Oof. It’s been a while since last post! Still waiting on the arrival of baby, and life is nuts! Look forward to a special Valentine’s Day giveaway post coming up and more reviews of beautiful titles… In the meantime, though, please enjoy this Calvin & Hobbes comic. I just love it. The power of learning (and just the right level of learning PLUS grossness) to be had from library books, as demonstrated by the one and only Calvin:
I managed to get my Best of 2017 posts under the wire- hope all of you lovely readers have been enjoying my vast array of picks! Looking back at the reading year, 2017 really was picture book and children’s lit (middle grade) intensive, with a small but very, very strong assortment of young adult titles.
So, what’s in store for 2018? On the personal side of things, Mr. Fab and I are awaiting the arrival of our second child!…Towards the end of the month!! So, as I noted in the updated About page, things might get a little bit wonky in terms of posting, depending on when baby decides to make an appearance! So, if I suddenly disappear for a bit (which, to be fair, I have done before without reasons of New Baby…), you will know it’s due to giving birth and having a newborn baby in the house!
On the non-baby, crazy household side of things, I do sincerely hope 2018 is as wonderful as 2017 was in terms of reading and reviewing. I hope to keep expanding what I read- not necessarily genres, but in terms of variety and challenge. The focus of reviews will likely stay more on the side of picture books, non-fiction children’s, middle grade, with a good mixture of YA and some adult fiction and mysteries.
Here’s to a good and awesomely bookish 2018! Thanks to all of your support, likes, comments, and giveaway participation the last year- it really means so much!
As the title of the post suggests (thank you, Monty Python!), this post does indeed feature something a little bit different for this site. I was recently contacted by the very kind and generous folks at Adagio Teas, asking if I was interested in sampling, trying, and putting something together about TEA!
As someone who drinks tea daily (at home, while reading, while writing, while working at the library, the list goes on…), I was delighted to have the chance to try out a brand of teas all new to me… from a company, I should add, that features some very cool literary and fandom blends! So stay along for a picture-heavy post all about some truly unique- and delicious- teas. Lovers of reading and lovers of tea, this just might be a perfect mix for you…
I had the great chance to get to pick a variety of teas of my choosing. Those totally new to tea might be overwhelmed by the scope of selection online; but as someone who has been picking and choosing teas for years (from multiple brands and stores), I was in a bit of a heaven here. I decided to try a little bit from personal tea favourites and personal literary favourites…and one astrological-sign tea for good measure! I ended up choosing a sampler of Earl Grey loose teas; two Pride & Prejudice-inspired teas (Lizzy Bennett and Mr. Darcy!); a Gemini tea blend; and last but definitely not least, Harry Potter-inspired teas including BeerButter Tea, and three different blends from Riddle’s Tea Shoppe– Sherbet Lemon, Cauldron Cakes, and For the Wise Wisdom House Blend.
Let’s take a closer look!
Any readers here interested in exploring unique gift ideas for the tea (and/or literary/fandom) aficionado in their life? Or if you’re looking for a new brand of teas to try out for yourself, Adagio Teas stocks everything from English Breakfast, Matcha, Jasmine Phoenix Pearls, to Peppermint and much, much more (loose leaf, tea bags, collections, accessories, etc.). I personally adore Earl Grey teas and have been enjoying every one of the loose teas in the Earl Grey Gift Sampler. I am still working my way through the Harry Potter fandom teas, though the ones I’ve tried so far (mmm, BeerButter and For the Wise Wisdom House Blend…) are unique and tasty. I’ve had a tough time cracking into the Lizzy Bennett and Mr. Darcy teas from this Pride and Prejudice collection – the tins and teas are so pretty!– but the Mr. Darcy blend (highly caffeinated with Earl Grey Bravo, Cream & Chestnut) is delicious and strong (can you tell I am kind of obsessed with anything Earl Grey?). Everything I have have received from Adagio Teas is- as you can see- beautifully presented and packaged so nicely; how could you not be delighted by such lovely treats?
I received a gift voucher courtesy of Adagio Teas in exchange for honest reviews and a post about the items. All opinions and comments regarding the items are my own. The Harry Potter books featured in the photo were gifted courtesy of Raincoast Books and are in no way affiliated with Adagio Teas. I received no monetary compensation for this post.
I am delighted to be hosting another round of #PlayTestShare, courtesy of the lovely and generous folks at Raincoast Books!
Open to Canadian residents, ages 18 and up, one lucky person will have the chance to win one of the amazing #PlayTestShare items below! I had the chance to play and test out the Ghost Story Box book as well as pore over the Star Wars Super Graphic , so you will see some photos and get my thoughts on those two items. Read on for even more information about all the #PlayTestShare items on offer and how to enter the giveaway!
