May 31, 2022

Monthly Re-Cap (May 22) and TBR Pile (June 22)

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Here is the progress from May
I did some mood- reading while at the beach instead of some of these...

~~Books I Read in May 2022~~


~~Links to Some Reviews~~
Others will come in June.
  1.  The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine
  2. If You Find a Unicorn, It Is Not Yours to Keep by DJ Corchin
  3. The Beautiful Ones by Julia Sutton
  4. A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

 TBR for June
  1. The Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow
  2. The Unplanned Life of Josie Hale by Stephanie Eding
  3. Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal
  4. Darling Girl by Liz Michalski
  5. From Bad to Cursed by Lana Harper
  6. RANDOM PICK from the ever growing shelves at home.

How was your May reading? Anything I should add to my TBR?
Feel free to share it in the comments below! I would love to know what you are reading!

May 30, 2022

Recent Reads: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Series: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder #1

Publisher: Ember
Publication Date:  May 2, 2019

Format: Paperback
Source: Bought/Own


Goodreads Synopsis: 
The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn't so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?
Trigger Warnings: This book contains references to self-harm, date rape/ spiking drinks, suicide, violence, and drug use.


This book was not on my TBR for this month but when I saw it at the bookstore it called to me, and I had to pick it up. I have not heard much about it but the clerk told me I was going to LOVE it, so I was immediately more skeptical, but she was right! The story follows a bookish, smart, overachieving teen who decides that for her independent project she is going to dig deeper into a crime that happened in her town five years ago. She is given some guidelines, which she immediately ignores, but she also stumbles upon a lot of very interesting information that the town and the cops failed to discover when they reviewed the case. 

Pippa resonated a lot with me, she is smart, determined, stubborn, and knows what she wants, but she is also scared about who she is and who she wants to be in the future. She was a very self-aware and I really appreciate that. Other characters where great as well, Ravi as a sidekick/motivator/a great source of dialogue and witty back and forth. Pippa's family was also wonderful, diverse but also so loving and fun. I adored the dad and his jokes and the dynamic with the kids, it was so good. I wish more books had this great family dynamic. 

The plot was super engaging and stimulating, I was so excited to keep flipping the pages and see what Pippa found out next. It was a little hard to believe that the cops for the original case did so badly finding out anything, but then again, they believed that the original killer committed suicide, so they didn't think they had to work real hard I guess... 

The was that the book built up pieces to the case through the eyes of these teens was very interesting. Pippa was able to really dig deep into the case and formulate new theories. I should note that this book is written in a really fascinating way, Pippa has to keep a log for her project to the book has the log entries and her thought process but then is broken up by chapters told in the third person POV. It was done really well, and I loved reading her process and the next steps. It even included a map, emails, text chains, and idea board pages which were great adds to the dynamic of this story. I felt really immersed. 

Overall, this book would be a great read for anyone that enjoys crime, thrillers, and mysteries. It also showcases a strong female lead character who is smart and able and a diverse cast of characters. 

May 29, 2022

Building the Book Pile #398

Welcome to Building the Book Pile!

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Hello my internet friends, I hope you are well. 

I'm with the family (Mom side) and have been for the past week. It is always an adventure. We are leaving Corolla, NC today after a week-long stay. It rained a few days and we had thunderstorms throughout the rest of them, but that doesn't mean that I am not sunburnt. 🦞🦞OUCHY!🦞🦞

We have had a blast but today I ride in back to PA with the fam πŸš—and then fly back to BOS ✈and then bus 🚌home to NH on Monday. While everyone else is enjoying a (hopefully) nice Memorial Day, I will be travelling. Cross your fingers for me that it all goes well, lately my flights have all been delayed. 

Anywho, if you follow me on Instagram (I don't post a lot), you migh have seen my wonderful beach reads pile and update. I have read three books by the time I typed this and am likely finishing another in the car today. I will have reviews up soon for them. 

How was your long weekend? Let me know in the comments. Read any good books, eat any good BBQ foods?

If you are interested in supporting my ability to stay awake and read please consider dontating - Coffee  is appreciated ... Ko-fi

Coming up on the Blog

Recent Reads: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson (YA)

Monthy Re-Cap (May 22) and TBR (June 22)

Recent Reads: The Guest List by Lucy Foley (Adult)

Books Received Recently...

Wild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin  From Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for Review.

Mere Mortals by Erin Jade Lange From Netgalley and HarperTEEN for review.

