Posted in Discussion, Feature

Finished Books: Easter Readathon Day 3

Finished Books

Starfish

Finished this one, it was a great read.

Starfish by [Lisa Fipps]

Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules–like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.”

And she’s found her safe space–her swimming pool–where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life–by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.

Commentary

It is one of the two books I actually finished for this readathon. This was a great fat positive for middle grades which is something I’ve never seen before. We need more books like Starfish for middle grade, and if you have any recommendations that are like this for YA please shoot them my way.

I thought I wouldn’t like it and it would be tough to finish because it is written in verse, but I’m reading more books written in verse, so either I like it more than I thought or the authors I’m reading are just good at it. Ellie is a wonderful heroine especially considering all the things she has to go to, her sessions with her therapists are really hit hard especially if you have any size issues yourself. Glad I got this one read it was really good.

Amazon: Starfish

Lumberjanes Vol. 16

Mal tries to prove her bravery…but ends up stranded in the Land of Lost Things!

DINOSAURS, DANGER & DIMENSION-HOPPING AND …OH MY!

Mal wants to learn to be braver, but when she recruits Ripley to help her face her fears, she ends up somewhere she really should be afraid of–the Land of Lost Things, a pocket universe where dinosaurs still roam the earth, and time doesn’t work the way it should. Stranded on her own in an alternate dimension, will Mal be able to find her way back home to camp? And back on the other side of the portal, will Molly, April, Jo, and Ripley be able to find Mal again and save her? Or are they about to get stuck, too?

Writers Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh (Super Cakes) and artist AnneMarie Rogers present the newest collection of stories from the New York Times bestseller and multiple Eisner Award and GLAAD Award-winning series where you’re never lost as long as you hold onto the ones you love most!

Collects Lumberjanes #61-64.

Commentary

I fell behind on reading Lumberjanes for awhile, due to borrowing restrictions and such. I’m glad to get pulled back to the crazy world of the ‘Janes. I can’t wait to read the next volume, especially with series ending soon.

Ama:zonLumberjanes Volume 16

Almost Finished Books

Sweet and Bitter Magic

I wish I would have been able to finish this one but I got to about 88% and it was like 11pm.

Sweet & Bitter Magic by [Adrienne Tooley]

Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.

Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.

When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.

Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two h,ave a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is, if they don’t kill each other first.

Commentary

I finished this Tuesday afternoon. Okay, so no spoilers but all I’m going to say the final battle with dark witch was so much more interesting than you first assume, also Tamsin and Wren get an ending much closer and maybe even better than a cottage in the forest together. This book is phenomenal I can’t wait to read more from the author. I can’t wait to talk more about in my review, the characters, the magic system, everything!

Amazon: Sweet and Bitter Magic

Unfished Books

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by [Robin Talley]

Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything.

What she doesn’t have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show end in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.

Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny, and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.

Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.

Commentary

I got about 100 page into this book on Sunday night, I really like it so far and can’t wait to read more after I tackle some required reading on my TBR.

Amazon: The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre

Posted in Discussion, Feature

Starfish Review

When I read the blurb for Starfish I knew I had to buy it. After being a fat kid and a fat adult finding a body-positive middle grade book was honestly surprising.

Starfish by [Lisa Fipps]

Summary

Starfish is Ellie’s story. Ever since she wore Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party. Since then she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules–like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.” And she’s found her safe space–her swimming pool–where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world.

In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life–by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.

Review

This book deals with fat self hate in a way I’ve never seen any other book do. It wasn’t till the writer mentioned she had gone through all the things that Ellie had gone through that it made sense to me. This had to be an #OwnVoices book. Some of the scenes with the therapists are intense especially if you’ve got some of that same fat hate left over yourself. However my favorite scenes are the therapy scenes with her mom, oh man why did I not realize I needed to do this. Ellie is very sweet and she made me love this novel in verse she I also loved that they showed Ellie having friends who didn’t care about her weight.

The world needs more books like this 5/5 I’d read it again in a heartbeat.

Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash

Posted in Discussion, Feature, Uncategorized

Easter Readathon Day 2

Forgive me if this post is a bit late, I got my first COVID shot yesterday then slept off any of the tiredness for the rest of the evening and this following morning but other than that I’ve had no symptoms and oh I can now go UPSTAIRS to my room more on that in my weekend update but to say I had a few things distracting me from the readathon yesterday. But don’t worry today I’ve got some commentary on what I read yesterday for you all.

Starfish by [Lisa Fipps]

Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules–like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.” And she’s found her safe space–her swimming pool–where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life–by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.

Commentary

Oh, Ellie is getting an attitude and I LOVE it especially against her mother. I love her friendship with Catalina too, the way Ellie gets to see another family’s attitude towards food opens her eyes to what could be possible. I can’t wait to see what her life looks like when she truly faces her mother and finds who she truly is and able to be like in real life.

Amazon: Starfish

Sweet & Bitter Magic

Sweet & Bitter Magic by [Adrienne Tooley]

Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.

Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.

When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.

Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two have a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is if they don’t kill each other first..

Commentary

Oh no no, I see where this is going and it’s not going to end with Tamsin and Wren in a cottage in the woods happy together, is it? I loved the twist with Vera and I also loved the other big twist. So much emotion coming at Tamsin I mean for a woman who can’t feel you got a hell of a lot of emotional conflicts ahead of her. I also loved Wren’s conversations with Leya, and what she admits to her herself, I think it’s going to become super important as the novel progresses. Oh, man can’t wait to see where this goes and hope it doesn’t break my dang heart.

Amazon: Sweet and Bitter Magic

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by [Robin Talley]

Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything.

What she doesn’t have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show end in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.

Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny, and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.

Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.

Commentary

Oh lord, I can already tell Melody has drama issues and I’m just in the beginning of the book. I’m interested to see what taking a break from love does for our heroine, and what happens when the new love interest shows up.

Amazon: The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre

Posted in Discussion, Feature

Easter Readathon Day 1

TW: mention of child abuse

Hey guys, I read a ALOT today. Mostly from the books from my first two prompts, to remind you what those are I’ll put them up again here.

Easter Prompt Number 1: Spring-y Novel: Starfish

I often think of swimming in spring and summer. Especially since the ‘spring’ here is actually just two weeks where it’s kinda cool then the bugs come out from under the earth and it’s suddenly summer.

Starfish by [Lisa Fipps]

Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules–like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.” And she’s found her safe space–her swimming pool–where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life–by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.

Usually I’m not a huge fan of novels in verse, but I have found a few that I like and this novel is one is one of them, especially coming up as a fat kid myself. Ellie is relatable. Her mother, well my mother was never that bad, but I think most fat kids mothers faced some level of what Ellie is going through, and Ellie is a hyperbole of it all, because some of the stuff her mother is doing in the book to try to make her thinner are straight up child abuse.

I love the relationship between her and her therapist so I can’t wait to see where that goes, and how the family is going to address the abuse they are directing towards her. More tomorrow!

Amazon: Starfish

Easter Prompt 2: A novel about new beginning: Sweet and Bitter Magic

Sweet & Bitter Magic by [Adrienne Tooley]

Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.

Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.

When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.

Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two have a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is, if they don’t kill each other first..

Oh these two! This novel is great. For Tamsin not being able to love her able to sass is surely very much intact. Wren may be innocent-ish but she calls Tamsin’s bluff on ALL of the things magical. And Tamsin HATES it and it’s hilarious. The book has me hooked though I’m interested in how Wren see’s magic as a source and I’m interested, what the hell Tamsin actually did wrong. The rapport though, totally reading for the fact that they are hilarious despite such a serious setting.

Amazon: Sweet and Bitter Magic

Photo by Damon Lam on Unsplash

Posted in Discussion, Feature

Disability Readathon

Disability Readathon? I was on the fence about it because it puts me at 4 readathons this month. A great plan coming out of a slow month, well that remains to be seen but there are too many good readathons going on right now so it’s not all my fault. I’m also doing the Autism Readathon, am I going overboard honoring disability month, yes, probably, but I talk about it all year long so why not put my reading where my talking is.

