Posted in Weekly Wrap-ups

Weekend Adventures: Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival

What weekend adventures was I up to? I was supposed to go to some Zooms for the organization I’m on the board for however because of the time change I missed them all. This week though I got to go out for the first time since Covid started so that was pretty cool. However, the thing I had the most fun doing and the thing that relates back to the site is the fact that I went to the Greater Rochester Teen, they had a variety of authors and great topics since it was only one day and you could only go to one topic each hour I’m going back and viewing some of the topics I missed I’m going to do posts about the panels on the blog throughout the week.

I just finished Season 4 of the Great Canadian Baking Show it was so sweet. My favorite for the winner won the show so I was happy about it. Now I’m enjoying the Kenyan Baking Show, for anyone who doesn’t know my love after books is baking. Though I can’t do any baking yet because of my foot. I’m going to try something simple this week. But I think I’ll have to sit partly while working on it.

This weekend I also realized I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump, I just picked up Margaret Stohl’s Black Widow Forever Red, and it’s the first thing I’ve just read in awhile, it reminds that on top of all my responsibilities I need to just make time for reading because I love it, and I can get caught up in all the extra, which I also love, but I let stress me out sometimes.

So for this week I’m going to focus more on reading

Having fun

Reading more

Here is a link to The Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival Website

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Posted in Reviews

An Adventure from the Autistic Readathon: The Place Inside the Storm

I started this adventure-based book for the Autistic Readathon. And I’ll be honest, I was skeptical about it. The challenge that this particular book met was to read independently published by an autistic author. Now I’ve been burned by now I had no qualms about autistic authors. It’s just I’ve had problems finding good content in independently published pieces. Luckily in this case I was wrong.

Summary:

The Place Inside the Storm by [Bradley W. Wright]

It’s 2038. Tara Rivers is socially awkward and would much rather spend time online or with cat, Xel, a sophisticated robot with artificial intelligence. Her family has recently moved away from her grandmother and the wild less corporately controlled world of Oregon. Tara now lives with her family in LA, a land that has a corporation ruling it TenCat. And while this new corporately controlled world has great benefits for her family, great jobs for her parents, better schools for her and her sister.

But the move hasn’t been great for Tara, she’s not great at social rules and hasn’t found any friends since the move. But no worries now TenCat is making her family an offer they can’t refuse. Literally. They soon inform Tara’s parent’s she’s autistic, to make sure she fits into the corporate culture they want to put an implant in to cure her.

Luckily for Tara she overhears and her adventure begins, to save herself and Xel she decides to run away back to the Pacific Northwest. Along the way, she meets friends and allies. Her mission along with saving herself becomes helping a boy named Loki.

But to help him for good she must go back into enemy territory.

But will all this risk be worth the trouble, will she finally find a place where she belongs or will she be an outcast forever?

Review

I really found all the autistic relatable, and I love the way the commune that the autistic people and their allies were set up it was also really just a great adventure story it was a very quick read and just a good independent read which really changed my mind on independent publishing

Photo by Leah Berman on Unsplash

Posted in Uncategorized

TBR: May Books

I’m not going to put all the books on my TBR because I’m going to leave some space for mood reading and new releases but here are a few of the book on my TBR this month.

1)Eva Evergreen, Semi Magical Witch

I’ve been meaning to finish this for months but somehow it always seems to get pushed to the bottom of the list. But for AAPI Pride Month I want to be sure I prioritize my reads by writers from those backgrounds.

Amazon: Eva Evergreen Semi Magical Witch

2)The Dragon Egg Princess

The Dragon Egg Princess by [Ellen Oh]

Another book I’ve half-finished since last year, maybe the year before but that I want to finish for AAPI month. This one has been on my TBR for a long time so I’d like to get this one finished if nothing else

Amazon: The Dragon Egg Princess

3) The Ones We’re Meant To Find

The Ones We're Meant to Find by [Joan He]

I recently won a copy of this from Ya’llWest so I’d like to read it. Plus it’s on my TBR for NetGalley so I’d love to improve my percentage as well. Also AAPI author Joan He.

Amazon: The Ones We’re Meant to Find

4) Rebelwing

Rebelwing by [Andrea Tang]

Someone recently recommended this to me and I realized I haven’t read any dragon books in a while so I wanted to pick this one up. Written by AAPI author Andrea Tang

Amazon: Rebelwing

5) The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family

The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family by [Sarah Kapit]

This is a book from the Autism readathon that I really wanted to finish because it not only showed different depictions of Autism it showed a preteen who spoke non-verbally who was given her own agency. That is very rare to see in books. Written by autistic author Sarah Kapit.

