Posted in new releases

Trying to Save What’s Important: New Releases

Check out these middle grade new releases coming out on September 21st, about characters trying to save things be it the world or their own worlds, whether they are facing monsters or prejudice these characters stand up and face their fears.

Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds

Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds (Amira & Hamza, 1) by [Samira Ahmed]

On the day of a rare super blue blood moon eclipse, twelve-year-old Amira and her little brother, Hamza, can’t stop their bickering while attending a special exhibit on medieval Islamic astronomy. While stargazer Amira is wowed by the amazing gadgets, a bored Hamza wanders off, stumbling across the mesmerizing and forbidden Box of the Moon. Amira can only watch in horror as Hamza grabs the defunct box and it springs to life, setting off a series of events that could shatter their world—literally.
 
Suddenly, day turns to night, everyone around Amira and Hamza falls under a sleep spell, and a chunk of the moon breaks off, hurtling toward them at lightning speed, as they come face-to-face with two otherworldly creatures: jinn.
 
The jinn reveal that the siblings have a role to play in an ancient prophecy. Together, they must journey to the mystical land of Qaf, battle a great evil, and end a civil war to prevent the moon—the stopper between realms—from breaking apart and unleashing terrifying jinn, devs, and ghuls onto earth. Or they might have to say goodbye to their parents and life as they know it, forever.…

Amazon: Amira and Hazma: The War to Save the Worlds

Maya and the Return of the Godlings (Maya and the Rising Dark)

Maya and the Return of the Godlings (Maya and the Rising Dark) by [Rena Barron]

The threat from The Dark is far from over. Twelve-year-old Maya knows this. After crossing the veil between the two worlds, saving her father, and narrowly escaping the sinister clutches of the Lord of Shadows, tensions between the human world and The Dark are higher than ever. And even worse, Maya’s orisha powers as a godling are out of control.
 
Now a guardian in training, Maya spends her days patching up veils with her father and cleaning up near-disasters like baby wormholes that her erratic powers create. But when Maya and her friends discover that something went terribly wrong during their journey to bring her father back to the human world, they are forced to return to The Dark and restore what they left behind, the one thing keeping the veil from falling: her father’s soul.
 
The Lord of Shadows is mobilizing his forces for an all-out war against the human world. And this time, Maya and her friends will need all the help they can get. Even if that means teaming up with their greatest enemies, the darkbringers.

Amazon: Maya and the Return of the Godlings

Room to Dream

Room to Dream (Front Desk) by [Kelly Yang]

Mia Tang is going for her dreams!

After years of hard work, Mia Tang finally gets to go on vacation with her family — to China! A total dream come true! Mia can’t wait to see all her cousins and grandparents again, especially her cousin Shen. As she roams around Beijing, witnessing some of the big changes China’s going through, Mia thinks about the changes in her own life, like . . .

1. Lupe’s taking classes at the high school! And Mia’s own plans to be a big writer are . . . stuck.

2. Something happened with Jason and Mia has no idea what to do about it.

3. New buildings are popping up all around the motel, and small businesses are disappearing.

Can the Calivista survive? Buckle up! Mia is more determined than ever to get through the turbulence, now that she finally has . . . room to dream!

Amazon: Room to Dream

Posted in backlog reviews, Reviews

The Brave

The Brave is meant to be a lovely novel about overcoming health issues of the mind and body. It’s also meant to be about Native American ways of doing things. However it relies deeply on caricatures and the idea of Native American spiritualism.

The Brave by [James Bird]

Summary

Collin can’t help himself—he has a unique condition that finds him counting every letter spoken to him. It’s a quirk that makes him a prime target for bullies, and a continual frustration to the adults around him, including his father.

When Collin asked to leave yet another school, his dad decides to send him to live in Minnesota with the mother he’s never met. She is Ojibwe, and lives on a reservation. Collin arrives in Duluth with his loyal dog, Seven, and quickly finds his mom and his new home to be warm, welcoming, and accepting of his condition.

Collin’s quirk is matched by that of his neighbor, Orenda, a girl who lives mostly in her treehouse and believes she is turning into a butterfly. With Orenda’s help, Collin works hard to overcome his challenges. His real test comes when he must step up for his new friend and trust his new family.