I’ll go into more detail about the books in my TBR, I just wanted to show what I picked out here.

This readathon has categories so you can customize it as you wish.

For Category 1 the the choices are

Category 1

  • Read a children’s book (middle grade or younger)
  • Watch a video of a disabled person talking about ableism
  • Read a text about traveling while disabled 
  • Read a play by a disabled person

I’m reading a book middle grade or younger. For this one I picked out Song for A Whale

Song for a Whale by [Lynne Kelly]

Amazon: Song for A Whale

Category 2

  • Watch a movie with a disabled actor
  • Read a book set in space
  • Read a text by a disabled trans person 
  • Read a text about service animals
Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by [Jessica Kensky, Patrick Downes, Scott Magoon]

Amazon: Rescue and Jessica

Category 3

  • Read a book with green on the cover
  • Read a book from the library 
  • Watch a video about adaptive technology 
  • Read a text by someone with the same disability as you (OCD)
The Someday Birds by [Sally J. Pla, Julie McLaughlin]

Amazon: The Someday Birds

Category 4

  • Read a book written before you were born
  • Read and share three tweets by disabled people of color
  • Listen to a podcast/read its transcript
  • Read a book that’s been on your TBR for over a year
Out of My Mind by [Sharon M. Draper]

Amazon: Out of My Mind

Check out tomorrow to see my Disability Readathon TBR and join me as I take part in a reading sprint!

Photo by Fábio Hanashiro on Unsplash

Posted in Feature

Top 5 Book Covers

  1. Amina’s Song
The book cover shows a Pakistani teen girl wearing a yellow top with her dark hair flowing freely. She has tan skin and dark eyes and she's on a blue background with white mofits such as elaborate circles and floral designs on the top of the book cover in white it says Amina's Song.

This is one of my favorite book covers because it most reflects the spirit of the book. On the cover of Amina’s Voice, Amina’s is curled uptight. Amina won’t open up to anyone about her talent. However, on this cover this one she’s thrown her arms open to the world. She is a happier and more confident person than she was in book one. This really helps shape the whole plotline of the book.

Also, I don’t know if Khan made this choice intentionally but I think the lighter coloring also reflects’ Amina’s growth. But that could just be me reading into color choices.

You can find my review here

2. Soulswift

On the book cover a bird with with blue wings and a blue head and yellow chest is breaking out of being incased stone carving around it there is lots of scroll work and fancy three tipped imprints. In gold reads "within the stone lies a deadly secret" The title Soulswift is also written across the top in the same color of gold writing above the bird.

Perhaps my favorite cover out of all these because it proves a plot point I’d spoil by telling you. Other than the fact that it is super important plot-wise, the bird is spiritually very important to the characters in the book and I think a perfect choice for the cover.

Honestly the cover made me pick this book up at first and I wasn’t disappointed. I also love all the stone work on the cover it give a hint of the role that religion will play in the book. Overall this one was just pretty message wise and visually.

You can find my review here

3) On The Edge of Gone

A lone person stand on broken up cement and among empety broken down buildings as rockets lauch off into a red sky. On the cover the title "The Edge of Gone" is printed in translusent text.

This is another cover where it matched the content so clearly it had to be included. The whole book is about who deserves to get to go to another planet on space ships after an asteroid hits the Earth. It also deals with things like disability, racism, homophobia and transphobia.

The image of our protagonist being stuck on the ground with all the ships leaving is very powerful, and the cover gives you an empty feeling like the book does at first, things may turn around but this cover shows the stakes at first.

You can find my review here

4) Once Upon an Eid

This cover shows two tan buildings with open windows people lean out from most of either shouting, celebrating, making decorations or talking to one another. There is a large cresent moon between the two building that is white on a purple background that says the title in purple text "Once Upon an Eid".

I picked the book because the cover was simply beautiful and also it reflected the joy of the stories inside. On the cover, you could see the spirit of celebration that was present inside the book.

You can find my review here.

