Posted in Uncategorized

Midyear Reading Freakout Tag

I’m taking this tag from the wonderful Reader Voracious. Midyear is a good time to look at where our reading goals are going into the second half of the year, make adjustments. This Midyear post shows where I’m at currently and will give me a good idea of where I’m heading into July.

All these stats are current as of yesterday. I’m not surprised that most of my books were borrow I’m a huge library user. I’m really surprised I’ve read so many new books but again I thank the library for that I wouldn’t have access to any new books without their great digital sources.

As for the reading categories, I was surprised last year when I didn’t have more fantasy but I think that because of a gap in middle-grade fantasy that is slowly being filled. Never the less I love all the contemporary I’ve been reading and it will probably remain my largest category.

Midyear Chart for Books by Source
Midyear Chart for Books by type of Release from January to June
Midyear Chart for Books by Genre through January to June

The other slices are Historical Fiction, Memoir, Sci-Fi, Horror and Mystery, and Horror and represent about one book. Stats are all thanks to Reader Voracious’s wonderful spreadsheets.

1. The best book you’ve read so far this year?

Sweet & Bitter Magic by [Adrienne Tooley]

This question isn’t fair. But if I’d have to pick I’ll have to say. Sweet and Bitter Magic. It had a great emotional arc, there was LBGTQ content and the mystery kept me on my toes. Plus witches. It’s not fair. The book was made to draw me in. I’d read it again, and again.

2. The best sequel you’ve read this year?

By far the best sequel I’ve read is the final book of the Unwanted Quests by Lisa McMann, Dragon Fury.

Dragon Fury (The Unwanteds Quests Book 7) by [Lisa McMann]

3. New releases you haven’t read yet but want to.

All You Knead Is Love by [Tanya Guerrero]
Bridge of Souls (City of Ghosts #3) by [Victoria Schwab]

I’ve been lucky to have access to a lot of new releases through my library system, these are a few of the ones that the library either hasn’t caught or that I’m still waiting in line for. Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea just sounds like the perfect summer book. All You Knead is Love, I will never turn down a book about food, and Bridge of Souls because I’ve wanted to read the end of Jacob and Cassidy’s adventure for a while.

4. Most anticipated releases for the second half of the year.

Ghost Girl by [Ally Malinenko]

The Many Meanings of Meilan by [Andrea Wang]
Steelstriker (Skyhunter Duology Book 2) by [Marie Lu]

These are just a few of the ones I’m looking out for in the second half of the year I’ve been looking forward to Ghost Girl since I saw it on Netgalley. The Many Meaning of Meilan sounds like a lot of books I’ve read and liked before. And Violets are Blue I just really like the description to the story. Finally Steelstriker which releases on my birthday so I know what I’m getting for a present.

5. Biggest disappointment.

I won’t even say Crystal Caets was a disappointment, I liked the book. I just think the publishing team was probably rushed to print, then the series was later canceled which is a shame because it’s a good concept.

6. Biggest Surprise.

A Thousand Questions by [Saadia Faruqi]

When I was stuck in bed with my ankle I really wanted to A Thousand Questions, but they only had it in audio, thinking I had nowhere else to go, I decided to listen to an audiobook for the first time. This book changed my view on audiobooks and has me listening more. Another one of my midyear goals is to listen to more audiobooks.

7. Favorite new to you, or debut, author.

I’m enjoying the The Firebird Song by Arnée Flores.

8. Newest fictional crush.

None, as I’m reading young adult.

9. Newest favorite character.

Tamsin and Wren from Sweet and Bitter Magic. Ellie from Starfish.

10. Book that made you cry?

Speaking of Starfish there were some definite sniffles about a book where a fat girl finds her agency. Also more books like this!

Starfish by [Lisa Fipps]

11. Book that made you happy?

I know I sound like a broken record when I say Sweet and Bitter Magic, it is true, however, but another book that made me smile was: A Chance to Fly. I read this as an Arc and loved it. Every time I see a good representation of disabilities in fiction I’m smiling.

