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 were back to the Frozen universe and I couldn’t be happier with Jen Calonita, and Mari Mancusi at the helm I’m never worried about my post Frozen 2 books. Some people may not thinks the post Frozen 2 books are cannon, but they are so wonderful I really don’t care one way or another. They are cannon to me. This book Frozen: Polar Nights was especially good because it was a mystery.
This book start off like most of the other with the characters doing something adorable. This time Sven, Kristoff, Anna, and Elsa and Olaf are on a camping trip and as you do on a camping trip are telling scary stories. They are on this camping trip to give Anna a break from her preparations from the important Polar Night festival in which the sun disappears from the sky for awhile due to Arendelle being in the arctic circle.
As they are telling tales Kristoff tells the tale of two sisters one that wanted the power of the other and pushed the other over a waterfall, now the sister who was wronged has come back as vengeful spirit called a draugr—an undead creature that steals memories in an effort to make others forget the misdeeds it committed when it was alive. And it is supposed to come back if you tell the tale on the night it was wronged exactly what Kristoff is doing.
At first only Olaf is scared but when things start going wrong a people start forgetting Anna and Elsa start trying to get to the bottom of what turns out to be a true story of two princesses much like themselves who their family is tied in with.
I won’t spoil the ending but they find out the truth about the draugr and the two princess, and the darkness in their own past. They are able to make things right for another who they think is an enemy as well. And even though things haven’t been prepared Anna’s first Polar Lights celebration is a memorable one because she has her family with her.
So another week in August. I’m working on the readathon slowly but I think I’ll make some real progress this week. I’m doing the quests first and then doing my classes. Not terribly responsible but hey I was responsible in school, and my character was very responsible first equinox.
So Fable focusing on getting guild points and moving up in her guild this semester. This was actually a class read, the first class Fable finished. This book was for where I had to spin a color wheel to get a random color on the cover. I got teal. And this cover fit perfectly. Just Roll with It was the perfect book to get my class reads started and also my required book for.
Spells and Incantations
As for the plot itself it appealed to me for several reason. One I’ve recently gotten big into D&D which the game in the book is clearly based off of. In the book the main character Maggie carries around a D20 which she has to roll to see if she can do things, low rolls mean no, high rolls mean yes. she rolls the D20 for just about everything.
She also has rituals when she comes home. Her parents suspect that she has a mental health issue, however Maggie makes friends and focuses on her grades, but still the gossip of a monster around the school starts to get to her. Her obsessions and compulsions get worse she blows up at her parents when they mention the idea of therapy to her. Her fears show up in her dreams as a great white dragon.
When her school sends her and her friends to the zoo to prove there isn’t a monster she encounters albino animals that remind her of her dragon, but the zookeeper points out that they are in danger in the wild because they are easier to see and more often die because they can’t camouflage themselves. After learning all this Maggie returns to the school with her friends she sees something moving in the grass and even though she rolls a low number she uses a net one of her friends had that the were planning to use to catch the monster.
It turns out to be a baby albino alligator. They get it to the zoo and ignoring that roll inspire Maggie to face down her inner dragon, who turns out just to be a scared version of herself, she goes down to talk to her parents and agrees to therapy the book ends with her talking to her therapist and what her illness means and what it doesn’t and how it will affect her life.
If you remember back to April, you may not it’s kinda foggy to me. I did the Orilium Magical Readathon. It had linked back previously to the Novice Path where you created a character by going through a wilderness to go to a magical school. The Orilium Magical Readathon picked up where you were at the school and choosing your major so to speak, I chose to be a Dream Walker, they basically work with people’s dreams to especially if they are hurt or injured to help keep them happy and peaceful.
Also not completely ethical they can Dream Walkers can also manipulate it, influencing their next moves and planting the seeds of ideas the dreamers will think were their own, subtly influencing their actions. Once again, there are ethical concerns about meddling with such things. Though my Dream Walker is definitely on the sweeter side.
In the Orilium Spring Equinox we had to read a certain number of books based on subjects. This semester we have to read books to a certain level Ordinary, Qualifed or Distinguished. So we have more books to read because of this. Plus there are always the awesome quests.
As for my character here is their Orillium school ID.
We also have my Autumn Semester TBR.
I’m very excited to get back into this readathon I enjoyed it. I liked the community that came with the readathon the first time around. If you are looking for more information about the Discord and the Pateron of the Book Roast’s the readathon’s creator, check out the announcement video.