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

May 27, 2022

Recent Reads: The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine 
Series: The Sinclair's Mysteries #1
Publisher: Kane Miller EDC Publishing
Publication Date:  March 1, 2017

Format: Paperback
Source: Bought/Own


Goodreads Synopsis: 
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow follows the adventures of recently orphaned fourteen-year-old Sophie, a shop girl at the newly opened Sinclair’s Department Store in London. Just as she’s settling into her new life, a priceless object is stolen, a young man is attacked and Sophie is implicated in the crime


The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is a series that follows Sophie, a young woman that works in a department store as she must solve a crime in order to clear her name. 

Sophie is just getting started out in the world and has landed a job in the hat department of the newest store in town, Sinclair's. It is so new that it hasn;t even opened yet. Slated to be the most luxourious and interesting department store, it even has an exhibition hall where Mr. Sinclair has some very beautiful pieces on view. Then a bunch of it goes missing the night before the grand opening and Sophis is accused of being a part of the robbery. What else is she to do but pull in her friends and solve the crime?

Sophie feels really dainty as I read her character, so I am surprised that she was able to pull this off. She just read as if she was emotional and not too bright at times. I am not sure if that was me or the time period of the book, or the character. There was also Lil, an actress and model for the store, and she was over the top and often overshadowed Sophie as the main character. Billy, was a porter for the store and in comparison to the ladies he seemed really young, so it was hard to get a grasp on age-ranges and differences if there were any. Interestingly enough, I found the descriptions pf the store to be fantastic, but the characters were left behind a little to the store's grandeur. 

As for the plot, I found the story interesting and I enjoy a good mystery, but part of what I like about them is trying to figure out the clues and puzzles with the characters and this book gave little to none of that as an option. A clue would be found and immediately it would be solved by someone without much thought. The story was a little slow in the first having, being mostly build up and descriptions, but then around the half-way point picked up and was a swift mystery solve. 

I am not sure if I need to pick up any more books in this series, and for now I will hold off. But, if you are looking for a mystery, with not a lot of pondering over the clues, this might be for you. It is also the first in a series, but can be read as a stand-alone as they seem to be seperate mysteries. 

May 26, 2022

Blog Blast w/ Giveaway: The Natural Genius of Ants by Betty Culley

The Natural Genius of Ants by Betty Culley

Publication Date: May 10, 2022

Other Info:
Language: English
Hardcover: 240 pages
ISBN-10: ‎0593175778
ISBN-13: 978-0593175774


"Endearingly executed, this gentle tale will see readers applauding as they reach the end." —Booklist, starred review

"Quietly and emotionally intelligent, this tale satisfies." —Kirkus Reviews

"This hopeful story that explores the reality of hardship and mistakes amid themes of forgiveness and resilience.” —Publishers Weekly

About the Book
A summer ant farm grows into a learning experience for the entire family in this lyrical coming-of-age story from the award-winning author of Down to Earth.

Harvard is used to his father coming home from the hospital and telling him about all the babies he helped. But since the mistake at work, Dad has been quieter than usual. And now he is taking Harvard and his little brother, Roger, to Kettle Hole, Maine, for the summer. Harvard hopes this trip isn’t another mistake.

In the small town where he grew up, Dad seems more himself. Especially once the family decides to start an ant farm— just like Dad had as a kid! But when the mail-order ants are D.O.A., Harvard doesn’t want Dad to experience any more sadness.

Luckily, his new friend Nevaeh has the brilliant idea to use the ants crawling around in the kitchen instead. But these insects don’t come with directions. So the kids have a lot to learn—about the ants, each other, and how to forgive ourselves when things go wrong.

You can purchase The Natural Genius of Ants at the following Retailers:

About the Author

Betty Culley
’s debut novel in verse Three Things I Know Are True, was a Kids’ Indie Next List Top Ten Pick, an ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominee, and the 2021 Maine Literary Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature. Her first middle-grade novel Down to Earth is inspired by her fascination with meteorites, voyagers from another place and time. She’s an RN who worked as an obstetrics nurse and as a pediatric home hospice nurse. She lives in central Maine, where the rivers run through the small towns.

Find the Author

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

- 5 Winners will receive a Copy of THE NATURAL GENIUS OF ANTS & DOWN TO EARTH+Bookmark by Betty Culley
- 1 Winner will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 24, 2022

Early Reader Review: Unicorn Selfies by Dana Simpson

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

Unicorn Selfies by Dana Simpson 
Series: Another Phoebe and her Unicorn (#15)
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication Date:  May 31, 2022

Format: Ebook


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Phoebe and Her Unicorn is the most stunning unicorn feature around! With over 2 million copies sold in the series, and a new animated series with Nickelodeon forthcoming, Phoebe and Her Unicorn will delight middle grade readers and unicorn lovers of all ages.

