Month: August 2020

It’s Brave to Be Kind

It’s Brave to Be Kind: A Kindness Story and Activity Book for Children
Author: Natasha Daniels
Illustrator: Ela Smietanka
Published: July 7, 2020
50 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: August 9, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars     

Book Description:

Discover the value of kindness—a story and activity book for kids

Show kids that being kind is awesome! It’s Brave to Be Kind goes beyond other kindness books for children, combining the effectiveness of a storybook with the fun of play to teach kids ages 5 to 7 how to be amazingly kind people.

All kindness books for children should be this inspiring! Not only will kids learn how important niceness is through an engaging—and adorably illustrated—story, but they’ll also be able to practice being kinder every day with simple and fun activities you won’t find in other kindness books for children. Whether it’s taking care of themselves when they’re sad or helping out around the house, help young readers find out how fun being kind can be.

This standout among kindness books for children includes:

  • A story of kindness for kids—Give kids a supportive role model in Alex—a young girl who meets someone different and finds out how she can be kind, even when others aren’t.
  • Practice being nice—This top choice among kindness books for children encourages them to try out fun challenges that provide ways to grow their kindness and share it with the people around them.
  • Advice for parents and caregivers—Get tips for using both the story and activities to effectively teach kindness and empathy to kids.

When it comes to kindness books for children, you won’t find a more complete package than It’s Brave to Be Kind.

Jessica’s Review:

This children’s book is aimed for ages 5-7 and it delivers spot on with that age group.  The illustrations are colorful and help to completely convey the story presented.  The illustrations also show diversity among the children. 

Alex is our main character and she loves being a different sort of kid ( all the way to the way she styles her hair!), but she is also kind which includes being accepting  of others, being caring and brave. When new student Jon joins that class, he is also different: He is from another country and does not speak English. The other kids treat him differently.  Alex feels bad about the way jon is being treated and she befriends him. Over the course of the story, she shows the others kids that despite their differences that they can all become friends. 

This book is also meant to be an activity book. There is an introduction to parents/caregivers and teachers telling that this short book is meant to be the start of deeper conversations with your young child. This is more than a ‘read to your kid’ book.  There are also ‘kindness challenges’ at the end for kids to put what they learn into practice.  Examples of different type of kindness are given.  There are also websites given to help parents/ caregivers/ educators have more resources for help with teaching children all about kindness.

I received a copy from the publisher via Amazon Vine.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Love, Creekwood by Becky Albertalli

Love, Creekwood
Series: Simonverse
Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: June 30, 2020


Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 7-10, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars     

Book Description:

Fall in love all over again with the characters from the bestselling Simonverse novels in this highly anticipated epilogue novella. Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli, the movie Love, Simon, and the new Hulu series spin-off, Love, Victor!

It’s been more than a year since Simon and Blue turned their anonymous online flirtation into an IRL relationship, and just a few months since Abby and Leah’s unforgettable night at senior prom.

Now the Creekwood High crew are first years at different colleges, navigating friendship and romance the way their story began—on email.

Jessica’s Review:

I 1000% adore Simon and this series of books by Becky Albertalli:

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
The Upside of Unrequited
Leah on the Offbeat

Now we have the ‘book-end’ novella: Love, Creekwood that Albertalli wrote for the fans, and it truly is for the fans of the series. 

Love, Creekwood is a 127 page novella that we did not need, but really wanted!  It follows where the others in the series leave off as our gang are in their first year of college, some together and some not.  And they all communicate by email! It was different that in this time and age that was their method of communication, but the reason why is also addressed with one sentence for those curious.   This novella is made up of solely the emails to each other, so I was missing the ‘in person/real life’ interactions between our cast of characters.

I still adore Simon to the end, despite his extreme missing of Blue. But what would college life be like if you were far away from your boyfriend? Of course you would be dramatically pining away for him too. I’m still not a big fan of Leah, but I do adore Abby. 

I listened to the audio book version and all of our previous narrators are back!  Michael Crouch IS the voice of Simon for me!  I will be listening to more of the books he narrates.  And my favorite narrator Bahni Turpin voices Abby. Pretty much anything she narrates I will listen to. And as mentioned before, I adored the film version of Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, called Love, Simon.

I think this will be the last we see of the Creekwood gang, and I will miss them, but I enjoyed going back into their world and seeing what happened next for them: College.  Many thanks to Albertalli for writing this final book-end for those who it mattered: The fans of the series!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Published: June 30, 2020
304 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find – her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

Kim’s Review:

This. Cover. It had me from the moment I first saw it. And then I found out that it’s got a haunted house and a gothic tale . . . so I read it. I was indeed creepy! I’ll admit that I had to close my closet door after I finished because I was all freaked out. I’ll admit that at the beginning, I felt a little lost because once Noemí got to the High Place, there were names and relations and people that seemed to just come out of nowhere. It got confusing, but once I pushed through, it all made sense. I was also starting to wonder how the heck everything fit together. Eugenics was just kind of thrown in randomly and I kept waiting to see where Garcia was going with it.

Like I said, by the end, everything was explained and it all made sense. I was very pleased, because y’all know I hate loose ends, but there weren’t any! I liked Noemí as a main character. She gave off the spoiled socialite vibe, but she also had good wits that she used throughout the whole story. I liked how she refused to give up on her cousin, Catalina, even though that would have been the easy thing to do.

I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to give anything away. So I’ll just say that this is a great, creepy, gothic tale that will have you turning pages to see what happens! Perfect for those who like historical fiction with a horror twist!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK