Mar 31, 2021

Early Reader Review: The Thingity-Jig by Kathleen Doherty

Source: From the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

The Thingity-Jig by Kathleen Doherty
Illustrations by Kristyna Litten
Publisher: Peachtree Publishing Company
Publication Date:  April 1, 2021

Format: Hardback


Goodreads Synopsis: 
This jovial frolic through the city and woods celebrates ingenuity and teems with whimsical wordplay--a delightful read for any STEAM storytime.

Under the light of a silvery moon, Bear wanders into people town and discovers a springy thing, a bouncy thing--a sit-on-it, jump-on-it thing! This Thingity-Jig is too heavy to carry home by himself, so Bear runs back to the woods and asks for help. Too bad for Bear, his friends are sleepy and shoo him away. So Bear invents a Rolly-Rumpity to wheel the Thingity-Jig home, but then it all gets stuck in the mud! How will Bear tackle this bump in the road? With a Lifty-Uppity, of course!

Reading specialist and former educator Kathy Doherty perfectly blends inventive upcycling and STEAM elements with a delightful story in this wonderfully charismatic picture book. Illustrator Kristyna Litten brings the world to life with incredible settings and empathetic characters.

Teacher's guide and activities available!
Such a fun book about innovation and being creative!

Bear can't sleep and so he goes out to find some fun...he stumbles upon a thingity-jig that he is so excited about that he keeps trying to wake up his sleeping friends to come and help him bring back. They are too tired to help so Bear uses problem solving and innovation and a few made up words to get the thingity-jig back home to his friends. 

This book is adorable, it is larger with beautiful illustrations that are whimsical and detailed. The writing is just as perfect for it. Doherty uses made up words, that can be a little tongue tying to read. but that are fun ways to talk about Bear's contraptions. And why not use made up words?! sometimes they are what you need and they are a little silly too.  She also uses onomatopoeia throughout the book for all the action and movement. I really enjoyed this book for the cute little forest animals, but also for Bear's creativity and problem solving... sometimes you might not have help, so what is your creative solution? I really like this as a fun lesson for younger kids. 

If you are looking for some cute animal, problem solving, and fun word books, this one meets all those criteria. It is recommended for ages 4-8. 

Mar 29, 2021

Blog Blast: You Were Made for Me by Jenna Guillaume

About the Book
You Were Made for Me by Jenna Guillaume
Publisher: Peachtree Publishing Company 
Publication Date: April 1, 2021
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1682632956

YA author Jenna Guillaume is back with a fun and modern feminist twist on the 1985 pop cult film Weird Science.

Sixteen-year-old Katie Camilleri can’t believe she’s accidentally created a teenage boy. A boy six-feet tall with floppy hair and eyes like the sky on a clear summer’s day. A boy whose lips taste like cookie dough and whose skin smells like springtime. A boy completely devoted to Katie. But silly musings and kitchen antics with her best friend, Libby, have definitely taken a whimsical twist into something bigger than Katie could have ever daydreamed. Turns out the consequences of fumbling a human being into existence are rather complicated. More importantly, does Guy, the golden Adonis Katie’s created, like her because he wants to, or because he has to? And will he be Katie’s very first kiss?

From the author of What I Like About Me comes a hilarious feminist twist on a classic narrative, loaded with laughs, mishaps, and plenty of 80s and 90s pop-culture callbacks. Jenna Guillaume’s entertaining romantic comedy novel features a humorous and relatable voice and will appeal to fans of Jenny Han.

You can purchase You Were Made For Me at the following Retailers:


“An enjoyable rom-com.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Plenty of early 2000s rom-com vibes and lighthearted mishaps… Guillaume’s cinematic story weaves together beloved romantic comedy tropes touched with magic―or is it science?―and drops them into a fresh, contemporary setting. Despite the playful tone, this isn’t without nuance, taking on serious topics such as male body image, friendship, and asexuality.” ―Booklist

About the Author

Jenna Guillaume
is a writer based in Sydney, Australia.
Photo Content from Jenna Guillaume

As an entertainment and lifestyle journalist, Jenna regularly contributes to The Sydney Morning Herald, Junkee, BuzzFeed, and Flicks. She has also written for publications such as MTV, The Guardian, and Metro UK, and was previously editor-at-large for BuzzFeed Australia and features editor at Girlfriend magazine.

Jenna frequently appears as a moderator and panellist at festivals, and has extensive on-camera experience through her work at BuzzFeed and as a pop culture expert for ABC News. She also contributes to a fortnightly segment about streaming for ABC Radio.

