Dec 30, 2020

Early Reader Review: Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho

Source: Received from publicist for review consideration. This in no way alters my opinion or review 

Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho and Illustrated by Dung Ho 
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date:  January 5th 2021

Format: Ebook


Goodreads Synopsis:  
This lyrical and stunning picture book tells a story about learning to love and celebrate your Asian-shaped eyes, in the of spirit of Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry 

A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers'. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother’s, her grandmother's, and her little sister's. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.

Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self love and empowerment. 

This powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages and is a celebration of diversity. 
This book was adorable, stunning, such a supportive and empowering book about diversity... and I loved it. It was beautiful in every way. This book is  about a young Asian American who loved the way she looks. She knows it is different but it also makes her special and she is celebrating it throughout the book. If it affirming and such a great book for young readers. 

The illustrations are absolutely stunning and provide such a vivid glimpse into the words this story provides. Together they are a powerhouse. If you have young readers in your household and need more diverse books, or even if you don't need more, you should purchase this book for your collection. It is lovely.

About the Author:

A child posing for a picture

Description automatically generatedJoanna Ho is passionate about equity in books and education. The daughter of immigrants from Taiwan and China, she has been an English teacher, a dean, and a teacher professional development mastermind. She is currently the vice principal of a high school in the San Francisco Bay Area. And mom to two energetic kids. Homemade chocolate chip cookies, outdoor adventures, and dance parties with her kids make Joanna’s eyes crinkle into crescent moons. 

Learn more at and follow her on social media @JoannaHoWrites.

About the Illustrator:

A person taking a selfie

Description automatically generatedDung Ho was born and raised in Hue Imperial City, Vietnam, where she 

studied graphic design at the Hue Arts University. She finds inspiration in nature—the beauty of plants, flowers, and leaves. She also loves to draw interesting characters with unique personalities. Now she lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where she continues to learn and develop her art, something she loves doing. When she’s not drawing, she loves spending time cooking (eating), watching movies, and tending her plants.


Dec 29, 2020

Recent Reads: Day of the Dead by Greg Paprocki

Source:  From Librarything Early Reviewers and Gibbs Smith Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review. 

Day of the Dead: A Count and Find Primer by Greg Paprocki

Publisher: Gibb Smith Books
Publication Date: August 18, 2020

Format: Board Book


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Introduce your toddler to Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) with this colorful counting primer, from the creators of BabyLit.

This engaging board book features popular Day of the Dead activities and objects, as it is celebrated in Mexico and throughout the world. Count and find, from 1 to 10:

1 Comparsa (a carnival-like celebration) 2 Catrinas (a female skeleton) 3 Photographs of the departed 4 Coronas de flores (a crown of flowers) 5 Musicians 6 Pan de muertos ("bread of the dead") 7 Marigolds and more!

Discover even more hidden objects to seek within the illustrations, listed at the back of the book!

Illustrator Greg Paprocki's classically retro midcentury art style is a hit with both toddlers and adults. Discover new details in each illustration with every successive reading.

Greg Paprockiworks full-time as an illustrator and book designer. He has illustrated several Curious George books, as well as books in the Little Leonardo series, the BabyLit alphabet book series, and The Big Book of Superheroes
I received this book fore review from the publisher and Librarything Early Reviewers program, and it is a great counting board book. This book is both a counting and a search and find as well as an introduction to a culture that might not be your own. 

Each two-page spread includes a number and a Spanish word with the English translation or description. The images are dull and vibrant just like the Day of the Dead celebrations, and so at times it can be a little difficult to spot the items you are looking to find, but it is a flurry of activity in every spread and there is a lot to see. In addition to the great counting, there are extra items listed in the back of the book to locate throughout and some additional information about what the words mean.

Overall, if you are looking to add culture, counting, and bright images into your toddlers reads, this is a great addition.

Dec 28, 2020

Spotlight: Shogun Showdown by Grant Goodman

Hello Book Lovers, 

It is a Spotlight Day!! Today I bring you Shogun Showdown by Grant Goodman, available NOW! This is the 4th book in the Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve series and the first one was a great read, so I can only imagine how great the rest the series is (sadly, as many of you know, I am schooling... so no time for fun). This is an "action-adventure story, full of martial arts and magic."

Interested, keep reading to learn more...


