Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott ~ Book Review!!

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry & Tobias Iaconis is the story of two teenagers who have Cystic Fibrosis.

The story is told from the perspective of both Stella and Willis, each of them narrating their own chapters. Reading a story about two kids who’s lives almost depend on access to a ventilator might not have been the ideal choice during the beginning of the COVID pandemic, but at the same time it also helped make the story have some perspective that there are people who require these lifesaving devices regularly.


World building is pretty good. The majority of the story takes place inside a hospital. Stella is very familiar with the hospital and from the beginning you can see that she’s been there many times. I always felt like I was walking through the halls with her whenever she was narrating her chapters.

World: 4


Character development is present in this story, unlike most stories of this type I saw both main characters changing and growing. In the end one did have more growth than the other but I loved seeing both of them grow to overcome their obstacles. I didn’t find myself getting to attached to the main characters, as per my usual I found the secondary characters to have more depth and interesting stories… I do think that was done for a reason though here.

Characters: 5


For relationships there is the expected love story, it’s to me not anything new or unexpected. I expect there to be hard love in a story like this. There was, and at times it was very moving… But there are also some deeply fierce friendships that I loved. I felt like these mattered more to me during the story than the love parts. Stella has been coming to this hospital for a long time so she’s become great friends with even the nurses, and at times those around her in the hospital feel more like her family. It’s great and I really loved the different relationships in this story.

Relationships: 5


Emotions aren’t as abundant as I expected. I did cry a few times throughout but not all for sad reasons. I found a lot of moments sweet or touching and they’d bring a few tears. That doesn’t mean this story isn’t sad, because it definitely is… in the way you are expecting but maybe not the who. I was expecting something bad to happen, so I wasn’t completely surprised, but it put since tears in my eyes. Unfortunately, the emotion is not strongly developed and is quickly onto the next scene so there was no being crushed through the end of the story.

Emotions: 3


The Pace of the story is good. There aren’t any major time jumps or crazy long scenes. At times I do wish some of the scenes would have been longer, where the author just seemed to skim over a topic and move on to the next part of the story. I thing slowing some scenes down, adding some more emotion or drawing out the scenes better would have made for a more emotional story.

Pace: 3


Overall, I give this book 4 stars out of 5. It was a good story, but could have definitely played up on the emotions of the characters more. I highly recommend this story to anyone who is interested in these types of stories. It should be right in your wheel-house.

TTYL,

❤ Squared

Bob by Wendy Mass & Rebecca Stead ~ Book Review!!

I hope everyone is doing well! This is the first of many books that I read while sick and working from home.

I’d been seeing Bob recommended on a few facebook pages, and it looked adorable! Since it was short I knew it was one that I wanted to read this year. It’s geared toward Middle Grade aged readers, but I also found it delightful and intriguing.

Bob is about a little girl, Olivia, who goes to Australia and finds her “imaginary” friend, Bob, whom she hasn’t seen for five years. She hasn’t seen him since she last visited her Grandma in Australia. Through the happenings of the book who and what Bob is is a mystery that comes to light and, honestly it’s sweet and heart wrenching all the same. Such a sweet story and the way Bob has been influenced and influences those around him is one of my favorite parts of the story.


World building is good in this story. It’s taking place in Australia, which I’ve never been to, but the location and different settings discussed in the book are well described for their level and easy to place yourself into. It is seen thorough the eyes of a child and an “imaginary friend” so it’s balance but is not the main draw of the story. That being said, it did pull me in and for almost all of the scenes I was right there watching Olivia and Bob interact.

World: 4


Character development was one of my favorite parts of this story. Both of the main characters learn and grow throughout the course of the story, and by the end everyone seems to be changed by what has happened. This doesn’t happen even in most adult books as well as it does in this one. I wouldn’t say it was quite a coming-of-age story, but maybe a growing-through-childhood story. The characters are also well fleshed out, so that you understand where they have been and their current struggles. It’s a good story for understanding growing up and the changing responsibilities that come along with it, especially for the age of the characters in the story. Something I don’t usually see is also that in this story, there is also discussion on how people can appear to change in a time away, like Olivia going back to the US for 5 years, but they’re still themselves.

Characters: 5


Relationships in this story are about family and friendship. There’s some parts about new siblings and learning where they fit into the family dynamic. The main focus though is on friendship. Old friendships, and learning to navigate around each other again after time away. From a child’s perspective and I think it is all done very well, I felt their old friendship connection still there but also could see it growing again as they got to understand what has happened during their time apart. Feeling the bond of the different relationships Olivia had with not only Bob, but neighbors and other members of her family was heartwarming.

Relationships: 4


Emotions in this story were not strong enough to make me cry, but I felt attachment to the characters enough that I was happy or sad or understand of them and their situations. I thought at one point I would cry, but that moment wasn’t really developed to the point that brought waterworks. It is a children’s book after all (not that I haven’t ever cried while reading children’s books) so it chooses to focus on the positive and understand the situations rather than crushing your heart. I appreciated that in this book and felt it was a good way to handle the story.

