Reviews on Children's and MG books (with a dash of YA!)
I'm a reader and reviewer. I focus mostly on children's books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. My favorite genre to read is fantasy. I'm also especially interested in how disability is portrayed within said media.
So I’ve been absent. I’ve been dealing with some trauma plus a case of seasonal affective disorder, aka a summer slump. Finally, my hand is recovering from hitting it while skating. I’ll try to be better, I’m doing several read-alongs and while I won’t get all the books done, I’ve gotten a lot of the long ones out of the way on my TBR. The latest one I finished was Sorcery of Thorns.
Sorcery of Thorns is focused on the Great Libraries and specifically Elisabeth, she’s lived her whole life in the great library at Summershall. She’s grown up with the knowledge that all sorcerers are evil. This knowledge is about to be flipped on its head when everything she’s known is suddenly wrong. She’s facing down monsters and the ones she thought knew everything are now dead. But she’s not only facing down monsters, but she’s also winning?!
Clearly, something is amiss and the Great Libraries send Magister Nathaniel Thorn to check on it. He is of course a sorcerer. But soon he and his demon servant seem to be the only people Elisabeth is able to trust. As the three of them learn of a larger conspiracy will they have the power to bring this evil that is older than they imagined down or can nothing including sorcery and smarts stop this ancient evil?
Review of Sorcery of Thorns
This was a great book it was wonderful to go on an adventure with Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas, not to mention the great libraries there were some triggering scenes for potential assault towards women at several points but the girl always got the upper hand it was just threatened, and the perpetrators were in most cases killed or maimed.
Elisabeth is a great protagonist she’s got spunk and keeps Nathaniel and Silas both on their toes throughout the book.
My one issue is that ending man this book needs a sequel. Oh and Silas, fave character ever.
In my enthusiasm to get to skating I forgot that muscle memory was a thing and end up falling way more than I should so I’m going to be training for not on the rink this summer while my skating friend is across the country doing non-profit work. I’m retraining my leg to do some work it doesn’t to do lots of streches maybe Switch sports, yoga, running. Yeah, lots of reading too but no fun for me. Last time I fell I also bruised my major writing wrist, so I will be off again for awhile. Only a few days though till it patches itself up though. Ugh bones why you be so annoying.
So I’m going to address the rest of my TBR’s this week. Starting with the most complex, Desert a Thon. In Desert a thon you have to roll for your reads. Here is my TBR I’m on Team Camel by the way, which is run by the wonderful Femke who is over at the Youtube Channel Bookish Buddies. Go and give her a visit along with Esmay her teammate on the channel who is also running one of the other teams on the readathon.
So here we have my Dessert a Thon TBR. I rolled with A D20, since I know some of these a chonks and I may struggle to read them in a month.
The process goes as such you go around the board rolling a die to get around this board.
If you land on your color you get two points if you choose to read the prompt of that color, you get one point if you choose any other prompt there are also wildcard spaces which you are allowed one.
There are twenty choice cards going by what you rolled from a d6 to a d20. I managed to match my color no times which was just lovely I did match the color with reading all the books of the color that I landed on.
Book 1-The Ice House
This book has to Involve a storm. For this book I chose the The Ice House, I found this one while I was on my trip. It’s about a global freeze. The focus is two friends trying to spend time with each other, definite pandemic feels.
Book 2-All for One
The prompt for this was a retelling. I could have gone with any of the common retellings but the one that I’m currently interested in is more unusual so I went with went with the new gender flipped chronic illness Three Musketeers retelling All For One.
Book 3- Cold The Night, Fast the Wolves
This was my wildcard pick so I chose one I needed read but haven’t had time. I got for a retelling that was doing Polar Fantasy. But I end up liking the idea from the book a lot, so it ended up on my TBR, so that’s why it’s my wildcard pick. Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves.