Shogun Showdown (Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve #4) by Grant Goodman
Paperback $11.99 
Publisher: KDP
Publication Date: November 24, 2020
Age Group: 8 and Up | 236 Pages

The Unlimited Power Tournament Has Arrived!
Ninja Steve has entered the competition, hoping that his training with Sensei Raheem will be enough to win battle after battle. If he can claim the grand prize, he’s going to use it to bring his family back together.
Agent Darcy is traveling with him, but she isn’t seeking tournament glory. Darcy’s powers are slowly spiraling out of control, and a group of samurai known as the mindblades might be the only ones who can help her.
Steve is prepared to clash with the other contestants, but is he prepared to see his sister again? And while Darcy is ready to cure her curse, is she willing to pay the price?

Darcy thought a lot about the walls in her own life. Secret identities and the rules of the Bureau were walls she had built. Forming friendships and learning new ways of life had shown her the benefits of tearing them down. Whenever she'd knocked down a wall, she realized, she'd become a better person. 

Changing her name today was going to knock down one more wall. 

After an hour of snacking and watching, Darcy was ready to visit the Hall of Name with her guardians, Gertie and Morris.

The Ninja Hall of Name was right above the Ninja Hall of Fame, which was across the street from the popular board game store, Hall of Game. The Hall of Fame had a short line of people outside the door waiting to buy tickets, and the Hall of Game was packed. No one was lined up for the Hall of Name. 

Ninja Morris pointed at the metal bell on the desk. Darcy pushed the button, expecting it to be one of those silent, decorative bells ninjas were fond of. Instead, a crashing gong strike split the air, causing Darcy to jump and land in a fighting stance. 

“Be right there," came a voice that made Darcy narrow her eyes. 

The girl who walked out was wearing the latest trendy ninja uniform: all black with a colorful sword emblem on the inside of each forearm. Darcy had heard some of the ninja teachers grumbling about how clothes were different now, how when they were children, such bold colors would have gotten them sent home from school to change. 

The girl's hair was brown and curly and bounced as she walked. She was pulling up her ninja mask to cover the lower half of her face, but Darcy recognized her immediately, even half masked. 


Her mentor student from the Bureau of Sneakery. The same Matilda who had worked occasional shifts at the Bureau's cafΓ©, who had always had time to talk Darcy through stressful situations. 

Darcy's agent training took over. Despite her urge to leap across the counter and wrap her arms around Matilda, she didn't. Despite her urge to ask Matilda what she was doing here, she didn't. Despite her urge to tell Matilda that she missed her and missed the Bureau, she didn't. 

Darcy kept a straight face and acted as if they were total strangers. Matilda, ever the professional, did the same. 

“Good morning,” Matilda said, her voice flat. “How can I assist you?" 

“I'm here to change my name,” Darcy said. 

“Please fill out this form,” Matilda said, handing over a tablet. 

Darcy took the tablet and examined the form. It only had four parts. 

Your Current Name. Your New Name. Your Current Address. Signature. 

Darcy paused. “I only want to change my first name.” 

"That's fine," said Matilda, looking bored. 

On the first line, she wrote, “Marcy.” On the second line, she wrote, “Darcy.” On the third line, she put, “1661 Sneak Attack Street." On the fourth line, she signed her name. 

Darcy handed the tablet back to Matilda, who glanced at what Darcy had written. 

“You're all done here,” she said. 

Gertie and Morris, seeing that Darcy's work was finished, began walking away. 

Darcy waited a few seconds, then turned back to Matilda. “Hey, are you working here all day?" 

Matilda said, “Yeah. No one else wanted a shift.” 

Then Matilda walked off, and Darcy left. She knew that if she came back later, there was a chance she could get some answers. Only a small chance, though. Matilda was still bound by the rules of the Bureau, which meant that she wasn't supposed to make friends with outsiders like Darcy. It was entirely possible that after today, Matilda would never be seen in Ninjastoria again. 

Darcy remembered their old cafΓ© talks over tea and how Matilda had been both her mentor and a real friend. She hoped Matilda still felt the same way about her even after her expulsion. 

When they left the Hall of Name to walk home, Darcy 

couldn't focus. She was distracted by thoughts of Matilda and what her appearance meant. 

Was Matilda there on a random mission? Was Matilda there as a friend? 