The Chance to Fly by [Ali Stroker, Stacy Davidowitz]

12. Favorite book to film adaption?

I never read any Grishaverse, I know the shock. So I really can’t get into Shadow and Bone. An adaptation of one of my favorite series might be coming up eventually so I can’t wait for that.

13. Favorite post you have done this year?

Foreverland Book Tour-first book tour I’ve ever done.

Arc and Book Tour: Oh My!-Tips for Arcs and Book Tours

14. Most beautiful book you have bought this year?

That Thing about Bollywood by [Supriya Kelkar]

That Thing about Bollywood. It’s so sunny in person, and looks even better than online.

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

I’m a mood reader so I don’t have a specific list but lots and a lot of books. I’d like to hit 100. I’m at about 40 now but I always have more time motivation around the end of the year to read. Midyear isn’t my highest reading time so I still think I can get it done. Breaking my ankle knocked out some reading time so I’ll honestly be happy with 80 if that’s all I get to. I’d like to get past what I got last year which was 81 so we’re shooting in the 82-90 with 100 as a stretch goal.

I tag anyone who wants to do this, how is everyone else looking at Midyear.

Posted in Weekly Wrap-ups

DragonAge, Path or Pantheon, and Loki

This week has been pretty calm more camp prep since the camp is in July I’ll be doing a lot of that till then. Other than that I brought my PlayStation downstairs, the way I had to sit to play it when it was in my room I can’t really do with my ankle now. It’s making me want to replay DragonAge. I was a elf mage last time not sure what make I’d go with, but I still want to complete the game I have, aka find all the shards, kill all the Dragons, get to the DLC. Yes, I know who is evil and what happens in the DLC but still I’d like to play it through.

If you’ve played DragonAge respond with your race and class and what race and class you think I should try!

I’m already a good way into the Path or Pantheon challenge I just finished my first book for the challenge, I switched books from the one on my TBR but this one still fits the prompt. It was for a young female MC and I’m now using The Five Things About Ava Andrews. I’m also about 3/4 of the way through the book about food. Much Ado about Baseball, so I’m hoping to finish this challenge up nice and early this month.

Okay, I’ve been watching Loki and it has its issues but I think once we get into the meat of the show as we did in Episode 2 we’ll really have something. I love the buddy cop feel with Mobius and Variant Loki. Also not sure what Marvel is setting up for but the banter between Variant Loki and Lady Loki is going to be amazing I can already tell.

My week wasn’t super exciting but it was still a good one. I got a lot done and am moving forward towards my TBR for the year.

Also expect to see some more game and show-based posts from me soon. DragonAge essentially got me through last summer’s rough health scare with my sister. So I’d like to replay it just to see if there is anything I missed and because it was so relaxing summer. Also expect some Switch game posts or commentary and shows because Marvel insists on making TV that I want to comment about.

Posted in Reviews

Allergic: A Graphic Novel Review

Allergic: A Graphic Novel

Allergic: A Graphic Novel by [Megan Wagner Lloyd, Michelle Mee Nutter]

Summary

A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl who is allergic to most pets, but still wants to find her perfect friend.

At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with getting ready for a new baby, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie loves animals and thinks a new puppy to call her own is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She’s severely allergic to anything with fur!

Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet?

Allergic Author/Illustrator

With illustrations by Michelle Mee Nutter, Megan Wagner Lloyd uses inspiration from her own experiences with allergies to tell a heartfelt story of family, friendship, and finding a place to belong.

Review

The idea of being allergic-like Maggie would be so hard, but the allergies are just masking her larger problem which is the loneliness she feels in her family. But as she tries and fails at having different pets and her mom progresses in her pregnancy, she realizes she maybe has a place after all and that her role as a big sister is important, and that she doesn’t need a pet to fill the void, that her family is already there.

Amazon: Allergic

Posted in Discussion

Blogger Interview-Reader Voracious

I got the chance to interview my fellow blogger Kal from Reader Voracious. A wonderful book blog that has great tips for SEO and just generally good and helpful content for other bloggers, plus Kal’s spreadsheets every year keep my brain from exploding. So without further ado our interview:

Q1: First, if you would please tell my followers a little bit about yourself? I’ve already told them that I’m getting an interview with the wonderful Kal from Reader Voracious, but if you’d give them a bit more. 