Review

To quote the The Circle a publication of Native American News and Arts ” How closely did they read? Granted, the story is make believe and brimming with magic and mystery and ghosts, but this magic and mystery depicts wooden caricatures in a fake reservation setting. Insight into why adults do what they do is rarely offered. All we learn is that one drinks too much alcohol, another is always getting into or out of her truck, and a wise, spooky grandmother appears and disappears.” They go on say of The Brave ” He is also welcomed by a next door neighbor – Orenda – who spends most of her time in a treehouse. Orenda, wise beyond her years, teaches Collin to be brave when faced with adversity. Sick with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Orenda predicts that one day she will turn into a butterfly. As Orenda loses strength, Collin gains strength both mentally and physically. With the help of some kind of medicine man and after turning into a wolf and killing a boogeyman, or dreaming that, Collin is mostly free from his OCD.

I personally can’t speak to another spiritual tradition but Collin losing his OCD just seemed too easy as someone with OCD myself. Feel free to argue with me in the comments. While the book was an attempt to be a book about improving oneself. It came off as putting Native American caricatures and the over used idea of Native American spiritualism.

Amazon: The Brave

Additional Reading

“The Brave” is compelling, but could do without the stereotypes

Posted in Orillium Readathon, Reviews

Goddess in the Machine Review

I’m reading The Goddess in the Machine to do a second character on Magical Readathon. But I’m glad I came across it anyway, The book was published last year and I’m reading the sequel now, it. The sequel the Devil in the Device is also a great sci-fi story from what I can tell so far. I loved the Goddess in the Machine for its twist and turns, mix of future tech with past tech, and just the way that the overall society was structured.

Goddess in the Machine by [Lora Beth Johnson]

Summary

When Andra wakes up, she’s drowning.

Not only that, but she’s in a hot, dirty cave, it’s the year 3102, and everyone keeps calling her Goddess. When Andra went into a cryonic sleep for a trip across the galaxy, she expected to wake up in a hundred years, not a thousand. Worst of all, the rest of the colonists–including her family and friends–are dead. They died centuries ago, and for some reason, their descendants think Andra’s a deity. She knows she’s nothing special, but she’ll play along if it means she can figure out why she was left in stasis and how to get back to Earth.

Zhade, the exiled bastard prince of Eerensed, has other plans. Four years ago, the sleeping Goddess’s glass coffin disappeared from the palace, and Zhade devoted himself to finding it. Now he’s hoping the Goddess will be the key to taking his rightful place on the throne–if he can get her to play her part, that is. Because if his people realize she doesn’t actually have the power to save their dying planet, they’ll kill her.

With a vicious monarch on the throne and a city tearing apart at the seams, Zhade and Andra might never be able to unlock the mystery of her fate, let alone find a way to unseat the king, especially since Zhade hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Andra. And a thousand years from home, is there any way of knowing that Earth is better than the planet she’s woken to?

Review

Andra dealing with what she is the the focus of the book, and it should be, she works past labels put onto her by Zhade, the people of Eerensed, and even by her family 1,000 years ago to find out what she truly is she’s the one who takes us on the journey through this confusing future world. Sometimes she isn’t the best guide and is betrayed but all and all she finds a way in a world beyond her time and when she finds herself with powers beyond her imagining. She solves layer after layer of mystery with the help of some modern friends to reveal that the future is much more complex than it seems and that saving herself, might require saving the the planet and that’s more complicated than she ever dreamed.

Even with the ‘help’ of the two goddess before her with Andra be able to save herself and Eerensed before she catches a killing blade?

Amazon: The Goddess in the Machine

Posted in Discussion, Updates

Disability Creative Block

Hey y’all I’m back. Sorry for the long break in posts. I’ve been working on disability. Getting disability in the US is a prolonged effort where you have to appeal many times and appear before a judge. I’ve appealed several times and am now on the state where I appeal before a judge. Let me tell you I’ve been studying the possible questions that could be asked for several weeks, practicing, and I was still very nervous. So as the date of the hearing came closer I just looked at posting here and I froze I was totally creatively blocked due to my disability hearing. Everything just came down to focusing on the hearing but thankfully I got past my hearing, I won’t know my results for a few weeks. But I’m just so glad it’s over and I can get back to focusing on the thing I like without the mind crushing stress I’ve been dealing with these past few week.

I haven’t been doing nothing though, I’ve managed to get a little reading done despite the stress. Most of these are for magical readathon.

Ghost Girl by [Ally Malinenko]

Summary

Zee Puckett loves ghost stories. She just never expected to be living one.

It all starts with a dark and stormy night. When the skies clear, everything is different. People are missing. There’s a creepy new principal who seems to know everyone’s darkest dreams. And Zee is seeing frightening things: large, scary dogs that talk and maybe even . . . a ghost.

When she tells her classmates, only her best friend Elijah believes her. Worse, mean girl Nellie gives Zee a cruel nickname: Ghost Girl.

But whatever the storm washed up isn’t going away. Everyone’s most selfish wishes start coming true in creepy ways.

To fight for what’s right, Zee will have to embrace what makes her different and what makes her Ghost Girl. And all three of them—Zee, Elijah, and Nellie—will have to work together if they want to give their ghost story a happy ending.

Amazon: Ghost Girl

Summary

All Ginny Anderson wants from her summer is to sleep in, attend a mystery writing workshop, and spend time with her best friend. But when Ginny’s father―a respected restoration expert in Chicago―surprises the family with a month-long trip to Michigan, everything changes. They aren’t staying in a hotel like most families would. No, they’re staying in a mansion. A twenty-six room, century-old building surrounded by dense forest. Woodmoor Manor.

But unfortunately, the mansion has more problems than a little peeling wallpaper. Locals claim the surrounding woods are inhabited by mutated creatures with glowing eyes. And some say campers routinely disappear in the woods, never to be seen again.

As terrifying as it sounds, Ginny can’t shake the feeling that there’s something darker . . . another story she hasn’t been told. When the creaky floors and shadowy corners of the mansion seem to take on a life of their own, Ginny uncovers the wildest mystery of all: There’s more than one legend roaming Saugatuck, Michigan, and they definitely aren’t after campers.

Amazon: What Lives in The Woods

The Smashed Man of Dread End by [J.W. Ocker]

Summary

Noe Wiley couldn’t be more excited to move. After the slumber party sleepwalking incident of last year, she’s ready to make some new friends.

But Noe didn’t expect the sullen, strange girls who live on her new street. And she certainly didn’t expect the strange warning they give her—to stay out of her basement, no matter what.

Noe’s not going to let these girls boss her around. She’ll go in her own basement whenever she wants.

So she does. And there he is.

And now there’s no going back.

Amazon: The Smashed Man of Dread End

The Brave by [James Bird]

Summary

Collin can’t help himself—he has a unique disability that finds him counting every letter spoken to him. It’s a quirk that makes him a prime target for bullies, and a continual frustration to the adults around him, including his father.

When Collin asked to leave yet another school, his dad decides to send him to live in Minnesota with the mother he’s never met. She is Ojibwe, and lives on a reservation. Collin arrives in Duluth with his loyal dog, Seven, and quickly finds his mom and his new home to be warm, welcoming, and accepting of his condition.

Collin’s quirk is matched by that of his neighbor, Orenda, a girl who lives mostly in her treehouse and believes she is turning into a butterfly. With Orenda’s help, Collin works hard to overcome his challenges. His real test comes when he must step up for his new friend and trust his new family.

Amazon: The Brave

So that’s what I’ve been reading, reviews should be up soon, now that I’m not so worried I can’t even look at the screen. I look forward to having fun with my reading challenges and getting back to things I enjoy.

Posted in new releases

Culture-Finding your way

Whether it’s in your own home at or at school these books deal with finding your own way when dealing with a majority culture or trying to understand a minority culture. These books are about mixing of cultures.

Eleven-year-old Danny’s life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother comes to live with his family in England. Things get worse when Danny finds out he’ll have to share his room with her, and she took the top bunk! At first, Danny is frustrated that he can’t communicate with her because she doesn’t speak English—and because he’s on the verge of failing math and Nai Nai was actually a math champion back in the day. It just feels like he and his grandmother have nothing in common. His parents insist that Danny help out, so when he’s left to look after Nai Nai, he leaves her at the bingo hall for the day to get her off his back. But he soon discovers that not everyone there is as welcoming as he expected . . . Through the universal languages of math and art, Danny realizes he has more in common with his Nai Nai than he first thought. Filled with heart and humor, Danny Chung Sums It Up shows that traversing two cultures is possible and worth the effort, even if it’s not always easy.