Or-most disturbing of all—was Matilda there to keep an eye on her? Was the Bureau of Sneakery still watching her, just when she thought she was free? 

About the Author
Grant Goodman is the author of the Agent Darcy & Ninja Steve novel series for
readers 8-13 years old. His action-adventure novels focus on the importance of friendship, family, and confidence.

His first job was teaching martial arts, but since 2007, Grant has been teaching middle school and high school English classes in Maryland. In 2020, he was named Teacher of the Year by the Montgomery County Council of PTAs.

Dec 25, 2020

Merry Christmas 2020

πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„
From Steph (and family) at Cover2CoverBlog 

Hope that your holiday is filled with love, wellness and happiness!

Dec 21, 2020

Happy Holidays from Cover2CoverBlog

Happy December and Happy Holidays! 

I know that 2020 has been a long year...
However you will be celebrating, I would like to say Happy Holidays!!!
I hope you have a love filled holiday season that is happy and healthy. Stay well my friends.

Yes this is me as a penguin on the beach.

Dec 10, 2020

Recent Reads: Embassy of the Dead by Will Mabbitt

Source:  From Librarything Early Reviewers Program and Walker Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

Embassy of the Dead by Will Mabbitt
Series: Embassy of the Dead #1
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: September 8, 2020

Format: Paperback ARC


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Jake Green is dead. Or he might as well be when he mistakenly accepts a package from the Embassy of the Dead in this hilarious adventure of the afterlife, the first in a series.

When Jake Green opens a mysterious box containing a severed finger, he accidentally summons a grim reaper intent on dragging him to the Eternal Void (yes, it's as fatal as it sounds). Now Jake is running for his life. Luckily, he has a knack for talking to ghosts, which just might help him survive long enough to reach the Embassy of the Dead and plead his case. With the help of a prankster poltergeist and a dead undertaker, Jake dodges fearsome undead creatures, discovers his own ghostly abilities, and gets excused from the school field trip due to a terrible (and made-up) bout of diarrhea. But the Embassy has its own problems, and Jake must be very careful where he places his trust--in both the living and the dead. With a plot that zips and a colorful cast of characters, this delightful new series delivers laughs and shivers in equal measure.
Embassy of the Dead is a fun, adventure-packed, spooky story about a boy that happens upon a plot to take over the world, but not just the living world, the world of the dead too. 

Jake is just your ordinary boy until one day on his way home he is given a box and what person doesn't open a box if it is given to them. Jake discovers a severed finger and is immediately thrown into a supernatural crazy plot. He meets some ghosts, and learns about the Embassy of the Dead.

This was a quick read, full of action and a lot of running away from spooky reapers and other undeads. The characters were fun and I enjoyed them, there seems to be a plan for more books in the series which will help more with characters growth and development. There was some in this installment, nit not a lot yet. The plot is fun and combines the spooky/scary with a bit of mystery and as pretty action packed. I think younger readers will really enjoy this one.  

I received a paperback advanced copy of this book, so there were illustrations but I am not sure if they are final illustrations or just placeholder sketches. The are primarily sketches and very unfinished, but they do add a spooky feel to the events that they depict throughout the story.

Dec 9, 2020

Early Reader Review: The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips

Source: Received from the publicist and Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips

Publisher: Aladdin
Publication Date: December 8, 2020

Format: Hardback


Beauty comes at a price. And no one knows that better than Ebenezer Tweezer, who has stayed beautiful for 511 years. How, you may wonder? Ebenezer simply has to feed the beast in the attic of his mansion. In return for meals of performing monkeys, statues of Winston Churchill, and the occasional cactus, Ebenezer gets potions that keep him young and beautiful, as well as other presents.

But the beast grows ever greedier with each meal, and one day he announces that he’d like to eat a nice, juicy child next. Ebenezer has never done anything quite this terrible to hold onto his wonderful life. Still, he finds the absolutely snottiest, naughtiest, and most frankly unpleasant child he can and prepares to feed her to the beast.

The child, Bethany, may just be more than Ebenezer bargained for. She’s certainly a really rather rude houseguest, but Ebenezer still finds himself wishing she didn’t have to be gobbled up after all. Could it be Bethany is less meal-worthy and more…friend-worthy?
Can we first take a moment to appreciate the detail that went into this book? It looks amazing! The dust jacket has a stunning illustration with gold raised lettering. The end papers are a gorgeous purple and white, wallpaper-esq pattern, and when you unveil the book from the duck jacket it has a pressed image from a scene in the book. I adore attention to detail like this! I have hearts in my eyes even before I began reading the story. (Photos included...) 

This was just a good read. I read it all in one sitting and loved the plot and characters. The story is about everlasting life and Ebenezer's goal to have it. He accomplishes it by feeding things to a monster in his attic that he calls the Beast, and the Beast is getting more ambitious with his choices for snacks. This time the Beast wants to eat a human child and Ebenezer is determined to be young again. 

The characters include Ebenezer, the Beast, a bird shop owner, an orphanage director, and Bethany. They all have fun personalities that make this story have laugh out loud parts and allow the reader to have strong emotions toward them. I really liked the bird shop owner he was knowledgeable about birds and was one of the first Bethany sightings and he wad fun with her. Bethany is a confusing character, you want to fight for her but she is kinda a brat and a bully, so you also don't really like her. 

Another sparkling moment for this book was the amazingly detailed and expressive illustrations through out. They are just black and grey but really help the story along and bring the characters to life. 

The book is a horrendous in a good way, emotional, and hilarious all balled up into this wonderful middle grade read. I would read this again, it was such a delight the first time around. 

About the Author
Jack Meggitt-Phillips is an author, scriptwriter, and playwright whose work has been performed at The Roundhouse and featured on Radio 4. He is scriptwriter and presenter of The History of Advertising podcast. In his mind, Jack is an enormously talented ballroom dancer, however his enthusiasm far surpasses his actual talent. Jack lives in north London where he spends most of his time drinking peculiar teas and reading P.G. Wodehouse novels.

About the Illustrator
Isabelle Follath is a freelance illustrator living in Zurich, Switzerland, with her
lovely husband, her sweet daughter, and her fabulous dog. She has worked for advertising agencies, magazines, and publishers for over fifteen years, but Isabelle’s true passion lies in illustrating children’s books. When not drawing, Isabelle can be found making lots of coffee, trying new crafts, or going on a hunt for new   art supplies and the perfect greenish-gold watercolor. Visit her online at

Dec 8, 2020

Spotlight: Clockwork Stars by E.R. Johnson

Hello Book Lovers, 

It is a Spotlight Day!! Today I bring you Clockwork Stars by E.R. Johnson - out NOW! The is a dystopian sci-fi adventure set in an alternative steampunk time line.

Interested, keep reading to learn more...


Clockwork Stars by ER Johnson
Paperback $9.99 | 232 Pages 
Publisher: Independently Published

It came without warning and left devastation in its path. It took the people, their homes and left the skies blazing red. It was a war, a destruction of the entire city, that thrust the world into unorderly chaos.
In a dying world, New Earth was supposed to be the last chance at survival, and for a while it was. For a long time its citizens lived safely within the new empire that their ancestors built, under the strict guidance, order and protection of its parliament.
Now everything is gone. Astra believes she is the only survivor. She's lost her family and friends and been thrown into an alien world where everyday is a fight for survival. Journeying through a ghost town, her hopes are fading.
Flynn has escaped from a military camp where he once served as a soldier under parliament’s strict control and orders. He's been running from the enemy all his life, and he runs from his past demons still. Something isn’t right--hundreds of people can’t just disappear overnight, can they? 


About the Author

E.R. Johnson lives in England where she works as a Teaching Assistant. Her passion for story telling sparked from a young age and she spends much of her free time writing.
She also loves painting, travelling and photography. Despite the collection of short stories gathering on her desk, Clockwork Stars is her debut novel.

Dec 4, 2020

Recent Reads: Mr. Lemoncello and the Titanium Ticket by Chris Grabenstein

Mr. Lemoncello and the Titanium Ticket by Chris Grabenstein
Series: Mr. Lemoncello's Library #5

Publisher: Listening Library (Audiobook edition)
Publication Date:  August 25th 2020 

Goodreads Book Link  Amazon Purchase Link

Format: Audible Audiobook
Source:  Bought/ Pre-ordered :)


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Welcome! For the first time, you are invited INSIDE Mr. Lemoncello's one-of-a-kind Gameworks Factory in book five of the fun-filled, action-packed bestselling series from the much-loved coauthor of the I Funny and Max Einstein series!

