My Reading Week #IMWAYR- August 1, 2022 / My July Recap

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

 

I guess the biggest thing that happened in July was that I celebrated my ten year anniversary at work which you can read about here.

cheers

Other good things that happened were:

-I’ve been meeting up with a couple of my co-workers every week for a writing session.

-I reached and surpassed my goal of doing 100 volunteer hours.

-I reached and surpassed my goal of reading 104 nonfiction picture books.

Even though, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, I’m quite proud of myself for having kept a cat alive. A couple of my housemates went away so I watched their cat for what ended up close to a month. I don’t like animals and never had a pet before so this was a huge learning curve. I have to say I didn’t come out of it liking animals any more than before nor did I want to suddenly have my own.

So far in 2022, I’ve read 354 books. The breakdown is:
12- Adult novels
6- Adult non-fiction
27- Graphic novels
51- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52)
249- Picture Books and Board Books
79- Young Adult novels

of which
107- Nonfiction Picture Books (Goal: 104)
37- Audio Books

15- Books by Filipino Authors and/or Illustrators

64- Books by LGBTQ+ Authors and/or Illustrators

I had been trying The StoryGraph for the first half of this year to avoid the Amazon-owned Goodreads. Unfortunately, it didn’t provide the convenience Goodreads offered so I’m back using Goodreads.

I thought I reviewed more of the books I actually read but apparently not.

I really hate the formatting on WordPress. So, apologies for the weird spacing issues.

A Spoonful of FrogsA Spoonful of Frogs by Casey Lyall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hilarious. Fun read-aloud for fans of cooking shows. If Julia Child was a witch and one of her ingredients was out of control.

Kind Like Marsha: Learning from LGBTQ+ LeadersKind Like Marsha: Learning from LGBTQ+ Leaders by Sarah Prager
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This introductory picture book on LGBTQ+ leaders was a bit too bare bones for my liking. It’s great to see them but a slightly longer biography for each of them would have been nice.

Hooves or Hands?Hooves or Hands? by Rosie Haine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fun book for inquisitive minds that may inspire them to continue this train of thought- or to come up with new interesting questions.

A Butterfly Is PatientA Butterfly Is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gorgeous illustrations with lyrical text make learning about butterflies easy and enjoyable.

You can view all my reviews over on Goodreads.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

Ten-Year Anniversary Working at Green Bean Books: Top 10 Moments and Memories

Walking inside is an invitation to leave the grown up world behind and just be a kid again.

I wrote that my first time visiting Green Bean Books when it opened back in 2009. I just loved that such a place existed and that I’ve been part of it as a children’s bookseller for ten years now. To commemorate celebrating working there for a decade- July 26th was my anniversary-, I decided to make a list of my top 10 moments and memories there.

[One]

Of course, I have to thank my boss Jennifer for creating such a wonderful and magical bookstore in the first place. It’s truly been such an important space not only in the neighborhood but, I think, in the city of Portland as well. That I get to be associated with it at all has been incredible.

I’ve enjoyed showing people around the store and hearing their oohs-and-aah’s whenever they come across something delightful.

On a personal note, she’s also been very kind and generous. I tend to tell customers I feel like a proud dad for everything she’s done and accomplished with Green Bean Books.

[Two]

The first craft event I did was making paper ball pumpkins. I was a bit nervous because it was sort of complicated.

My first author event I ran on my own was for Christopher Healy’s The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.

The first shelftalker I did was for The Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis.

I’ve enjoyed the opportunities to be creative making event signs and shelftalkers.

[Three]

I’ve loved getting to interact with voracious readers and kindred spirits and getting to talk books with them. Luckily, we are in a Golden Age of Children’s Literature which makes my job easy. And, I think, everyone- especially adults- should be reading kids books to be reminded of good storytelling and important lessons only such characters as Frog and Toad and Harold can teach.

[Four]

It’s great to be part of the bookselling community. While it is a business, I think we all try to do our best to connect readers with the perfect books for them. It’s not necessarily about the sale but getting them excited about books and perhaps making a lifelong reader out of them.

It’s always fun to go to conferences like the Children’s Institute and the PNBA Trade Show to be with peers. And, of course, it’s always fun to meet authors, illustrators, and everyone else in the book business.

[Five]

I’ve been inspired and amazed by the creativity and kindness of the kidlit community. Whether I’ve seen them do events at the store or they just stop by to support an independent bookstore, there’s just a feeling of goodwill. I love seeing other creators come support their friend by buying their books.

As an aspiring published writer, some have even offered me wonderful tips and advice. There’s no ego. We just want one another to succeed.

