Posted in Author Recommendations, new releases, Reviews

Girl in the Lake Review

The Girl in the Lake was a great piece of middle grade horror as I would expect from India Hill Brown. I loved the Forgotten Girl and was excited when I saw this book, I hadn’t known Brown was coming out with a new book, so this was a delightful suprise.

The Girl in the Lake by [India Hill Brown]

Summary

Celeste knows she should be excited to spend two weeks at her grandparents’ lake house with her brother, Owen, and their cousins Capri and Daisy, but she’s not.

Bugs, bad cell reception, and the dark waters of the lake… no thanks. On top of that, she just failed her swim test and hates being in the water—it’s terrifying. But her grandparents are strong believers in their family knowing how to swim, especially having grown up during a time of segregation at public pools.

And soon strange things start happening—the sound of footsteps overhead late at night. A flickering light in the attic window. And Celete’s cousins start accusing her of pranking them when she’s been no where near them!

Things at the old house only get spookier until one evening when Celeste looks in the steamy mirror after a shower and sees her face, but twisted, different…

Who is the girl in the mirror? And what does she want?

Review of The Girl in the Lake

India Hill Brown hit it out of the ball park again. I was 3/4 through the book and couldn’t figure out how they were going to resolve the problem with the ghost. The pacing was excellent, a reader would be scared up until near the end. If you have a middle grader who likes creepy books this is definitely headed in the right direction. I especially love the elements of Black history Brown always brings into her books, so if you want a horror story by a BIPOC, this is the one for you.

Amazon: The Girl in the Lake

Posted in Author Recommendations, Bookmas

Yule Celebrations

Happy Yule to everyone who celebrates! To everyone else enjoy the Winter Solstice or the shortest day of the year. I want to envision what some of my favorite characters are doing Yule.

Sweet and Bitter Magic

Sweet & Bitter Magic by [Adrienne Tooley]

I think Tamsin and Wren are with the Coven preparing for a huge Yule celebrate. I think they are going to have some kind of dinner with Tamsin’s mother and that Wren is enjoying the work she wanted to do at end of the book, so they might be celebrating her progress on that front. I just see a sweet happy meal and maybe some rituals to celebrate the day.

Amazon: Sweet and Bitter Magic

The Tea Dragon Society

The Tea Dragon Crew is totally celebrating Yule, everyone is having tea and all their friends have visited. Greta is blacksmithing gifts for others with her new apprenticeship and Minette is making special tea for everyone.  Hesekiel and Erik have welcomed everyone in town to the teashop for special celebration

Amazon: The Tea Dragon Tapestry

Bridge of Souls

Bridge of Souls (City of Ghosts #3) by [Victoria Schwab, V. E. Schwab]

I can see Cassidy celebrating Yule and Christmas, but I think her Yule celebration is quiet, just her and Jacob and maybe she calls Laura for for non corporally challenged company, I see her just kind of reflecting and honoring the work she does all year. Though I see Jacob making her do a gift exchange, not sure how that would work since he’s a ghost and can’t go pick out gift but I think he makes it work. I think she cleanses her mirror on this day.

Amazon: Bridge of Souls

Ghost Girl

Ghost Girl by [Ally Malinenko]

I can see Zee celebrating both Yule and Christmas, for Yule I can see her building some kind of memorial to her mom, and maybe having her friends over and drinking hot chocolate and telling not too scary stories in front of a roaring fire. Because I think even though she lived through a ghost story she still likes to tell the occasional tale. I think her friend chime in with their own stories, I think her dad and sister are around and maybe even Nellie’s aunt.

Amazon: Ghost Girl

All of these are just my imaginings, all respect goes to the authors who created the characters and who I hope are having happy holidays!

Posted in Author Recommendations, Bookmas

2022 Titles I Need to Read

They have already announced some wonderful titles for 2022. I know I’m going to have plenty to read to try and hit my goal of 125 books for the year but here are some that I need to read the moment they become available.

Keeper 9

This book isn’t out till November but it got delayed a year because the author had a baby. Which I totally understand, she deserved a year off to get used to all that, however the last book was left on a terrible cliff hanger. So I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book and see what happens.

Amazon: Keeper of the Lost Cities 9

Skin of the Sea 2

This book was from a new to me author, but it was addictive and now I really want to know what happens especially since the author put a teaser at the end of the first book and now I really want to know what happens in book two. Luckily it comes out I believe early 2022.