Amazon: Danny Chung Sums It Up

Partly Cloudy by [Tanita S. Davis]

Lightning couldn’t strike twice, could it? After a terrible year, Madalyn needs clear skies desperately. Moving in with her great-uncle, Papa Lobo, and switching to a new school is just the first step.

It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, though. Madalyn discovers she’s the only Black girl in her class, and while most of her classmates are friendly, assumptions lead to some serious storms.

Papa Lobo’s long-running feud with neighbor Mrs. Baylor brings wild weather of its own, and Madalyn wonders just how far things will go. But when fire threatens the community, Madalyn discovers that truly being neighborly means more than just staying on your side of the street— it means weathering tough conversations—and finding that together a family can pull through anything.

Award-winning author Tanita S. Davis shows us that life isn’t always clear, and that partly cloudy days still contain a bit of blue worth celebrating.

Amazon: Partly Cloudy

Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero by [Saadia Faruqi]

Yusuf Azeem has spent all his life in the small town of Frey, Texas—and nearly that long waiting for the chance to participate in the regional robotics competition, which he just knows he can win.

Only, this year is going to be more difficult than he thought. Because this year is the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, an anniversary that has everyone in his Muslim community on edge.

With “Never Forget” banners everywhere and a hostile group of townspeople protesting the new mosque, Yusuf realizes that the country’s anger from two decades ago hasn’t gone away. Can he hold onto his joy—and his friendships—in the face of heartache and prejudice from the culture around him ?

Amazon: Yusef Azeem is not a Hero

Posted in Orillium Readathon, Weekly Wrap-ups

Reading A Lot this Week-All of the Books

I’ve found myself just reading more daily with my two readathons, I rolled, Humans, New and Cute for my Bookaplaton rolls so I’m read and am reading Ghost Girl, The Smashed Man of Dread End and Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating. For Magical Readathon I’m working on Fellowship of the Ring on the principle of getting the toughest book out of the way first, if other books come up the match my Bookaplaton prompts that are also on my Magical Readathon List I’m going to double up and try and maximize my reading as best I can.

What have I been doing when I haven’t been reading. I’ve been trying to post as you can see I’ve put up either reading or writing stuff every day. I’m also going to try and go back and do the reviews for the books I’ve been reading, for example all the stuff in August but that I’ve gotten behind on. I also plan to get back to posting new releases every Monday when there is enough content and all the other things I was doing for the blog before I kind of blinked out and took a bit of a hiatus due to my health.

I’m also using the blog as a bit of a distraction, I have a disability hearing on the 15th and that decides whether or not I’m considered disabled and can get the money to move out on my own, it’s causing me major stress so I’m just throwing myself into things I can control, like reading books. Or posting on the blog, maybe I’ll feel better after my hearing but they still have a month to tell me how I did so I think the blog might be a bit of a distraction for awhile.

I’m not sure I can focus due to stress levels but I also want to get back to writing, even if it’s just a little. I miss telling stories, and you only get better by telling the bad drafts first.

There is one good thing other good thing, it is starting to feel like fall here! One it took long enough, and two, that makes September the best month, and three that means it’s spoopy season! Lets be real though, it’s been spoopy season here since mid-July.

Posted in Challenges, Orillium Readathon, Reviews

Ghost Girl Review-A New Spooky Book

So my readathons have been going well, I’m trying to combine them as much I can, for example, I got Humans as my prompt on Day 1 of Bookoplaton, and Humans were the main characters in Ghost Girl but the book also fulfilled my prompt for Ruin of Skye where I needed a book with supernatural characters. Anyway, I’m doing great with all the extra reading so far and can’t wait to start my next book.

Ghost Girl by [Ally Malinenko]

Summary

Zee Puckett loves ghost stories. She just never expected to be living one.

