Book Review: Absolutely Nat by Maria Scrivan

DAY 1
of 25 Days of Book Reviews

25 Days of Book Reviews

"Absolutely Nat" by Maria Scrivan (cover)
Absolutely Nat by Maria Scrivan

Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Series: Nat Enough #3
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: You can stay stuck or go forward, but you can’t go back.

Natalie has just arrived at summer camp and soon realizes it isn’t anything like the brochure. Instead of spending the summer with her best friends, Zoe and Flo, Natalie is stuck with her ex-BFF, Lily, and someone even more annoying than the endless mosquitoes: Millie Flatbottom. Even worse, she’s constantly pushed out of her comfort zone and forced to come face-to-face with some of her greatest fears. Although summer camp isn’t at all what Natalie expected, could it be exactly what she needs?

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Book Review (logo)

Nat’s first time at summer camp is not at all what she expected, which has her feeling alone, anxious, and afraid. Her intense fear keeps her from fully joining in the camp experience like (mostly) everyone else and making the most of it.

Summer camps aim to maximize fun and create meaningful experiences and memories in a safe, inclusive environment. It’s a great place to try new things and make new friends. Since I’ve never done sleep-away/overnight camp, I was interested in seeing how Nat would navigate such an experience. It’s a struggle for sure and the threat of a “lake monster” and mosquitoes don’t help. But that huge step it takes sometimes to face fears changes everything for Nat.

Once more, Nat grows even more in this third book, along with other past characters. She’s really coming into her own and gaining confidence throughout an unforgettable summer.

Another terrific tale from Maria Scrivan. As always I loved the art and enjoyed the story. I liked that all the kids from the previous book were at the camp as well because it made Nat’s progress more of an impact.


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2022: November Wrap-Up

November Wrap-Up post
November Wrap-Up

Hello, again! And happy Wednesday!

I’m back from break and posting again. Taking the last week and a half off blogging was very helpful. I got to relax, do nothing if I wanted, continue prepping end of year posts, and read some. I really should implement routine breaks going forward.

Now November is over! Seriously, where did the time go?!

POSTED REVIEWS

Only a few reviews were posted this month, but many more are on the way!

Silver in the Mist | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Forget Me Nat | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Forgotten Cottage | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Taken by the Vampire King | ⭐⭐⭐⭐

FAVORITE READ

Although November was a slowly reading month, the two that I enjoyed reading the most were Taken by the Vampire King by Roxie Ray & Lindsey Devin and A Guide to Being Just Friends by Sophie Sullivan.

BIRTHDAY HAUL

My birthday was last week and I got a ton of books that made my heart so happy to now have. Bookshelves are gloriously overflowing. My birthday haul includes:

GIFTED (top to bottom): Do You Take This Man by Denise Williams |
Maya and the Lord of Shadows by Rena Barron |
Children of Ragnarok
by Cinda Williams Chima | Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn

A photo of a stack of four books with a big red bow on top.
Photo by @thebookshelfcorner

BOUGHT (top to bottom): Duke Gone Rogue by Christy Carlyle |
A Sweet Lowcountry Proposal by Preslaysa Williams |
All Is Bright by RaeAnne Thayne | The Righteous by Renée Ahdieh |
Master of Iron by Tricia Levenseller | The Choice by Nora Roberts

A stack of six books with a small gold bow on top.
Photo by @thebookshelfcorner

FINAL THOUGHTS: 25 Days of Book Reviews Is Back!

I truly can’t believe December starts tomorrow. More so, 25 Days of Book Reviews is back for the fourth year in a row! I feel like overall this December is more structured and I know exactly what I want to post and when. There will be one more (but much smaller) break after Christmas before wrapping up the year.

I hope you all have a fantastic last month of 2022!


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Happy Thanksgiving!

A photo of Thanksgiving and autumn themed food and drinks.