As a social media consultant, Jenna has worked with companies such as the Australian Children’s Television Foundation and Amazon Prime. She is currently senior contributor for Netflix ANZ’s social media channels.

Jenna is the author of Young Adult rom-coms What I Like About Me and You Were Made For Me. When she’s not binge-watching her favourite shows from the ’90s or cuddling her dogs, she’s working on her third YA novel and honing her screenwriting skills.

Find the Author

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
ENDS: APRIL 19, 2021

5 Winners will receive a Copy of YOU WERE MADE FOR ME by Jenna Guillaume.

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Mar 28, 2021

Building the Book Post #341

Welcome to Building the Book Pile!  A Weekly meme inspired by Stacking the Shelves

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Happy Sunday Everyone! I swear I am alive still... 
just needed to actually finish some books to review (<- nervous laughter).

I hope you are all well! What have you been up to? 
We have been doing yard things - some veggie gardening (photo below), we put up bird feeders (and they are kind using them), and trying to make the already existing garden beds nicer. 

I had a long week, but I have a few reviews prepped for next week and many more to come so I am excited!

If you enjoy the blog and want to share some love and caffeine,
you can buy me a coffee via Ko-fi

Coming up on the Blog

Blog Blast: You Were Made for Me by Jenna Guillaume (YA)

Monthly Re-Cap: February and March 2021

Early Reader Review: The Thingity-Jig by Kathleen Doherty (Youth)

Early Reader Review: Perdu by Richard Jones (Youth)

Books Received Recently...

The Thingity-Jig by Kathleen Doherty from Peachtree Publishing Company for review consideration. 

What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume from Peachtree Publishing Company for review consideration. 

Have you missed anything lately?

Nothing last week... sorry. Thanks for sticking around anyway!

Comment or leave me a link and I will see you online again soon.
Happy Reading!

Mar 21, 2021

Building the Book Pile #340

Welcome to Building the Book Pile!  A Weekly meme inspired by Stacking the Shelves

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Happy Sunday Everyone! 

I hope you are all going well. My dad came to visit us last weekend through mid-week thus the lack of anything on the blog... sorry. I was not prepared. It was a great visit though and it was good to see come family (they are vaccinated but still masking for anyone concerned). 

It was a hell of a week though, my bank seems to keep detecting fraud in my accounts and turning things off.. which I appreciate but it is also a bit annoying (first world problem - I realize). And I was in a slight feud with my current professor over some shifty grading techniques (yea, I am that  annoying student - no shame).

As far as reading goes... I need to catch back up. I am currently reading a few things and need to settle on one or two I think. I am a few chapters into The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin; half way through The Medusa Quest by Alane Adams (MG), and started Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett for book club. My lack of focus has been AMAZING... lol

What are you up yo? Reading anything fun that I should get distracted by?

If you enjoy the blog and want to share some love and caffeine,
you can buy me a coffee via Ko-fi

Coming up on the Blog

Not sure yet...sorry 😬

Books Received Recently...

 Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett - Bought for Kindle for book club (hubs bought the paperback too)

Have you missed anything lately?

Comment or leave me a link and I will see you online again soon.
Happy Reading!

Mar 19, 2021

Recent Reads: 168 Hours: You Have More Time Thank You Think by Laura Vanderkam

168 Hours: You Have More Time Thank You Think by Laura Vanderkam 

Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC 
Publication Date:  June 16, 2010

Format: Audible Audiobook
Source: Bought/Own


Goodreads Synopsis: 
There are 168 hours in a week. This is your guide to getting the most out of them.

It's an unquestioned truth of modern life: we are starved for time. We tell ourselves we'd like to read more, get to the gym regularly, try new hobbies, and accomplish all kinds of goals. But then we give up because there just aren't enough hours to do it all. Or if we don't make excuses, we make sacrifices- taking time out from other things in order to fit it all in.

There has to be a better way...and Laura Vanderkam has found one. After interviewing dozens of successful, happy people, she realized that they allocate their time differently than most of us. Instead of letting the daily grind crowd out the important stuff, they start by making sure there's time for the important stuff. When plans go wrong and they run out of time, only their lesser priorities suffer.

Vanderkam shows that with a little examination and prioritizing, you'll find it is possible to sleep eight hours a night, exercise five days a week, take piano lessons, and write a novel without giving up quality time for work, family, and other things that really matter.
A few years ago, I was at a conference for work and Laura Vanderkam was the guest speaker. Since that time I have wanted to read her book in its entirety versus just knowing the pared-down presentation part. This year it came up in a BOGO from Audible and so I grabbed it with a few other professional development titles I was interested in.