Hi there, I’m Kal — a 30-something gal from Southern California who absolutely loves reading, travel, hiking, tea, video games, and outer space. I’m pretty nerdy and love to dig into the deep themes of the media that I consume… and wrote my senior honors thesis on philosophy and Battlestar Galactica! When not engrossed in a book can be found communing with nature. 

Q2: Where do all your guide ideas come from? I’m still working through all of them and I especially love your one about representation and the one about getting books to people who are represented in the books pre-covid. 

Thank you so much! Honestly, sometimes I don’t even know where some of my ideas come from. I’ve always been an analytical person who thrives on processes and I think that lends itself to writing tutorials and guides. It started with the first iteration of my spreadsheet template in 2018 and kind of snowballed from there! 

Usually when I dig into a topic like SEO or going self-hosted, I wind up writing a guide post to help others with what I learned. So in a way, the ideas come from my own intellectual curiosity. The posts you mentioned about representation and Flapping Pages ARCs were directly inspired by discussions within the book community on Twitter. I have a lot of opinions and am overly verbose, which don’t lend well to the 240 character format.

Q3 : You seem to be focused on helping other bloggers? A one of your Paetron’s I appreciate all the work you put in, where does the desire to help others come from? 

I’ve always liked helping others, especially with breaking down topics. I used to tutor when I was younger, and I’ve developed and written standard procedures and training guides in a number of jobs. I think I get the most fulfillment passing on my knowledge to others. 

Q4: You’ve been a blogger for a few years, what advice would you give yourself as a beginning blogger? 

I can’t believe it’s already been over three years for Reader Voracious! Truthfully, growing up in the 90s I’ve always kind of been into content creation, blogging, and website design. I am soooo glad that my Xanga and LiveJournal accounts are gone so I don’t have to live in fear! Fun fact: I joined Neopets in 2000 and ran one of the most popular petite guides on Premium in like 2005/2006! I lost access to my account ages ago, but LeenaLu is still there… probably with a lot of broken background images.

My biggest piece of advice would be to write what you want to write and the rest will come. Your “writing voice” and style will develop over time and it’s important to just let that process happen instead of forcing it. If you’re passionate about what you’re writing, it will shine through and people will gravitate towards you and your work. Don’t stretch yourself too thin by doing too much too soon, or trying to be on all social media platforms. 

There are so many bloggers that burned themselves out and disappear within 3 months, and it’s a bummer. On that note: do not over request ARCs on Netgalley! We’ve all done it, and we all regret it. This post have a list of 6 lessons learned in my first 6 months of blogging… and they all are still relevant to me now!

Q5: Favorite Book? And if You can’t answer this hardest of questions top 5. 

HahahahahahahahahaaHA… top 5 will even be tough! *takes deep breath*

  1. This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (review)
  2. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (review)
  3. A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna (review)
  4. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko (review)
  5. Dustborn by Erin Bowman (review)

Q6: You were one of the first book bloggers to do a Paetron. What have you learned from the platform? 

It’s a lot more work than I thought it would be! One challenge that I didn’t expect was my desire for feedback and feeling like an imposter not providing anything of value. It took a long time for me to realize that for the most part the people who join my patreon do it to support my work and don’t necessarily mind too much what the benefits are. Patreon has been a way for me to have some meaning and responsibilities as I haven’t been able to work, and I am so thankful to all of my patrons’ support

My Patreon benefits have changed a lot in the past two years. This January I made a lot of tweaks and made the decision to bifurcate my content and provide a home for posts I wanted to do on the blog but didn’t have the space for and didn’t really fit too well. I’m pretty happy with the change and have an excitement for diving into some of my other interests and long-form essays with a much smaller audience.

Q7: Would you recommend Paetron to other book bloggers?

Maybe. It depends on what the blogger hopes to get out of Patreon. For me it has been a creatively fulfilling way to build a small community and help offset the costs of running Reader Voracious, but I would be remiss not to mention that it can be pretty stressful – especially if you’re someone who puts a lot of pressure on yourself. 

Before anyone decides to begin a Patreon, I’d recommend looking at the kinds of things you want to offer and provide. You want to be sure that whatever you’re doing is fun for you. A lot of people offer early access to all blog posts — I used to — but think about whether or not you’re able to schedule posts ahead without stress. For me it wasn’t sustainable in the long term, so I had to limit it to my guide posts. Having a Patreon can be really fulfilling though, so if it sounds like fun I totally recommend it! Just start slow… you can always add more benefits later on. It’s best to not overwhelm yourself, because inevitably it will take more time than you think it will.

Q8: Can you tell us more about self-hosting your WordPress?

Sure thing! I was so scared to self-host my blog… so much so that I went with a paid WordPress plan to avoid it. But what I quickly learned was that I was paying more money for less freedom. Everything I wanted to do (Google Analytics, changing permalink structure, Javascript embeds) was a freaking plugin! I was so annoyed that I even wrote a post about what the guides don’t tell you in the paid wordpress vs self-hosted debate.

So I did a bunch of research on just how much work is it to self-host. It turns out: not that much. It sounds a lot scarier than it actually is but I promise it’s not that bad. And with backups you can revert any boo-boos! I documented my process of moving from paid to self-hosted wordpress in this guide.

Q9: I want to thank you I’ve used your spreadsheets two years in a row to keep up with things. I know that’s not a question but it does lead into my next question. 

😭😭😭😭😭 Thank you so much, I love hearing that my spreadsheets are useful!

Q10. Kal, shamelessly self-promote all your things, Paetron, website, twitter etc. 

You can find me at readervoracious.com, on Twitter @kalventure, and on Instagram @thereadervoracious! I love chatting about books and making new friends! If you’d like to support the work I do and get some cool things like reading vlogs and make me read books like Twilight, you can join my Patreon for as little as $2 a month

Thanks so much for having me!

I really enjoyed talking to Kal from Reader Vorarious, everyone follow them and check out their spreadsheets to help you keep track of the your book count for the year. Without mine I’d have no idea how many books I’d read.

Posted in Challenges

Path or Pantheon TBR Books

I promised you the Path or Pantheon TBR, I had a tough time choosing these books, some were easier than others, I thought I’d remind everyone of the path I chose:

Path of Home

Hestia-Fire on the cover/in the title.

I’d been meaning to read this when I got it as arc. Time however got away from me and, it still looks like a great book though and I happy to have a specific reason to read it. Maybe I’ll finally learn not to request too many books for on Netgalley lol.

The Firebird Song

The Firebird Song by [Arnée Flores]

The Kingdom of Lyrica was once warm and thriving, kept safe by the Firebird, whose feather and song was a blessing of peace and prosperity. But the Firebird disappeared, and Lyrica is now terrorized by the evil Spectress who wields her powers from within a volcano. All that remains is a mysterious message scrawled on the castle wall in the Queen’s own hand: Wind. Woman. Thief.

Young Prewitt has only known time without the Firebird, a life of constant cold, as his village is afraid to tempt the volcano monsters with even the feeblest fire. But he has heard whispers that the kingdom’s princess survived the attack . . . and he is certain that if he can find her, together they can save Lyrica.

Princess Calliope has no memories beyond living on her barge on the underground lake. But as she nears her twelfth birthday, she is certain there is more to life than the walls of a cave. When Prewitt finds her, he realizes that she is the missing princess: the only hope for Lyrica. Determined to decipher the meaning of her mother’s strange message and find the Firebird, Calliope and Prewitt set off on a quest that puts them in more danger than either of them ever anticipated.

Amazon: The Firebird Song

Friggfeaturing family

I’ve been a fan of this series since book one and it has strong family ties so it’s perfect for this prompt. These books have been full of mystery, family and super fun riddles, and though I’m sorry to see the series end I can’t wait to read the conclusion.

Summary

As book three of the Greystone Secrets series opens, the Greystone kids have their mother back from the evil alternate world, and so does their friend Natalie. But no one believes the danger is past.