Hello, everyone and happy Thursday! I just wanted to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! Yesterday I made buttermilk biscuits and cinnamon brown sugar bars ahead of tonight’s feast. So now I get to spend most of the day reading (This Cursed Crown by Alexandra Overy) until it’s dinner time with the family. But I will be taking time to watch all the Broadway performances (I’m especially excited for Six) at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. All in all, a laid back kind of day it will be.

Have a great day!

💙 Christina


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Off for the holiday.

A photo of autumn-themed tableware, food (a plate of cupcakes and bowl of apples), sunflowers, and drink.

Happy Friday, bookworms!

How was your week?

I recently finished reading A Guide to Being Just Friends, which I liked, and am continuing on into the weekend with This Cursed Crown. I’m not sure how much reading I’ll be able to get done as I am having a small, early birthday celebration with friends – been looking forward to this for weeks!

In blog news, starting tomorrow I’ll be on a blogging break to enjoy the upcoming holiday and do some self-care. I’ve been meaning to take time off for a while things didn’t work out until now. Regular posting will resume shortly after Thanksgiving.

I hope you all have an amazing Friday and weekend!

See you soon!

💙 Christina


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ARC Review: A Guide to Being Just Friends by Sophie Sullivan

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Book Review (logo)

Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin and NetGalley for the eARc to read in exchange for an honest review! A Guide to Being Just Friends releases January 17, 2023!

"A Guide to Being Just Friends" by Sophie Sullivan (cover)
A Guide to Being Just Friends by Sophie Sullivan

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Jansen Brothers #3
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Hailey Sharp has a one-track mind. Get By the Cup salad shop off the ground. Do literally everything possible to make it a success. Repeat. With a head full of entrepreneurial ideas and a bad ex in her rearview, her one and only focus is living life the way she wants to. No distractions.

Wes Jansen never did understand the fuss about relationships. With a string of lackluster first dates and the pain from his parents’ angry divorce following him around, he’d much rather find someone who he likes, but won’t love. Companionship, not passion, is the name of the game.

When Hailey and Wes find each other in a disastrous meet cute that wasn’t even intended for them, they embarrassingly go their separate ways. But when Wes finds Hailey to apologize for his behavior, they strike a friendship. Because that’s all this can be. Hailey doesn’t want any distractions. Wes doesn’t want to fall in love.

What could possibly go wrong?

 

REVIEW: The eldest Jansen brother finally gets his story told and it went pretty much how I expected. Nevertheless, A Guide to Being Just Friends was lovely to read.

Hailey is a salad shop owner who’s determined to make it on her own. Vibrant and friendly, Hailey’s always ready to help out but reluctant to ask for help/things. She’s never really had anyone in her corner who gives as much as she does and loves her.

Wes is a kind and caring tech wiz who co-owns a very successful company with his brothers. As the eldest, he spent most of his life protecting his siblings from their toxic father instead of nurturing his own interests. As a result, Wes is more reserved and private. He’s not quite the best at people-ing (i.e., socializing outside his brother’s beyond basic manners; relatable) and only seeks a likable companion sans romantic attachments.

Wes’ business savvy mind sometimes doesn’t have a filter when talking about anything business related, which early on I was worried about in his growing relationship with Hailey thinking he might overstep (though of course with good intentions). Comparably, Hailey’s only had mostly emotionally distant and one-sided close relationships. She wants an equal partnership (romantic or otherwise), so her friendship with Wes (and his wealth) make her cautious but all in.

Even though it’s super obvious to anyone looking that Hailey and Wes are into each other, I do like that they start out as mutual friends. They kind of get to go back to the basics and develop a relationship that’s just right for them and one in which they can really be themselves.

Something I felt was missing was a resolution to the brothers’ conflict with their father. Their father’s influence – toxic as it was – did affect them, especially Wes. It’s part of the driving force behind wanting to make their own way in life in each of their respective books. So while things as a whole wrapped up nicely enough, I feel this key part of who they were and what they are striving to become needed a conclusion of sorts.

Overall, this was a good read. I like that the story emphasizes the importance of finding your people, doing what you love, taking chances, and giving back to the community. The steady pacing nicely matches the temperament of the main characters, so it’s a more laid back romance you can cozy up for a time. An amiable, slow build of friends to lovers story indeed.


More by Sophie Sullivan

Jansen Brothers
Ten Rules For Faking It (#1)
How to Love Your Neighbor (#2)


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Quote of the Day (from Starfish)

A photo from above of small pumpkins and candy corn, a quote, and dots in triangular shape in the two left corners.
“We don’t say a word, / yet we understand each other. / A friend hears what you say with silence.” – Starfish by Lisa Fipps

We don’t say a word,
yet we understand each other.

A friend hears what you say with silence.
Starfish by Lisa Fipps

 

Like this quote? You can find more here!

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November Birthstone Color Book Recommendations

November Birthstone Color Book Recommendations (post header image)
November Birthstone Color Book Recommendations

The big day is almost here, so I wanted to do another birthday-themed post based off of the color of my birthstones: topaz (original) and citrine (later added).

Topaz comes in a variety of colors, but I think nowadays a golden yellow or light blue are the go-to colors. Citrine is a similar golden yellow. I prefer the golden yellow topaz for birthstone-related items.

Today, I thought I’d recommend a few books with covers in that particularly pretty golden yellow color and that are some of my favorite reads:

The Brazen Bluestocking by Tracy Sumner

Historical romance
Steamy
Self-made MCs
London setting

"The Brazen Bluestocking" by Tracy Sumner (cover)
The Brazen Bluestocking by Tracy Sumner

ABOUT THE BOOK: A defiant society outcast.
A forbidding rogue who doesn’t believe in love.
And a passionate wager.

Daughter of an earl, Lady Hildegard Templeton hasn’t conformed to what society expects from a woman of her station. Industrious and unique, she’s created an emboldened organization for women on the cusp of marriage, The Duchess Society. Called a bluestocking to her face and worse behind closed salon doors, she vows to marry for love. And nothing but. Although the emotion has never shown itself to her. Until she meets him.

Bastard son of a viscount and king of London’s sordid streets, Tobias Streeter has spent a lifetime building his empire, and he needs the Duchess Society to find a suitable wife. An asset to expand his worth in society’s eyes. But he vows his search will have nothing to do with love and everything to do with vengeance. Until he meets her.

Soon, Tobias and Hildy’s plans are in turmoil as they choose between expectation, passion, and love.

The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison

Black love
Young adult
Contemporary Romance
Forbidden romance

"The Right Side of Reckless" by Whitney D. Grandison (cover)
The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison

ABOUT THE BOOK: They were supposed to ignore each other and respect that fine line between them…

Guillermo Lozano is getting a fresh start. New town, new school, and no more reckless behavior. He’s done his time, and now he needs to right his wrongs. But when his work at the local community center throws him into the path of the one girl who is off-limits, friendship sparks…and maybe more.

Regan London needs a fresh perspective. The pressure to stay in her “perfect” relationship and be the good girl all the time has worn her down. But when the walls start to cave in and she finds unexpected understanding from the boy her parents warned about, she can’t ignore her feelings anymore.

The disapproval is instant. Being together might just get Guillermo sent away. But when it comes to the heart, sometimes you have to break the rules and be a little bit reckless…

The Awakening by Nora Roberts

Fantasy romance
Fey characters & world
Ireland & Philadelphia settings
Found family
Magic

"The Awakening" by Nora Roberts (cover)
The Awakening by Nora Roberts

ABOUT THE BOOK: In the realm of Talamh, a teenage warrior named Keegan emerges from a lake holding a sword—representing both power and the terrifying responsibility to protect the Fey. In another realm known as Philadelphia, a young woman has just discovered she possesses a treasure of her own…

When Breen Kelly was a girl, her father would tell her stories of magical places. Now she’s an anxious twentysomething mired in student debt and working a job she hates. But one day she stumbles upon a shocking discovery: her mother has been hiding an investment account in her name. It has been funded by her long-lost father—and it’s worth nearly four million dollars.