Emotions: 3


The pace of ths story is good and quick paced but nothing feels rushed. It’s 201 pages but feels like nothing is left out and has a satisfying ending. No major time skips.

Pace: 5


Overall, I give Bob 4 out of 5 stars! It’s pleasantly sweet and heartwarming. I’d definitely recommend it to not only children who are reading full chapter books but any one that is interested.

Ttyl,

Squared

Long Time No See

Hey! I’ve been away for much longer than anticipated. I just have not had the motivation to write lately, no blogging, no journaling, no nothing. I really am trying to get back into the swing of things now that my life is getting back to normal – normal work has resumed (but not back in my office yet), my health is getting managed, and my stress is finally coming down. Hopefully that means my blogging and reading will swing back into play again soon. I haven’t read anything really in a few months, but I do have several books to finish the reviews for (because at the beginning of this pandemic I read SOOOO much) once I manage to get my typing fingers back there will be a string of reviews that are in my backlog.

Stress has been the biggest issue plaguing me these last several months, it’s literally causing health problems, so I haven’t had the mindset or energy to do anything – especially something that takes brain power like reading. I know I’ve mentioned books that are “mindless” reading in the past, and it makes me chuckle now because during this time I haven’t been able to even read those types of books… guess they aren’t so mindless afterall.

I’ve been trying to find things that will still give me a creative release when I can’t focus. I have a window seal in the sunroom full of thriving succulents and trailing plants. I have finally decorated the entryway AND bedroom after living in our house for over 3 years. I also got into crafting again, sewing specifically – but honestly that’s not as stress-relieving as it looks, I have lost my sewing bones and am not the seamstress I once was, haha. During this time I also did some gaming, nothing too intense but definitely got into the Animal Crossing craze and still enjoy it from time to time along with the new Story of Seasons game – I like these types of games you see.

Books are still an item of comfort though, and I’ve downloaded and even purchased (YES, really) a ton of eBooks these last several months. Some I know I’m not ready to read, others I’m hopeful to get to soon. Either way, my Kindle has not gotten any lighter just because I’m not reading.

I hope to be back soon. Once life has leveled out again I will be here with my keyboard and Kindle and ready to tackle the reading universe again.

TTYL,

Squared ❤

Isolation Time

So, I’m working from home still. It’s stressful because my company has started to put salary employees on furlough even though we’re an essential business. For the time being I’m still working, guess I’m extra essential 🙂 Working from home has it’s own struggles though, I’m not sure if I’m less productive but I feel like I have a harder time staying focused with everything going on in my house around me.

With all the extra time at home though, I’m not reading… I just can’t focus on words long enough and can’t seem to “see” the story when I do try to read. I guess it could be chalked up to stress or being so tired (my sleep schedule is all kinds of messed up), but it’s difficult and I have so many books I want to read. I want to feel like I’m doing something. My biggest peeve is wasting time, I hate doing nothing when I could be doing something… problem is, I’m doing it to myself this time.

If I’m not reading, and not doing extra commute/shopping time, what am I doing? Really… nothing. I’ve played a tiny bit of video games, watched almost no TV, and don’t really do much on social media. If anything, I can say that my Pinterest boards organization is rocking. I’ve been reorganizing all my Pinterest boards and looking at new pins nearly every night… am I making anything or using these pinned ideas to do something with? No. Just organizing them.

I do have a Cricut and just ordered a new sewing machine… so I’m hoping that looking at all these pins will kick me in the butt and maybe I’ll get a little creative with my extra time. If I’m not going to be able to focus on reading maybe I can do little crafty things to keep my mind and hands busy. Now that I’m feeling better, I need to find something to do while stuck inside during this shut down. I was just sleeping all the time… now I need to actually do something with my mind before I go nuts.

If you’re interested in seeing my fantastic Pinterest boards the link is Here

Steph ❤

Book Cover Arts for Animal Crossing: New Horizons

I have been a little obsessed with Animal Crossing as of late, isn’t everyone? And when I started upgrading my home I knew I wanted a library! Book art was a must so I selected some of my favorite books and book covers to showcase on the walls of my room!

I chose mostly sci-fi because it is my favorite, but there’s some fantasy and children’s books I decided on as well!

The original book cover art is not my own, I found them through Google or they were given to me by the authors.

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Prodigy Prince by Natasha Sapienza
The Loneliest Robot by Andrew Glennon
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Division of the Marked by March McCarron. (old cover art)
The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick
H2O by Virginia Bergin
Feed by M.T Anderson
Matched by Ally Condie
As Old As Time by Liz Braswell
Spelled by Betsy Schow
Incubation by Lauren DiSilverio
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
The Diabolic by S.J Kincaid
Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
World War Z by Max Brooks

Please enjoy! I will try to update with more as I come up with ideas or more themes! If you want to make your own patterns in Animal Crossing this is the link! Make your own here:

https://acpatterns.com/editor

❤ Squared

March 2020 Update

Hey! I wanted to check in during this crazy time we’ve got going on right now. I know times like this can be hard for a lot of people, especially as this time drags on, but I am staying positive that it will hopefully be contained soon and life can return to as close as normal as possible.

