Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse...#BookReview

About the book:
From the revered British illustrator, a modern fable for all ages that explores life’s universal lessons, featuring 100 color and black-and-white drawings.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole.

“Kind,” said the boy.

Charlie Mackesy offers inspiration and hope in uncertain times in this beautiful book based on his famous quartet of characters. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse explores their unlikely friendship and the poignant, universal lessons they learn together.

Radiant with Mackesy’s warmth and gentle wit, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse blends hand-written narrative with dozens of drawings, including some of his best-loved illustrations (including “Help,” which has been shared over one million times) and new, never-before-seen material. A modern classic in the vein of The Tao of Pooh, The Alchemist, and The Giving Tree, this charmingly designed keepsake will be treasured for generations to come.

I had never heard of Charlie Mackesy until a nice young man in Barnes and Noble shared this book with me. I brought it home and read it in about 15 minutes.


The boy asks questions. The mole likes cake. The fox is kind and observant and the horse is patient and loving. The lessons are not new, but they are whimsically twined together in beautiful prose and gorgeous illustrations.


"Be kind. Do good. Love is a verb." is something I say often. Our now-adult children will tell you that the one thing we have tried to teach them is to be kind. I believe they are. And this is a story that I will share with them.

This is a magical and heartwarming story and one that resonated with me so completely. I believe its message is timeless and one that everyone needs to hear and hear again.

I purchased my own copy.  You can learn more about Charlie Mackesy on his website and follow him on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Read 12/19

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

Monday, November 11, 2019

Secrets of the Chocolate House...#BookReview

About the book:
New York Times bestselling author Paula Brackston’s The Little Shop of Found Things was called “a page-turner that will no doubt leave readers eager for future series installments” (Publishers Weekly). Now, Brackston returns to the Found Things series with its sequel, Secrets of the Chocolate House.

After her adventures in the seventeenth century, Xanthe does her best to settle back into the rhythm of life in Marlborough. She tells herself she must forget about Samuel and leave him in the past where he belongs. With the help of her new friends, she does her best to move on, focusing instead on the success of her and Flora’s antique shop.

But there are still things waiting to be found, still injustices needing to be put right, still voices whispering to Xanthe from long ago about secrets wanting to be shared.

While looking for new stock for the shop, Xanthe hears the song of a copper chocolate pot. Soon after, she has an upsetting vision of Samuel in great danger, compelling her to make another journey to the past.

This time she'll meet her most dangerous adversary. This time her ability to travel to the past will be tested. This time she will discover her true destiny. Will that destiny allow her to return home? And will she be able to save Samuel when his own fate seems to be sealed?

This is a sequel to The Little Shop of Found Things and picks up a few weeks after the first book. This story builds on the first one and so I highly recommend reading them in order. I loved The Little Shop of Found Things.

After returning for the last time from the seventeenth century, Xanthe goes about trying to settle back into modern life. She longs for Samuel, but must deal with her obnoxious ex-boyfriend instead. When she is drawn to an old chocolate pot while searching for antiques for the store, she realizes it has a connection to Samuel and she knows she must return to the past.

This trip to the past doesn't follow the same pattern as Xanthe's first one did. She meets other people who can also travel as she has and she gains more control over her abilities and learns that she is a "Spinner" and comes to understand more of what that means. Her journey this time is fraught with more danger as she tries to help Samuel.

Xanthe returned to the future more this story and there was a lot of skulking and lying about where she was and what she was doing. We learned more about friends in the village and a better understanding of how the past intertwines with her present.

While this one didn't resonate with me as much as the first story, I enjoyed it. Magical realism, suspense and a bit of romance all compelled me to keep me reading. The story is resolved, but there is a cliffhanger at the end to lead into the next book in the series. I am so very curious to see what happens next.

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Paula Brackston on her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Read 11/19

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Little Shop of Found Things...#BookReview

About the book:
New York Times bestselling author of The Witch's Daughter Paula Brackston returns to her trademark blend of magic and romance guaranteed to enchant in The Little Shop of Found Things, the first book in a new continuing series.

An antique shop haunted by a ghost.
A silver treasure with an injustice in its story.
An adventure to the past she’ll never forget.

Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past they come from and the stories they hold. When she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more.

It is while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century where it has its origins. She discovers there is an injustice in its history. The spirit that inhabits her new home confronts her and charges her with saving her daughter’s life, threatening to take Flora’s if she fails.

While Xanthe fights to save the girl amid the turbulent days of 1605, she meets architect Samuel Appleby. He may be the person who can help her succeed. He may also be the reason she can’t bring herself to leave.

I absolutely loved the premise of this story: that a person can have an emotional or physical connection to inanimate objects or places. Xanthe realizes this affinity as a child as she learns the history and provenance of antiques that her mother sells. After relocating to an English village, Xanthe feels a connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she finds at an auction. As she learns more about it, and the village in which she lives, she discovers the chatelaine is connected to a spirit that inhabits her home and who wants Xanthe to save her daughter in the 17th century. Xanthe learns she can travel in time and finds herself in 1605, trying to save a young maid from death.

She meets architect Samuel Appleby who helps Xanthe in her quest. But, can Xanthe leave Samuel behind?

I adore quaint English villages with their quirky residents. I enjoy stories with elements of magical realism that mix in with the everyday. I love a story that compels me to continue reading and The Little Shop of Found Things did just that. It was a little haunting with some suspenseful moments and it was charming and romantic in others. I found the juxtaposition of Xanthe traveling to and from 2018 to 1605 fascinating.

The descriptions were quite detailed and I found myself skimming some passages, but the story flowed well and kept me engaged. This is first in a series and I'm looking forward to more.

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Paula Brackston on her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Read 10/19

* * * *
4/5 Stars