This newfound fortune would be life-changing for anyone. But little does Breen know that when she uses some of the money to journey to Ireland, it will unlock mysteries she couldn’t have imagined. Here, she will begin to understand why she kept seeing that silver-haired, elusive man, why she imagined his voice in her head saying Come home, Breen Siobhan. It’s time you came home. Why she dreamed of dragons. And where her true destiny lies—through a portal in Galway that takes her to a land of faeries and mermaids, to a man named Keegan, and to the courage in her own heart that will guide her through a powerful, dangerous destiny…

Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma

Young adult
Contemporary romance
Indian food recipes
Competitive dance
Standalone novel

"Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance" by Nisha Sharma (cover)
Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma

ABOUT THE BOOK: Radha is on the verge of becoming one of the greatest kathak dancers in the world . . . until a family betrayal costs her the biggest competition of her life. Now she has left her Chicago home behind to follow her stage mom to New Jersey. At the Princeton Academy of the Arts, Radha is determined to leave performing in her past and reinvent herself from scratch.

Jai is captain of the Bollywood Beats dance team, ranked first in his class, and is an overachiever with no college plans. Tight family funds means medical school is a pipe dream, which is why he wants to make the most out of high school. When Radha enters his life, he realizes she’s the exact ingredient he needs for a show-stopping senior year.

With careful choreography, both Radha and Jai will need to face their fears (and their families) if they want a taste of a happily ever after.

Float Plan by Trish Doller

Adult contemporary romance
Primarily at sea
Second chance romance
Mental health rep

"Float Plan" by Trish Doller. The cover shows a yellow and blue cover with a woman and man on a sailboat.
Float Plan by Trish Doller

ABOUT THE BOOK: Heartbroken by the loss of her fiancé, adventurous Anna finds a second chance at love with an Irish sailor in this riveting, emotional romance.

After a reminder goes off for the Caribbean sailing trip Anna was supposed to take with her fiancé, she impulsively goes to sea in the sailboat he left her, intending to complete the voyage alone.

But after a treacherous night’s sail, she realizes she can’t do it by herself and hires Keane, a professional sailor, to help. Much like Anna, Keane is struggling with a very different future than the one he had planned. As romance rises with the tide, they discover that it’s never too late to chart a new course.

In Trish Doller’s unforgettable Float Plan, starting over doesn’t mean letting go of your past, it means making room for your future.


What is your birthstone?


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Currently Reading – November 14, 2022

What are you reading this week?

I was very fortunate to be approved on NetGalley for This Cursed Crown by Alexandra Overy. I’ve had my eye on this much anticipated sequel all year. I love the cover art for This Cursed Crown. It has an elegant, royal, dark, dangerous feel to it in a pretty blue and gold. This perfectly matches the vibe I got from reading the previous book.

These Feathered Flames consisted of sisterhood, magic, firebird, folktale, and political intrigue, all of which worked in concert to create an incredible story. The ending of book one left me with so many questions (in a good way) that I immediately wanted answers to because oh-my-heart the story was just that good. I have high hopes that This Cursed Crown will be another good story.

"This Cursed Crown" by Alexandra Overy (cover)
This Cursed Crown by Alexandra Overy

ABOUT THE BOOK: Awakening to find herself trapped in a strange tower, Izaveta knows she must find her way back to the Tóurensi palace and claim the throne. But even with an unexpected ally’s help, she worries she might not be able to get news of her survival to her sister and escape this frozen land.

Back at home, Asya enlists Nikov’s help to prove Izaveta is still alive, even as she finds herself forced to navigate the political world she always sought to avoid to save her queendom, her loved ones, and herself.

But as the sisters work independently to reunite, a dangerous force lies in wait, trying to regain power in order to overthrow the monarchy…


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