Amazon: The Many Mysteries of the Finkle Family

So which me luck on finishing this part as well as the rest of my TBR. You’ll get a review from me tomorrow but I’m not sure what time. Honestly, I’d love to get back to posting during the morning but my fatigue has made it so that evening work better now at the moment, anyway, you’ll see regular posting just not sure what time

See you all soon,

Solara

Posted in monthly goals

Keep Up as Summer Comes: May Goals

Allowing myself to keep a slow pace on healing was the theme of April. I’m doing much better now and even made it out to some stores today now that I have full immunity. I can’t wait to get out to book shop, once to gas shortage calms down. We’ve been in pretty hard lockdown since March 2019 so it’s nice to get out finally.

1)Try and keep posting ahead of time

Since I’ve gotten better from my injury I’ve found I had a whole lot to do to make up for my time down while I was recovering. Do you know there is this weird phenomena that when you have an injury you literally lose all your things. I couldn’t keep up with a game controller. Which was no where near I injured myself, several outfits and remotes.

2) Finishing up my books from previous months

I’ve still got a lot books from the Disability and Autistic Readathons. Some of the are really good and I want to get the reviews out, so I want to do that in May.

3) Celebrate AAPI authors this month!

I’ve already got several AAPI authors lined up to read this month including Joan He The One We’re Meant to Find to keep me current, The Dragon Egg Princess by Ellen Oh, and Andrea Tang’s Rebelwing. That’s just a few of the ones on the list,

4) Get back to 10 books a month.

I got close last month but healing keeps making tired, think the gif of the book keeps falling onto the person’s face because they’re asleep. That’s me, trying to get any reading in.

5) Look for Readathons for this month/next month

I know there are going to be a lot of Pride readathons in June so I’m going to probably one of those. But I’d love to try another Readathon, so if you know of any cool ones send them my way.

Posted in Weekly Wrap-ups, Wrapup

Weekly Update: New Month, Pokemon and Being Behind

I’ve had a pretty good week but a family emergency took me away from the blog this week. But I’ll be back this week as much as I can considering my health. I still need to get up my thoughts on the what I’m reading during this new month. my general TBR, wrapups of Readathons, lol. In other words I’m totally behind the curve.

However I did have some good points I had a little money so I really enjoyed buying two new games, I already knew I wanted Pokemon Snap! And it’s cute as all get out you should totally get it. Oh good lordy! Me trying to get perfect pictures is going to take up most of the summer.

And this month’s surprise favorite, Cozy Grove. If someone had pitched the concept to me I would have been like what? But I love my ghosts bears and and the scouting badges and the birds and I’ve been playing it non-stop trying to solve my ghostly mysteries.

Also when I entered contests for YallWest I didn’t expect to actually win anything. But in this case I won both the psychical and digital copies of Joan He’s The Ones We’re Meant to Find.

I’m also doing an AAPI Readathon for this month. I want to make these stories central this month, they won’t be all I read but they will be the center for this month in terms of representation. Especially with all that is going on I want to do my part to Fight AAIP Hate

I’ll come up with my TBR for that this week as well I’ve already got a few good candidates on the list.

I’m also going to keep my eye out for virtual book festivals because I love meeting authors and hearing the behind the scenes details. So if you know of any good ones throughout the summer please let me know.

Posted in new releases

Released this week, from contemporary to mythology to history.

Released this week were a variety of books to choose from depending on what your interest was, from contemporary to history, mythology with a twist. Presented here are just a few of the new books released this week starting with:

Bea Is for Blended

Bea is used to her and her mom being a two-person team. But with her mom getting married, their team is growing, by her mom new husband Wendell, his three boys and two dogs, and a cat.

But finding her place in her new blended family is tougher than she imagined, however, she’ll need a team behind when Bea finds out her school might not get the all-girls soccer team they’d been promised.

Bea soon learns that the bigger the team, the stronger the fight, and for the girls to get what the where promised, they are going to need a squad behind them

Author

Lindsey Stoddard has written other classics, Right as Rain and Brave like that she is also a former teacher who live with her family in Vermont and loves skiing and being on the beaches of Lake Champlain.

Amazon: Bea is for Blended

This book released May 4th 2021

Finding Junie Kim 

Junie Kim just wants to fit in, she’s not the type to draw attention to herself. But after racist graffiti appears at her middle school she must choose between staying silent and speaking out.

