Charming Book- A Charm of Goldfinches and other wild gatherings


I’m always on the lookout for interesting nature books. Imaging my surprise when I found out there was a place I could request books before they were published and they would send them to me in return for feedback and an honest review. Amazing!

That is how I found A Charm of Goldfinches and other wild gatherings by Matt Sewell. If you have ever wondered what a grouping of a particular animal is called, this book is for you. The book is divided in three parts; Land, Air, and Water. Each part includes a good amount of different animals and what a grouping of them is called. You get a few paragraphs of information with each animal and a beautiful illustration. The illustrations alone are worth the book, they are lovely.


A Crash of Hippos Illustration by Matt Sewell

This is a book I enjoyed. The information provided was short and interesting, varying between animal facts and history of where the name of the grouping came from. I think it would be a great gift for any nature lover in your life. I think it is also a great book for older children and middle school level kids, but also a book adults would enjoy. I still go back to look at the images.

Some of the grouping names, if you are a person that likes nature, might be known to you. I know there were a few I already knew; pride of lions, murder of crows, and a school of whales. However, there were many more I didn’t know; charm of goldfinches (lovely), business of ferrets (cute), and fever of stingrays (scary). I learned a few things and I loved my time reading this.

Overall, I would say this book is fun and quirky, not a hard read and would make a great gift.

What Fairy Tales Should Be Like – Girls Made of Snow and Glass, Book Review


I love to read young adult and fantasy books more than a person my age probably should, but I really do believe you can learn so much from books, even if their plot is more magical and fantastic than any situation you would encounter in real life. I was recently intrigued by a book that comes out in September and other reviewers have described as a feminist fairy tale. The book is called Girls Made of Snow and Glass, by Melissa Bashardoust.

This book is a retelling of the Snow White story, Lynet (the snow white) is literally made from snow, and Mina (the evil queen) has a heart of glass aka she is heartless. The reality of it is, this book is so much more than a retelling of a usually one dimensional story. The characters in this book are all complex, they have desires, they have flaws, and they are trying their best to live their best lives. One of the things this book does well is that it humanizes Mina, the character that would usually be just an evil queen. She has been told that because she has a glass heart she can’t love and be loved. Many of her decisions are based on this assumption and her longing for love. Lynet, who would usually be just a naive princess, in this story yes she is sheltered, but she is also strong willed and in constant search of her independence.

Mina and Lynet have formed a bond, but that bond is tested when Lynet comes of age and her father wants to crown her queen. Lynet doesn’t want to be queen, but she doesn’t want to hurt her father, but if she takes the crown she would hurt Mina. Because there can only be one queen and  there is an external force with hidden interest, Mina and Lynet are pinned against each other.

I had few issues with the story. I would say at least for me, it did take a while for the intrigue to start. Once it did, I was hooked. Also, the idea that Lynet is shaped from snow to resemble the dead queen is a bit creepy, I mean it’s her father who wants a copy of his dead wife and is raising her.  That is pretty messed up, but I guess it could make for good discussion.

I would say this book is not only a feminist fairy tale, its a progressive story with strong female characters. These are the kinds of fairy tales we should have more of. The women in this story build their own paths and aren’t competing with each other. I really enjoyed reading it and would definitely recommend it to any YA or not YA reader.

You can find Girls Made of Snow and Glass here.

When you need to remember you could be making worst choices- Wish I Were Here, Book Review


I was going through a rough emotional patch these past few days. I was feeling like I was making the worst choices and expecting too much out of people, or people weren’t meeting my expectations. Due to these sentiments, I decided to search for a book where someone was going through something worst than me, and did this book pay up.

Wish I Were Here by Erin Lavan is a short novel in which the main character, Savannah Waters, finds herself in a roller coaster of a journey. Savannah is a painter who around the time of her 40-year-old birthday finds out that her ex-boyfriend has died. This ex had a self-portrait of her naked, which she wants back, but it has already been sold. She has a breakdown of sorts, landing her in jail, ending up with her going to a psychiatrist. Her and the psychiatrist have this weird relationship which leads Savannah in combination with a whole bunch of weird characters to be part of a motorcycle trip through Europe.

The meat of the book is this European Journey and its cast of characters. Before Savannah goes on this trip, the book mostly focuses on her ordeal after finding out her ex-boyfriend is dead. The first few chapters are really intriguing, making you want to find out what the end-result will be between her and the psychiatrist, between her and her search for the self-portrait. Once the actual trip begins and the weird cast of characters gets introduced; they are all rich, in their late 30’s and over, and mostly being treated by the psychiatrist, it gets a little confusing.  It becomes like a weird acid trip. There’s aliens, WWII theories, prescription drugs, and weird sexual tension.

Savannah Waters is an interesting character, she makes lots of sexually inspired comparisons and makes a lot of questionable decisions. Savannah is one of those characters that you want to meet, but not necessarily be friends with. She is self-centered and she is the one taking you on this crazy journey. It does make you wonder how much of a reliable source she can be. Overall, it was a fun read, but I would have liked more character development, specially for the psychiatrist. There were times when I wasn’t sure if the situation presented was social commentary disguised as dark comedy or if it had no intention at all.

You can find the book here:

Wish I Were Here