Phoebe Howell and her best friend, the dazzling unicorn Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, have all kinds of exciting things planned for the summer. Their adventures include constructing a secret clubhouse with Phoebe's friend Max (enlisting the help of some magic pixies along the way) and preparing for a trip to Marigold's unicorn family reunion. Along the way, readers will meet all kinds of new characters, learn what magic spells are best avoided, and have all kinds of sparkling unicorn fun.
This is the 15th Phoebe and her Unicorn book and they are going strong for me. I really enjoy them so much. In this installment we adventure with Phoebe and Marigold while they establish a clubhouse and club, prep for a unicorn family reunion where Marigold decides she wants to rebel, a bunch of silly spells, costumes, and good humor. 

This book, like the others, has a great flow as Phoebe and Marigold enjoy the summer months and their friendship. I though it was cute that a few times in this installment Phoebe mentions how normal it is to have a unicorn around and in on instance her parents are more surprised by her completing chores than spells the unicorn uses. There were a lot of laugh-out-loud moments that I enjoyed.

I am still here for this amazing relationship that Phoebe and Marigold share, they are great. The banter and wit of their conversations is so fun and funny and they use some great vocabulary. Even better, there is a glossary to help with any unknown words AND added bonus, it is mentioned in the beginning so that you know it is there for reference. I love that feature. I also really enjoy that you don't need to read these books in order, you can jump around or read them as stand alones pretty easily. The humor is light and appropriate for younger readers and the illustrations fit the vibe perfectly, they are bright, whimsical, and creative. 

Overall, I am a fan of these books and will continue to read them as they are released. 

May 23, 2022

Early Reader Review: If You Find a Unicorn, It Is Not Yours to Keep by DJ Corchin

Source: From Sourcebooks Early Reads program in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

If You Find a Unicorn, It Is Not Yours to Keep: Life Lessons for My  Magical Daughter 
by DJ Corchin 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Explore
Publication Date:  May 3, 2022

Format: Ebook


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Award winning author DJ Corchin offers delightfully fantastical life lessons in this sweet and witty collection that inspires readers to embrace the magic within them.

You have a choice to cast good spells or bad spells. Choose good spells.
People will tell you you can't be a knight because you have magical abilities. They are wrong.
And remember...if you happen find a unicorn, it is not yours to keep!

DJ Corchin offers timeless wisdom with a mystical twist in this lighthearted rulebook for the whole family to enjoy. Plenty of enchanting lessons to live by paired with whimsical illustrations are sure to be passed down from generation to magical generation. A perfect graduation, birthday, or just-because gift for daughters of any age.

While not what I expected going into this book, probably because I only looked at the cover and was like OOOh, it was adorable and a perfect gift book to share.

The book is made up of two-page spreads that have a lesson on one page that is accompanied by a sketch on the other that relates to the lesson. And while some of the lessons are along the lines of "You are magical, keep it up" others are fun magic themed lessons that can be guiding and translated into more real-world lessons of note. There are wizards, magical gems, creatures, monsters, and spells which make this book whimsical and fun.

It is a pretty short book and super easy to read. The sketches simplistic, black and white, that reference the lessons spelt out in cute ways. I really enjoyed flipping through and reading them.

If you have a daughter that likes fantasy and magic, this is a cute book, I would even venture to say that young boys could also be gifted this one if the title doesn't throw them off. I think it would also be a fun graduation gift as the synopsis mentions as well. 

May 22, 2022

Building the Book Pile #397

Welcome to Building the Book Pile!

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Hello my internet friends, I hope you are well. 

Let's look back for a bit...

Last weekend we had a blast at the Mad Hatter's Gin & Tea Party, any excuse/ reason to get dressed up..right?!


I was back to work this week but still managed to get some reading in, although not the amount I wanted to get done. I feel like every season I say is the 'busy season', and I guess they all are but for different reasons... spring and summer are taken over by vacation, mowing the lawn ALLLL the time, fun time random outings, and gardening... so that is what I have been up to. Do you have any fun vacation plans for the summer?  I feel like I am traveling more than ever now. 

That being said, I did have the chance to pick up some great books this week πŸ˜€ my TBR only grows but that is ok. 

And now looking forward...

Anywho, I am on my way today to Boston to watch my sister graduate from college, with a double major, and already having a job in NYC lined up... you might remember CC from posts WAAYYYY back in the day (#ProudBigSis). I know... you feel old now too, don't ya? I am excited to go celebrate today with her. 

