Books, Reviews

Go Anywhere Literally: From Amazing Mountains to Awesome Beaches

A little late to the geography party for last week’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday over at ThatArtsyReaderGirl. Books let us go anywhere literally (see what I did there!), from mountains to beaches, from the sea to the skies, or just right across the street! I also have way too many books on my fall TBR list (as always) so decided to leave that one aside and go rogue (or late)

And I know, I know! I do not have any book on my list which has either mountains or beaches in its title today!! But…it made for a cool post title, and I got the point across, right?

So here are a few of my reads to transport you literally. Some I have read and loved while the others have been waiting to be read. I can hear them having discussions each night about when I might eventually pick them up….

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Go Anywhere Literally

(Go anywhere) All Along the River (with Bunny Rabbit & her brothers!)

All Along the River written and illustrated by Magnus Weightman (Children’s Fiction/Travel Books for 3 – 6 years, and up from Clavis Publishing (May 19, 2020))

Bunny Rabbit has lost her toy duck! So Bunny and her brothers jump in their boat and head down the river in search of Little Duck. Their journey takes them from the mountaintop to the open sea, but there are many other adventures for you to follow along the way. Why are the Speedy Pigs in such a hurry? What will Laura Lamb catch on her fishing line? And what kind of mischief will Sippi Swan get into?

My Thoughts

Adorable, beautiful, charming, delightful, engaging, ……… , quirky, rewarding, simply a book you need to get! You will be sure to enjoy repeated reads of this book as you follow Bunny and her brothers along the river as they look for her lost ducky. Meeting and following journeys of different groups each time is so much fun, and you will find unexpected treasures on each page as well. The artwork is so very detailed and amazing as are the various storylines; and how they all come together at the end – perfect!

The Girl Who Rowed the Ocean (Go anywhere with Lucy!)

The Girl Who Rowed the Ocean by Alastair Humphreys (Children’s Fiction/Adventure, Environment for 9 – 12 years, and up from Eye Books (August 12, 2022))

Lucy wants to explore the world, and do so with something daring and difficult, like rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. When others laugh at her, her family ensures she can go on the journey, and her school friends follow her as she travels and learn along with her from afar. Lucy faces both wonders and worries while alone at sea, and discovers what she is capable of.

Part of The Boy Who Biked the World trilogy

My Thoughts

I got started on this recently and enjoying every bit of it! The protagonist is easy to relate to and identify with; and I loved the way her mind works almost instantly. She is certainly off to great adventures, and I am going on a wondrous journey across the Atlantic with her. Pick it up and read along with me so we can explore the seas together!!

The Strangest Thing in the Sea

The Strangest Thing in the Sea by Rachel Poliquin and illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler  (

An intriguing look at some very strange creatures in the sea — but which is the strangest? A feathery tutu dancing through the water? A tiptoeing rock wearing a wig? A mountain of skulls on the ocean floor? Not everything is quite as it seems in this fascinating exploration of 12 bizarre and little-known sea animals

My Thoughts

I loved this exploration of deep-sea creatures. Each creature is stranger than the other, or well, equally strange as far as I am concerned (except for one!). Each two-page spread features one fascinating creature with stunning illustrations, a brief lyrical hello & a detailed introduction from the creature itself. In addition, there are fun factoids across the page. A great gift for all who love exploring and learning about the wonders of our natural world. I know I learned a lot (despite other similar reads and documentaries from earlier!).

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh (Teen and YA/Fantasy, Multicultural Fiction)

Axie Oh’s The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is an enthralling feminist retelling of the classic Korean folktale “The Tale of Shim Cheong,” perfect for fans of Wintersong, Uprooted, and Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.

My Thoughts

Axie Oh’s writing is beautiful and oh so fanciful! Her words conjure worlds and transport readers to the Sea God’s kingdom effortlessly. This is another current read (long overdue), and I am loath to stop reading it for other books or do other things, but…..they all call out to me too (books and chores and work and life) so I am taking longer than I want. However, I am falling in love with each introduced character without question, and marking way too many sentences (and whole pages) as favorites.

I have been meaning to read Spirited Away for a long while now, and after I finish reading this book, want to read that book as well as any other books by Axie Oh. It also helps or adds to the allure of the book that this is folklore, which is something I always am fascinated by. And I always find parallels with folklore from other parts of the world (like I am doing here as well, and will write about it in a future post).

A book for teens and adults alike.

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia (Disney Publishing Worldwide, Rick Riordan Presents / Children’s Fiction | Middle Grade | OwnVoices)

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents author Tehlor Kay Mejia and her thrilling fantasy adventure based on the Mexican legend of La Llorona (the Crying Woman).

12-year-old Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. And her mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila at night, looking for young people to drag into its murky depths.

Her disbelief turns to ‘maybe’ when her friend Emma never shows up for a meeting near the Gila. While Pao has always relied on hard science to make sense of the world, she will have to enter the world of her nightmares to find her friend.

Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares

Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia (Disney Publishing Worldwide, Rick Riordan Presents / Children’s Fiction | Middle Grade | OwnVoices)

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents the sequel to Tehlor Kay Mejia’s critically acclaimed own-voices novel about science-obsessed Paola Santiago.

Six months after Paola Santiago confronted the legendary La Llorona, life is nothing like she’d expected it to be. And when an unexpected turn of events sends her on a journey to find her father, she will encounter new monsters and ghosts, a devastating betrayal, and finally, the forest of her nightmares. Will the truths her father has been hiding save the people Pao loves, or destroy them?

My Thoughts on Both Paola Santiago Booka

Another series that takes readers on fascinating adventures and a wonderful merging of folklore, mythology, and the modern world!! What I loved about them (and the next in the series as well):

  • oh-so relatable characters (flaws and all)
  • fast-paced and full of page-turners that will keep you reading
  • that merging of folklore, mythology, and the modern world (did I already mention something like that? Sorry!)
  • science vs superstition or how they can co-exist:)
  • La Llorona, chupacabras, visionary dreams that are too real for comfort, and more
  • spookiness all around yet comforting too
  • and so much more to enjoy

Pick up this series now

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders (Random House/ Nonfiction (Adult) | Reference / Pub Date 12 Jan 2021)

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a deep exploration not just of how great writing works but of how the mind itself works while reading, and of how the reading and writing of stories make genuine connection possible.

My Thoughts

This book made it on both my most anticipated and favorite lists of last year. While I never got around to writing a full review of the book, I want to repeat myself a bit here by saying: “a must read for anyone who loves the written word.”

Mr Right Across the Street

Mr Right Across the Street by Kathryn Freeman (One More Chapter / Humor, Romance, Women’s Fiction / January 2021)

Mia Abbott’s move to Manchester was so she could have time and space to recover from her past disastrous romantic choices. But then the hot guy who lives opposite – the one who works out every day at exactly 10 a.m., not that Mia has noticed thank-you-very-much – starts leaving notes in his window…for her.

Bar owner Luke Doyle has his own issues to deal with but as he shows Mia the sites of her new city he also shows her what real romance looks like for the first time. And when he cooks up a signature cocktail in her honour, she realises that the man behind the bar is even more enticing than any of his creations. And once she’s had a taste she knows it will never be enough!

My Super – Brief Thoughts

I read it a while ago and to give a more detailed review would mean I read it again but not right now, so this memory of it being ‘a sweet romance that is perfect for an escape and for smiles all around!’ will have to do for now!!

The Color of the Sky Is the Shape of the Heart

The Color of the Sky Is the Shape of the Heart by Chesil (April 5, 2022) (Teen and YA/Multicultural Fiction)

Inspired by her own childhood, author Chesil creates a portrait of a girl who has been fighting alone against barriers of prejudice, nationality, and injustice all her life—and one searching for a place to belong.

No Thoughts Yet

I wrote about this book, along with a couple others in this list, in a previous post and said I am meaning to read it soon. However, it is still on my TBR. I vow to get to it in the near future.

Pie in the Sky

Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai (Henry Holt and Co / Middle Grade | Graphic Novels / 14 May 2019)

A poignant, laugh-out-loud illustrated middle-grade novel about an eleven-year-old boy’s immigration experience, his annoying little brother, and their cake-baking hijinks! Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang!

My Quick Thoughts

This was such a heartwarming, fun read that I finished a while ago but never got around to reviewing. Graphic novels are such a treat to read when done well, and this one definitely checks all the boxes I am looking for in a graphic novel. Sibling love and rivalry, the hurt of losing a loved one, the pain of moving into a new place, being the odd one out, excellent graphics, and a storyline that is heartwarming and fun and all that in one!

Atlas of Vanishing Places

Atlas of Vanishing Places: The Lost Worlds as They Were and as They Are Today by Travis Elborough (Quarto Publishing Group – White Lion, Aurum/ 23 Aug 2022 /History | Nonfiction (Adult) | Travel)

Imagine what the world once looked like as you discover places that have disappeared from modern atlases in this stunningly illustrated and award-winning book.

