Freebie Friday: Lore: A Podcast Review

Hello Readers!

You don’t know this about me, but I recently (as in the last year or so) started listening to some podcasts.  Some I’ve listened to I’ve liked and have continued to read. Others I simply didn’t like for one reason or another and have stopped listening to them.

But there’s one particular podcast I’ve listened to solidly. And I have to thank my best friend for the recommendation.  She suggested that I listen to this podcast named Lore. Because we are so close, and because she knows me so well, I trust her completely.  And wouldn’t you know: she was right. After a single episode I was hooked!

Lore is created, written, hosted, and produced by a gentleman named Aaron Mahnke. This podcast features tales of real life ghost stories and creepy folklore from all over the world. It basically tells and discusses all those things that go bump in the night.

Now, I’m no expert on podcasts. I know next to nothing about what really goes into the recording and the producing of a podcast. But what I do know is this: Lore is very well produced! And the sound quality is near perfect.

Another aspect of what makes Lore such a great podcase is host Aaron Mahnke. He is a storyteller. He knows exactly how to keep readers engaged and entertained. Besides that, through his tales he makes listeners think and question.

As a listener I’ve learned a lot from this podcast.  All of the stories that Mahnke tells is one hundred percent fact. Even the ones that seem to strange to be true. Believe me, I’ve Googled and have researched some of the topics of Lore podcast. And all I found was scary fact after fact.

For example, before Lore I had no clue about the Hungarian noblewoman who had more in common with Dracula than any human should. (In case you don’t know who I’m talking about, do yourself a favor and look up Elizabeth Bathory). I also had no clue about that the huldufolk (ask Icelandic hidden people) even existed.  And now that I know about them both, I’m interested in learning more about the lore, about the reality, and about their places in our culture.

I feel like I could go on and on about Lore. I won’t. I’ll just say that you should check it out. And when you love it as much as I do, we should totally talk about it!

For more information about Lore Podcast check Lore out online!




Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Priyanka, or just Pri as she prefers t one called, is your average high school student. But as average as she is, she doesn’t necessarily feel that way. Often times she feels out of place – both at school and at home.

At school, Pri feel like she stands out as the only Indian-American. Classmates can’t seem to pronounce her first name, they don’t seem to get her art, and they certainly don’t share the same interests.

Home isn’t any better. Pri’s mom feels that she doesn’t embrace their Indian culture. Instead she feels like she focuses too much on things that aren’t important – like what happened to her dad? And why her mom and aunt no longer speak.

The only time Pri feels one hundred percent comfortable is with her uncle. So when she find out he will be having a child of his own, Pri’s upset. She knows there will be no room in her uncle’s life for her once the baby comes.

Trying to find the answer to her prayer, Pri stumbles upon an old pashmina that belongs to her mother. A pashmina that is full of secrets and magic.

But will the secrets and magic held within the pashmina be enough to answer Pri’s prayers?

Pashmina, a debut graphic novel, written and illustrated by Nidhi Chanani is, at it’s core (I think) a book about choices.

Chanani’s writing is simple, yet strong. The dialog and stream of consciousness is realistic, it’s honest, and reflective of that an of a everyday kid. Because of this, I feel that readers of all ages will easily relate to main character Priyanka and the overall plot. While not word heavy, I truly appreciated how that the writing let the illustrations shine through and be the true superstar of this book.

Chanani’s illustrations are beautiful. I love how she chose to create some illustrations in black and white, and others in vivid color. From this, readers get a sense that sometimes main character Priyanka viewed her life as boring and mundane. She went to school, took a driving lesson or two from her uncle, and ate dinner with her mom every day. And there are other times that her life if bright, vivid, and super exciting.

Like mentioned before, I feel that Chanani’s Pashmina is a book about choices. Priyanka is young, and is immature. So when readers first meet her, they’ll see that she’s still learning how the world works, and how the choices she makes can affect, not only her and her life, but those around her as well. But by the book’s end, you’ll see that she has grown. She’ll understand the choices that her family has made to lead her to the exact point she’s at.

And speaking of main character Priyanka … I really liked her. I liked how she read a lot younger than she was. I know that sounds strange, but I felt because she was young, and immature that there was room to grow. And as a character I felt that Priyanka did, in fact, want to grow. Besides that, I also felt that she was a relatable character to readers. And ultimately, she’s the kind of character that readers will want to see a happy ending for.

I expected to enjoy Pashmina, as I was super excited about it. But what I didn’t expect was to enjoy it as much as I did. The bottom line is this: I thought the storytime was unique and relatable. I thought the artwork was beautiful and rich. And The characters were strong, and just as unique and relatable as the storytime.

(Cover from GoodReads)

Freebie Friday: June Stars Hollow Monthly Review

Hello Readers!

I’ve been a subscribers to Lit-Cube’s Stars Hollow Monthly for quite some time. Each and every month I look forward to the surprises and the Gilmore Girls themed goodies that await me.  But June’s box was filled with particular fun (and useful) goodies.

Today, I’m going to share with you my thoughts on the June Stars Hollow Monthly box.  Before I tell you my thoughts, I should tell you want was in last months box.

The June’s Stars Hollow Monthly Box contained:

  • A Stars Hollow Bid-A-Basket Insulated Cooler/Lunch Bag
  • A plastic Bid-A-Basket sandwich box
  • A Pair of Sunglasses
  • A Gilmore Girls themed sunglass case

The first thing I noticed when I opened this box was the sunglasses case. And how could it now! It’s bright red in color with bright yellow  coffee cups, Chinese take-out containers, umbrellas, and even snowflake designs all over the case. In regards to the design, as much as I don’t necessarily love the bright red, I love the print. I think it’s fun, and whimsical, and a case that I think Lorelai would totally use if she had one for herself.

I also like that it’s a hard shell case. And that it’s not a bulky one at that. I personally like the hard shell cases because I feel that they offer more protection. I’m one of those people who throw a lot of stuff (aka junk) into my handbag. And often times my sunglasses get buried at the bottom. I always think that if my sunglasses were in a soft case, floating at the bottom of my bag with all that junk on top of it, they’d most definitely be broken. With hard shell cases, I don’t worry about that.

As much as I like hard shell cases, one feature of them I don’t necessarily like is the fact that they seem so bulky. I mean, I get why they are bulky, but I still don’t love it. This one does not seem as bulky. It fits the sunglasses in with just enough room, but not enough so that the sunglasses will move around.

Because I saw this, I realized that there must be a pair of sunglasses somewhere in this box. And sure enough there were.  they were black framed glasses, with wooden bands that have Stars Hollow written on the side.  When I first saw the glasses, I loved that they were wooden. But I was worried that they were going to be cheap and flimsy. That is not the case. They are a solid pair of sunglasses, that are high quality and are sturdy.

Admittedly I haven’t worn them yet, but I can’t wait to.

The next thing I took out was the plastic Bid-A-Basket sandwich container. It’s a clear container with a purple lid that has the Bid-A-Basket logo on the top. Generally I don’t use a sandwich container, I’m more of a wrap my lunch in plastic wrap kind of girl, but I may make an exception since I just like this one so much.

And it would look so cute in the Bid-A-Basket lunch bag that also came in June’s box. This is an insulated bag, like a mini cooler. It’s a perfect size to carry one’s lunch in. It’s blue in color and the Bid-A-Basket logo written on it white.  Again, like the sunglasses I haven’t used this item, but I am excited to.

So this is what I received in the June Stars Hollow Monthly.  I really loved this box. Why? Because the items that it contained weren’t only great looking, quality items, they were all also very functional.  I can’t wait to put all of these items to good use.

If you are interested in signing up for your own Stars Hollow Monthly subscription box, you can do so on Lit-Cube’s website.  You won’t be disappointed.

Freebie Friday: Food! A Themed Booklist

Hello Readers!

As a Youth Services Librarian I read a lot of books … specifically picture books. And honestly I am okay with that. Why? Because I absolutely love them. They’re chock full of laughs, have really sweet/touching moments, and often times feature beautiful artwork. And what I realized recently is that I really enjoy picture books about food. I find them to be so, so funny.

I can’t be the only one who enjoys a good picture book about food, right?! So with that sentiment in mind, I decided to put together a themed booklist. And the theme is …


This themed booklist contains books featuring food as a main character or a main plot point. Basically, if food is involved, it’s on this list!

Sweet Tooth by Margie Palatini

“Lots of kids have a sweet tooth. But not like Stewart’s. His very loud sweet tooth wants what it wants, when it wants it…and lets everyone know about it.
Stewart’s sweet tooth screams for cake at weddings, for candy during class, and torments him at the movies. Stewart has had enough, and he’s bringing out the big guns — a carrot.
Can he stand up to the most annoying sweet tooth in history?

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

If food dropped like rain from the sky, wouldn’t it be marvelous! Or would it? It could, after all, be messy. And you’d have no choice. What if you didn’t like what fell? Or what if too much came? Have you ever thought of what it might be like to be squashed flat by a pancake?

Dragon Loves Tacos by Adam Rubin

This scrumptious New York Times bestseller has a whole lot of kick!
Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You’re in red-hot trouble.

Little Pea by Amy Krause Rosenthal

If Little Pea doesn’t eat all of his sweets, there will be no vegetables for dessert! What’s a young pea to do? Children who have trouble swallowing their veggies will love the way this pea-size picture book serves up a playful story they can relate to.