There’s a major pandemic going on out there, but it hasn’t gotten to my county or direct area… yet. That being said, my company has permitted my business unit to work from home for a while. I’ve actually been working home now for the last couple weeks because I’ve been sick ever since returning from a company trip. No, I don’t have COVID-19. I have a head cold that has been kicking my butt. But my whole group is working from home for at least the next two weeks.

Since I’ve been sick and working from home we’ve been trying to isolate as much as possible. This includes having groceries delivered and going out as little as possible. I have had time to read, unfortunately it’s getting taken over by me being sick a lot so I haven’t read as much as I’d hoped I’d get to do by now. I’ve finished four small books during this time, the longer ones are having a hard time holding my attention lately while I fight to pay attention and stay awake, and hope to start getting those reviews up soon. I had hoped that this time would give me a chance to take tons of pictures and take a chunk out of my TBR and maybe even write a little on one of my WIPs, but most of that is being taken up by this cold I’ve got 😦

It’s really not a question of if, it’s more when it gets here and hopefully I’ll be healthy by then and able to get some good bookish work done during my down time! Even better, hopefully we have a containment and are able to curb this before it gets any worse.

If you’re in an area where COVID-19 is active, please stay home if you’re able to. Keep those most at risk safe, and spend some extra special time at home and with family or with your stack of books 🙂 If you’re one of the ones that have to go out due to your job – please be careful and take all the necessary precautions!

TTYL,

❤ Squared

Axiom by Kristofor Hellmeister ~ Book Review!

Axiom is a dystopian novel written by Kristofor Hellmeister. I received an electronic copy of this story from the author in return for an honest review. This book has just released and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a dystopian world that stands out from the usual formula.


The world building in this book is great. From the beginning a dystopian world is created that seems hard and yet antisepticly clean. Everything in Axiom has been organized and planned by the higher ups. Everything from the names, to jobs, to routines and the majority of the population seem to run like robots. There’s several different parts of Axiom shown throughout the story since it’s told from different perspectives, and each time the scene changed I was able to put myself in the new setting. I was immediately drawn in to the concept of this world that had been manufactured and the more I learned while reading the more I enjoyed it.

World: 5


The story is told mainly from the perspective of four main characters. The chapters flip between the different characters putting you inside their head and in different locations throughout Axiom. I only found one of the main characters relatable and found him to be the most dynamic. But at the same time I found myself wishing he’d stop and go back to how he was at the beginning (I’m not sure I’ve ever wished a character would stop getting stronger and growing until reading this book, but I had an idea of where it was going so…). Getting inside the heads of each of these characters helped to understand where they were coming from but didn’t necessarily make them likable. The characters were all well fleshed out and had their own beliefs that made them feel real. Even characters I’d consider secondary or tertiary made an impact on the story or the reader.

Characters: 4


Relationships aren’t a big focus of this book, though it tries. The strongest relationships in the story are family based. It’s one of the first relationships revealed in the book and stays a theme through the end. Friendship and teamwork would probably take the second place as I think the majority of the characters fall into this category. There’s not a lot of love or romance, though there’s some hopeful and them some things are inplied or hinted at that aren’t necessarily pg.

Relationships: 3


Emotions were mostly lacking for menin this story. More than emotional, Id say it was a thoughtful story. Many times throughout the story I wondered who really was right, were the rebels really fighting for the good of the whole people? My main emotion was shock, I wasn’t expecting some things to happen or I thought they’d happen differently. There is some death and other surprises but nothing was done in a way to move me to tears.

Emotions: 3


The pace of the story was good. There weren’t a lot of time skips. Some scenes seemed too short at times and others were considerably longer than expected depending on what was happening during that time in the story. The length of the chapters for the different people kind of controls the pace of the story. There’s some exciting action and happenings that also help to drive the story forward in an exciting way.

Pace: 4


Overall, I give this book 4 stars out of 5. I really like the world that was created. The power struggle is done in an interesting way and is told from multiple perspectives. It’s the first dystopian in a long time that made me wonder which side I should be on more than once. The ending was shocking and left me hoping there’s a second book coming to see what happens next!

TTYL,

❤ Squared

Love Stories

Hey guys! This Friday is Valentine’s Day! While I’m not about going all crazy and spending tons of money for the day, I am all about showing and sharing love and appreciation for one another. This year is just a special candle-lit top-8-allergen-free dinner for 2 and I’m so excited about it because it’s going to be made from scratch (which keeps getting easier and easier every day!) and after 4 years, just spending quality time together is so special.

As much as I love – Love, I don’t read a lot of romance novels. They tend to seem too mushy and over the top for me. Thankfully, love comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes and isn’t limited to just romance novels! Here are some of my favorite stories featuring love, of all kinds.

Romantic

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Don’t Die, My Love by Lurlene McDaniel

Matched by Ally Condie

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Friendship

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Pigman by Paul Zindel

Family

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

One Pink Line by Dina Silver

Nora and Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

 

What are your favorite stories about love?

TTYL,

❤ Squared