NetGalley Picture Book Reviews – Four 5 star picks!

It was a tropical storm day on Monday, and what better way to pass the time than read and review NetGalley picture books! And luckily, there were a few good ones on “read now.”

We started with Tag and the Magic Squeaker by Sam Hundley. So this book was really cool. The story follows a dog that loses his squeaker toy under the couch, a mouse that helps him out, and a suspicious cat. It’s a simple but sweet story perfect for ages 2-5. But the coolest part is that the characters are made of scrap art of dug relics. There is some explanation in the back of the pieces used to make the art, and also a picture of Theo the beagle and his squeaker (the inspiration of the story.) Overall, totally cute and interesting kid’s book that I would highly recommend. And my 3yo & 5yo both said they liked it a whole lot! 😍 We all agree we’d rank this #3 out of the 4 books we read.


Then we moved to Brian the Dancing Lion by Tom Tinn-Oisbury. I loved this book! My kids have actually started dance class, so I thought this message was fantastic. Lion loves to dance, but feels too shy to dance in front of his friends because lions are supposed to be brave and strong and fierce, and no one would think a dancing lion is brave and strong and fierce. But when his friends find out, they’re actually really supportive, and also share their own hobbies (singing, knitting, crafts etc.) Really loved the message of being a supportive friend, and also being brave enough to be yourself! And the illustrations were super cute too. Weirdly both of them said it they only liked it some, 😕 and ranked it #4 of the 4 books we read. (I rank it #2.)


Melville by Paul Schmid was next. A cute little book where the baby octopus goes out on an adventure to find a place just for him and eventually finds his way back to his mother’s embrace. The illustrations are cute and vibrant, and the story is simple but both my 5yo and my 3yo said they liked it a whole lot. 😍 They ranked it #2 out of the 4 books we read. I ranked it #4 but I think it would definitely be a best fit for the younger picture book crowd (ages 1-3), and I’d definitely recommend! 


Lastly we read My Pet Cloud by Amanda Rawson Hill, and this was unanimously our favorite. The story follows a boy who decides to adopt a cloud as a pet, but realizes there’s a lot to know about taking care of a pet (even a cloud!). The clever story concept perfectly showed the responsibility of having a pet, the illustrations were adorable, and I loved the cloud science knowledge sprinkled throughout. A fantastic story for ages 3-7, and my 3yo and 5yo both said they liked it a whole lot. 😍 Highly recommend!


Got lucky with our picks this time! Thanks so much to NetGalley for the ARCs. (And Husband, stop making me laugh while I’m trying to take embarrassing selfies! 😂)

Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Reviews – Five Feet Apart, The Heist, Squeeze Me, and On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.

I was roadtripping for work last week so I downloaded a few audiobooks from the library to enjoy on the way… and I really struggled with finding something that hit the spot.

I started with On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, a poetic novel which reads like the autobiography of Vietnamese child immigrant and his experiences in US as an immigrant, as well as the far-reaching impacts of his mother and grandmother’s war-battered history. I got to the 50% mark when I had to put this one down. While beautifully told, I was just not in the mood or this kind of wandering, raw literary fiction. But for the right reader, I feel this might hit strong. (No rating.)

Then I moved to Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen, a lighter novel told in a humorous third person omniscient. The story starts off when a wealthy heiress goes missing at a swanky party, and you get the viewpoints from a host of characters either trying to figure out what’s going on or cover it. It was after listening to the first hour of this novel that I realized that third person omniscient definitely isn’t my favorite. Although Angie Armstrong, the wildlife removing excon, is an interesting character, I didn’t really feel particularly attached to her or any of the other characters with the detached POV. Also, since we found out what happened to the heiress in the first hour, the story really just wasn’t holding my attention. However, if you’re into humorous third-person POV, you might enjoy this one. (No rating.)

Then I moved onto Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott. A YA Romance! Surely this one will be right up my alley! The premise is essentially about two teens with Cystic Fibrosis that fall in love, but because of their condition, aren’t allowed within 6 feet of one another.

And it started off really cute! The MC is likeable, and of course she and the love interest get off on the wrong foot. They start to fall for each other… but honestly by about midway, the story started to fall flat for me. The back stories veered into melodramatic territory with bad, short-sighted decisions and even their relationship felt more jerky than smooth.

I googled the book, and it sounds like this book was based on the screenplay… which actually makes a lot of sense. The dialogue is snappy and it’s actually a pretty short book, but I felt like the characters and plot weren’t really as full as they usually are in a novel. I feel like teen readers may enjoy it, and seeing the CF representation was really cool, but as a whole I’d label it as a meh read. I’m not even sure I would watch the movie.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

And then, lastly, feeling somewhat put out about all my audiobook bad luck, I started The Heist by Lee Goldberg. And the first thing I notice, of course, is that it’s in third person omniscient, which as I had just realized many hours earlier, is not my favorite. 🤦

If almost abandoned this book at the 10% mark, but since I didn’t have another audiobook downloaded, I decided to press on.

And I’m super glad I did! I absolutely loved the characters (specifically Kate, Nick, and Kate’s dad), the banter was just perfection, and the heists antics were definitely clever. I actually even recommended this to my husband since he’s a fan of heists (which I almost never do.) My only complaint is that I wanted more Nick and Kate flirting/interaction… and with seven books in this series, I’m not exactly expecting significant relationship growth in Book Two.

That said, while I’m not entirely sure I’ll be picking up the sequels, this book was a fun ride, and I would LOVE to see a movie. Like seriously, GIMME GIMME GIMME. (4.5/5)

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½

Thanks for reading! I’m really hoping I have better audiobook luck on my next work roadtrip in July, and now that I have NetGalley, I’ll be requesting audiobooks through there too. Fingers crossed for some good ones!