Then mysterious coins begin falling from unexpected places. They are inscribed with codes that look just like what the Greystones’ father was working on before he died. And with the right touch, those symbols transform into words: PLEASE LISTEN. And FIND US, SEE US, HELP US. . . .

The coins are messengers, telling the Greystones and their allies that their friends in the alternate world are under attack—and that the cruel, mind-controlling forces are now invading the better world, too.

After another spinning, sliding journey across worlds, the Greystone kids must solve mysteries that have haunted them since the beginning: what happened when the Gustanos were kidnapped, what created the alternate world, and how a group of mismatched kids can triumph once and for all against an evil force that seems to have total control.

Amazon: The Greystone: The Messengers

Basetyoung female MC

I hadn’t heard of the author of the book, but was going out for a rare visit to a doctor to pick up some books and spotted it and it sounded interesting. Now I’m glad I have a specific opportunity to read it.

The Beast Player by [Nahoko Uehashi, Cathy Hirano]

Summary

Elin’s family has an important responsibility: caring for the fearsome water serpents that form the core of their kingdom’s army. So when some of the creatures mysteriously die, Elin’s mother is sentenced to death as punishment. With her last breath, she manages to send her daughter to safety.

Alone and far from home, Elin soon discovers that she can communicate with both the terrifying water serpents and the majestic flying beasts that guard her queen. This skill gives her great power, but it also involves her in deadly plots that could cost her life. Can she save herself and prevent her beloved beasts from being used as tools of war? Or is there no escaping the terrible battles to come?

Amazon: Beast Player

Kojinfeaturing food/cooking

The sister book to Midsummer’s Mayhem. This series of books are Shakespeare-inspired retellings with food, fun, and mystery.

Much Ado About Baseball

Twelve-year-old Trish can solve tough math problems and throw a mean fastball. But because of her mom’s new job, she’s now facing a summer trying to make friends all over again in a new town. That isn’t an easy thing to do, and her mom is too busy to notice how miserable she is.

But at her first baseball practice, Trish realizes one of her teammates is Ben, the sixth-grade math prodigy she beat in the spring Math Puzzler Championships. Everyone around them seems to think that with their math talent and love of baseball, it’s only logical that Trish and Ben become friends, but Ben makes it clear he still hasn’t gotten over that loss and can’t stand her. To make matters worse, their team can’t win a single game. But then they meet Rob, an older kid who smacks home runs without breaking a sweat. Rob tells them about his family’s store, which sells unusual snacks that will make them better ballplayers. Trish is dubious, but she’s willing to try almost anything to help the team.

When a mysterious booklet of math puzzles claiming to reveal the “ultimate answer” arrives in her mailbox, Trish and Ben start to get closer and solve the puzzles together. Ben starts getting hits, and their team becomes unstoppable. Trish is happy to keep riding the wave of good luck . . . until they get to a puzzle they can’t solve, with tragic consequences. Can they find the answer to this ultimate puzzle, or will they strike out when it counts the most?

Amazon: Much Ado About Baseball

Obafeaturing water

I love any of the books Molly Knox Ostertag puts out so it was no surprise this one was on my list. It looks beautiful so I’m ready for beauty as well as great content.

The Girl From the Sea

Fifteen-year-old Morgan has a secret: She can’t wait to escape the perfect little island where she lives. She’s desperate to finish high school and escape her sad divorced mom, her volatile little brother, and worst of all, her great group of friends…who don’t understand Morgan at all. Because really, Morgan’s biggest secret is that she has a lot of secrets, including the one about wanting to kiss another girl. Then one night, Morgan is saved from drowning by a mysterious girl named Keltie. The two become friends and suddenly life on the island doesn’t seem so stifling anymore. But Keltie has some secrets of her own. And as the girls start to fall in love, everything they’re each trying to hide will find its way to the surface…whether Morgan is ready or not.

Amazon: The Girl From the Sea

So that’s my list for the Path or Pantheon Challenge. Wish me luck with the challenge and if you are taking part share what Path or Pantheon you are joining .

Posted in Uncategorized

Path Or Pantheon Challenge

I’m excited about this wonderful challenge called Path Or Pantheon. It’s presented by the wonderful folks over at @MythTakeReads they are doing a small challenge, in between Rounds of their #MakeYourMythTakerChallenge. This is good for me because while I love their work I’ve always a little intimidated to do MythTaker. I’m going to do it next cycle however this is a nice way to did my toes in.

You either pick one of the Pantheon which has a set of books based on select gods in the pantheon. A Path is set up much the same way except they deal with themes that go across the pantheons like beauty, home or war.

I selected after much deliberation was the Path of Home

Path of Home

I’m going to do a TBR on this tomorrow, so check out the books I’ve picked out to meet to prompts and check out the challenge here.

Path or Pantheon Challenge Information

Posted in Uncategorized

Sneaky Cats and Queer Summer Camp

So I’ve told you about my feral cat Cinnamon, turns out she’s an expert-level sneaky cat. We’ve tried drugs we’ve tried treats, we’ve tried to just grab her, we’ve tried a regular cat carrier. Now we’ve resorted to the snap traps specifically for feral cats plus sardines plus tuna plus meds. Hopefully, this will finally catch our sick but sneaky and feral little kitty who doesn’t know we’re trying to do what’s best for her.

I haven’t gotten to play Horizon Zero Dawn much this week due to my focus on the Cinnamon. The cat is smarter than me and has thus been wearing me out. But I have had some fun, I’ve found a lot of new things to read and I think you all will expect lots of cool new content and reviews from me. I’m trying to catch up and get back on track for my reading goal that breaking my foot knocked me off of. So I’d love to hit 10 books this books, though hopefully more. I’ll be happy with 10 though.

I’ve leveled up in Cozy Grove an I continue to love it, it the small independent slowly plotted game that I needed.

I’m also working on going to meetings and making signs for my camp, it’s a camp for girls, trans, and gender non-conforming kids and youth, part of the Girls Rock network. Get to pick an instrument, and form bands make up a song, and perform in a showcase at the end of the week. They also go to different workshops like the one I’m teaching on tarot. We also have ones on things like yoga and D&D. It’s my favorite time of the year and we had to miss it in person last year due to COVID. So I’m excited to head back.

Hope you all had a good week and that this week is productive

Posted in Reviews

How to Become a Planet Review

How to Become a Planet by [Nicole Melleby]

Summary

Named after a planet, Pluto for summer has always started with a trip to the planetarium to see her namesake planet. The trip is the launch of her favorite season into her favorite season which also includes visits to the boardwalk arcade, working in her mom’s pizzeria, and her best friend Meredith’s birthday party. But this summer, none of that feels possible.
 
A month before the end of the school year, Pluto’s frightened mom broke down Pluto’s bedroom door. What came next were doctor’s appointments, a diagnosis of depression, and a big black hole that still sits on Pluto’s chest, making it too hard to do anything.
 
Pluto can’t explain to her mom why she can’t do the things she used to love. And it isn’t until Pluto’s dad threatens to make her move with him to the city—where he believes his money, in particular, could help—that Pluto becomes desperate enough to do whatever it takes to be the old Pluto again.
 
She develops a plan and a checklist: If she takes her medication, if she goes to the planetarium with her mom for her birthday, if she successfully finishes her summer school work with her tutor, if she goes to Meredith’s birthday party . . . if she does all the things that “normal” Pluto would do, she can stay with her mom in Jersey. But it takes a new therapist, a new tutor, and a new (and cute) friend with a checklist and plan of her own for Pluto to learn that there is no old and new Pluto. There’s just her.

Review

This book was a great representation for anxiety and depression. It also did a good time showing recovery from a mental break down, the fact that recovery isn’t linear and that some times things have to change not because you had a breakdown but because they were wrong in the first place. My absolutely favorite character is Pluto ‘friend’ Fallon. I also think that Pluto helping them completing their list. Really helped Pluto with her depression and in the end helped Pluto ask some hard questions she needed to ask of her parents.

Finally I love how certain things were just accepted and nothing was said about it and I wish we lived in a world like that.