Book 4-Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls
This book had to be a fantasy and I wanted to get into magical realism and and my desert pick for the readathon. So I chose Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls plus it has been on has my TBR forever and I plan to get it finally read.
So these are my picks for Desert a Thon, a few a showing up in my other readathons because they are chonks and I’m cross listing, because my reading count is already looking like it’s going to crush me. But I need to get back on track for my yearly read goal so lots of books this month it is!
So you saw my picks for Seamstress yesterday, now I’m doing my second calling or my companion’s calling whichever works better for the readathon. This time I’m going for Bard which I think I would personally be in a Medieval setting just because the love of books.
The first line of this book just has you imagine the floor of the Scrabble tournament when our murdered heroine. This story about words fits perfectly for the Bard storyline.
CATALYST 13 points noun: a substance that speeds up a reaction without itself changing
When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend’s death, it’s with the intention to heal and move on with her life. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to choose the very same competition where said best friend, Trina Low, died. It might be even though Najwa’s trying to change, she’s not ready to give up Trina just yet.
But the same can’t be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All’s fair in love and Scrabble, but all bets are off when Trina’s formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe Trina’s death wasn’t as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.
As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.
Level 2-Book with a travel element
The Genesis Wars
This is a story about the afterlife that almost killed me. I’ve been waiting for this book since the last one left me hanging oh 8 or 9 months ago. I’ve been waiting months for this title of royalty, betrayal and one girl on a journey to bring it all down. I think this fit for the Bard storyline because Nami is one girl fighting to tell her story.
It’s been ten months since Nami narrowly escaped the Four Courts and Ophelia’s wrath. Ten months since she was betrayed by someone she once considered a friend. Someone she poured her heart out to. And now her family here in the afterlife are gone, captured, and Nami is utterly alone.
On the run, only steps ahead of the AI forces pursuing her, and desperate to free her friends, Nami must take the allies she can find, even if she doesn’t fully trust them. And as she tests the limits of her own power, she must also reckon with the responsibility that entails.
Stakes are high as Nami navigates old enemies, unexpected allies, and an ever-changing landscape filled with dangers and twists at every turn. Along the way, she’ll learn powerful truths about who she can trust and the sacrifices that must be made in order to fight for a better, freer world for all
Thirteen-year-old Ellen Katz feels most comfortable when her life is well planned out and people fit neatly into her predefined categories. She attends temple with Abba and Mom every Friday and Saturday.
Ellen only gets crushes on girls, never boys, and she knows she can always rely on her best-and-only friend, Laurel, to help navigate social situations at their private Georgia middle school. Laurel has always made
Ellen feel like being autistic is no big deal. But lately, Laurel has started making more friends, and cancelling more weekend plans with Ellen than she keeps.
A school trip to Barcelona seems like the perfect place for Ellen to get their friendship back on track. Except it doesn’t.
Toss in a new nonbinary classmate whose identity has Ellen questioning her very binary way of seeing the world, homesickness, a scavenger hunt-style team project that takes the students through Barcelona to learn about Spanish culture and this trip is anything but what Ellen planned.
Making new friends and letting go of old ones is never easy, but Ellen might just find a comfortable new place for herself if she can learn to embrace the fact that life doesn’t always stick to a planned itinerary.
Level 4-Book Over 400 Pages
Sorcery of Thorns
This book felt perfect for the Bard calling because it has to do with books and libraries I feel like that is something a bard would encounter during the course of their career.
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire, and Elisabeth is implicated in the crime. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
Had to have a comic in here. I love the collaboration of multiple authors in comics so I had to have a comic on my list.
After defeating a former Zodiac Member and her mean-girl minions, the girls thought they’d catch a break! But once a mean magical girl, always a mean magical girl and Libra’s former best friend wants that power back! Determined to bring the goddess Cimmeria into our dimension, her coven opens a portal to the dark dimension Nephos, only they don’t get what they bargained for. A new big-bad has come out to play and demons begin to overrun the town! Zodiac Starforce discovers they aren’t the only Zodiac team in the game and together they form a tenuous alliance to find out who’s behind the demon infestation.