Ghost Story Box
Based on a unique and original format, this game contains 20 story-telling puzzle pieces printed on both sides. Each piece can be interchanged or flipped over to allow for all kinds of plot twists and turns, and there are even two alternative endings! When all the puzzle pieces are used, they stretch out to over 8-feet long to tell your own mega ghost story!
Perfect for Halloween- or any fans of adorably illustrated ghost stories!- the Ghost Story Box is a wonderfully unique take on a family-friendly puzzle. As per the description, the game contains twenty double-sided puzzle pieces, all of which can be used interchangeably. There are ‘start’ pieces and ‘end’ pieces, but however you put a story together is totally up to the player! This game is like a wordless picture book come to life in a fragmented puzzle format: there are multiple stories, multiple directions and so many intriguing, funny, or peculiar ways you can piece together a story! You can see from one of the images in the slideshow below how I started piecing together one storyline involving a young girl who accidentally sits on a ghost! This game makes for enjoyable family time, and if you have a child who likes creative, inventive play (and making up stories!), this is an awesome game to share and have fun with.
Star Wars Super Graphic
Graphic-design guru Tim Leong presents STAR WARS trivia via playful pie charts, bar graphs, and other data-driven infographics. From a Venn diagram of Yoda’s idiosyncrasies to an organizational chart of the Empire to a line graph of Grand Moff Tarkin’s management decisions, STAR WARS SUPER GRAPHIC shines a new light on the much-adored universe. Equal parts playful and informative, this visual love letter to the vast STAR WARS universe will enchant fans of all ages.
Star Wars fans out there, this is a pick for you! The Star Wars Super Graphic is an infographic-based book that contains everything Star Wars. From bar graphs, pie charts, organizational charts to closer looks at characters (for example, what are R2-D2’s thoughts?), this is a very cool, funny, new and different kind of Star Wars book. I’ve read my share of Star Wars books (and we have a collection in our household!), and I don’t have anything quite like this. I must admit that I have a soft spot for infographic-based books and visually-based odes to various subjects (there’s something so aesthetically pleasing about this format to my librarian brain…), so, yes, I really adore this book! This is an unusual, fun, keepsake kind of book that would be perfect for a Star Wars fan.
The rest of the terrific #PlayTestShare items:
The newest book from Herve Tullet magically responds with bursts of color and moving shapes, empowering children by letting their imaginations liberate and direct each page’s reaction. Tullet’s books define the genre of participatory bookmaking, encouraging readers to explore and interact with the physical book in all its dimensions. The reward is tremendous: a journey of whimsy and sheer fun that extends well beyond the book’s pages.
After Dinner Amusements: Family Time
This is a fun little twist on classic games and activities and offers easy amusement during family dinners, holiday gatherings and road trips! This miniature deck of cards features fifty thoughtful and playful questions about the past, present, and future – a great way for family members to connect and learn new things about one another.
Animal Friends on Parade Puzzle
From a gorilla in a party hat to a hedgehog rat-a-tat-tatting on his drum, these animal friends from different habitats-the jungle, farm, woodland, and Arctic-know that togetherness is something to celebrate. Featuring twelve double-sided uniquely die-cut pieces by artist Junzo Terada, this fun puzzle offers (nearly) endless combinations, providing hours of entertainment.
Donner Dinner Party
Who’s safe when there are cannibals hiding among you? That’s the question at the heart of this fast-paced game of social deduction in which cannibals and pioneers face off in a fight for survival. Set in the winter of 1846, players are members of the ill-fated Donner Party wagon train, stranded atop a mountain with no food. Rowdy, outrageous, and full of deception, this party game packs a delightfully wicked twist!
Make and Move Mega: Dinosaurs
Press out, slot together and play with your very own T-Rex, Triceratops, Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Pteranodon. Created by talented paper artist and engineer Sato Hisao, each of these detailed 3D models comes with easy-to-follow assembly instructions. No scissors or glue required!
Travel Matching Game
Mix and match with this classic matching game, which includes 36 robust, jumbo-size cards featuring charming illustrations by Greg Pizzoli that will have kids ready to pack up their bags and explore the world! Children will adore pairing colorful images of suitcases, taxis, stop signs, and other classic travel imagery as they develop memory, concentration, and identification skills.
This majestically illustrated bingo game features portraits of 64 royal icons from around the world. Spot famous faces like William and Kate, or meet some less familiar figures such as the playboy prince Wenzeslaus of Liechtenstein. Each royal is further brought to life in an accompanying booklet, which details their personalities, foibles, gaffes and romances. Who will reign supreme?
The contest is open to Canadian residents only, and entrants must be aged 18 and up. The contest will run from September 20, 2017 to September 28, 2017. One winner will be randomly selected at the end of giveaway via Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to respond by emailing me at fabbookreviews[at]gmail[dot]com, confirming their name, their mailing address, and their ONE (1) giveaway prize pick. The winner has 48 hours to email me with their prize pick and Canadian mailing address, or another winner will be chosen.
THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED- big thank you to everyone who entered!
The winner is… JENNIFER P.!
If I haven’t heard from the randomly drawn winner in 48 hours, I will select another winner.
I received copies of Ghost Story Box and Star Wars Super Graphic from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review and for the purposes of this giveaway. Thank you! Opinions and comments regarding the titles are my own. Prizes provided by Raincoast Books.
Long-ish time, no post! Mr. Fab and I are currently traveling and visiting family, and thus ability to post and review has been limited! Hope to be back with posts soon. A brief bookish note: if you haven’t yet had a chance to read Jason Reynolds’s middle grade novel Ghost (Track #1)– I cannot recommend this one enough. Had a chance to read this recently during some downtown on holiday and it is superb.
In the meantime, won’t you please enjoy some of the late Richard Thompson’s Cul de Dac?
The above comic doesn’t have anything to do with what I’m posting about…but I always like a chance to feature a comic! Especially if it’s Pearls Before Swine…
Anyhow! Lovely readers and visitors to my site might have noticed that posting of any kind has been…sporadic at best lately. There’s a bit of major, happy news on my home front and that is that Mr. Fab and I are expecting another baby! We’re over the moon and our young daughter is also getting (somewhat!) excited at the prospect of being a big sister. What’s all this to do with lack of posting? Well, I’m in my second trimester right now, and it’s been a bumpy journey. I’m not going to get into all the gritty, but my health and daily functioning has been affected- to the point where reading, writing, and any lengths of time working on blog stuff has been a real struggle. Hopefully (fingers-crossed), everything at the next ultrasound is still a-okay with baby, and I’ll be feeling better as the weeks go on!
In the meantime, I’ll keep doing my best to read and post when I can!
I have been away on a brief blogging hiatus due to a myriad of factors and life being generally frenetic, and perhaps unsurprisingly am behind on reading and writing reviews. But somehow- mysteriously!- more books have made their way onto my must-read list! Besides reading comics- which is my go-to comfort reading when things are bumpy- there are a few books I have managed to start in the last week. The first is a graphic novel called Invisible Emmie by Terri Libensen- I’m about halfway through and really enjoying it. Great mix of humour with aches and pains of middle school…This is a perfect read to recommend to any Raina Telgemeier and Victoria Jamieson fans out there! The second is a contemporary YA title by Canadian-based author Jennifer Honeybourn called Wesley James Ruined My Life. Due out in July, this is, so far, a delightful, frothy read, reminiscent of Lindsey Leavitt and Jessica Brody. I haven’t talked much lately about contemporary/romantic YA- it is unfortunately a genre that has fallen a bit off my radar. But having had the chance meet Jennifer at a recent event and getting to hear more about her writing, Wesley James, and her process to publication really cinched it for me as a YA title I wanted to dive into.
Also coming up this week- more YA! The Raincoast Books blog tour for Canadian author Danika Stone‘s young adult novel Internet Famous stops here on Friday, June 16th. You can take a look at the blog tour postcard to see which awesome bloggers/reviewers are participating and when!
Sometimes, one can feel a little bit like poor Charlie Brown up there getting duped yet again by Lucy and the football! I’m not getting all maudlin or dramatic, I promise, it’s just been yet another bit of a bumpy stretch with health issues and a genuine lack of time for reading or reviewing! Some really awesome bookish bits in the midst of everything, though: new books I’ve bought include Adam Silvera’s History Is All You Left Me and Lisa Lutz’s The Passenger; I received lovely books from Penguin Canada including Lauren Graham’s Someday, Someday, Maybe, Kyo Maclear’s Birds Art Life; and I also received some stunning picture book goodies from Raincoast Books including Tony by Ed Galing and Erin E. Stead (a favourite illustrator). Mr. Fab and I also finished (the original) Broadchurch series, season 2. Holy smokes, terrifically acted and put together- and intense. I would argue that it was even sharper, even better than the already stellar season one. We’re back to making our way through Psych now as I needed something a bit lighter to watch!
Next week, I am participating in the Raincoast Books organized tour for award-winning author, educator and poet Kwame Alexander‘s latest book The Playbook! Thrilled to be part of the tour as I am a BIG fan of Kwame Alexander’s work! Take a look below to check out the lineup of bloggers; the tour stops here on January 26th. Look forward to that coming up as well as a few new reviews I’ve got cooking!
What a week, folks! The New Year started off brilliantly with a dinner out and a trip to the theatre to see the gorgeous and moving La La Land and then…cue sad trombone music. I’ve been trying to recuperate from a dragging-on illness and then our little one got sick as well. It was a rare week in which I was barely able to read – save for some comic book reading (a good medicine)- and unable to post.
Below is more information on the when’s and where’s of the tour. I hope you stop by here on the 12th to read my review and find out what I asked the author!