Then Junie’s history teacher assigns a project and Junie decides to interview her grandparents about their unbelievable experiences as children during the Korean War. Through hearing their stories Junie comes to admire her grandma’s fierce determination to overcome impossible odds and her grandpa’s unwavering compassion during wartime.

But as racism becomes more pervasive at her middle school. She must use the same skills her ancestors did as she finds the courage to do what is right.

Finding Junie Kim is a reminder that within all of us lies the power to overcome hardship and emerge triumphantly.

Author

Ellen Oh is the co-founder of We Need Diverse Books (WNDB), a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing diversity in children’s literature. Originally from New York City, Ellen lives in Potomac, Maryland, with her husband and three children and has yet to satisfy her quest for a decent bagel.

Finding Junie Kim released May 4th 2021.

The Best Worst Summer

In this tale told across time Peyton is sure this is going to be the worst summer ever. She’s lonely and bored. She had to leave her best friend behind when her family moved. There isn’t any excitement until she comes across a box buried in her backyard, with a message: I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. Things are about to get interesting.

Back in 1989, it’s going to be the best summer ever for Melissa and Jessica. They have two whole months to goof off and explore and they are going to even buy a time capsule! But when one girl’s family secret starts to unravel, it seems like things might not go exactly as planned.

Told in alternating chapters from Peyton in the present to Melissa in 1989, it’s a story of mystery and two sets of unforgetable characters.

The Best Worst Summer

Author

Elizabeth Eulberg is the author of novels for teens and young readers, including internationally best-selling YA novels The Lonely Hearts Club and Better Off Friends, and the acclaimed Great Shelby Holmes middle-grade series.

Her newest novel, The Best Worst Summer released on May 4, 2021. Elizabeth now lives in London, where she spends her free time going on long walks around her favorite city in the world and eating all of the scones. ALL OF THEM.

Last Gate of the Emperor

Last Gate of the Emperor by [Kwame Mbalia, Prince Joel Makonnen]

Yared Heywat’s life is isolated in Addis Prime. It’s a hardscrabble city with rundown tech lots of rules and not much to do. It doesn’t help that his uncle is a worrywart and bionic lioness Besa is on his tail. But they are still his only family his only friends.

Still, you can’t always stay out of trouble and his need for thrill-seeking and wisecracking sense of humor make Yared a star player on the underground augmented reality game The Hunt for Kaleb Obelisk.

But when rules change and Yared has to log in with his real name, it triggers an attack that rocks the city. In the chaos his Uncle Moti disappears. Suddenly all the stories Yared’s uncle told as boy are making sense and coming to life, about kingdoms in the sky and city razing monsters.

Somehow Yared is at the center of them? Together with Besa and Ibis–a game rival turned reluctant ally Yard must find his uncle and maybe his place in a forgotten, galaxy-spanning war.

Authors

New York Times Best Selling Author Kwame Mbalia who is the co-author of LAST GATE OF THE EMPEROR with Prince Joel Makonnen, from Scholastic Books. A Howard University graduate and a Midwesterner now in North Carolina, he survives on Dad jokes and Cheezits.

The Last Gate of the Emperor released May 4 2021.

The Last Shadow Warrior

Twelve year old Abby Beckett is proud of heritage. She comes from a long line of Viking warrior known as the Aesir. She’s spent entire life training to hunt down Grendels, just like her mother did before she died. There is just one problem, no one has seen a Grendel in centuries.

Now the Viking council wants to disband the Aesir forever. If that weren’t enough when Abby’s dad is in an attack that leaves him in a coma, Abby must take refuge at Vale Hall a mysterious school in Minnesota. She soon finds out she’s the one being hunted, by a Grendel no less but when she alerts the Viking council, they acuse her of making up stories like her mother.

To protect her father and clear her mother’s name, Abby goes on a dangerous quest to discover the truth. A journey that brings her face to face with some unlikely foes including a sea monster with a wicked backhand, and a dark Valkyrie with a fondness for bingo. Abby quickly realizes she’s facing a plot to destroy the Aesir for good and that the threat comes from somewhere within the school, now all she has to do is find them before it’s too late!

Desperate to protect her father and clear her mother’s name, Abby goes on a dangerous quest to discover the truth–a journey that brings her face-to-face with some unlikely foes, including a Ping-Pong-playing sea monster with a wicked backhand, and a dark Valkyrie with a fondness for bingo. Abby quickly realizes that someone at the school is trying to stop her progress and destroy the Aesir for good. And only she can unravel the sinister plot before it’s too late.

The Last Shadow Warrior Released May 4 2021.

Author

But in either case, Sam Subity is very likely imagining himself fighting mythical creatures or at the prow of a dragon ship feeling the wind and sea spray on his face alongside his own Viking queen and their two Vikelets. His greatest hope is that in reading his books, you too may be transported to another place where, for a little while, you can exchange the ordinary for the extraordinary. 

Posted in monthly goals

How did I do? April Blog Goals?

  1. Try and enjoy reading and not be bound by a number for my April reading list.

I did much better with this, I read 8 books for the month. That’s much closer to the 10 I was shooting pre-breaking my foot than I’ve had since the accident. So we are getting closer to seeing how things will work with my recovery and reading and the blog.

I’m also getting so new ideas for the summer which is unusual because I usually have a little bit of reverse SADS. Like most people have seasonal affective disorder in the winter I usually have it in the spring and summer. So be excited for new content.

2. Don’t feel like you have to post every day in April

This one helped too. Especially with some advice from other bloggers about it. My health was also waxing and waning not feeling stressed to post every day made things much easier.

Like I said this was easier I think I’m going to focus on quality of post for awhile then even if that means less posts and what that means for things like interaction and SEO.

3)Use Readathons as a guide for your reading.

I think I did a good job with this I let the readathons help focus my reading and sticking to books within the goal subject. I will however admit to reading a few of the subjects because they were ADORABLE.

4) Try and get ahead on my ARCs early.

Let’s be honest with ourselves guys why was this even a goal lol. I appreciate the fact that I want to get my ARC done early I really do. I also appreciate the reality that I wrote a write-up of an ARC, the night I got a COVID shot, with a fever and the review still reads beautifully. I also finished another ARC review in a day, not how a blogger should ideally behave.

I need to listen to myself now and make a promise now I’ll do better before I get more ARCS lol.

How'd I do Post Pink Flower on blue pond.
Posted in Weekly Wrap-ups

End of April Update

April flew by and the end of the month is here. I’m still healing but I feel like I got a lot done for some reason, I detail that more in my goals posts. But overall April has been pretty productive. I got both my COVID shot done which feels like a win. The second shot was a little annoying, but nothing like what imagine the real disease must be.

If you upload completed your shot card in the comments with all details obscured you can help me pick what I read next month. In other words, find a way to get your shot……..

In bookish news I read eight books in April so I’m getting back on track with the number of books per month that I want to read.

However, the biggest announcement is one you’ve already seen. I’ve been messing with themes throughout the week but I’ve finally settled on one. The wonderful artwork was done by Ryl who I hope to set up an interview with soon to ask more about their inspirations and just show off some of their work since they did such awesome stuff for the site. I’d like to know how the process went from their end.

For May so far I also have a book tour in the works as well as another interview coming up. Also while the month that the Disability and Autism readathons occurred is over, I still want to finish all my reads from the challenge, even though the challenges were at an end.

I will say that this month changed my feeling about indie publishing one of the prompts for the autism challenge was to read an independently published book by someone with Autism. Now I hadn’t read much independent publishing and wasn’t sure about the quality, but the book, The Place Inside the Storm, proved me wrong.

Now I’m going to need to give books from less common sources a chance. So at the end of the month of April taught me things, I help reorganize things, and am still learning things. Review for The Place Inside the Storm Should be Up soon.

Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

Posted in ARCs, new releases, Reviews

Willa of Dark Hollow Review

NOTE: Willa of Dark Hollow is a stand-alone story that does not require reading any of the author’s previous books Even though this is the case I would personally recommend at least the other Willa book. If you want the depth to the world read the Serafina books. The series arent connected. However, they run parallel to each other in an interesting way that bears putting reading the extra books if you have time.

Willa of Dark Hollow has already awarded a prestigious Kirkus Star. Kirkus has called it a captivating, stirring tale of family and friendship.

Thank you to NetGalley for the chance to read this wonderful book.

Summary

After going against her clan in the last book Willa is a Faeren girl with a foot in two worlds. By birth she’s Faeren. The Faeren are an ancient race of forest people that have lived in the mountains since the beginning of time. But the Faeren put her out, and now she’s living with a kind human Nathaniel who she considers her father and her sister and brothers.

They’ve peacefully made their home in the Great Smoky. But it’s a new century and times are changing bringing loggers to their peaceful home. When human crews start cutting down great swaths of the forests she loves. Willa feels helpless to stop them, how can she stop such powerful destroyers of the forest and powerful machines.

When Willa discovers a mysterious dark hollow filled with strange and beautiful creatures. She soon realizes it contains a terrifying force. Is unleashing its dangerous spirits the key to stopping the loggers.

Willa must find a way to save the people and animals she loves and take a stand against the all-consuming darkness meant to destroy her world.

Willa Smoky Mountains

Review

I’m a huge Robert Beatty fan. Its main themes deal with human and nature’s interconnectivity. Willa is personally dealing with her past and her future. She has to deal with what humans mean for the forest, and what the forest fighting back might mean to her, she has to figure out who she truly cares about, human, animal, Faeren, and forest. And figure out the best way to save them all from potential destruction.

Not to mention the mysterious and deadly creatures that are now filling the forest. Willa has to figure out what is going on all with the help of her new friend Adelaide. A girl who seems strangely familiar, and who becomes a fast friend to Willa. But when the fight for the mountain comes to Willa, will she and her allies have enough to withstand the darkness of both the humans and mountain and finally have a chance at saving the place they love for good.

Amazon: Willa of Dark Hollow

Posted in Author Recommendations, Giveaway, new releases, Reviews

Foreverland Book Tour

I’m taking part in a Book Tour for the book Foverland sponsered the wonderful folks at Turn the Pages Book Tours. Written by Nicole C. Kear. Foreverland was just released on April 21st 2021, published by Imprint, it’s billed as a Middle Grade it listed under the genres of Contemporary and Adventure. These are two genres I think describe it well though I would have added in a bit of fantasy as some of their adventures are somewhat fantastical.

Foreverland by [Nicole C. Kear]

Summary

Margaret is tired of everything always changing. Middle school has gone from bad to worse. Her best friend is becoming a stranger. And her family—well, it’s not even a family anymore.

So Margaret is running away to Foreverland, her favorite amusement park. Hiding out there is trickier than she expects–until she meets Jaime, a thrill-seeking, fast-thinking runaway who teaches Margaret how to stay one step ahead of the captain of security.

At first, this after-hours, all-access pass to the park is a dream come true: sleepovers in the Haunted House, nonstop junk food, and an unlimited ticket to ride. But as the runaways learn each other’s secrets, they must face the reasons they left their normal lives behind. With the Captain closing in and Jaime’s future on the line, can Margaret finally take control?

Review

This book is going to be a hit with the middle-grade set. I mean who wouldn’t want to spend all their time at a theme park, right? Right? That bit of question is where the story lies and it shows just because something is fun for a while, doesn’t always mean it’s fun forever. Just like eating too much ice cream. It will make you sick eventually Change is important in life. But Margaret wants to keep her life static, exactly the way it was before she learned her famialy was changing and middle school became a nightmare.

That puts her on a crash course with Jamie the park’s resident runaway, who makes big plans, has connections that involve burgers and ways to get unlimited rides. At first, Margaret is charmed, but Jamie seems to put the forever, in Foreverland. It’s like he’s been there since the park opened. When she asks about his past it’s like he’s a whole other person. No one can really live at a theme park forever, can they? But he gets Margaret out of trouble with the captain of security who is after Jamie too.

With the magic of the park on their side and a mysterious but prickly ally. They have to find a way to let go of their pasts if they want to move on and save Jamie’s from the Captain, and see that Margaret gets home safe. While this is going on they learn that while some staying in the past feels like the right thing to do, sometimes you have to let go and embrace the future.

Four out of five stars would totally love to read more from the author!

Purchase Foreverland

Foreverland Author

Foreverland Author

Nicole C. Kear is the author of the memoir Now I See You (St. Martin’s Press), chosen as a Must-Read by People, Amazon, Martha Stewart Living, Parade, Redbook, and Marie Claire UK among others. Her books for children include the middle-grade novel Foreverland, the chapter series The Fix-It Friends, and the middle-grade series The Startup Squad, co-written with Brian Weisfeld (all published by Macmillan Kids’ Imprint). Her essays appear in the New York Times, Good Housekeeping, New York, Psychology Today, Parents, as well as Salon, the Huffington Post and xoJane. She teaches non-fiction writing at Columbia University and the NYU School of Professional Studies.A native of New York, she received a BA from Yale, a MA from Columbia, and a red nose from the San Francisco School of Circus Arts. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, three children and two teddy bear hamsters.

Foreverland Giveaway Information

Up for grabs, we have THREE (3) paperback copies of Foreverland by Nicole C. Kear & ONE (1) K’NEX Thrill Rides Shark Attack Roller Coaster Building Set. This giveaway will run from April 26th to May 3rd at 11:59 PM CST and is open to US residents only.

GIVEAWAY LINK: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d26/?With