The Genesis War

The Genesis Wars: An Infinity Courts Novel (The Infinity Courts Book 2) by [Akemi Dawn Bowman]

This is the second book for The Infinity Courts. After the way the first one ended I need to read this book, luckily it’s coming out early in the year so I want have to wait long so I’m really looking forward to reading this one. The author is a master of twist endings.

Amazon: The Genesis Wars

The Appearing House

This Appearing House by [Ally Malinenko]

I loved Ally Malinenko’s Ghost Girl this year so I can’t wait to read her new book, which is a haunted house book turned on it’s head with emotion, growth and friendship, along with your traditional scares. Believe me she is good at the scares too.

Amazon: This Appearing House

Sofi and the Bone Song

Sofi and the Bone Song by [Adrienne Tooley]

I’ll be honest, I want to read this book because I loved the author’s last work so much. The plot for the book sounds good, illegal music, magic and conspiracy. I’m sure this will be another hit from this author.

Amazon: Sofi and the Bone Song

What books are you ready for in 2022? This is totally not a complete list for me. There is so much good stuff coming out next year!

Posted in Author Recommendations, Bookmas

Presents Under the Tree Bookish Version.

Have you already got your presents under the tree or are you last minute shopping like me? If you are anything like me in your Christmas presents you hoped for some books under the tree. Here are my top five books I hope I see under the tree.

1. Pie Academy

In addition to being a blogger I also love to bake and pies are one of my favorite things. My pies however aren’t perfect, they are tasty, but not as technically perfect as I would like. I want this book to help me with some some of the technical aspects. That’s why it’s my number one present.

2.Disclose

I read Verify in 2020 and would love to finish up the duology. This would make a great Christmas present plus I love Joelle Charbonneau’s writing.

Amazon: Disclose

3. A Ceiling Made of Eggshells

A Ceiling Made of Eggshells by [Gail Carson Levine]

I’m a huge Gail Carson Leivine fan and some how I haven’t gotten to this during the year, so it would a great present under the tree and to read on Christmas morning to help me finish out my 100 books for this year.

Amazon: A Ceiling Made of Eggshells

4. Seasons of the Storm

I really like the concept for this one I have been able to find it at my local library so it would be nice to see under the tree. I really love fantasy books and could use a whole bunch of them to read in the new year.

Amazon: Seasons of the Storm

5. House of Dragons

House of Dragons by [Jessica Cluess]

Another fantasy book I want to read that hasn’t shown up at my local library. I’d love to get a hardback or kindle copy because well dragons. I’ve also enjoyed Jessica Cluess’ other work.

Amazon: House of Dragons

This is my list of works already out that I want under the tree, you’ll see my list of pre-orders I want under the tree up soon. Believe me there are plenty of those too.

Posted in Author Recommendations, Weekly Wrap-ups

More Books Read: A Relaxing Weekend

I spent the week reading again, I’m already up to seven books this month. I seem to be a doing a good job at continuing my pace, so expect more books and more reviews to be up soon.

I haven’t felt well this week, but I’m going to my doctor’s next week for my migraines so hopefully that should help overall. I’ve also had some help with my disability case so I’m working that, I’ll continue get help from the organization I’m working with and my lawyers till my hearing in September so wish me luck.

This week I finished What Stars Are Made of, which is a lovely book that talks about the important of women in STEM and features a protagonist with a disability. I look forward to reviewing this book, it also helped me meet one of my readathon challenges.

What Stars Are Made Of by [Sarah Allen]

Amazon: What Stars are Made Of

I also finished the first Revenge of Magic book, which I’m happy about because I’ve found a new series that I like something I haven’t found in awhile. I haven’t found a long series I liked since Keeper of the Lost Cities.

The Revenge of Magic by [James Riley]

Amazon: Revenge Of Magic

Finally I read Dark Waters the third book in the Small Spaces trilogy. I just finished it Thursday night and I’m still not over the ending. I kind of need the fourth book to magically appear in my hands. Katherine Arden why?

Dark Waters by [Katherine Arden]

Amazon: Dark Waters

I also just got my flu shot so I’ll be spending the weekend at home enjoying the after effects. Which mostly means I’ll be here doing post in advance, or reading, or playing the new game I got Cris Tales. I also might be doing some reading sprints for my readathon if there are any going on this weekend.

Hope everyone’s weekend goes well. What are ya’ll reading?