With beautiful maps and stunning colour photography, Atlas of Vanishing Places shows these places as they once were as well as how they look today: a fascinating guide to lost lands and the fragility of our relationship with the world around us.

My Quick Thoughts

I previously read and totally relished reading another book in Elborough’s Atlas series (read my review of the Atlas of Forgotten Places here). This book is no different. If I (or you) choose to go anywhere at all, many of the places in this book should be on that bucket-list. With stunning photos, beautiful and detailed maps and drawings as well as a beautiful narrative and descriptions, Elborough provides readers an intimate look into the place (no matter what it is).

To give you an idea of all the ‘go anywhere’ spots this book includes, we have:

  • Ancient Cities (including Mohenjodaro, Petra, and Temgad)
  • Forgotten Lands. From Bodie, California (which has been on my list to see since I learned about it on a trip to Columbia, Caliornia) to Bagerhat, Bangladesh.
  • Shrinking Places (The Dead Sea for example)
  • Threatened Worlds (from Venice to the Great Barrier Reef, and more)

A must-read that is sure to engage and educate readers of all ages, for those who love to go anywhere and everywhere, and for those who love to stay put too (and can go anywhere through books!)

The Atlas of Disappearing Places

The Atlas of Disappearing Places: Our Coasts and Oceans in the Climate Crisis by Christina Conklin; Marina Psaros (The New Press/ 20 Jul 2021 /Arts & Photography | Politics | Science)

Through a rich combination of place-based storytelling, clear explanations of climate science and policy, and beautifully rendered maps that use a unique ink-on-dried-seaweed technique, The Atlas of Disappearing Places depicts twenty locations across the globe, from Shanghai and Antarctica to Houston and the Cook Islands. The authors describe four climate change impacts—changing chemistry, warming waters, strengthening storms, and rising seas—using the metaphor of the ocean as a body to draw parallels between natural systems and human systems.

My Thoughts

This book is a harsh yet poignant reminder of the extreme need to protect and conserve our resources in every which way we can. It shocks and scares with worst-possible “future fictions” on the one hand while managing to inspire and make us hopeful for a better future – if we take the right action – on the other. Using examples of current crises (like the islands of plastic near Hawaii, or increasing coastal dead zones along the Arabian Sea), the authors highlight the issues in detail – show us how things might worsen in the near future (2050) if nothing is done; and also show what we can do to prevent that worst scenario.

It is scary that no matter anywhere we go, there is something that we have taken to the point of crisis; but we can redeem ourselves still. Taking one step at a time, acting upon the things we can to conserve and protect our resources, we can make sure that we can go anywhere and be assured that the crisis is averted.

Definitely not a dry read despite its content. A great book for anyone who loves oceans, conservation, or simply wants to learn more.

Africa Is Not a Country

Africa Is Not a Country, 2nd Edition by Mark Melnicove; Margy Burns Knight (Lerner Publishing Group, Millbrook Press / 02 Aug 2022 / Children’s Fiction | Multicultural Interest)

The revised edition of this picture book updates information for the many countries of modern Africa, including flags, statistics, and illustrations. Countering stereotypes, this book showcases the daily lives of children and celebrates the extraordinary diversity of this vibrant continent.

My Quick Thoughts

The title of this book says it all! For all those who thought Africa was a country, and for all those who knew it was not (thankfully I knew this). This book offers so much to learn and discover; you can go anywhere in the continent of Africa and feel good that you know something about it (even if it is just a teensy bit). I loved how the authors used portrayals of everyday lives of children across the different countries in Africa to show the diversity and vastness of this majestic and beautiful continent.

With detailed and vibrant artwork, engaging and informative narrative, as well as maps and other illustrations to guide readers along, this book is a must read for all who love geography, who love to go anywhere and everywhere, or simply love learning!

Disclaimer: I received a digital ARC for all of today’s featured books from NetGalley and/or Edelweiss, and these are my honest opinions. I also ended up purchasing copies of many of these books for my personal library!!!

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Go Anywhere Literally: From Amazing Mountains to Awesome Beaches

And Now, the End of This Post Before I Go Anywhere!

Dear reader, if you could choose to go anywhere, where would it be? And my other question, have you read any of the books on this list? Would your ‘go anywhere’ be any of those worlds or places mentioned within? As always, I welcome your thoughts on this post and your recommendations too

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