Amazon: How to Become a Planet

Posted in Uncategorized

This one for the Girls: Summer New Releases

Almost Flying

Almost Flying by [Jake Maia Arlow]

Would-be amusement park aficionado Dalia only has two items on her summer bucket list: (1) finally ride a roller coaster and (2) figure out how to make a new best friend. But when her dad suddenly announces that he’s engaged, Dalia’s schemes come to a screeching halt. With Dalia’s future stepsister Alexa heading back to college soon, the grown-ups want the girls to spend the last weeks of summer bonding–meaning Alexa has to cancel the amusement park road trip she’s been planning for months. Luckily Dalia comes up with a new plan: If she joins Alexa on her trip and brings Rani, the new girl from her swim team, along maybe she can have the perfect summer after all. But what starts out as a week of funnel cakes and Lazy River rides goes off the rails when Dalia discovers that Alexa’s girlfriend is joining the trip. And keeping Alexa’s secret makes Dalia realize one of her own: She might have more-than-friend feelings for Rani

Amazon: Almost Flying

Samira Surfs

Samira Surfs by [Rukhsanna Guidroz, Fahmida Azim]

Samira thinks of her life as before and after: before the burning and violence in her village in Burma, when she and her best friend would play in the fields, and after, when her family was forced to flee. There’s before the uncertain journey to Bangladesh by river, and after, when the river swallowed her nana and nani whole. And now, months after rebuilding a life in Bangladesh with her mama, baba, and brother, there’s before Samira saw the Bengali surfer girls of Cox’s Bazar, and after, when she decides she’ll become one.

Samira Surfs, written by Rukhsanna Guidroz with illustrations by Fahmida Azim, is a tender novel in verse about a young Rohingya girl’s journey from isolation and persecution to sisterhood, and from fear to power.

Amazon: Samira Surfs

To Tell You the Truth

Trixy needs a story, fast, or she’s going to fail the fourth grade—that’s a fact. But every time she sits down to write, her mind is a blank. The only stories she can think of are Gran’s, the ones no one else ever believed but Trixy gulped down like sweet tea. Gran is gone now, buried under the lilac bush in the family plot, so it’s not like Trixy’s hurting anybody to claim one of those stories as her own, is she?

That stolen story turns out to be a huge success, and soon everybody in town wants Trixy to tell them a tale. Before long, the only one left is the story she vowed never to share, the one that made Gran’s face cloud up with sadness. Trying to find a way out of this tangled mess, Trixy and her friend Raymond hit the road to follow the twists and turns of Gran’s past. Maybe then Trixy can write a story that’s all her own, one that’s the straight-up truth.

Amazon: To Tell You the Truth

Check out these great books featuring cool girls and other great heroines coming out this week!

Posted in Recommendations, Reviews

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids Review

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids by [Cynthia Leitich Smith]

Summary

Ancestor Approved was a delightful collection that wove stories from talented storytellers and poets. It was edited by the wonderful award-winning and bestselling Cynthia Leitich Smith it shows hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. The event of Ancestor approved are all shown at the events at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In a high school gym full of color and song, people dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. Young protagonists will meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another (plus one scrappy rez dog).

They are the heroes of their own stories.

Featuring stories and poems by:
Joseph Bruchac
Art Coulson
Christine Day
Eric Gansworth
Carole Lindstrom
Dawn Quigley
Rebecca Roanhorse
David A. Robertson
Andrea L. Rogers
Kim Rogers
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Monique Gray Smith
Traci Sorell,
Tim Tingle
Erika T. Wurth
Brian Young

In partnership with We Need Diverse Books.

Review

Ancestor Approved was woven together masterfully. I realized the book was an anthology, but once I caught on they were all happening at the same place (at about Rez Dog) it was magical now I want to go back and reread it to go back and spot the characters I missed in the earlier stories that I pick up in the later ones. There were so many good stories in here, but I think my favorite was the one about Bad Dog and Big Loon, because of the ending. Other favorites include the boy who couldn’t ‘read’ and the boy and girl at the raffle. Truly there wasn’t a story I didn’t like in the bunch and sped through this book in a few days.

Five stars loved the book and I would totally add it to my personal collection. Great book for your brain and your cultural understanding.

Amazon: Ancestor Approved