Then tomorrow morning, I am flying to meet my mom and other sisters down at the beach for the week. So... I packed about 5 physical books in addition to the ridiculous amounts of ebooks and audiobooks I have at my fingertips on my phone (because never enough books, and no shame). I am really excited for the time to read... and also be with family πŸ˜‹

I really hope everyone is taking the time for some self-care these days! πŸ’œ

If you are interested in supporting my ability to stay awake and read please consider dontating - Coffee  is appreciated ... Ko-fi

Coming up on the Blog

It is Middle Grade week on the blog (not plannedπŸ˜‚)...

Early Reader Review: If You Find a Unicorn, It Is Not Yours to Keep by DJ Corchin (MG)

Early Reader Review: Unicorn Selfies by Dana Simpson (MG, GN)
Blog Blast: The Natural Genius of Ants by Betty Culley (MG)

Recent Reads:  The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine (MG)

Books Received Recently...

I splurged a bit this week... oops.
I had preordered

and picked up the others while out shopping.

I also snagged The Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow on Audible for my trip (even though I have the paperback)

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

May 19, 2022

Recent Reads: Payback's A Witch by Lana Harper

Payback's a Witch by Lana Harper
Series: The Witches of Thistle Grove #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date:  October 5, 2021

Format: Paperback
Source: Bought


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The L Word in this fresh, sizzling rom-com by Lana Harper.

Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one—in part because she hasn't been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams.

But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She's determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago.

On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov—an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts—who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden—unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in?

But most concerning of all: Why can't she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?
Emmy never wanted to return to Thistle Grove, but here she is, drawn back by a sense of family duty to oversee a contest of magical trials for three other families of witches in their magical town. She also didn't expect to fall for someone while she was back either.

The book begins with Emmy re-entering Thistle Grove, the magic swarming her and an overview of her ‘escape’ from the town to normality of human life. Which is funny because she escapes to work for a human subscription box that provides witchy items to the world…so did she really ‘get away’? Anywho, every so often the families host a magical contest to see which family will be in charge for the coming year and the win also brings them prosperity and luck. However, for many rounds, one family has continued to take the title and it is starting to impact the other family’s livelihoods in their little town.

The three families that have been on the losing side (2 plus Emmy’s) have had enough, and it helps that the competitor has also broken the heart of someone from each family. They come together to take back the game and glory. As they do so, Emmy gets close with Talia and they form an intimate relationship through their bond with magic and the allure of bring back for Emmy.

I really liked everything about this book. It was funny, flirty, and a revenge story that involved witches and magic… if you know my reading likes… this is IT. 

The relationship between Emmy and Talia was super cute, it was quick but also a little slow at times. They are sexy, adorable, quirky, and radiate with each other. They had great chemistry and it flowed well through the plot. 

The magical elements of the story were also great. The background was explained well, and the magic system isn’t overly convoluted. The town and setting really drive a lot of this story and I really appreciated that aspect. It was perfect, like Salem, MA only cuter. A small town, full of witchy stores and lore… but then Castle Camelot. It seemed like greed really went to the Blackmoore brains and took over. A cute witch/fall themed town and…a medieval castle…seems like that would stand out like a sore thumb (and I love renaissance festivals and Medieval Times dining… just not mixed with my witchy small towns). 
Sorry… anyway. I loved all the characters. The friendships and family dynamics were as interesting as the romance, and they all had a place here.

Overall, this was perfection in a romance for me. Not too spicy but enough to pull the read through, the magic was great, and I love all things witch themed. This would be a wonderful read for the Fall/Halloween seasons.

May 16, 2022

Recent Reads: The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James 
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date:  March 15, 2022

Format: Hardback
Source: From Book of the Month


Goodreads Synopsis: 
In 1977, Claire Lake, Oregon, was shaken by the Lady Killer Murders: Two men, seemingly randomly, were murdered with the same gun, with strange notes left behind. Beth Greer was the perfect suspect--a rich, eccentric twenty-three-year-old woman, seen fleeing one of the crimes. But she was acquitted, and she retreated to the isolation of her mansion.

Oregon, 2017. Shea Collins is a receptionist, but by night, she runs a true crime website, the Book of Cold Cases--a passion fueled by the attempted abduction she escaped as a child. When she meets Beth by chance, Shea asks her for an interview. To Shea's surprise, Beth says yes.

They meet regularly at Beth's mansion, though Shea is never comfortable there. Items move when she's not looking, and she could swear she's seen a girl outside the window. The allure of learning the truth about the case from the smart, charming Beth is too much to resist, but even as they grow closer, Shea senses something isn't right. Is she making friends with a manipulative murderer, or are there other dangers lurking in the darkness of the Greer house?

A true crime blogger gets more than she bargained for while interviewing the woman acquitted of two cold case slayings in this chilling new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel.