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.
I’ve been looking for book challenge for October but haven’t found many I like, you would think spoopy challenges would abound in one of the book worlds favorite months. And while you’re right I just haven’t found ones that I like, maybe I’m burned out from past challenges. But now I’ve finally found something to do for Halloween, as well as another challenge I’ll announce soon.
1. Trick or Treat!
Our first interactive prompt! We want you to toss a coin for this one; (pumpkin) heads means it’s time to pick up a book that has recently joined your lair, whereas (forked) tails means you have to dig up the unread book that’s been haunting your shelves the longest.
2. Read a book with white on the cover!
Nothing fills me with dread more than a white cover, as someone who tries to keep their books nice and clean. But we were also thinking of ghosts and ghouls, bare bones and the cool quiet moon on a cloudless night. Pick a book with a white cover, spooky or not, to fill this prompt.
3. Read two books!
Three days, two books, one weekend!
Keep an eye out for updates by following the @Hallowreadathon twitter, and heads over to Imogen’s blog for her announcement too. Most of all, remember to keep some reading time free on the Halloween weekend 29th – 31st . I really hope you can join us this year – let me know if you post a TBR, I’d love to see it!
This seems like an easy Halloween challenge to fill the prompts, other challenges seem more complex. And I might try a few of those but I wanted something I could complete and get me out of my reading slump. I want to enjoy some spooky books without too much pressure on me this part of the year. So I’ll be doing this challenge and let you know if I find any others that I think I’ll enjoy. I’ll put up a TBR for this challenge soon!
Hide and Don’t Seek was a great spooky anthology book, some stories were spookier than others but they were all pretty scary for the age group. I enjoyed reading this book back in September when it came out, I think I may have read all the spooky books too early because now not many are coming out in October.
Hide and Don’t Seek: And Other Very Scary Stories
A contemporary collection of original short stories by Anica Mrose Rissi that is sure to elicit chills, laughs, and screams, even from the most devoted fans of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark!
A game of hide-and-seek goes on far too long…
A look-alike doll makes itself right at home…
A school talent-show act leaves the audience aghast…
And a summer at camp takes a turn for the braaaains…
This collection of all-new spooky stories is sure to keep readers up past their bedtimes, looking over their shoulders to see what goes bump in the night.
As I said before I think these were pretty scary stories for the age group for which they were directed (8-12). It was compared to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I’d agree with that comparison but I’d also compare it to Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces Quartet. They definitely aren’t slasherly just psychological horror. Which may be good depending on what you’re looking for.
I had a couple favorites the school talent show one was very good. And the Hide and Seek one were both good. Anyway if you are looking for some short reads for and a good anthology. Check out Hide and Seek and Other Very Scary Stories. It’s definitely worth your time and a good read for the season
I’m sorry I haven’t checked in regularly. I’ve been enjoying the cooler weather and trying to relax and enjoy fall. Because honestly my mind has been focused on the details of my disability claim. I found out I’m fully disabled in my state. Yay! Then have heard no details about what that means. Boo!
I know I’m getting some amount of money, maybe enough to buy a house which I’m really excited about. A place for my books and I can finally have my Instagram library. Hopefully the meeting I have this coming Monday will give me the details of the money I’m getting and let me know when I’m getting Medicaid, because my medical costs are a big issue for my family and if they were covered that would be a great burden off my parents.
Along with it getting cooler, I don’t think I really went in to detail of how my birthday went. I had a very good birthday on September 28th. I got the disability claim around then. A few of the things I got were a cape, for my D&D campaign which is going to start back up in November.
Several books, and most shockingly a PS5, I couldn’t believe it myself, but PlayStation kept sending me emails about purchasing one, and I had some money. So I manage to scrap through the line and get the digital addition. Right now I’ve got Scarlet Nexus, which I’m super bad at, so I’m going to have to look up tutorials to get through the tutorial, but it’s a cooler game than I was expecting and visually lovely because it’s a PS5 game. I also have Horizon Zero Dawn, which I’m playing in order to get ready for the sequel coming out in February. And DragonAge 3 because I love DragonAge.