[Six]

Green Bean Books has held amazing in store events. We’ve been so fortunate to have so many authors and illustrators do readings there. I definitely geeked out when Dan Santat was there. And Don and Audrey Wood were so love that I wanted them to adopt me.

Some off-site events we had that I loved were at the Alberta Rose Theater for separate readings with Gene Luen Yang and Kate DiCamillo and at the Portland Book Festival and getting to talk to Kazu Kibuishi.

Plus, there have been drag queens, llamas, an alpaca, a mermaid, a Stormtrooper, and the Unipiper in the store, too.

[Seven]

I’ve been fortunate enough to dress up as two classic picture book characters- The Poky Little Puppy and The Very Hungry Caterpillar (twice). Especially with the latter, it was so fun to see both kids and grown-ups reactions interacting with these characters.

Other favorite events I helped run that I enjoyed were moderating the Family Book Club and holding a Junior Bookseller Camp.

[Eight]

I admit I do love getting recognized for my work as a bookseller. (Not so much the moment it’s happening but afterwards when I’ve stopped squeeing inside.)

It was very nice Jennifer made a Mister Earl finger puppet.

And, of course, super flattering was getting featured in Portland Monthly!

[Nine]

We have such amazing customers. I’ve had many opportunities to get to know them outside of the bookstore- whether grabbing coffee and a bite to eat with them, watching shows, ice skating, and doing tai chi, just to name a few activities.

Some of my favorite customer memories are book related. One was helping a mom put on an author and illustrator event at her son’s school. She really thought of everything. It was impressive. Second was helping a lady give out books to her neighborhood kids during Halloween. I’ve done it every year since 2012- except 2020, of course- and it’s still something I look forward to.

[Ten]

And, naturally, a list of my favorite moments and reasons working at Green Bean Books wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention my co-workers. There’s been so many over the years and they’ve had to endure lots of my personal stories and weird jokes. I’m glad I can call some of them friends.

If I didn’t procrastinate writing this blog post, it would have been better edited and it would have included pictures. But I hope anyone reading this can tell how much I love and appreciate being a bookseller- and that ten of those years have been at Green Bean Books.

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- July 25, 2022

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

I had been trying The StoryGraph for the first half of this year to avoid the Amazon-owned Goodreads. Unfortunately, it didn’t provide the convenience Goodreads offered so I’m back using Goodreads.

The Legend of Iron PurlThe Legend of Iron Purl by Tao Nyeu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first I was put off by this picture book because it seemed a bit wordy but it was a sweet and surprising story that’s perfect for read-alouds and anyone who loves to pore over the illustrations carefully. Everything in Its Place: A Story of Books and BelongingEverything in Its Place: A Story of Books and Belonging by Pauline David-Sax
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful ode to books and the connections made with them. The Little House of HopeThe Little House of Hope by Terry Catasús Jennings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was hesitant to read this one since it was very similar to a picture book manuscript I’d written. But then there’s really no new idea/premise out there- just the way you present it. I really enjoyed this story for showing how important family and community is and the make-do attitude some people have. Lovely. A Good Thing Happened TodayA Good Thing Happened Today by Michelle Figueroa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked that actual good news stories were incorporated in this positive book. Hooves or Hands?Hooves or Hands? by Rosie Haine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fun book for inquisitive minds that may inspire them to continue this train of thought- or to come up with new interesting questions. If You Find a LeafIf You Find a Leaf by Aimée Sicuro
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun picture book for fall- includes a fun activity to do! If You're a Kid Like GavinIf You’re a Kid Like Gavin by Gavin Grimm
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A wonderful picture book about trans activist Gavin Grimm told through the lens of every child who has many choices of who they want to be and what they believe in. Shahzia: My Life as an ArtistShahzia: My Life as an Artist by Shahzia Sikander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful picture book about an artist I wasn’t familiar with. I appreciated images of her works to better understand her style. Odd Birds: Meet Nature's Weirdest FlockOdd Birds: Meet Nature’s Weirdest Flock by Laura Gehl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun board book about birds- focusing on the more unusual types! Birding for Babies: Backyard Birds: A Numbers BookBirding for Babies: Backyard Birds: A Numbers Book by Chloe Goodhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun board book about birds- counting up to ten with different kinds of birds. Birding for Babies: Migrating Birds: A Colors BookBirding for Babies: Migrating Birds: A Colors Book by Chloe Goodhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun board book about birds- learning about different types based on their colors. Answers in the PagesAnswers in the Pages by David Levithan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

