Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category


July 19, 2021 • Cee • Reviews

Aquicorn Cove by K. O’Neill • October 16, 2018 • Oni Press

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Unable to rely on the adults in her storm-ravaged seaside town, a young girl must protect a colony of magical seahorse-like creatures she discovers in the coral reef.

From the Eisner Award-winning author of The Tea Dragon Society and Princess Princess Ever After comes AQUICORN COVE, a heartfelt story about learning to be a guardian to yourself and those you love..

When Lana and her father return to their seaside hometown to help clear the debris of a big storm, Lana remembers how much she’s missed the ocean—and the strong, reassuring presence of her aunt. As Lana explores the familiar beach, she discovers something incredible: a colony of Aquicorns, small magical seahorse-like creatures that live in the coral reef. Lana rescues an injured Aquicorn and cares for it with the help of her aunt, who may know more about these strange creatures than she’s willing to admit. But when a second storm threatens to reach the town, choices made many years ago about how to coexist with the sea start to rise to the surface. Lana realizes she will need to find the strength to stand on her own, even when it means standing up to the people who she has always relied on to protect her.


First sentence: This book is for everyone who protects the sea, and for those who will inherit the responsibility. Thank you for taking care of our beautiful world.

Two words: adorable + educational.

Aquicorn Cove is a magical tale about Lana (and her father) returning to their seaside hometown to help the town after a big storm destroyed it, and learning about how everybody’s actions has affected these magical seahorse-like creatures called Aquicorns that she discovers when she rescues one. 

What I love most about this book are:

  • the art work is so pretty. Kay O’Neill does an amazing job illustrating this beautiful seaside town. You can feel how much Lana loves this place and the emotions swirling through this book simply by the colors used in the art.
  • it’s LGBTQ+ friendly.

  • the cute Aquicorns. They are magical creatures and so darn cute!!
  • it discusses the impact of our actions that have a negative effect on our environment. Everybody and everything are just trying to survive, but cannot if people do not change the way they do things (like how they fish and stuff). It’s a lesson that everybody—small and big—needs to learn.

Aquicorn Cove is beautiful heartfelt story about loss that illustrates how a little girl copes with her mother’s death, and the devastation of how human beings’ actions attribute to climate change and the destruction the ocean.

Should you read Aquicorn Cove? Yes!!!!

July 12, 2021 • Cee • Reviews

Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse by Jonathan Stutzman & Heather Fox • May 5, 2020 • Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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In the hilarious follow-up to Llama Destroys the World, author/illustrator team Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox give Llama another shot at saving the world…from himself, in Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse.
Llama’s back and ready to destroy the world AGAIN… this time with his best camelid, Alpaca!
Llama loves cooking. And baking. And, above all, eating.
For breakfast, Llama makes one epic spread…as well as a big mess.
But Llama hates cleaning.
So by lunch, Llama has cooked up something really devious―an idea!―and by second lunch, Llama has cloned his most fastidious friend, Alpaca, to clean his house. And Llama doesn’t stop at just one clone.
By dinner, the alpaca clones threaten to tidy the world into utter destruction―THE ALPACALYPSE* IS HERE! Will Llama be able to fix it all before dessert? *That’s “apocalypse” with an alpaca―get it?


First sentence: By dinner, Llama will unleash a great Alpacalypse upon the world.

This llama is on a path to destroy the world…again. With the unintentional help of alpacas this time! Llama must be stopped!

Llama, llama—he becomes too lazy to clean after his own messes, so what does he do? Create a cloning machine to clone a bunch of alpacas to clean for him. What could go wrong? (Spoiler: Everything goes completely wrong!) You wouldn’t think that these cute animals could bring real destruction into the world, but here they are, doing their best.

This picture book is so cute—from the art work to the crazy antics the llama and the alpaca get into. It’s a fun read everybody will enjoy, and everything that happens is stuff everybody can relate to because who’d want to clean their own mess? It’s a lot of fun!