I will say to check the PlayStation Store Tuesday or Wednesday around 5 if you’re looking to get one. That’s the only other time I seemed to have any luck.
I live in a subtropical climate and it’s finally starting to feel like fall. I can actually light my candle and sit under my cozy blankets and not burn up. And the candles aren’t to keep the mosquitos away finally.
First up: Light a Scented Candle – A Book That’s Lighthearted
Kristy and the Snobs, the newest in the Babysitters Club graphic novels was the one that came to mind for this. I’m also watching the second series of BSC which I’m told has inspired tears so maybe I’m wrong about the lighthearted bit.
Drink Pumpkin Spiced Lattes – A Book That Has a Lot of Hype
Room to Dream by Kelly Yang, she’s had a lot of hype lately for all the wrong reasons when people should just be focused on her wonderful stories. I’m loving Room to Dream especially since it addresses some of the problems we are dealing with these days.
Go Apple Picking – A Book That Has Fun Friendships
I just finished This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada trilogy and when the characters aren’t running for their life trying to escape governments rebels or a zombie virus their friendships are really the heart of the book and what gets them through all the other wild adventures they end up being placed in.
What Lives in the Woods by Ally Malineko, it’s a terrifying ghost story for most of the book which gives you some insight to how I read. But the ending is just so sweet it has to fall into this category.
Bake Cinnamon Rolls – A Character Who’s a Talented Chef
A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Lauren Shovan. The two characters were in a cooking class where they had to make so cross cultural and yummy dishes. I’m still wishing I could pick up a pint of the ice cream they make at the end.
Jump Into a Pile of Leaves – A Book That Made You Jump For Joy
Starfish by Lisa Fipps because it’s one of the few, if not the only book focused on fat positivity that I’ve read. I literally want to buy it for school libraries, it’s going to be in the top ten of the year. I just wish I’d had books like this as a young fat person. Because the writer writes about how the protagonist can be fat and happy.
Happy Indigenous People’s Day! This holiday has replaced the horror that was Columbus Day and is now instead used to celebrate native peoples that have been irreparably harmed by colonization.
Cynthia Leitich Smith
One of my favorite books this year has been Ancestor Approved. It it a wonderful anthology from many Native writers collected by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Smith is important in her own right, she is the 2021 NSK Neustadt Laureate and a New York Times bestselling author of books for young readers, including HEARTS UNBROKEN, which won the American Indian Library Association’s Youth Literature Award. Her 2021 releases are the middle grade anthology ANCESTOR APPROVED: INTERTRIBAL STORIES FOR KIDS and novel SISTERS OF THE NEVERSEA.
She is also the author-curator of Heartdrum, a Native-focused imprint at HarperCollins Children’s Books, and serves as the Katherine Paterson Inaugural Endowed Chair on the faculty of the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Cynthia is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation and lives in Austin, Texas.
Native families from Nations across the continent gather 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. This book and the stories within filled me with a range of emotions I was happy, sad, amused, and very hungry as we don’t have any of the food described in my town. This book as important as it draws from a variety of points of view and really brings you into the Powwow. It’s just a sense of joy coming from the book and makes me happy to read.
One of my other favorite native authors is Christine Day she’s written a few books but the one that really spoke to me this year after having an injury was The Sea in Winter. Christine Day (Upper Skagit) grew up in Seattle, nestled between the sea, the mountains, and the pages of her favorite books. Her debut novel, I Can Make This Promise, was a best book of the year from Kirkus, School Library Journal, NPR, and the Chicago Public Library, as well as a Charlotte Huck Award Honor Book, and an American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor Book. Her second novel, The Sea in Winter, was an Indie Kids’ Next List selection, a Junior Library Guild selection, and the recipient of three starred reviews. She also wrote the forthcoming She Persisted: Maria Tallchief, an early reader biography in a new series inspired by Chelsea Clinton’s bestselling picture book. Christine lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.
The Sea in Winter
It’s been a hard year for Maisie Cannon, ever since she hurt her leg and could not keep up with her ballet training and auditions.
Her blended family is loving and supportive, but Maisie knows that they just can’t understand how hopeless she feels. With everything she’s dealing with, Maisie is not excited for their family midwinter road trip along the coast, near the Makah community where her mother grew up.
But soon, Maisie’s anxieties and dark moods start to hurt as much as the pain in her knee. How can she keep pretending to be strong when on the inside she feels as roiling and cold as the ocean?
This is a Heartdrum publication and while it’s not an out right happy book it has it’s sweet moments and deals with the important subjects of how tough it is to recover from injury and give up something you love and what you can find in the interim that might be worth more than you were expecting.
This was a read from last year when I did IndigAThon which I plan to do again.
Celina Kalluk was born and raised in Resolute Bay, Nunavut, to Zipporah Kalluk and Leonard Thibodeau. Celina has two brothers and five sisters, one sister-niece, and many more beautiful nieces and nephews. She also has four daughters of her own, Jazlin, Aulaja, Saima, and Ramata. She dedicates her book The Sweetest Kulu to all the mothers and fathers of this earth and to our wonderful children. Celina is also a visual artist and has illustrated several book covers and other literacy materials. Currently, she is the Inuktitut Language Specialist and Cultural Arts teacher for grades seven through twelve at Qarmartalik School in Resolute Bay. Sweetest Kulu is her first book for children.
“Dream a little, Kulu, this world now sings a most beautiful song of you.”
This beautiful bedtime poem, written by acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts given to a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic.
Lyrically and tenderly told by a mother speaking to her own little Kulu; an Inuktitut term of endearment often bestowed upon babies and young children, this visually stunning book is infused with the traditional Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants
This is just a happy book, the author brought the animals of the artic alive for the reader. And after hearing her sing you can just imagine the book sung, it’s a beautiful piece of work and I hope to see more from her.
While these are wonderful authors and I’m happy to have read them. Don’t forget the tons of native, indigenous, or whatever they prefer to be call in your own community and around the world. Don’t let this time of the only time of the year you think or read about native people. As a quote on Instagram pointed out they are native other days of the year to and desperately need more attention from the middle grade and YA book world.
So a couple of days ago I just finished up my readathon for Orillium: The Novice Path. It was a very well designed readathon and I can’t wait for it’s continuation in the spring. I didn’t read all seven books for the path but I think I made a pretty good showing with 3 and one for characterization of my character. I really enjoyed the choices at each point which determined our house for next session.
Here is my character who went on the Novice Path.
So this is Ranela who is a dwarf from Darune. While I was only able to establish one thing about their character while on the novice path this time, I can’t wait for the next round to fully establish them. At the end of the Novice Path they were invited to join The Mind Walkers.
So here’s what I read:
Ashthorn Tree-A book that keeps tempting you.
I kept being tempted by a book about pandemics and this is a great one.
Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.
That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.
When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.
Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?
Ruin of the Skye-Read a book featuring ghosts or other supernatural elements.
The Ghost Girl is perfect for this prompt and I’ve also been meaning to read it forever.
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.
I would have read this book even if it weren’t for the Novice Path as it was such a great piece.
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.
I read this book for the Novice Path because my character build required a sci-fi book.
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?
October, one of my favorite months because there is a focus on all things spoopy and it feels like the start of the holiday season to me, I’m hoping to be more productive in October. Oh and hopefully read some good horror.
1) Try to get my reading up again.
I read 6 books last month, I read 13 the month before I’d like to get back in the over ten category. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to hit 100 for the year but I’d like to do more than I did last year which is 81. So I’ll try and get some solid reading done in October so I can get close to that goal.
2) Post twice a week.
October looks like it’s going to be busy so I’m not going to push myself to post as often as before. If I end up with more post per week I’m fine with that, but I’m not going to beat myself up about not posting everyday, especially with some of the stuff I’ve got going on in my life. Which I’ll talk about in my weekly wrapup tomorrow. The blog is a priority but it can’t be first priority in October.
3) Post more of my old reviews
I’ve been so focused on reading I’ve let a lot of reviews built up so that I have a backup of them. I want to fix that and get my opinions out there, especially since we all know a your mind can forgot the book after awhile.
4) Get metrics up on the website
This one I really don’t control, other than posting every day which I’m probably not going to do, but I want to see more traffic on the website so I’m going to try and follow other bloggers and get more followers as well.