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

Posted in Author Recommendations, Feature, Recommendations

Character Team Ups

1)Awkward

Awkward (Berrybrook Middle School Book 1) by [Svetlana Chmakova]

Peppi and Jamie are able to team up despite their differences and not only become friends but save both of their clubs from being disbanded. While they had their ups and downs which was realistic for the age group. Eventually they find that both art and science really aren’t that different all along.

The reason I chose this book is because Peppi and Jamie are able to see through the artifical divides of middle school cliques and and make a true friendships.

You can find my review here.

You can purchase it on Amazon here.

2) A Thousand Questions

A Thousand Questions by [Saadia Faruqi]

These two are an unsual team up considering Sakina thinks Mimi is stuck up at first but eventually the two bond over Mimi teaching Sakina English and Mimi learning about her home culture, they don’t realize they are the answer to each others problems but they slowly become friends and help change as problems come up throughout the book.

The reason I chose this book is because while they may be different eventually they push each other to solve each other’s biggest issues which is what makes them a good team.

You can find my review here

You can purchase this book on Amazon here.

3) To Nightowl From Dogfish

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Avery and Bett are another pair that hate each other at first, the only reason they come together is to keep their dads apart. But they start working together and realize they make a great team, even if they don’t want to admit it for like a good half of the book.

The reason I chose this book is I also love how their relationship forms natrally, they go from hating each other to being best friends but not in a way that feels forced.

My review can be found here

You can purchase the book on Amazon here.

4) Séance Tea Party

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When her circle of friends suddenly shrinks as growing up happens Lora is determined to have fun on her own and not bow to the social pressures and be like everyone else. So one day Lora has a tea party with a supernatural twist that leads to her rediscovering Alexa, the ghost that haunts her house and her old imaginary friend!

I picked this book to show that a team up can’t (and maybe shouldn’t) last forever. These two make a wonderful pair but their goodbye is as poienient as their hello.

You can find my review here.

You can purchase the book on Amazon here.

5) Stargazing

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Even though Moon and Christine are nothing alike when Moon moves in next door the girls become fast friends. Christine appricates Moons confident and impulsive personality, she’s unlike any person Christine has ever known. The two have fun sharing their favorite music videos and painting their toenails: something Christine’s strict parents don’t allow.

But Moon shares a secret with Christine , she has visions sometimes, of the the celestial beings who speak to her from who reassure her that earth isn’t where where she really belongs.

Can Christine be the Moon needs when her visions turn out to have an all to earthly root and Moon is soon in the hospital fighting for her life?

You can find my review here

You can purchase the book on Amazon here

Image by Dev Ashish from Pixabay

Posted in Author Recommendations, Feature, Recommendations

Top Five Books about Food

  1. 1) American as Paneer Pie
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Lekha Divekar feels like she has two versions of herself. One where she can be her authenic Indian self the girl who loves watching Bollywood movies and eating Indian food. And the one she is at school where she has to hide her true self. So when another Indian girl Avantika moves to town she thinks she’ll have someone who will understand. And while they don’t always agree, they are together in what they eat and share customs through good times and bad. Lekha understands the role food plays in her life she’s not just Indian or American, and her food reflects that that’s why I chose this book.

You can find my review here

2) Summer of 1000 Pies

Summer of a Thousand Pies by [Margaret Dilloway]

Cady’s world is turned upside down when she has to leave her dad because he can’t take care of her. She goes to live with her aunt who own a pie shop where they teach her about making food. Through food, baking especially and trying new foods Cady find a family, a community, new friends and a willingness to try new things. I picked this book especially because of the sense of community Cady gets after living with her aunts.

You can find my review here.

3) Midsummer’s Mayhem

Food is the central focus of this retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Rajani LaRoca. Mimi’s baking affects the whole family in ways she never expexts and a ‘new’ friend gets helps her get out of a very old trap. Creativity and cooking abound making you want to whip up some donuts while reading. That and the mystery througout the story are the main reasons I chose this book.

You can find my review here.

4) A Place at the Table

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This book explores themes of food, friendship, family, and belonging, featuring sixth graders Sara, and Elizabeth, two sixth graders who couldn’t be more different. Sara is having a hard time fitting in at their new shared school after transferring from her small Islamic school that she used to at attend. Meanwhile Elizabeth has her own problems her British mom has been struggling with depression. This book continues to fit into what I think I’ve established here as the cooking middle grade sub-genre.