David Levithan does it again with his timely middle grade novel about books being banned. Alternating between three pairs of duos- including excerpts from the book (within the book) being challenged-, readers who know the life-saving/life-changing importance of representation will follow along until they learn the outcome of the book’s fate. One of the storylines was what I can only describe as pure which got me quite emotional. One of my favorite novels of the year. The Marvelous Land of Oz (Oz, #2)The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I admit the only reason I even considered reading beyond the first book of this series (because there are so many of them and I loved the first one so much) was that the twist has became a sort of a LGBTQ+ thing which I’m sure the author didn’t intend but certain readers just interpreted through their lens. I think it just shows how much we crave representations of ourselves in the media we consume and how important it is when we think we see it. Bridges: Engineering MasterpiecesBridges: Engineering Masterpieces by Dan Zettwoch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fascinating book to learn about bridges with characters who travel all over the world to share why they love these engineering masterpieces. It made me want to visit some of the bridges they mentioned. Annie on My MindAnnie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This has been on my radar for awhile and I finally picked it up after it was mentioned in another book. I really enjoyed the book- a good mix of teenage angst and joyful first love. I was worried when one of my friends said this was sad so I started feeling apprehensive that this would go the way of many LGBTQ books of many decades ago. The Magic FishThe Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This has been in my stack of books to read for awhile and I’m glad I finally read it. I loved the mix of fairy tales mirroring the family’s life story and how the character gets to imagine a version of a happily ever after because of them. Last Seen After Midnight (Trese, #4)Last Seen After Midnight by Budjette Tan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Alexandra Trese is back solving more supernatural cases. I only gave this installment a lower rating because the previous volume was so good.

I’m looking forward to when the releases overseas and in the US finally catch up to one another.

I really got hooked on this series. It reminded me of Tommy & Tuppence if they were gay and if their stories had steamy scenes. I even read the extra stories online after each of the novels.

The Fox's Tower and Other TalesThe Fox’s Tower and Other Tales by Yoon Ha Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This caught my eye at a Pride display at one of the libraries I go to. Beautifully written, for sure, but it did seem repetitive at times. Really short stories that were more about creating a certain kind of feeling than having a strong narrative. Some of the stories really stood out.

This may be good for writing exercises. I would recommend maybe reading one a day and then either expand on it or maybe draw a scene or two from it.

You can view all my reviews over on Goodreads.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- July 4, 2022 / My June Recap

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The first half or so of June was tough. The weather here in Portland was downright wet and gloomy for the most part. I’m still adjusting to living with so many people and have been surprised to see what others level of cleanliness and responsibility are. And, to what may come as a surprise to anyone who knows I don’t like animals, I’ve been catsitting a couple of my housemates’ cat while they went to the mid-West. Now that they both have Covid, it doesn’t look like they’ll be home for another week or two. So, my life feels like it’s in this weird limbo.

The weather did change like a light switch when Summer (finally!) came. I loved getting to enjoy the sun. I even took one of my long somewhat ridiculous trips to visit Silverton- four buses, three hours, one way. You can read about my adventures there here.

I also did a somewhat fun, no-pressure Spring Bucket List and I completed most of it.

springsuggestions

I did complete my Reading the Rainbow LGBTQ+ BINGO.

readingtherainbow

I’ve been trying The StoryGraph to avoid the Amazon-owned Goodreads but I may end up moving back after all for the convenience of just copy/pasting my book reviews and ratings onto my blog.

So far in 2022, I’ve read 311 books. The breakdown is:
9- Adult novels
5- Adult non-fiction
24- Graphic novels
45- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52)
221- Picture Books and Board Books
7- Young Adult novels

of which
86- Nonfiction Picture Books (Goal: 104)
32- Audio Books

Now for the reviews…

I did read a few books to learn more Juneteenth. I recommend doing the same for next year.

juneteenth

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You can view all my reviews over on The StoryGraph.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- June 6, 2022 / My May Recap

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

Well, if April was a free fall, May wasn’t as bad. Luckily, people’s kindness was like a parachute that helped me not crash completely to the ground. Now, it feels like I’m in the inescapable rough landing part but I guess it’s nice to know that I’ll be on solid ground soon enough.

Be sure to read last week’s post about my Reading the Rainbow Reading Challenge.

So far in 2022, I’ve read 267 books. The breakdown is:
7- Adult novels
5- Adult non-fiction
18- Graphic novels
38- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52)
197- Picture Books and Board Books
2- Young Adult novels

of which
72- Nonfiction Picture Books (Goal: 104)
28- Audio Books

And, now for the reviews…

I’ve moved over to The StoryGraph to avoid the Amazon-owned Goodreads. It’s still a learning curve and it doesn’t have some of the convenience Goodreads offers but, at least, I’ve been reviewing again. I wish they included the covers.