168 Hours is about just that ... you have 168 hours in a week. How are you using them? I know that I am wasting about 40 of my hours after having read this book. In the first chapter of the book Laura recommends keeping a log of what you do throughout your day and then accounting for your hours though the week. Although I didn't keep the actual log (I intend to eventually), I know I am wasting a pretty good chunk just by rounding out some numbers. 

Anyhow, this book makes it very clear that you have more time than you realize. The focus on that time log continues through the book and Laura recounts stories of logs she has asked people to keep and how they achieve so much in their weeks. It was very interesting. I liked that she found a way to really track things and I also really enjoyed the stories... so why the three stars? Well some of this book just did not apply to me. I do not have kids, so that was a chapter that I did not resonate with, although I understand why it is there. I also found the book to be not for me in the sense that I am not in a job where I can really make the changes to gain more time for other things... 

Laura's premise is that you can delegate, create your own work hours, etc. She admits that she is privileged  in the first chapter but she really does not address that for the rest of the book and that is problematic. I don't have all sorts of money to just drop everything and chase my dream job, nor can I just set my own schedule and delegate, I work on a team and we are essentially in a 9-5 business. A lot of her suggestions just do not fit with an normal persons trajectory. 

All that said, I will use this for the logging of time planning when I think I need more time. I won't be utilizing much else as far as her suggestions, they are bit impractical for me. 

Mar 11, 2021

Recent Reads: The Liar's Dictionary by Eley Williams

The Liar's Dictionary by Eley Williams 
Publisher:  Knopf Canada 
Publication Date:  January 5, 2021

Format: Hardback and Audible Audiobook
Source: Bought /Own


Goodreads Synopsis: 
An exhilarating, clever, funny debut novel from a prize-winning talent, chronicling the misadventures of a lovelorn Victorian lexicographer and the young woman who decodes his trail of made-up words a century later. Will enthrall readers of CS Richardson, Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.

Mountweazel n. the phenomenon of false entries within dictionaries and works of reference. Often used as a safeguard against copyright infringement.

Peter Winceworth is a lexicographer in Victorian-era London, toiling away at the letter S for a multi-volume Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Secretly, he begins to insert unauthorized fictitious entries into the dictionary in an attempt to assert some artistic freedom.

In the present day, Mallory is a young intern employed by the same publisher. Her task is to uncover these mountweazels before the dictionary is digitized. She also has to contend with threatening phone calls from an anonymous caller. Why, she wonders, is the change in the definition of marriage so upsetting to the caller? And does the caller really intend for the publisher's staff to burn in hell?

As these two narratives, characters and times entwine, both Winceworth and Mallory discover how they might negotiate the complexities of the nonsensical, relentless, untrustworthy, hoax-strewn and undefinable path we call life. An exhilarating debut from a formidably brilliant young writer, The Liar's Dictionary celebrates the rigidity, fragility, absurdity and joy of language.
This book was another book club pick and I am so glad that it was. This has probably be my favorite book that I have read so far for book club. 

Reading this book is an experience and if you are a lover of words I HIGHLY recommend it. The book begins with a swoon-worthy prologue and then follows with an immersive story that changes POV from modern time to a time when a dictionary was being written. 

I have to say that aside from this story, I learned a lot about words and dictionaries from this book, although it is a work of fiction. It was very cool to learn about words and fake words and really get in the reasons for the author using certain words with my book club. 

The Prologue really got me... I HAD to read this whole book after reading it online. It was poetic and worthy of a read-aloud moment, it was everything I want out of writing. It got in my head in all the right ways. 

The story itself follows Mallory in the modern day working for a beyond their prime publishing company that once was the publish of a dictionary. In her role, Mallory is dealing with more than one issue, first she is the last of the employees aside from the owner, there are strange and threatening phone calls coming in, and the building is pretty much in disrepair. Now she also has the task of searching through the whole dictionary for fake words, or Mountweazels. 

In the past times POV, we follow Peter Winceworth, a lexographer, in all his awkwardness as he helps write the S section of a new dictionary. Winceworth is the perfect name for this man, he is bored, awkward, and very shy. He is trying to make his existence more interesting but that is difficult when you write about words for a living. 

This book was laugh-out-loud funny, educational, pretty short, and overall a delight to sit and read...and I will be re-reading it. It was such a wonderful piece of writing. You will read a lot of word for the color orange/yellow, you will wrestle a pelican, be in an accident, and learn a lot about fake words. 

Mar 10, 2021

Recent Reads: Agnes's Place by Marit Larsen

Agnes's Place by  Marit Larsen
Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids
 Publication Date: March 1 
Reading Ages: 4-8

Format: Ebook
Source: Free from First Selections with Amazon Prime in February 2021


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Agnes knows she is at home before she even opens her eyes in the morning. The sounds and smells and people swirl around her—she always knows what everyone is up to in the tight-knit apartment building where she lives. But she also knows what it is like to be the only child in a place full of adults who never have time.

So when a little girl moves in to the building, Agnes is excited and sends her a subtle message. But the girl doesn’t respond. Then things start to change around Agnes’s place—and Agnes knows exactly who is to blame. It seems like the girl is interested in everyone except for Agnes!

Will Agnes and the new girl ever meet? And what secrets does the new girl hold? First published in Norway, this is a lovely story about home and belonging and how one person can transform our world.
This children's book was about a young girl that is feeling alone. She lives on the third floor of her building and the rest of it's occupants are adults. She has some routines which keep her busy but she is lonely and hopes for the day that a friend comes along. 

One day, another child moves in, Agnes tries to contact her to come and play but the girl doesn't come, nor does she come the day after...of the day after that. Soon Agnes feels like the new girl is not just avoiding her but also befriending all of her friends in the building. Eventually they come together and all is wonderful, the world is anew and everything is special again. Agnes feels less lonely and has a new friend.

This was a cute story about loneliness and feelings of belonging. I think that Agnes is a very realistic character, how she is excited and then hurt, and once everything comes together she is full of wonder. It is very good at understanding those emotions and expressing them in the writing and images throughout. The illustrations were very detailed and beautiful and I think kids will really enjoy reading this book.

Mar 9, 2021

Early Reader Review: Delicates by Brenna Thummler

Source:  From Oni Press in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review. 

Delicates by Brenna Thummler 
Series: Sheets #2

Publisher: Oni Press
Publication Date: March 16, 2021

Format: Ebook


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Following the events of the bestselling graphic novel, Sheets, Delicates brings Brenna Thummler’s beloved characters, artwork, and charm back to life.

Marjorie Glatt’s life hasn’t been the same ever since she discovered a group of ghosts hiding in her family’s laundromat. Wendell, who died young and now must wander Earth as a ghost with nothing more than a sheet for a body, soon became one of Marjorie’s only friends. But when Marjorie finally gets accepted by the popular kids at school, she begins to worry that if anyone learns about her secret ghost friends, she’ll be labeled as a freak who sees dead people. With Marjorie’s insistence on keeping Wendell’s ghost identity a secret from her new friends, Wendell begins to feel even more invisible than he already is.

Eliza Duncan feels invisible too. She’s an avid photographer, and her zealous interest in finding and photographing ghosts gets her labeled as “different” by all the other kids in school. Constantly feeling on the outside, Eliza begins to feel like a ghost herself. Marjorie must soon come to terms with the price she pays to be accepted by the popular kids. Is it worth losing her friend, Wendell? Is she partially to blame for the bullying Eliza endures?

Delicates tells a powerful story about what it means to fit in, and those left on the outside. It shows what it’s like to feel invisible, and the importance of feeling seen. Above all, it is a story of asking for help when all seems dark, and bringing help and light to those who need it most. 

Book 1 Review- 
Click the Cover Image

Trigger Warnings: This book includes racism, bullying, and mentions of suicide.

Delicates is the sequel to the Graphic Novel called Sheets, while you can understand this whole new addition without having read the first one, it does put more into context if you have read it. 

Delicates follows Marjorie and her friendly ghost companion Wendell, as she attempts to fit in and be accepted by the cool crowd. Wendell is continually left out and feeling very sad about it. In attempts to be part of the group he keeps following Marjorie and making things more difficult for her. 

We also have an alternate point of view, Eliza is the 'weird kid', a loner, who likes to take photos and believes that there are ghosts that she can capture on film, making her even more of an outcast. 

This book focuses on what is means to fit in and the struggle to fit in or even just be seen at all. It also has themes in dealing with loss. Overall, the plot, while a bit sad, is a good one. It follows a common struggle teens face - fitting in, and concepts of bullying and how to overcome those obstacles and ask for help when you are feeling like things are too much. Both the characters in this book have real emotions and are relatable, the only outlandish thing is Wendell being a ghost, but he also has emotions that are very realistic.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and I really enjoyed this one as well. I think it would be alright for Sheets to have been a stand-alone, but this follow up again focuses on important issues with mental health and safety and It might be what someone really needs.