I had some goals at the beginning of the month, and they were perhaps a little overambitious I’m going to post them here and tell you how I did.
1) Read 15 books in September
So I ended up reading 13 books in August which is a month record. This month was kind of a was because I ended up emotionally stunted about a disability hearing then caring for a family member. I still managed to read 5 books so I think despite the challenging circumstances I still did pretty good. I still might finish one book this week so that might put me up to six.
2) Post 3 times a week.
Yeah, that didn’t happen for the same reasons above I’d look at the blog screen and be emotionally blocked. But due to the importance of my disability hearing I had to give the blog a backseat for a few weeks, then someone in my family got hurt and I became a caregiver so another thing went ahead of the blog
3) Post reviews shortly after I finish the book
I’ve been doing better about this recently however I’ve got July and August reviews that I need to post because I was so busy reading and not taking time to post. I’m slowly working on that so you’ll see some older reviews coming up.
4) Get posts ready ahead of time.
Yeah, this just needs to be a goal in October. I’m able to do this for the short term, maybe for a week, but but I want to be able to be a month ahead on my posts, especially coming into my favorite seasons.
My goals include is posting more about my readathons while I’m taking part, that’s something I’m going to try to do in October. Be more present I suppose, I know I haven’t been as present to the blog this year and I think that’s my recovery from my leg but during my favorite season my goal it’s my one of my goals to and get back to engaging more.
Before I had to take care of my family member I was going to be on Turn the Pages tour for the upcoming book For All Time. I wasn’t able to make my commitment for the tour due to my caretaker duties, however I however still wanted to spotlight the book.
For All Time
Tamar is a musician, a warrior, a survivor. Fayard? He’s a pioneer, a hustler, a hopeless romantic.
Together, Tamar and Fayard have lived a thousand lives, seen the world build itself up from nothing only to tear itself down again in civil war. They’ve even watched humanity take to the stars. But in each life one thing remains the same: their love and their fight to be together. One love story after another. Their only concern is they never get to see how their story ends. Until now.
When they finally discover what it will take to break the cycle, will they be able to make the sacrifice?
The premise of this book is so interesting and I can’t wait to have time to dig into this book and see how the author portrays all the different time periods. I want to see if Miles goes backwards or forwards in history or both and if the same kind of thing separates the characters every time of if that’s also diverse as well. Finally I want to see and how Miles puts the spotlight the character’s personalities despite the that the characters themselves are changing through time.
Anyway like me when you have a free moment take your time to Read for All Time by Shanna Miles.
So I’ve been reading pretty seriously to try to catch up with my shortage earlier in the year. Thanks again broken ankle, we all love you, not. But I’ve been reserving no time to write up these book review meaning I have reviews going back to August. I’m going to try to remedy that by posting at least one backlog review a week. This book was a great one from Scholastic. I know Scholastic has been under fire lately but I trust the brand and will continue to support them here.
Not Your All-American Girl
Lauren and her best friend, Tara, have always done absolutely everything together. So when they don’t have any classes together in sixth grade, it’s disastrous. The solution? Trying out for the school play. Lauren, who loves to sing, wonders if maybe, just maybe, she will be the star instead of Tara this time.
But when the show is cast, Lauren lands in the ensemble, while Tara scores the lead role. Their teacher explains: Lauren just doesn’t look the part of the all-American girl. What audience would believe that she, half-Jewish, half-Chinese Lauren, was the everygirl star from Pleasant Valley, USA?
From amidst the ensemble, Lauren tries to support her best friend. But when she is not bring herself to sing anymore, her spot in the play and her friendship are in jeopardy. With the help of a button-making business, the music of Patsy Cline, and her two bickering grandmothers, can Lauren find her voice again?
This book makes great points about open casting, in this way it reminds of Chance to Fly. I especially loved a quote towards the end of the of the book where they are talking about how Alice in Wonderland is going to be their play next year and the teacher talks about how it’s always been done and Lauren says about the casting how about let them wonder. I love how Lauren found her voice through Patsy Cline and how she thought she was Jewish and I loved the interaction between her Chinese and Jewish grandmothers. The solution the cast found to play in the book was excellent.