utilized in the story. I loved all the interactions with Conor.

4) And then there are Conor’s friends: Jae-Won and Lucas especially. His hockey buddies.

5) And finally… Conor and his dad. What a great relationship! Conor’s dad is police officer, and I liked how that impacted the story.


1) At times, I felt I was swimming in alphabet soup! Sometimes, Conor would bring up people that didn’t seem to really matter to the story. It was really hard to keep track of all the hockey kids and their parents. And the coaches. I wish she had combined some of these characters. Yes, I know that it’s probably more authentic to have all these people… but in a book? We need to be able to know who’s who.

2) I felt the plot slow at times. There is actually very little conflict in the story. Conor mentions his “frenemy” Ethan, but nothing ever really happens between the two. Actually, come to think of it, there’s a lot of telling (vs. showing) in this book!

3)At the beginning of the story, there’s this great fire evacuation scene. I somehow expected [SPOILER] that this story line would carry through the book. And especially affect the climax. It did not. Which made the beginning seem like it was… unnecessary.[END SPOILER]


My rating is 3.5 Stars (out of 5) – Conor’s voice made this book. And, overall, I did enjoy it. Probably will never be my favourite story. I would definitely recommend it to readers who enjoy reading about sports.


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 #15 / A Small World

20190219ma_0350“A Colony for the Birds” / Theme: A Small World

A little about this photo…

This is just part of the tree… I love walking past and seeing all the different little birdhouses. And if you look carefully, they’re even numbered!

Bird 1: Yeah, I’m in #59 this year.
Bird 2: How did you manage to snag that one?
Bird 1: Luck of the draw.

THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2019picoftheweek

We Interrupt Your Regular Programming

This is just a quick post to let you know that there is no blog post for today! (Which is a little ironic since this is actually a blog post to tell you that there is no blog post.)

If you’ve seen my most recent Saturday Photo Challenge pic, you may have surmised that I’ve taken to the skies and have flown away from home.

It’s true. (For the time being, at least.)

This means that I’ve definitely not been reading as much as I normally do. You may have even noticed that I’ve even dropped one or two of my Thursday posts already.

I still intend to keep up with my photo challenge on Saturdays. (I have my camera!) And I’ll post book reviews when I have a chance. I’m going to do my best to do the April Middle Grade Carousel Bingo Challenge, but I’m not sure how that will go this month.

So… until next Monday (hopefully!)

Photo Challenge #14 / Clouds

IMG_8621“Clouds from Above” / Theme: Clouds

A little about this photo…

My favourite seat on an airplane is the window seat. That’s because I like to see the world below. And I always get a kick out of seeing clouds below. I thought these were interesting-looking clouds. It’s almost like they are a soft blanket of cotton.

THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2019picoftheweek

Spring Reading Bingo Challenge / March


Here’s my bingo card for Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge.

In all, I finished eight middle grade books that fit the descriptions on the bingo card. And yes, I got my bingo!

How Does It Work?

Pick your challenge, grab a book, and fill in the squares. Try and get 5 in a row, or attempt to fill in the whole sheet if you’re a speedy reader.


  1. Because this is a Middle Grade Carousel challenge, all of the books on your Bingo board should be MG reads. Find out more about Middle Grade books here.
  2. Each square needs to be filled with a unique book. You cannot use the same title more than once, even if it fits multiple themes. Choose wisely!
  3. You should only be filling in your Bingo board with books you’ve read during this month.

Here are my results… (The * means that’s the book that got me my Bingo!)

*A Book About Basketball

Basketball (or Something Like It) // by Nora Raleigh Baskin

basketballMG, Contemporary (2007)

Honestly, I found this book a tad confusing. It’s told through four different POVs, and I was forever getting them mixed up. Which kid is this again?? By the end, I think I had it figured out.