So I’m going to go back though and show how I did on the April Readathons over the next few days. But right now I wanted to put my May TBR Readathons up. I’m going to be participating in a few readathons. The first one is Medieval A Thon. In this readathon you start at a low level in society and then raise your status by reading books. You can get to the top by reading 10.
Each calling though only requires four books so I think I might be doing two callings or a calling with a companion. Medieval a Thon requires you to pick a calling then read books for that callings prompts.
For my first Calling I’m going to be a Seamstress
Level 1: Squire-A book you’re unsure about
I’m not sure where or not I’ll like this since it mostly focuses on one girl’s training in the military but I’ve looked at the pictures from the comic and they are beautiful and it also deals with race relations in fantasy so I’m giving it a chance.
I’ve been wanting to read this for awhile but I haven’t had time due to different readathons. But this fits the prompt plus then I can read the second book which looks super cool as well. Also I believe this cover fits this whole general feel of Seamstress which is working on beauty.
I can’t tell from just the kindle copy if it’s embossed but it is very shiny and so I hope it fit the challenge, I’ll continue to look around and if I find one shinier I might switch it in, but until then this has gold print and lots of golden light so I think it fits the shininess of the challenge.
At this point no one should be surprised the last book I borrowed was a book about pre-teen witches. I love the cover on this one keeping with the pretty covers for all of these books. The concept is also really cool and and I really can’t wait to read some more witchy fiction.
Though Tooley’s cover’s are simple they are always lovely to me. Her last book remains on of my favorites and I can’t wait to dive into this one. Because I’m sure the text is as beautiful as the cover.
So April felt long and short at the same time, I did lots of really cool things during the month like going on a trip out of town. And going skating for the first time since my broken ankle. I also went to a ton of independent bookstores and got to see a traveling Broadway production. I was really pleased with how the month went, but I did let some things slide particularly my reviews and the blog which I hope to do better in May.
1) Post Every on the Blog Day
I want to get back to posting ever day. Also just being with the back in touch with the with blogging community consistently. I would really want to work on vlogging but that may have to wait until I redesign my room or posting in an unconventional place like my living room and wait until my bookcases are up to have a traditional vlogging space.
2) Do more Readathons
I have really had success with readathons this month, so I’d like to do more in May, I’m already doing RoyalReadathon, and I’m looking at Desert A Thon as well. I might also do short ones to get back up to my yearly goals.
3) Read enough books in May to get back up to my goal for the year.
According to Storygraph I’m about 10 books behind where I should be so I’m going to try to read ahead a little bit to get back on track. I think I can add about at least 5 or 10 extra books to what I’m already reading.
I bought Shielded for the cover because I was doing a challenge with that needed a blue cover but I’m glad I picked it up. It was a great action-adventure, military fantasy.
The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.
As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.
Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.
I really enjoyed this book for several reasons one was a smart female protagonist, sure she has a couple of encounters where she survives on luck, but she’s been trained as a fighter and uses that training to help herself and others when needed. Jenna is also eager to Turian ways once she arrives, something that helps her throughout the novel. I will admit I can appreciate how much time she spends in the library trying to solve the problem.
Her betrothed is also no slouch he’s not some wooden cut out character, and he trains, unknowingly with Jenna and tries to help her solve the problem of the mages that Jenna is spending so much time in the library with. What’s more he trusts Jenna with protecting his sisters, which turns out to be very important, and ends up figuring out just who Jenna is before she reveals it.
Their romance isn’t overly mushy which I respect in a novel, they both consider duty before their love for each other and eventually they come to a sweet conclusion. I can’t wait to read the sequel.
Hi guys I really have no good excuse for missing so much of April, I’ve been doing readathons including my own which I should have reported on. My absence is entirely my own fault. I got a chance go on a trip out of town and I haven’t left town since COVID. So I leaned into that and didn’t keep up with my posts.
I can say I haven’t read very much in April. So that’s one thing. I’ve been video gaming and mobile gaming a lot (thanks Horizon Zero Dawn and Pokemon Go) I’m trying to get my life back into some sense of control left by a depressive/psychotic episode I had before the pandemic and I broke my leg, ie, my room is an epic mess and I want to put up bookshelves. Anyway I promise to try to post for the end of April, and be around more for May. I just got overwhelmed and other things in my life took priority. I guess this happens from time to time when you blog long term anyway forgive the absence. I’ll try not to let it happen again. I’ve got plenty of ideas for posts ready and waiting.
I can’t wait to get back to my Zodiac series and go more into Tarot, which I hope you guys enjoy, I’m going to set up a Discord for the blog so you can share your thoughts with me and each other. I’ve really enjoyed being on Discord these past few weeks so I thought the blog could use one.
Again let me know what you think in the comments, oh and I’ve also started roller skating, if you can call it that, practicing is a better term, and have gotten new glasses which will needed to be added to some of my artwork.
But that’s my month of changes, tell me what you think or need on Twitter or in the comments.
So for my one of the tropes I love is disabled badasses. This book has one of my favorite in awhile. Air is a great piece of fiction about a girl in the country with big dreams of WCMX in a wheelchair.
Twelve-year-old Emmie is working to raise money for a tricked-out wheelchair to get serious about WCMX, when a mishap on a poorly designed ramp at school throws her plans into a tailspin. Instead of replacing the ramp, her school provides her with a kind but unwelcome aide—and, seeing a golden media opportunity, launches a public fundraiser for her new wheels. Emmie loves her close-knit rural town, but she can’t shake the feeling that her goals—and her choices—suddenly aren’t hers anymore. With the help of her best friends, Emmie makes a plan to get her dreams off the ground—and show her community what she wants, what she has to give, and how ready she is to do it on her own terms.
This book had me up in the air emotionally at several point especially with the relationship between Emmie and her father. They are both suffering from the loss of her mother to a drunk driver and her father is holding her too close, or so Emmie believes. But she actually has a surprise in store. Another favorite moment of mine is when Emmie receives the check at the show, and how she shows the town exactly what she can do.
Also the sweet middle grade romance between her and a local horse farmer’s son, add to the cute factor. This novel deals with a little bit of everything, from grief, to freedom, to responsibility. It was an A+ with me and a great read for anyone who is feeling like people are pinning them in because of their disability.
Sorry to have left you guys for so long, first I was sick, then I was sick on antibiotics. Then the opportunity to take bookish trip and go see a Broadway show came up. So good news is I came back with tons of great books and comics. I will try to get IG pictures of all of them. So my friend and I were in Greenville, which has a like 5 independent book stores and tons of comic book shops. To compare my town has no independent book stores and only a few comic shops.
I definitely loved all the bookstores and plan to write reviews about all of them but what stuck out was the staff of some of the book stores and comics shops. I plan to write up my own reviews on these standout people.
Here are some pictures from my trip.
And finally my lunch
I’d like to give particular shoutouts to Fiction Addiction, which had The Last Mapmaker, a book I’ve been looking for literally forever. Mr. K’s Used Books for their great selection of teen and middle grade books at a great price. I may be repeating myself but M. Judson was just the ultimate experience I will be coming back for sure to visit there next time I’m in Greenville. I also loved my experience at the comics shop Borderlands Comics and Games.
Also a shoutout to Cornerstone Minerals for my lovely new ring. The Trading Post at the Broadway Show for all my new jewelry and this blanket that I’m now a huge fan of and also my prop of Elsa’s coronation orb.
Overall what I’m trying to say is I had a fantastic time. Thank you everyone for hanging with the blog through my break, we will now be going back to posts every day. This trip and getting new books has really re-energized me about working on the blog.