A Kids Book About… Review

You may have seen these eye catching books advertised online, on display in shops or libraries and wondered what they were. These books are conversation starters for children, each books tackles a challenging topic or abstract concept and discusses it with the reader and the child. These are books designed to be read together, they are there to facilitate a conversation about tough topics.

The books use simple language and are written in a first person perspective from the author as they discuss what the topic is and how it has affected them. The books focus on typography and colour to help tell the story, there are no characters other than the author, and at the end of the book is a space to write notes and sometimes there are questions they can be asked and discussed.

We make kids books that matter. There are no dragons, silly bears, or cute tales about princesses. Only the challenging, empowering, and important topics that kids experience every day. Kids’ lives are complicated, and our mission is to help kids and their grownups have honest conversations about things that matter.

akidsbookabout.com

The books cover a range of topics from racism, death, feminism, cancer, empathy, body image, anxiety, and depression. While these are quite heavy hitting topics, children are not stupid nor are they blind to the way the world works around them.

A Kids Book About series are great ways to start a conversation – the books do not pull punches, they are written by people who have experience and knowledge about the topics, and the authors are honest with their experiences. Regardless of the topic the books try to place the power in the child’s hands – letting them know that they have the knowledge now, that they can seek change, and that they can have hope.

Despite the heavy subjects, A Kids Book About series are quite optimistic in their portrayals of topics and are amazing resources for when children ask questions that are hard to answer. I would really recommend picking up one of these gems and giving them a go – who knows, you may learn something.

Historical Romance Book Bingo #1

Duke

Tall, Duke, and Dangerous by Megan Frampton

Rating: 2 out of 5.

After finishing the first novel in the A Hazards of Dukes series, Never Kiss a Duke, I was looking forward to picking up the second. Sadly the second novel in the series didn’t hold the same appeal as the first.

While I did enjoy the characters and liked seeing them together, the trope used and reasoning behind the pair meeting felt so contrived and eye roll inducing. In addition to this, I often found myself cringing during the audiobook at some of the narration. The voice actress did what she could with the content but some of the intimate moments were so embarrassing to listen to – I often found myself pulling a face while listening.

Do not let my words deter you though, Megan Frampton is a great author who has an amazing back catalogue. So feel free to pick up any of her books, I would really recommend Never Kiss a Duke!

Fake Engagement

The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have been meaning to find and finish this book for years now and was so happy to see a new audiobook release of The Perfect Rake because I still have no located my physical copy 😓.

As before, when I made it half way through the book, I can say that what I enjoyed most were the characters. I adored Gideon and loved his character arch which saw him start as an aloof rake who gradually and without his realising it, fall completely and wholeheartedly in love. I adored the almost blind and unaware devotion he showed Prudence.

For me, the main draw of the book was the romance between Gideon and Prudence. As when I read it before, the plotting of the book lost me once they left London but the start is almost perfect in its sincerity and hilarity.

I have The Perfect Rake earmarked as an example of the Fake Engagement trope in my Clarification post and would whole heartedly recommended that if people can, they give Anne Gracie’s book a read!


If you’re interested in using taking part in the above challenge, you can find out more information by clicking the button on the left ❤


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Confessions of a Book Lover – I pick books because of their covers

My name is Ally and I 100% pick books because of their covers.

I am comfortable admitting that I am fickle and can be won over or put off by a book cover. Not going to lie either – the prettier the cover the more likely I am to read the blurb.

Continue reading “Confessions of a Book Lover – I pick books because of their covers”

Ally’s Goodreads Year in Books – 2020

Every year I challenge myself on Goodreads to read a certain number of books. In 2020 I gave myself the goal of reading 150 books and despite the tough and stressful year, I was able to complete this goal, plus a few more.

So check out what I read in 2020 and I hope to see you again in 2021!


Continue reading “Ally’s Goodreads Year in Books – 2020”

2020 Goals Recap

Happy end of 2020!

So 2020 has been a huge shit show but hey, I’m healthy and safe. I am so happy that Australia is going as well as it has, especially considering I am still working my full hours. I hope everyone is staying safe and remember, you’re not superhuman – stay inside, wash your hands, and if you’re sick stay at home.


The below are some of the things I had hoped to achieve in 2020. What with the way that 2020 played out, a lot of these goals became unattainable. Any motivation to read or continue my two a week blogging schedule was comtopletely wipoed out by the pandemic – I’ve just been too tired and too overwhelmed by everything.

But having said this I am still proud to have achieved what I have this year and look forward to getting stuff done in 2021.

Blogging

Until recently I had been staying pretty up to date with my ARC reviews but since COVID-19 hit, it has really been on the back burner. Sadly, I neglected my ARCs after the lockdown and did not request anymore after March.

After taking a month long hiatus in May, I returned with a reduced schedule of one post a week. I am happy to say that I have not missed a week and the relaxed schedule has led to be taking advantage of my inspiration but also being able to not panic when I don’t feel up to posting.

Reading

I have definitely read more non-fiction this year. If we count cook and craft books then I have really been hitting that genre hard! Recently I’ve read a bunch of mindfulness, self care, sustainability, and personal finance non fiction books, which have been nice easy reads.

Sadly I did not read The Folk of the Air series. After reading Tithe I was very motivated to continue on with the series and start Folk of the Air but sadly I read Valiant. The second book in the The Modern Faerie Tales series really demotivated me from reading further. I don’t want to say the book was bad but it is different, less engaging, and so quite uncomfortable to read. So sorry Holly Black, I probably won’t be returned to your work.

I read 10.5 of the 16 books in my Hopeful Reads of 2020 so I am counting that as a major success. Bring on next year!

Gaming

I started Surviving Mars and the tutorials were so complicated and boring – so I stopped. I really need emotional engagement to really connect with games like this, certainly while the Tropico series is no less complicated, it does have the humour and story to pull you through.

Not progress on Mass Effect 3. I do need to sit down and dedicate a whole week or two to reemerge myself in the series. Also yay! I finished Pokemon: Sword!

Personal

Still slugging along on that house deposit. Sadly PAX was cancelled so I wasn’t able to get my geek on in Melbourne. Also double sadly there has been no movement on the blanket front as I am not in the mood to work on it or focus after work.

Hopefully 2021 is kinder to us all!


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My Hopeful Reads of 2021

Due largely to my enjoying the graphic, rather than my ‘success’ of last year – I will be attempting again my Hopeful Reads reading challenge.

The image below will be on display in a sidebar widget of my blog for the entirety of 2021. The books featured are ones that I want to hopefully read by the end of 2021, thus the ‘Hopeful reads of 2021’ title. If you see a tick on the cover, it means I finished the book, if you see a cross, sadly it means I wasn’t able to finish the book.

The books that are featured are potentially ones that:

  • potential Historical Romance Book Bingo selections
  • have been recommended to me
  • have caught my eye
  • are books that have remained from last year
  • or simply are ones I want to read.


See any books in there that you want to know more about? Do you want a similar template for your blog? Leave a comment and let me know 😊

Hopeful Reads of 2020 Rundown

It’s finished, it’s over! 2020 has been a very different year than what I was expecting, so I am happy to see it over. Hopefully 2021 will see everyone living a safer and healthier life. At the start of the year I challenged myself to try and read some of the books I was hoping to read in 2020. Check out how I did!


I am proud to have gotten through so many of the below books. I will admit that I wasn’t reading much as during the Australian lock down I was still working and when we opened back up I was quite frazzled (the nicest word for what I was feeling) with the public push back at opening restrictions – so combined this all together it was safe to say I wasn’t feeling all that up to reading.

So when I say proud, I do mean I am proud and surprised that I got through so many of the books.

Check out how I did:



The books that I was able to complete and read were:

The book that I did not finish was:

  • Embrace Your Weird: A Guided Journal for Facing Your Fears and Unleashing Creativity by Felicia Day.

The book was good and I enjoyed the content but I just wasn’t in the mind set to benefit from the content of the book, so I stopped reading 😓

In addition to this I am half way through Mr. Know-It-All by John Waters and since I’m not the biggest fan of biographies, I think this one will take me a little longer to get through.

So as it stands, I have finished 101/2 books out of 16.

One of my 2020 Goals was to read at least half of my Hopeful Reads, so I have smashed it! As I’ve said, I enjoyed this passive challenge, so I’ll make one for 2021 – keep an eye out for that!


It’s been a tough year, were you able to get some reading done? Were there any book you were happy to mark off your TBR pile? Comment and let me know!

2021 Reading Challenge – Historical Romance Book Bingo

I’m very excited to introduce you to my 2021 Historical Romance Book Bingo Challenge!

I had so much fun last year with my 12 Tropes of 2020 challenge but wanted to expand out again and broaden the challenge by creating a ‘normal’ bingo card.

So without further adieu, check out my 2021 Historical Romance Book Bingo.

Alright so the action plan for my 2021 Historical Romance Book Bingo is to, you guessed it, read a bunch of historical romance novels and reach a bingo. Knowing myself through I’ll try and mark off each square. I tend to read a lot of regency romance but these prompts should span across a number of different subgenres.

As an added bonus, I’ve included the top line of circle prompts which feature some of the British Noble Ranks. These shouldn’t be too difficult to cross off as they feature predominantly in the genre!

If you’re interested in taking part in my bingo challenge all you need to do is:

  • Use my Challenge Card or make/ask for one of your own (I have happy to customise colours and/or include your own logos)
  • Add a link and pingback to this post
  • Use the hashtag #HistoricalRomanceBingo and
  • Have fun!

You may notice a lack of diversity prompts, I have chosen to not include these as I feel that I should be reading broadly anyway and do not need to include these specific prompts as they can be quite problematic. So you want to include characters or authors of backgrounds, sexualities, or voices different from your own – read away and fit them within the offered prompts!

If you’re interested in using the above challenge card, you can download the .png file in the button on the left.


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Thoughts on a 2021 Reading Challenge

Check out the 2021 Reading Challenge here!

Ally Asks

In preparation for next year, I’m starting to think about what I’m going to do for my next reading challenge. I have really enjoyed my 12 Tropes of 2020 challenge and am looking forward to doing something similar in 2021.

Looking back at the posts that I have done the 12 square template has been a lot less stressful than my previous Book Bingo attempts so I am thinking of sticking with that format. I am on the fence about the theme of the challenge though.

I very much enjoy reading romance novels and the majority, if not all of my 12 Trope posts have been from the romance genre. Also since I enjoy the genre so much, should it be focused solely on historical romance? So I am considering focusing down on the romance genre but I am unsure if I should continue to pick tropes or if I should try and mix it up a bit with prompts like, Blank in the title or *this type of character.

The below are some of my current ideas:

  • Wallflower.
  • Beauty and the Beast.
  • Non-titled romantic lead.
  • and the obligatory Duke, Marquess, Earl, titles.

Buuuut having said this, I really enjoy reading diverse books, so should I be looking at a diversity challenge to make sure that I am always striving to read broadly – especially in a genre which can be quite whitewashed.

Prompts like:

  • Bisexual representation.
  • Disability representation.
  • Indigenous character.
  • Biracial representation.
  • and a whole range of representation from characters and backgrounds.

But having said this, when I put all of these diverse things down, it makes it feel a bit trite because I should be reading these things anyway. I shouldn’t need a challenge like this to make sure that these representations are included in books or in my reading list.

So I’m putting it to you, do you have any suggestions? Honestly I’m tempted to either make two challenges or mix them all up and have a very interesting historical romance challenge.


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The Reading Rush 2020

The lovely Jess from The Never Ending Bookshelf brought The Reading Rush to my attention towards the end of June. My goodness the time must have slipped by because next thing I knew the readathon had started!

Beginning on the 20th of July and ending on the 26th, the readathon is for book lovers all around the world. For one week readers gather together to read as much as they possibly can, all the while participating in a range of challenges. I have never actually taken part in a readathon but thought The Reading Rush was a good place to begin.

The Challenges

Read a book with a cover that matches the colour of your birth stone

October had the birthstones of Opal and Tourmaline, so I was looking for a pink, white, or rainbow book cover. The below are books that I read that fit the challenge.

Part four in The Seen Trilogy,’ Flashes of Me was a quick and erotic read that explored the story of one of the characters from the first three books. It was a quick and easy read and while I thought some parts and descriptions from the series were problematic, I none the less still enjoyed them.

Read a book that starts with the word “The”

I have had The Alpha’s Warlock on my TBR list for a while now and finally decided to give it a read. In order to read this lovely book I did try Amazon Unlimited, which turned out to be quite good but not as good as the book, which I adored. Keep your eye out for a post about this gem of a book as it will feature in my 12 Tropes of 2020 challenge.

Read a book that inspired a movie you’ve already seen

Whoopsie, I didn’t actually read anything that was adapted for film or tv 😅

Read the first book you touch

To complete this challenge, I grabbed a bunch of my physical books that I have in my literal to be read pile, plunked them down, gave them a shuffle, and then picked the first one I touched. Eh voilà we landed on Barry Lewis.

If you don’t know, Barry Lewis is a youtube cooking sensation who more than ten years ago started his channel to document and share his cooking adventures. The first videos are very much an educational journey as we learn to literally cook with Barry. I was lucky enough to find Barry just at the start of the pandemic so I have been keeping myself entertained with his brilliant new videos and backlog. If you have a few minutes, I really recommend giving him a watch, follow the link and check out one of my favourite videos!

I have had this little beauty of a cookbook sitting around waiting to be read for about a month now, and I am glad I finally gave it a read. A bunch of great recipes and I absolutely adored the section about kitchen hacks and the tips and tricks.

Read a book completely outside of your house

So this challenge this was obviously made ‘Before Covid’ or BC for short 😋 So with this in mind I have changed it to:

READ A BOOK COMPLETELY INSISE THE ONE ROOM OF YOUR HOUSE on one day

Since I was feeling a little under the weather this week, I have spent A LOT of time in bed, staying warm and trying to just stay healthy. So I have read a lot of books completely inside my bedroom, so check them all out below!

Surprise, I read a whole book series, the below is The Seen Trilogy which was published in five parts 😋 The books are all erotica romances and were quick and easy reads. The first three follow the same couple and spans across their relationship while the last two are about side characters. The series as a whole was okay, it explored some different kinks, and also had some problematic moments but they were decent reads.

Read a book in a genre that you’ve always wanted to read more of

I had wanted to add a biography in here but sadly I did not get around to actually reading the biography I had picked out but I can always stand to read more queer science fiction. There is just something so huge and awe-inspiring about the science fiction genre that gets me, just like the fantasy genre it does lend it self to being able to have more happy queer stories – happy in the sense that they can exist outside of homophobia in different or more utopic environments.

Plus I have always wanted to read a Lisa Henry book, and it was amazing. Lisa Henry is an Australian author and it shows, I adored the descriptions of the outback and the comparisons between the colours of space to that of local flora.

Read a book that takes place on a different continent than where you live

Stage Dreams takes place on the North America continent and its historical depiction of a trans woman won my heart. I would really recommend giving this short graphic novel a read!

Check out everything that I read during the 2020 Reading Rush!