I do think I will be switching back to Goodreads in July just for the convenience.

Continue reading “My Reading Week #IMWAYR- June 6, 2022 / My May Recap”

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- May 30, 2022 / LGBTQ+ Book Recs

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

For a few years now, a friend and I have been having an LGBTQ+ reading challenge in June as a way to celebrate Pride Month. It’s a fun way to intentionally seek out books I normally wouldn’t even though I do try to read these kinds of books all year long.

What I like to do is create a BINGO board and randomly number it from 1 to 25. I then fill it out in order of what I read until I get five in a row. As an added bonus, I also “win” when I cover all the squares.

Here’s an example of a Bingo board I did for the kids books I’ve read so far this year.

bingokids

Here’s how it looked completed.

bingokidscompleted

Here’s my game board for June.

bingo2022

I invite everyone to read as many LGBTQ+ as they can in June. Here are some books I’ve read so far this year. I put an asterisk next to the titles that aren’t for kids.

0530a

Cinderelliot: A Scrumptious Fairytale- A cute queer retelling of Cinderella with the main character (Cinderelliot) as a baker who leaves his chef’s hat behind at a baking contest being held at the palace.

Bathe the Cat– Hilarious picture book about a family trying to get their household ready for their grandma’s visit- and a cat willing to do everything to avoid getting a bath. I love that it features two gay dads but it’s not made a big deal of.

Mr. Watson’s Chickens– An enjoyable silly story that I definitely to need to pick up again to pore over the illustrations longer to catch all the references to LGBTQ kidlit creators.

0530b

Pride In– I first heard of this series last year. I put off reading it once I realized it was a series (I didn’t know it at the time) since I knew with my completist mind-set I would have wanted to read it all at once. As it happened, I was able to check out all four titles. A colorful nonfiction picture book series of biography anthologies featuring LGBTQ+ people each focused on a different category. There are shared texts across the series and each includes a glossary.

Calvin– Inspired by the authors’ transgender child, this is Calvin finding the courage the world who really is. Hopefully books like this will help create a more loving and accepting world.

0530c

Love, Violet– A sweet picture book about a first crush perfect for anyone looking- or who remembers looking- for someone to go adventuring with.

Leaders Like Us: Bayard Rustin– Great to see a picture book biography about Bayard Rustin. Unfortunately, the presentation was bland.

The Spectacular Suit– A celebration of being oneself. Frankie is throwing a party and she only has to find the best outfit to make it truly spectacular.

0530d

Pink, Blue, and You!: Questions for Kids about Gender Stereotypes– A great kid-friendly book full of questions to help jumpstart conversations about gender stereotypes.

*Rolling the R’s– I was fascinated by this book since it was rereleased a few years ago to commemorate 20 years and I hadn’t ever heard about it before. These are vignettes of mostly fifth graders living in Hawaii in the 70s. As Filipinos and other ethnicities, they realize they can’t play by the rules (even though that’s what’s expected of them) when they aren’t even allowed to play the game. Add to that, the male main characters aren’t afraid to be who they are when it comes to their gender identities even when they get ridiculed and bullied. It’s unflinching and painfully honest at times but also shocking and over the top. With all the sex that was happening, I kept thinking the characters were in high school at least. I guess it’s edgy. I’m sure it definitely was when it came out in the mid 90’s.

Big Wig– Drag kids take center stage in this picture book about a wig that gives its wearers the confidence to be who and what they secretly want to be!

Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle– When one of her moms go away on a business trip, she and her Mama try to fill the days until her Mommy’s return but sometimes the missing is too big for her. Great for having to deal with separation anxiety.

Sam Is My Sister– Based on the author’s own family’s experience when one of their kids realizes they aren’t a boy but a girl and how the siblings- and the parents- learn to navigate this information.

0530e

*Silver in the Wood– I don’t know how I learned about this novella duology but I think I just wanted to read gay. A dark fantasy of magical creatures filled with delightful moody writing.

*Drowned Country– The problem with reading more stories featuring characters you’ve enjoyed is that there needs to be conflict. Not as strong as the first one but fascinating nonetheless.

‘Twas the Night Before Pride– A fun picture book about a family looking forward to Pride and what to expect- and why we celebrate it. I love the endpapers and I hope there’s a resource page identifying the LGBTQ+ figures. As of this review, I didn’t see one yet.

Miss Rita, Mystery Reader– A celebration of drag culture and story times.

Strong– I was pleasantly surprised with this picture book. I thought this was just going to be a general positive message type of story. I didn’t realize it was a memoir about a gay strongman defying expectations of who can be great in that athletic field I didn’t know anything about.

0530f

Mighty Red Riding Hood: A Fairly Queer Tale– A fun enough reimagining of a familiar fairy tale giving it a queer take and making it a story about being who you and how you want to dress and standing up to bullies. I think readers will enjoy the sass in this one.

If You’re a Drag Queen and You Know It– A fun companion to The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish, this picture book is perfect for story time that will get readers celebrating their fabulous selves.

The Pronoun Book– A simple board book about a variety of people and the pronouns they use.

History Comics: The Stonewall Riots: Making a Stand for LGBTQ Rights– I wish I liked this more since this was a great way to talk about the Stonewall Riots to a new audience. But it just seemed a bit too confusing.

You can view all my reviews over on The StoryGraph.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- May 23, 2022

I’ve moved over to The StoryGraph to avoid the Amazon-owned Goodreads. It’s still a learning curve and it doesn’t have some of the convenience Goodreads offers but, at least, I’ve been reviewing again. I’m trying this new format this week which saves me a bit of time but I wish they included the covers. Not only that but I’m using my phone to post this to get it up today so pardon any other weird formatting issues!

You can view all my reviews over on The StoryGraph.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- May 2, 2022 / My April Recap

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

 

(Note: I’m working on this post on my phone so the formatting will be a surprise for all of us. I apologize.)

I would say April has been a chaotic month. It feels like this past few months has been a sort of free fall, and, at this point, I’m just waiting for it to stop so I can assess the situation and plan from there.

But, another perspective that has helped me is knowing I’m surrounded by kind and generous people who care for me and my well-being. They act like parachutes to help me make sure I don’t crash to the ground.

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I got to visit some more labyrinths- and made a list of them!

So far in 2022, I’ve read 215 books. The breakdown is:
6- Adult novels
3- Adult non-fiction
13- Graphic novels
31- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52)
160- Picture Books and Board Books
2- Young Adult novels

of which
63- Nonfiction Picture Books (Goal: 104)
20- Audio Books

I’ve moved over to The StoryGraph to avoid the Amazon-owned Goodreads. It’s still a learning curve and it doesn’t have some of the convenience Goodreads offers but, at least, I’ve been reviewing again. I wish they included the covers.

<img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-14746″ src=”https://thechroniclesofachildrensbookwriter.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/0404-1.jpg&#8221; alt=”0404-1″ width=”720″ height=”1129″><img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-14745″ src=”https://thechroniclesofachildrensbookwriter.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/0404-2.jpg&#8221; alt=”0404-2″ width=”720″ height=”538″>
You can view all my reviews over on <a href=”https://app.thestorygraph.com/profile/earldizon”>The StoryGraph</a>.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- April 4, 2022 / My March Recap

New-2020-IMWAYR-Button
Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

I was interviewed for Portland Monthly magazine back in December and the Spring 2022 issue was recently released. It’s been very flattering and humbling to have had this experience and to feel the positive feedback I’ve received from people about it. You can click the image to read the interview.pomo(The print magazine’s title has a less “Let’s punch Earl in the face” vibe to it than the online version’s.)

I was able to visit a new (to me) bookstore.

I got to visit some more labyrinths- and made a list of them!

I finished my Disney Challenge.

So far in 2022, I’ve read 182 books. The breakdown is:
4- Adult novels
1- Adult non-fiction
10- Graphic novels
26- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52)
139- Picture Books and Board Books
2- Young Adult novels

of which
55- Nonfiction Picture Books (Goal: 104)
15- Audio Books

I’ve moved over to The StoryGraph to avoid the Amazon-owned Goodreads. It’s still a learning curve and it doesn’t have some of the convenience Goodreads offers but, at least, I’ve been reviewing again. I wish they included the covers.

0404-10404-2
You can view all my reviews over on The StoryGraph.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- March 21, 2022

I’ve moved over to The StoryGraph to avoid the Amazon-owned Goodreads. It’s still a learning curve and it doesn’t have some of the convenience Goodreads offers but, at least, I’ve been reviewing again. I’m trying this new format this week which saves me a bit of time but I wish they included the covers. Not only that but I’m using my phone to post this to get it up today so pardon any other weird formatting issues!

You can view all my reviews over on The StoryGraph.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!