I pick it one because the food descriptions sounded wonderful and two because it was an interfaith endeavor which is awesome.

You can find my review here.

5) Measuring Up

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Twelve year old Cici loved her life back in Taiwan, especially the time she spent with her grandmother, or A-má. But when her family moves to Seattle so she can have better opportunities she has to leave her grandmother and friends behind. But when her family doesn’t have the money to bring her A-má to the US for her seventy birthday Cici swears she’ll find a way. When she see a local cooking competition she enters for the prize money even if she’s never cooked American food. I chose this book because it focuses on the importance of staying true to yourself no matter what people thing.

You can find my review here.

Posted in Author Recommendations, Recommendations

Give and Take Review

I’ll be honest I didn’t think I’d like this as much as Finding Perfect, but Swartz has done it again. I swept though the pages just as quickly as I did with finding perfect, the character are charming and the mental health is handled with a deft hand.

Summary

Maggie’s family has always been important to her, she’s coached by her dad at trapshooting, and cheered on by her mom. She visit her grandfather regularly, but her gradmother’s recent death has left a hole in Maggie’s heart and her life. She thinks she can fill it, thinks she can’t, won’t forget like her grandma did if she starts keeping things from her important days like candy wrappers, milk cartons, tassels of her Nana’s favorite scarf all stuffed in cardboard boxes under her bed.

During this time her family decides to take in a foster infant and Maggie loves the baby deeply not wanting her to be adopted and making her hoarding worse. She soon finds herself taking and taking until she spirals out of control, with some help from family and friend she learns love can also mean letting go.

Review

Maggie is a sweet and relatable character with big feelings around her hoarding that are made easy to understand for someone that doesn’t have anybackground in childhood mental health issues. It’s a very approachable book, also I love the fact that Maggie isn’t just her hoarding she’s a very well rounded character. I’d put this in the hands of any kids in upper elementary, lower middle grade. I also like her thearpist and wish all child thearipists in life were that cool (and well dressed) also love the system for Maggie’s recovery they use which I’m pretty sure is actually based on real mental health methods.

Overall I’d give this book 5 stars it another book in my mental health library.

Posted in Author Recommendations, Recommendations, Reviews

Review: Even if We Break

I’m going to have to break blog protocol and talk about how wonderful this book is so SPOILERS AHEAD!

Even if We Break

Even If We Break by [Marieke Nijkamp]

Summary

FIVE friends go to a cabin.
FOUR of them are hiding secrets.
THREE years of history bind them.
TWO are doomed from the start.
ONE person wants to end this.
NO ONE IS SAFE.

For five friends it was supposed to be one last game. A getaway before everyone went their separate way, a chance to say goodbye. To each other and the the the game they’ve been been playing for the last three years of high school.

But everyone has their their own demons and everyone is hiding secrets. Some of them have reason to be paranoid, but others are hiding secrets that puts the whole group at risk.

Finn doesn’t doesn’t trust anyone since he since he was attacked a few months ago. Popular rich girl Liva saw it happen and did nothing to stop it, Maddy was in an accident that destroyed her sports career, the only thing that shaped her life in high school. Carter is drowning under the weight of his family’s expectations to be the best. Finally Ever wants to keep the game going for as long as they can at all costs.

But when the line between game and reality start to blur, with deadly consequence

For five friends, this was supposed to be one last getaway before going their separate ways—a chance to say goodbye to each other, and to the game they’ve been playing for the past three years. But they’re all dealing with their own demons, and they’re all hiding secrets.

Finn doesn’t trust anyone since he was attacked a few months ago. Popular girl Liva saw it happen and did nothing to stop it. Maddy was in an accident that destroyed her sports career. Carter is drowning under the weight of his family’s expectations. Ever wants to keep the game going for as long as they can, at all costs.

When the lines between game and reality start to blend with deadly consequences, it’s a race against time before it’s game over—forever.

Review

This novel is amazing, it’s a the way Nijkamp constructed the mystery around the game. Also her construction of the game. You can tell they are an experinced RPG player and perhaps DM. As for the spoilers, who the killer was was such as a surprise. And for who survive they are the people who never survive horror movies and it’s perfect and wonderful and now my standard for horror and thrillers. There was was facing personal demons, there was romance but not too much, there was friendship and disability and queerness and it was near perfect.

Five stars!

Photo by Javier Grixo on Unsplash