You know SAD, seasonal affective disorder that thing everyone gets in the winter. Nope not me I get it in the summer. If you look at the blog every year I have problems posting in the during June, July and August. I’ve tried different things to help. But I think I’m just going to have to end up taking summers off. I’ve had no motivation since May. Now it’s coming back. I don’t know if it’s the heat it has been pretty mild for summer where I am. It might be part of my schizophrenia as I just saw a poll where people voted that their symptoms get worse in the summer.
Mine sure do, plus I had, this summer, COVID for a month, a stomach virus from hell, and messed up my meds so I was out of it, this came to me being sick the whole summer. So posting wasn’t my first priority but I was reading and while I don’t think I’ll reach my goal of 125 books this year. I’m going to keep reading a try for 50 with a 75 stretch.
So it wasn’t the worst Summer when it came to reading I read some great books, all of which I plan to review here. Still personally it could have been better, on the upside though I got into D&D which has really been fun and has improved my life. So that was one positive from the summer. Tomorrow we will look at my TBR for the Magical Readathon which I’m so excited to be a part of.
So the beginning is as good as anyway to start a reading. I don’t think I’m going to be reading 12 books it just hasn’t been the pattern for me this year. I’m probably going to have to do like 8 to fit all of the prompts.
Using Soda, Cotton Candy and Corn Dog
Ellen Outside the Lines
Thirteen-year-old Ellen Katz feels most comfortable when her life is well planned out and people fit neatly into her predefined categories. In the beginning of the book 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.
Benny Imura and his friends have found the jet and Sanctuary—but neither is what they expected. Instead of a refuge, Sanctuary is a hospice, and the soldiers who flew the plane seem to be little more than bureaucrats who have given up hope for civilization’s future. With Chong hovering between life and death, clinging to his humanity by a thread, Benny makes a startling discovery: A scientist may have discovered a cure for the zombie plague. Desperate to save Chong, Benny and his friends mount a search and rescue mission. But they’re not the only ones on the hunt. The reapers are after the cure too, and they want to use it turn all the zombies into superfast shock troops—and wipe humanity off the face of the earth.
In this riveting conclusion to the Rot & Ruin series, the battle to end all battles is just beginning.
Thank you guys for dealing with my absence. I decided to take the month off to recover my energy from a nasty case of COVID I had for most of May that zapped all my energy for writing and most of my energy for reading. But I’m back for the last few days of June to celebrate the third round of the Chopped readathon. This time we are taking our readers to the beach for summer fun.
I’ll go over my picks for the prompts in the next few days but here are some basic facts about the readathon, it will go from July 1st through July 30th. There will be reading sprints 12pm every Friday and we will add more if more are interested.
You can you as many prompts as you want for each book.
You can use a book from last month as long as it’s not more than around 20%
This readathon is about fun not stress so make that your focus.
If you want to give yourself a challenge we are offering one up if you can manage to use all 12 prompts on one book you will a cash prize.
As usual, we will have a cash prize for most pages read, and a randomly drawn US and international prize. I will also be looking for authors willing to donate summer books to us.
I was recently invited on a blog tour for this book by one of the Publicity Mangers at Algonquin Young Readers. SLIP is a new graphic novel byMarika McCoola and Aatmaja Pandya. SLIP deals with the have crafted a nuanced story about the many ways art can change us forever.
SLIP brings to life both the excitement and heartbreak of being a teenager and the fleeting and beautiful feeling that one summer can hold dozens of exhilarating possibilities. The perfect read for fans of heartfelt stories about personal identity and first love like Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero O’Connell and Bloom by Kevin Panetta and Kevin Ganucheau, SLIP captures both the magic and anguish of growing older and the catharsis that creating art can bring.
Jade is excited to go to an exclusive summer art intensive, but right before she is about to leave, her best friend Phoebe attempts suicide. How will Jade be able to focus on her artwork during this dream opportunity? But at the Art Farm, Jade discovers artistic possibilities she has been longing to experience her whole life. And as she gets to know her classmates, she begins to fall for whimsical, upbeat, comfortable-in-her-own-skin Mary. Jade knows she needs to keep her focus on her art, but her worry about Phoebe and her budding crush on Mary leave her overwhelmed by conflicting emotions. She channels her stress and insecurities into making ceramic monsters, but when she puts her creatures in the kiln, something unreal happens – they come to life. And they’re taking a stand: if Jade won’t confront her problems, her problems are going to confront her. Including the one she is desperately trying to avoid: If Jade grows, prospers, and even falls in love this summer, is she abandoning her best friend? Can she discover who she really is without losing Phoebe in the process?
