Book Review: Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas

Hello Lovelies. I had the opportunity to read an advance e-copy of Wild and Crooked that I received free from Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, through NetGalley. Here are my thoughts about it…all of which are my own opinions. 🙂

If you’re looking for a diverse book, with LGBTQ or disability representation, add this one to your TBR. This story is about friendship, and discovery and doing the right thing when it’s rough.

It’s NOT about romance. Neither of the main characters are straight. Here’s a quote from the book, “Okay, maybe I’m a little gay. But my parents are already gay! And you’re gay!”
“You sayin’ we’re over our quota? Because I don’t think that’s ever stopped straight people.” LOL!  But the book isn’t really about that. The boy, Gus, has cerebral palsy, and especially at first it seems like that’s a big part of how he sees himself, and thus is a big part of the story, but not the main part of the story. It seems very realistically and respectfully portrayed.

It felt slow to me at the beginning, but most books do.  In fact, a lot of the most raved about books (Six of Crows, and Raven Boys to name a few) felt to me nearly too slow for a large part of the story, for me to get through. I nearly DNFed them both.  There’s a bit of a mystery is the second half of the book that I wish had been more of a big deal as far as finding clues and solving it. But overall it was a good story – worth reading. I give it four stars.

ROMANOV | Book Review

I was thrilled to be able to read an advanced copy of Romanov by Nadine Brandes. The moment I heard about it a magical retelling of Anastasia’s story, I was hooked and pre-ordered a copy for myself. For the advanced reading, though I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  🙂

romanov book by nadine brandes

Star Rating: 5

This book is incredibly lovely. The first half of the book with Anastasia (Nastya) and her family coming together during hardship and finding warmth, humor, and love wherever they could, gave me strong Little Women vibes. I was really touched by the bond they shared.

I actually hadn’t realized just how much of this story would be focused on the true history of the Romanov family, and as historical novels aren’t usually my favorite, I might not have picked up the book if I’d known…but I’m so glad I read it. The characters were richly developed and I felt so attached to each of them. Plus Nadine’s writing was so gripping I couldn’t put the book down. In fact, I binge-read this one faster than anything else I’ve picked up this year.

This book definitely gave me ALL THE FEELS and surprised me time and again, even when I thought I knew what was going to happen. I was riveted by the magical element and the fact that it was connected to music, in a way that made me nostalgic for the old Anastasia movie where the music box was so important.

Extra tidbits:
Hogwarts House I’d put the main character in: A mix of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw.

I’d recommend it for fans of:  Sky In The Deep, To Best The Boys, Diary of Anne Frank, and Little Women.

Also, this book doesn’t delve into any romantic situations beyond kissing. While there is obviously violence and death, it’s not described in a graphic manner, and there’s no strong language, so in my opinion it would be fine for younger YA readers who aren’t ready for more mature YA content.

TO BEST THE BOYS | Book Review

Hello lovelies. I’m going to try to do a better job of sharing reviews for books I read on here instead of just on Instagram and Goodreads/Amazon etc. These will probably be short and sweet most of the time, and I’ll always try to keep them spoiler-free.
To start with, here are my thoughts on To Best The Boys by Mary Weber.

Star Rating: 5
General Thoughts: This is such a lovely girl-power book. I appreciated the fact that Mary praised how strong and capable and intelligent etc. girls are, without tearing down guys in order to do it. Yes, there are some male figures in the book that you hate, but there are also ones who are respectful and kind and compassionate and wonderful, and that meant a lot to me, because I have four girls and I’m all about building up girls and women, but I also have a wonderful husband, and I’m not here for man-hating. There are also two main girls who are both amazing in different ways, and I love that they each get to make the choices that are right for them, and neither is portrayed as any less valid or important. And I loved that we get to see their friendship really shine. I feel like we don’t have enough books that feature positive friendships. By the last half of this book I couldn’t put it down, so I stayed up way too late last night reading, but it was well worth it!
Hogwarts House I’d put the main character in: Gryffindor
I’d recommend it for fans of: Stalking Jack The Ripper,  and I’ve heard others say Caraval,  I’ll update this post after my oldest daughter who loves Caraval  has read To Best The Boys  so she can let me know if she agrees.
Also, this book doesn’t delve into any romantic situations beyond kissing, graphic violence, or strong language so it should be fine for younger YA readers who aren’t ready for more mature content.

Mood Board Mondays…Maybe

Hello lovelies. I made a few aesthetic, or mood, boards for the four Hogwarts houses to share on my Instagram stories, but one of my beautiful friends there suggested I share them here, too. If I come up with other stories or fandoms I want to make these boards for, then I may try to make this a weekly, or at least monthly thing. We’ll see. 🙂


And a bonus, because I’ve been sorted into both Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw and while I  lean more towards Hufflepuff, I honestly relate to parts of both houses…


These are all just images I found on Pinterest. I have boards there for each house, where you an find the original images that I put together into these aesthetics (and a ton of other images for each house that I pinned before deciding on the final ones for each collage). I hope you enjoyed these. Have a wonderful week.


Rich, Creamy Hot Cocoa!

Happy December! This is the one time of year I diverge from bookish and writerly posts to share the best hot chocolate recipe I’ve ever, ever tried!

Other than using kcup hot cocoa when I’m feeling really lazy, this is pretty much the only stuff I find worth drinking! And if I manage to be organized enough to make little gifts for neighbors and such, this is what I give! Here’s the recipe:

3/4 cup powdered Hershey’s Cocoa

1/2 cup powdered milk

2 cups powdered creamer

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine ingredients and mix well!

I usually double or triple the batch, though, because we drink it like crazy. It makes a great gift, too!

When you’re ready to enjoy just add 1/3 cup to 2/3 cup very hot water, stir well an enjoy!