Should you read Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse? Yes! Share this with all the kids!

April 7, 2021 • Cee • Reviews

Something’s Wrong! by Jory John and Erin Kraan • March 23, 2021 • Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Jeff the bear has definitely forgotten something. He ate his breakfast, he watered his plant, he combed his fur…what could it be? Why does he feel so oddly off? So he asks his friend Anders the rabbit what could possibly be wrong. It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that he’s wearing underwear…over his fur…could it?


I received this book for free from Macmillan for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: Let’s see…I ate my breakfast. I wrote in my journal. I watered my plant. I took my bath. I tried on the gift from my grandma. And I combed my fur. Hmm. So why do I still feel like I’m forgetting something? SOMETHING’S WRONG!”

What’s more charming than a sweet nervous bear forgetting that he’s wearing underwear outside for the world to see? Everybody goes through that moment when they leave the house but forget something important like your wallet or putting the wrong shoes on. Even these forest creatures.

When Jeff the bear leaves his house, he has a nagging feeling that he’s forgotten something important. He encounters friends along the way and speaks to them pretending that everything is okay as he racks his brain of what he forgot. His friends know—they break the fourth wall asking readers “Why is that bear wearing underwear?” And who finally tells him what the bear forgot? Well, it’s the one creature the bear hopes to always have his back. 

Something’s Wrong is so darn cute. The message—forgetting something you meant to do or bring—is a familiar day to day occurrence for everybody. I love the nervous energy that Jeff the bear imbues. (I’m all about that!) And his friendship with Anders the rabbit is what you’d hope to have with your own friends. The book does a great job of including kids in on the fun by breaking the fourth wall.  I love the art; the way the colors look exactly like printing via the letterpress. It gives the art great textures. 

Should you read Something’s Wrong? Yes! Share this with all the kids!

March 1, 2021 • Cee • Reviews

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna • February 9, 2021 • Delacorte Press
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Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.


I received this book for free from Random House for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “Today is the Ritual of Purity.”

In a patriarchal society where girls are judged by the blood that runs through them—where abuse, racism, and xenophobia runs rampant—Otera is a brutal world to live in. Deka knows that first hand. As someone who has never felt like she’s belonged in her village, Deka prays for red blood—the color of acceptance and purity. However, when the day comes when she turns sixteen, all the praying she did does not come into fruition; her blood runs gold—the color of impurity.

When Deka is given the choice to stay and be tortured and eventually killed OR leave to fight for the emperor with girls just like her, she chooses the option that will keep her alive. Deka becomes part of an elite team who’s mission is to wipe out Deathshrieks for the Emperor.

That’s when her greatest battle begins.

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February 2, 2021 • Cee • Reviews

What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo • February 2, 2021 • FSG
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Eleanor Zarrin has been estranged from her wild family for years. When she flees boarding school after a horrifying incident, she goes to the only place she thinks is safe: the home she left behind. But when she gets there, she struggles to fit in with her monstrous relatives, who prowl the woods around the family estate and read fortunes in the guts of birds.

Eleanor finds herself desperately trying to hold the family together — in order to save them all, Eleanor must learn to embrace her family of monsters and tame the darkness inside her.

Exquisitely terrifying, beautiful, and strange, this fierce gothic fantasy will sink its teeth into you and never let go.


First sentence: “I opened my eyes, and I was on the train.”

What Big Teeth has the makings of everything I love in books—that gothic atmosphere, a bit of weirdness, and monstrous creatures with The Addams family-esque dynamics trying to reconcile their family while dealing with a major threat that can blow this family apart—but it doesn’t quite live  up to expectations.

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December 27, 2020 • Cee • Reviews

Twas a few days after Christmas that I decide to post something to commemorate my eighth anniversary (which was on December 19).

Can I use the pandemic as an excuse that I forgot The Novel Hermit’s Eighth blogoversary?

Because it’s been a tough year for me. I wasn’t as productive as I hoped I be with most of my focuses going into other parts in my life.

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