It all starts with a dark and stormy night. When the skies clear, everything is different. People are missing. There’s a creepy new principal who seems to know everyone’s darkest dreams. And Zee is seeing frightening things: large, scary dogs that talk and maybe even . . . a ghost.

When she tells her classmates, only her best friend Elijah believes her. Worse, mean girl Nellie gives Zee a cruel nickname: Ghost Girl.

But whatever the storm washed up isn’t going away. Everyone’s most selfish wishes start coming true in creepy ways.

To fight for what’s right, Zee will have to embrace what makes her different and what makes her Ghost Girl. And all three of them—Zee, Elijah, and Nellie—will have to work together if they want to give their ghost story a happy ending.

Review

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while and I wasn’t disappointed, Zee was a great protagonist. I knew I liked her from the moment she was up in the middle of the thunderstorm. She’s a great role model for every girl who has been cast out for not liking girly things or shunned for their interest in the macabre. The way the three main characters must face their fears at the end is a scary scenario even for adults.

And the villain is a unique blend of demon, ghost, and unknown creepy being. He’s especially creepy because you don’t know exactly what he is, and what his powers are, or how far they reach. The book is well-paced with many scary moments throughout that keep the reader interested and the plot going. Also, I really love the ending, I’d totally read another spooky book from the author.

Amazon: Ghost Girl

Posted in Challenges, Feature, Updates

Novel Notes-Microwriting Challenges

So I’m trying to get back into writing my novel. So what I’m doing is some micro writing challenges here.

SpilltheVillianousTea

1LineWeds: Introduce Your Antagonist

Villian 1: It was time to finally see she didn’t silence everything around her. That had been a joke, a trick, a distraction. L could finally see now what she really was someone who could morph into anything and everything and she’d fooled her right up until it was too late.

Villian 2: She burned the brightest L had every seen she would have shielded her eyes or looked on in awe, that is if her burning hand currently didn’t have her by the throat.

ThursdayAesthetics

Villian 1: She loved climbing the walls of palace being above everyone just gave her a better view the view she’d have when that country girl was finally won over when this backwater was lost and won, when she was finally Queen.

Villian 2: She wasn’t like her sister she didn’t fear the water because she knew without a doubt it couldn’t hurt her she stood on the beach and shot her fire into the water steam opening a path for her. She stopped the shot her fire at the sand hitting it with more and more intensity until it turned to glass. She didn’t care what her mother said, they didn’t need peace with waring tribe, they had all the powers they needed, and she would show the little lightning witch she’d never threaten her people again.

#WriterFriendsChallenge

1. I’m a middle grade to YA fantasy writer not sure where I fit at the moment. I like writing about neurodiverse, witchy and LGBTQIA characters, oh and dragons and magic, and sometimes ghosts and mental health.

2. Put 10,000 words on my main project and 5,000 on my side project

#TheMoonStardustandSkyChallenge

  1. I’m a middle grade and young adult fantasy novel writer who likes to write about fantasy and the spooky witchy stuff.
  2. On my main series two book novel that could each be read as stand alones but work better together. On my side series a standalone.

#Seatember2021

L watched the ocean for a long moment every fiber of her soul wanting to dive back under those waves and choke the people who were responsible for what happened to her family. But as she watched the reds in the sunrise, she realized the world was on fire and it wasn’t just about her anymore. She dug her toes into the sand one last time, a promise she would return and face her demons before she turned away from sunrise when she stepped back into the jet and A asked where they were going she replied simply. “Back to the capital, we need to fix this.”

Posted in Challenges, Discussion, Feature, Monthly Reads, Orillium Readathon

First Day of September Reads

So I’m going to update what I’m reading every day since I get a new roll on Bookaplaton every day so today on Bookaplaton I got the prompt of a book with humans so I’m reading Ghost Girl which I bought yesterday because it was just too good not to read ASAP. I’m also reading Fellowship of the Ring for Magical Readathon’s first prompt. In addition to this I’m reading Goddess in the Machine because I just started it and am enjoying it.

The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings by [J.R.R. Tolkien]

Amazon: Fellowship of the Rings

Ghost Girl by [Ally Malinenko]

Amazon: Ghost Girl

Goddess in the Machine by [Lora Beth Johnson]

Amazon: Goddess in the Machine