Jampires by Sarah McIntyre

A delightful, whimsical, JAM-tastic adventure!
The jam has been sucked out of Sam’s doughnuts! Who are the culprits? Sam sets a trap to catch the jam thieves and gets a surprise! It’s the Jampires: friendly little creatures whose love of jam and sweet things gets them into trouble! They fly off with Sam to their magical land sitting in the clouds, where doughnuts grow on trees, jam tarts sprout like flowers, and castles are made of jammy sponge cake.”

Too Pickley by Jen Reidy

Too wrinkly, too squishy, too fruity, too fishy!
It’s time to eat, but somebody doesn’t like a single item on his plate. What’s a picky eater to do?
This romping text and stylishly bold art make for a delectable board book. Parents (and the
picky eaters they love) will recognize themselves in the hilarious antics played out here, while the ending brings reassurance-and with a little luck, a clean plate.”

Peanut Butter & Cupcake by Terry Border

What’s a little piece of bread to do when he’s feeling lonely? Find a friend, of course!
And that’s exactly what Peanut Butter tries to do. But sometimes friends are hard to come by, especially when Hamburger has to walk his (hot) dogs, Cupcake is too busy building castles in her sprinkle box, and Egg laughs so hard he starts to crack up! Does Peanut Butter have a soulmate? Young readers will know the answer long before Peanut Butter does and laugh along with each mismatched pairing.
In a story that pairs silliness with poignancy, and friendship with anthropomorphic food, Terry Border, the photography mastermind behind the Bent Objects project, makes a triumphant entrance into the children’s book world. Complete with a rhyming refrain, this is sure to be a favorite family read-aloud–and laugh-aloud.

Bear Wants More by Karma Wilson

” “When springtime comes, in his warm winter den, a bear wakes up, very hungry and thin!…”

Bear finds some roots to eat, but that’s not enough. He wants more! With his friends’ help, he finds some berries, clover, and fish to eat, but that’s not enough. Bear wants more! How Bear’s friends help him to finally satisfy his HUGE hunger in a most surprising way will enchant young readers. Karma Wilson’s rhythmic text and Jane Chapman’s vibrant illustrations make Bear Wants More a perfect springtime read-aloud.”


As an added bonus, I decided to dig a little deeper and feature, not only picture books, but also books for middle grade and teens.

For the middle grade set …

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

“When James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree, strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. When James discovers a secret entranceway into the fruit and crawls inside, he meets wonderful new friends–the Old-Green-Grasshopper, the dainty Ladybug, and the Centipede of the multiple boots. After years of feeling like an outsider in his aunts’ house, James finally found a place where he belongs. With a snip of the stem, the peach household starts rolling away–and the adventure begins!

Roald Dahl’s first and most widely celebrated book for young people continues to thrill readers around the world. […]”

Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres

Estefania “Stef” Soto is itching to shake off the onion-and-cilantro embrace of Tia Perla, her family’s taco truck. She wants nothing more than for her dad to get a normal job and for Tia Perla to be put out to pasture. It’s no fun being known as the “Taco Queen” at school. But just when it looks like Stef is going to get exactly what she wants, and her family’s livelihood is threatened, she will have to become the truck’s unlikely champion.

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Serving justice . . . and lunch!

Hector, Terrence, and Dee have always wondered about their school lunch lady. What does she do when she isn’t dishing out the daily special? Where does she live? Does she have a lot of cats at home? Little do they know, Lunch Lady doesn’t just serve sloppy joes—she serves justice! Whatever danger lies ahead, it’s no match for LUNCH LADY!”

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

Meet Gladys Gatsby: New York’s toughest restaurant critic. (Just don’t tell anyone that she’s in sixth grade.)
Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world.
But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right?

For the teen set …

Hungry by H.A. Swain

In the future, food is no longer necessary—until Thalia begins to feel something unfamiliar and uncomfortable. She’s hungry.
In Thalia’s world, there is no need for food—everyone takes medication (or “inocs”) to ward off hunger. It should mean there is no more famine, no more obesity, no more food-related illnesses, and no more war. At least that’s what her parents, who work for the company that developed the inocs, say. But when Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that most people live a life much different from hers. Worse, Thalia is starting to feel hunger, and so is he—the inocs aren’t working. Together they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food.
H. A. Swain delivers an adventure that is both epic and fast-paced. Get ready to be Hungry.”

The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler

“[…]When her mother moves them from the city to a small town to open up a cupcake bakery, Penny?s life isn?t what she expected. Her father has stayed behind, and Mom isn?t talking about what the future holds for their family. And then there?s Charity, the girl who plays mean pranks almost daily. There are also bright spots in Hog?s Hollow?like Tally, an expert in Rock Paper Scissors, and Marcus, the boy who is always running on the beach. But just when it looks as though Penny is settling in, her parents ask her to make a choice that will turn everything upside down again. A sweet novel about love, creativity, and accepting life?s unexpected turns.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Winning will make you famous. Losing means certain death.
The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.
When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.



(All of the book summaries are from GoodReads)