Pip Bartlette’s Guide to Magical Creatures


Pip Bartlette’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stefvater


Pip Bartlette has a secret! She can talk to animals. And not just any kind of animals, magical ones! 

Too bad no one believes her.

They also don’t believe that she wasn’t responsible for the unicorn uprising that day at school. Wanting to put distance between her and the incident, Pip’s parents decide to send her to her aunts house for the summer. There she’ll get to think about what she did. 

Think, and get to help out at Aunt Emma’s magical creature clinic. Pip’s over the moon excited about the prospect of learning about and talking to new magical creature. But when fuzzles, tiny balls of fur that spontaneously burst into flames, overtake Cloverton, Pip hopes that, while she’s trying to help, she doesn’t somehow get blamed for this disaster. 

Pip Bartlette’s Guide to Magical Vreatures, written by authors Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stirfvater is the first book in a fantastical series.

Sometimes, as a reader, I don’t necessarily love coauthored books. Often, they feel disjointed. But this was not the case for this book. The writing is strong, engaging, and above all whimsically fun!

Pip is a great character. Come to think of it …all of the characters in Pip Bartlette’s Guide to Magic Creatures are great! Pip is the true heart and soul of this book. Full of spunk, Pip is an honestly lovable character who is always up for an adventure. And even though she makes mistakes – a lot of them! – readers will easily root for her. 

Besides Pip, I personally loved Tomas. He was Pip’s opposite in every sense of the word.  But even so, he’s sweet, lovable, and even though he’s scared (and allergic) to most everything he’s always there for Pip. 

I’m not much of a fantasy reader by nature. And Pip Bartlette’s Guide to Magical Creatures is most definitely a fantasy. But I loved it! Every moment of it – it kept me at the edge of my seat (will they figure out how to save Cloverton from the fuzzles), it kept me wondering (about all the magical creatures I would meet), and it kept me laughing (Pip’s got a great sense of humor). 

In short Pip Bartlette’s Guide to Magical Creatures is a whimsical read that would take readers on a magical adventure. Read it, you won’t be disappointed. 

(Cover image from GoodReads)

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Loved Less Than I Thought I Would

Top Ten Tuesday


(The above picture was taken and altered by me for the purpose of this post. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.)

Hello Readers!

We all know those books. Those books that when we crack open them we are super excited to read. But the moment the book comes to a close we are left saddened because the book just didn’t live up to what we wanting and hoping it would be.

Today’s post is dedicated to those books. And they are:


Love & Other Perishable Items Ι Laura Buzo

The Bad Decisions Playlist Ι  Michael Rubens

Between Us And The Moon Ι  Rebecca Maizel

Shive Ι  Maggie Stiefvater

Two Boys Kissing Ι  David Levithan

Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann

Proof of Forever Ι  Lexa Hillyer

Stealing Snow Ι Danielle Paige

Truth or Dare Ι  Jacqueline Green

Kill the Boy Band Ι  Goldy Moldavsky

All of these books I wanted to love. But they missed the mark for me. What books did you expect to love but just didn’t, readers?

Miss Laney is Zany


Miss Laney Is Zany (My Weird School Daze #8) by Dan Gutman


A.J. does not like school. In fact, he downright hates it. The only thing school is good for is hanging out with his friends.

So when Mr. Klutz, the principal of Ella Mentry School, calls and assembly to announce that, due to the budget, or lack thereof, their beloved school will be closing … forever. If Ella Mentry School closes forever it means that A.J. will NEVER have to go to school again! Best. Day. Ever!

That is, until Mr. Klutz explains that the students will still have to go to school – a different school with different kids. This is quite possibly the most terrible thing A.J. has heard in his entire life! A.J. may not like school, but he likes his friends and doesn’t want to make new ones.

So he sets out to do the unthinkable: save Ella Mentry School. But he can’t do it alone, raising one million dollars is nearly impossible. But with the help of his zany language teacher  – Miss Laney – whose office is in the girl’s bathroom, maybe they can find someway come up with the money needed.

Miss Laney Is Zany, written by author Dan Gutman, is part of the hilarious book series My Weird School Daze. 

Gutman’s writing that fills this book is good. More that that, it reads as if an elementary school student wrote it, inviting young readers in. Besides the writing, the illustrations dispersed among the pages, not only provide the perfect visual aid, but they engage the readers. 

The students of Ella Mentry School are simply great. They’re honest, funny, and have personalities all their own. This fact makes it easy for readers to see a little of themselves within these varied characters. Beyond that, they have real heart! 

What makes this book so great is two facts. One, it’s funny. Readers of all ages will appreciate the humor that this book oozes. And two, it’s a story that readers will root for, and read with fingers crossed that Ella Mentry School is saved! 

(Cover image from GoodReads)

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Romance Books

Top Ten Tuesday


(The above picture was taken and altered by me for the purpose of this post. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.)

Hello Readers!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Since it’s Valentine’s Day it only makes sense that today’s topic is all about love and romance. Because I am who I am, I decided to alter the topic to fit my style, and am simply going to post my top ten fave romance books.

There’s a lot out there. Some of them are great, and some just didn’t work for me. But these ten romance books – both traditional and not so traditional – are the ones that I absolutely loved.

Those books are:


Lola and The Boy Next Door Ι Stephanie Perkins

Stargirl Ι Jerry Spinelli

The Lovely Reckless Ι Kami Garcia

Open Road Summer Ι Emery Lord

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight Ι Jennifer E. Smith

Boy Meets Boy Ι David Levithan

When It Happens Ι Susane Colasanti

The Lonely Hearts Club Ι Elizabeth Eulberg

The Boyfriend List Ι E. Lockhart

Things We Know By Heart Ι Jessi Kirby

While all of these books aren’t straight up romances all of them feature love and romance in some way, shape, or form.

What are your favorite romance books, readers?

Squish: Super Amoeba


Squish: Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm


Squish is like any other amoeba. He likes to eat tacos and hanging out with his friends Pod and Peggy. And when he isn’t eating tacos and hanging out with his friends, he has his head stuck in the pages of his favorite comic book, Super Amoeba.

Through Super Amoeba, Squish hopes that one day he can be like his favorite superhero – brave and courageous. But Squish is only a small amoeba, and he doesn’t believe that he could actually be a superhero. But when the big, bad bully Lynwood threatens to eat his friend Peggy, Squish needs to do something?

But what? Will little amoeba Squish be able to put aside his fear and save Peggy?

Squish: Super Amoeba is an action-packed graphic novel that is written and illustrated by Jennifer L and Matthew Holm.

The writing that fills the pages of this graphic novel is simple yet strong. It will excited and engage readers of all ages. And while the flashy images easily draw readers into this story, don’t let them fool you – both stand independently and both tell a great story.

The illustrations are drawn to perfection in shades of black, white, green, and yellow. The colors are eye-catching, making these already great illustrations stand out.

I loved Squish as a character. I love that he is easy to relate to. So much so that young readers will easily see themselves hidden within this big-hearted amoeba. Squish is smart, he’s thoughtful, and has the makings of a superhero. Through him, readers who pick up this book will learn what the word courageous truly means.

As an adult I wish books like this existed when I was a kid. Not just because it was a great read, but because it was seriously laugh out loud funny. Besides that, it’s full of cool science facts that will both amaze and gross out many a reader.

There’s a lot to love about Squish. This is only his first adventure, and I personally am so happy that there is a whole series to read and to love.

(Cover image from GoodReads)

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wish Were Around When I Was in High School

Top Ten Tuesday


(The above image was taken and altered by me for the purpose of this post. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.)

Hello Readers!

Admittedly, I didn’t read a whole lot – for pleasure that is – while in high school. I basically read what I had to read. As an avid reader now, it always surprises people to find that I wasn’t always the reader I am now. I attribute that to the fact that there simply weren’t a ton of books that I actually wanted to read back in the late nineties.

What I did read were books like Fear Street, a few books by Poppy Z. Bright (my fave was a biography about Courtney Love), and whatever was assigned to me for school. Being the avid reader I am now, I truly wish there were books I read and love now around back them.

Specifically I wish these books were around:


Wild Swans Ι Jessica Spotswood

Dreamland Social Club Ι Tara Altebrando

Dumplin’ Ι Julie Murphy

Since You’ve Been Gone Ι Morgan Matson

We Were Liars Ι E. Lockhart

Eleanor & Park Ι Rainbow Rowell

If I Stay Ι Gayle Forman

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Ι Stephen Chbosky

Shine Ι Lauren Myracle

Wintergirls Ι Laurie Halse Anderson

The books on this list are on here for one reason or another. Some are on here because I feel that, after reading, as much as I appreciate them now, I would have appreciated them even more as a teen because they would have shown me that things and people aren’t always what they seem to be, they would have helped me understand that you won’t always be who you were in high school. And still there are some books on this list that were just so good I just had to include them, because high school Nicole would love them just as much as now adult Nicole does.

What books do you wish were around when you were in high school readers?

Missing In Action

Food For Thought, Random

Hello Readers!

I know it seems that I’ve been missing in action lately, but I promise you I’ve been around. I’ve just been busy. With what? Well …. a lot actually.

In my real life (as opposed to my blog life I guess), I’ve taken on a new position that allows me to focus on children’s/youth librarianship. Because of that, I’ve been familiarizing myself with children’s books. Not so much picture books, because I feel like I have a great love, appreciation, and understanding of those, but more so middle grade books.

I’ve read some middle grade books, obviously. But I haven’t read widely. Now that I’m focusing more on youth services, I feel my lack of knowledge is a weakness. And I need and want to remedy that.

In preparation for a school visit, I asked my friend/colleague to suggest a few titles to me. We walked through the shelves at our library and I came out with a stack (literally!) of books. These are some of the books I read (and for fun, my thoughts on them):

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate – I don’t know what took me so long to read this one. But I finally read it, and I really loved it. I loved it for several reasons. One, I think I like books about monkeys. Two, it was a really deep and touching story. Three, I loved how this story, though fiction, was based on of real life events and that it’s a learning experience in a way for the reader. But as much as I loved it, I was also saddened by it, because of Ivan’s situation.

Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown – now if you know me you already know that I am NOT a Star Wars fan. I remember watching the original movies as a kid, and enjoying them for what they were, but not loving them. I know these books are popular with the kiddies so I decided to give it a whirl. And surprisingly, I REALLY liked it. So much so that I am actually considering reading the other books in this series just because. I liked that this book was a mix of text and comic style graphics. Besides that, I just really liked the story. I especially loved main character Roan.

Creepover: There’s Something Out There by P.J. Night – this book had NICOLE written all over it. To say the least, I LOVED it! This is a book about a group of girls who get together and tell creepy stories, and the repercussions of these creepy stories. This particular story focuses on a (made up) local legend of the Marked Monster, which reminded me of the Jersey Devil. I love that it reminded me of my fave local legend. I also loved that it had just the right amount of creepiness to give a kid the a case of the chills.

Diary of a Minecraft Zombie: A Scare of a Dare by Zack Zombie – This book was … interesting. It was a mash up of Minecraft (which I have absolutely no understanding of) and Diary of  a Wimpy Kid (which I love). It’s basically about a Minecraft zombie’s life. It wasn’t my favorite, but I can totally see the appeal. Maybe if I did like/understand Minecraft I would have liked this one more.

Squish: Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm – I loved, loved, LOVED this book so much! I loved that it was fun comic that easily taught kids cool science things (I learned a lot from it myself, and I’m way older than the intended audience). Besides the cool science-y things, I loved that he wasn’t the traditional superhero. That he’s a good amoeba who isn’t afraid to do what’s right. And still, that he loves tacos, because who doesn’t love tacos!?

Owl Diaries: A Woodland Wedding by Rebecca Elliott – this is a book about an owl named Eva. Obviously I loved it because a) it’s about an owl named Eva and b) she’s super cute! And smart! And stylish! What more could I want from a book!

Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatues by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater – This book has been sitting on my self since it came out, and I just now got around it. And I’m glad I did! The writing is sharp, Pip is a great leading lady (she’s smart, brave, and unafraid to be herself no matter what), and it’s chock full of cool magical creatures like unicorns and fuzzles! (If you don’t know what a fuzzle is, you’ll just have to read the book). And I’ve read it via audiobook and the reader is really great!

So you see, I’ve been reading a whole lot! I’ve read all of those books within a week! Crazy, right?

In non-middle grade books I’ve also read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Full reviews of both of these books are coming, but for now I will say this: WOW! And that wow! goes for both books for different reasons.

I’ve been busy reading, but I’ve also been busy cooking up features and future blog posts for this, and my new makeup/beauty-centric blog. I’ve been writing book and product reviews, I’ve been brainstorming new posts and features for both blogs.  (I won’t spoil anything, but a new feature is coming your way next week! And it’s a feature that I think you are really going to LOVE!).

So that’s it! That’s what I’ve been up to lately. That’s why I’ve been missing in action lately.

What have you been up to lately readers?! What books are you currently reading and loving and or hating? And do you read middle grade? If so, I’m taking suggestions!