Review of Slip
Jade has problems finding her theme in her art because she won’t face her emotions. I think her main problem though is her codependency with Phoebe. It holds her back nearly the whole piece from embracing her pieces or embracing her relationship with Mary. I think this is a good piece about finding yourself beyond people you may love but who may not be good for you. I love the final pages when Jade makes the piece of Phoebe I think that’s her most interesting piece in the book. This is a great read for Pride Month as Mary really supports Jade through all her issues.
I would give it a CW as there is artistic showing of female genitalia
About Marika McCoola: Marika McCoola is a writer, illustrator, educator, and the New York Times bestselling author of Baba Yaga’s Assistant. She has spent over a decade working to connect books with readers. She studied illustration, art history, creative writing, and ceramics at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and received her BFA in illustration in 2009. She lives in Somerville, MA.
About Aatmaja Pandya Aatmaja Pandya is a cartoonist and illustrator born and raised in New York. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2014 and has been illustrating professionally ever since. Slip is her first graphic novel. She lives in New York City.
So I’m sticking to one readathon in June, just one because I’m tired from COVID. Speaking of COVID I’m now over being contaigous but it turns out I had it for a month, COVID for a MONTH. No wonder may was so lackluster. Because of this I went with with Marvel A Thon. It has prompts I can meet yet a element of challenge This readathon is hosted by Lisadoeslife and has four teams based off of Marvel characters.
Along with team Black Widow hosted by Lisadoeslife, here is her introduction in the main video.
So what about the prompts and which team did I join do you ask? First off I joined Team Scarlet Witch. Wandavision made me cry real tears, and the Multiverse of Madness gave me feels for weeks. To be fair though it was close for Team Loki, because the Loki series also hit me in the feels and Tom Hiddleston is really a sweetheart. His fate in the main MCU timeline also made me cry some real tears and I can’t wait for the second season of Loki.
Five Star Prediction
I’ve been wanting to read this one for awhile about a girl who work at Renaissance fair with her family and wants to be a knight but the role is traditionally reserved for boys. She’s trying to change the norm. I’ve just been excited for this one for awhile and am glad I’m finally getting a chance to read it.
I have an arc that I’m reading for this one. The there are two main characters in this one both with disabilities.
Miles Morales-Graphic Novel
After dealing with a close friends suicide attempt right before Jade is about to go to her art camp for the summer distracts her shouldn’t she be worried about her friend instead of focus on her camp. But she soon becomes comfortable and falls for another camper Mary. However her art isn’t letting her run from her feelings. Soon her creations are going to make her face down what she’s feeling if she won’t on her on.
For this book we had to let others on the Discord server pick which book they would like for us to read out of a group of our choices. This book is a gender bent retelling of The Three Musketeers with a someone dealing with a disability added in. Tania de Batz has always wanted to be a musketeer but that isn’t possible for a girl much less a disabled girl in France but things change rapidly soon after a something happens to her father and she finds herself at what she first thinks is a finishing school but turns out to be a school for lady spies.
Seventeen-year-old Eleanor is the last person in Salem to believe in witchcraft—or think that her life could be transformed by mysterious forces. After losing her best friend and first love, Chloe, Eleanor has spent the past year in a haze, vowing to stay away from anything resembling romance.
But when a handwritten guide to tarot arrives in the mail at the witchy souvenir store where Eleanor works, it seems to bring with it the message that magic is about to enter her life.
This will also fit the second prompt which will be revealed in a second. .
Since Scarlet Witch’s story isn’t exactly a happy one we need to choose a sad book. This book finds a girl herself facing her own and literal demons as she tries to erase her family’s shame in this great new horror novel by Claire Legrand.
What can I say some months you just end up with everything going wrong. May was like that for me, first I sprained my wrist so I couldn’t type up anything here, and I was sick already and lacking energy. Now only to add to my troubles I’ve got COVID, no one worry, it’s a very mild case, but I will be slowly transitioning back into blogging this June mostly for Marvelathon go Team Scarlet Witch. I do have another book from this month to write a review about and a few features I’d like to get back to but like I said SLOWLY back into blogging so I don’t overwhelm myself.
Anyway that is the update around here, here’s to hoping my troubles turn around soon!
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.