The one thing that did bother me was the foul language. I don’t mind it if it’s for a reason. (The Great Gilly Hopkins? Yes. I would even argue that it worked in Front Desk.) But you don’t normally see this in a middle-grade novel. So, it felt out of place. And again, there really was no real reason to include it. [2.5 stars]

*A Rabbit on the Cover

El Deafo // by Cece Bell

el-deafoMG Graphic Novel, Near-Historical (2014)

I loved this story! 🙂 I’m not always crazy about graphic novels since I usually want more words. But I thought this whole book worked beautifully as is.

I loved that Cece Bell told her story with rabbits as the characters. I loved learning about the subject matter. I loved Rabbit-Cece. I loved how she took the challenge handed her and didn’t let it stop her.

I loved this book! (Can you tell?) [5 stars]

Read my full review here.

*Pick Your Prompt / A Sequel

Copyboy // by Vince Vawter

copyboyUpper MG, Historical (2018)

I was pretty excited when I saw this among the new books at the library. I wasn’t even it existed! And I wasn’t disappointed. While I don’t think it’s quite as good as its predecessor, it’s still a good book. 🙂 [4 stars]

Read my full review here.

*A Book About a Curse

ella-enchanted Enchanted // by Gail Carson Levine

MG, Fairy Tale (1997)

Having recently read Ogre Enchanted, I wanted to go back to the original book. I really enjoyed my re-read. And yes, it still holds up after all these years. THIS is Gail Carson Levine’s masterpiece. There’s a reason why it got a Newbery Honor. [5 stars]

*Author’s First Name is Ben

Zita the Spacegirl // by Ben Hatke

zita-spacegirl.jpgMG, Graphic Novel, Sci-fi (2011)

This book is about Zita and her friend Joseph who gets sucked into another world. Zita quickly follows him… because it’s all her fault. She meets up with a ragtag band of misfits and they all go on the quest.

I generally liked this book. But this is the type of graphic novel that reminds me how much I love words. And I miss words when they’re, well… missing. I didn’t really resonate with the end of the book. Won’t spoil it, but I kind of understand WHY he did it. [3 stars]

Other MG Books I Finished this Month…

    • Blue Cover // The Benefits of Being an Octopus // by Ann Braden
    • A Book from the Library // Number the Stars // by Lois Lowry
    • ‘Lion’ in the Title // The Mystery of the Missing Lion // by Alexander McCall Smith

Final Thoughts…

March Bingo: Complete! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them.

Check out the next Middle Grade Carousel challenge at their website:

Newbery Verdict: El Deafo

El Deafo // by Cece Bell (2014)

el-deafoNewbery Honor Book (2015)
Genre: MG, Graphic Novel
Rating: 5 Stars

Basic Plot: Cece loses most of her hearing at a young age due to illness… which means that now she needs to wear a special box to help her hear. The box makes her “different”. Who wants to be different? But as she grows up, she realizes that she has “superpowers” that other people don’t have. Introducing: El Deafo!


Cece the rabbit captured my heart! I loved her. And I absolutely loved the fact that the characters in this book were rabbits! (Note: This book is based on the author’s real-life experiences.)

I found it fascinating to see the POV of this young girl who comes to terms with something that makes her so different from the other children in her school and neighborhood. How does she navigate friendships? And then there were all the little tricks she learned to cope with not being able to hear, like reading lips, etc. The book is set in the 1970s, and I thought it captured the flavour of the 1970s (and early 80s?) very nicely.

And can I just say that I love that they’re rabbits! (Yes, I do realize that I’ve told you this before. 🙂 )


Yes! I’m so glad this book got a Newbery Honor award. I can’t compare it to the winner that year (The Crossover by Kwame Alexander) as I haven’t read that one.


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Newbery Verdict Reading Challenge: This is a personal challenge for me to read books that have either won the Newbery Medal or are a Newbery Honor book. The Newbery is named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. Since 1922, this annual award has given to the author of the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” A Newbery Honor book is given to the runners-up.

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