Now with a brand-new look packed with shelf and kid appeal!

Far away from his magical library, everyone's favorite game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, is building something new. Something SECRET. And he's about to let the world see it. He'll reveal that hidden deep within the Lemoncello-tastic new building is a single ticket. A titanium ticket.

Four lucky boys and girls are about to win the chance to go inside the building on a spectacular scavenger hunt that will take them through bigger-than-life live-action games--towering, skyscraper-size Jenga; dizzying real-life Chutes and Ladders; death-defying games of Rush Hour; plus ball pit moats and more! Each game will get the players closer to the titanium ticket. But the real secret? Mr. Lemoncello is thinking about his legacy, and whichever player finds the ticket will be the first to win a spot in an elite group of kids who will compete in the next books to win Mr. Lemoncello's ENTIRE EMPIRE!

I adore the Mr. Lemoncello series by Chris Grabenstein, it is so much fun and has books, libraries, puzzles, and games, all things that I love. This installment was a little bit different though. In book five, we follow new characters and the chance to win an even more spectacular prize than ever before. 

I really enjoyed the puzzles again, and I liked the introduction of new characters, however it was written as a continuation in the series but also didn't really tie in the older characters as much as I think they could have. While other books in the series have been very creative and newer concepts, this one had a very Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory vibe... winner gets it all, the entire Lemoncello empire because he has no heirs. Don't get me wrong I love Willy Wonka, but I just expected a bit more from the creative mind that Grabenstein has been through this series thus far.

All that said, I do enjoy this as another book in the series, even though it seems forced. The book featured wonderful glimpses of old and new games and trivia about games that were new to me and really enjoyed. I love board games, word puzzles, actual puzzles, and books, so this book really hits all those things for me and I think that middle grade readers that are just starting this series will love it too.

I recommend the series as a whole, and this is a decent book in the series. The first books are the best though. 

Reviews for Books 1-4 


Nov 17, 2020

Recent Reads: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date:  September 29, 2020

Format: Audible Audiobook
Source:  Bought on Audible for Book Club


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig's enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place
First things first - TRIGGER WARNING:
The beginning of this book deals with suicide and can be very emotional for anyone that has had experience with suicide and/or depression.

With that said, the beginning of this book is very emotional, a lot more emotional than I anticipated for myself. The main character is Nora, she is not doing well. She is depressed and everything is compiling and the book is counting down to her decision to leave this world. After that point weird things start happening, Nora is whisked away to a magical library where she can live different lives that could have been hers, had she chosen differently at certain parts of her life.

I read this book with my family and friends in book club this past month, the title and cover really pulled us in during the vote, little did we know what an emotional ride this book would be. AND IT WAS. I loved this book, I hated this book, I loved the realizations this book had me make about my own situation and I also loathed how this book made me feel emotionally. This was a wonderful book club book and I would highly recommend it for that but be emotionally prepared - I was not.

What I liked about this book: It really makes you think - about your life choices, about your regrets, what your magical library might look like. I also really liked Nora. I listened to the Audible version and the reader was fantastic, she made you feel like you were with Nora the whole time experiencing new lives. I also enjoyed the sub characters, they were interesting and fun in the roles they playing in Nora's lives. The overall theme was pretty well played out as well.

What I disliked: While Nora learns a lot in her experiences with the Midnight Library, her suicide was very built up (there is reason for that) but I feel like the ending was a cop-out. Choose a new life or die seem to be her choices going in, but it takes a few weird turns. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but the enviable ending puts a flippant stance on suicide that did not sit well with me. Nor did the fact that she could just choose a new life.

Nora has the ability to grow throughout her lives in this book and learn more about herself, others, and the roles she plays in her seemingly normal, sad life that she is trying to leave behind. Her learning and acceptance held me in, as mad as I was about the stark beginning of this book.

It is a quick read with short chapters and a lot to chat about it you are reading it with others. It was very emotional and did not contain a trigger warning, thus my warning to you all before you plunge in. Overall, I would read this book again and dissect it far more given more time. It became a feel good tale after sending me on a binge cry.

Have you read this one? Tell me your thoughts below!