5) A Home for Goddesses and Dogs

A blonde girl and a yellow dog meet foreheads on the bottom of a snowy hill The title "A Home for Goddesses and Dogs" takes up the rest of the hill. Two outlined figures and another dog stand at the top of the hill with another dog and a house. Evergreen trees surround the hill and in a purple sky the moon goes through its phases.

I picked this one because it made me think of family. It’s a sweet book about a girl and a dog learning to fit into a family. I think the cover reflects that. I just love the color scheme. My favorite detail is the moon going through its phases on the cover. It’s very important to the plot and it looks beautiful on the cover.

You can find my review here.

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 Feature

Top 5 World Building Settings

World-building takes hard work on the author’s part. But here are some of my favorite settings that take you out of this world. Here are some of my favorite world-building settings.

1)Flower of the Witch.

A wintery background with an edge of black flowers. A blonde teen is in the middle of the cover holding up a torch, he has long blonde hair and is wearing a red overcoat, a white scarf, white shirt and green pants. He also has cream colored wraps around his arms and legs. 

At the top of the cover in white is the title, The Flower of the Witch.

Tami has to go on a journey away from his people to become a man, he’s fought monsters rescued princesses. But none of this is enough, he has to get the flowers from a witch. But after fighting a monster and passing out in the snow, he’s rescued by a villager. 

 I picked this world for the world-building setting because of its own monsters, gods, traditions, and mythology. Tami is also an interesting hero who is on a journey which is specific to the world.

You can find my review here.

2) The Tea Dragon Festival

Their is a black girl wearing a straw hat  and a white top with purple pants and a satchel in a feild of flowers. She has long dark hair and is face to face with a tan colored dragon who has spots and white wings, he's also wearing a tan top and purple pants. They are both set against green trees and a blue sky.

Rinn is used to life around tea dragons. Their village is full of them. But when they stumble across a real dragon, that seems to be a different matter! Aedhan is a young dragon who was supposed to protect Rinn’s village, but somehow fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago.

 I chose this book at first because of the art. I could literally fall into the beauty that is Katie O’Neil’s art. But the fantasy setting is so much more than their art. In all their books, the relationships between people. The traditions they set up, the accessibility they include in their fantasy world. That’s the real reason I picked this favorite.

My review is here.

3) The Nightmare Theif

A teen with green and pink hair sits in front of a fireplace/furnace type thing, She is wearing a blue shirt and apron. A lot of magic bottles line the wall next to her and she is mixing a potion. Colors swirl around her and pink color comes out from a vial. A bird flies around her.

Life was perfect for Maren Partridge before her sister’s accident. Maren’s life isn’t perfect now that her sister is in a coma. Her parents are busy talking about hospital bills and long term care facilities. Maren knows what this is code for, Hallie never getting better.

While Maren isn’t busy worrying about her sister, she works in her family dream shop with her Gran Gran Lishta. Together they can handcraft any dream imaginable.

I picked for its light magic. Like magic bubbles and ice cream which seem like something I’d like to try, super whimsical and cute. I picked it for it’s dark magic and nightmares which were wonderfully scary. I wonder if Lesperance had a fun time coming up with all the dreams and nightmares.

4) Skyhunter

There  is light blue sky forming a storm cloud then fading into a light pink and orange color, a single female figure walks along what looks to be the side of a rocky cliff.

Skyhunter is set in a world after advanced technology has failed, there are remnants of the technology. These make the story very interesting and they make you want to know more about the world.

The reason I chose this book is the world is immersive, do I want to live there, oh lord no. But you are lost in the different fantasy elements Lu makes up for the world. There are bits of the old world mixed with the new. There are monseters that are actually pretty scary. Lu also has a way of mixing various current cultures and putting them together to make them interesting and new.

You can find my review here.

5)The Dark and Deep Blue 

Two teens stand against a tapestry with the title "The Deep and Dark Blue" one teen presents as a boy with a white top  black pants , black shoes and a sword, he has a mohawk type hair cut. The other teen presents as a girl. She has a similar haircut but neater and tied back with a blue ribbion she is wearing a blue and white dress and spinning wool on a drop spindle. There are red flames all around them.

This book has one of my favorite fantasy settings. Why, because it includes a great trans-inclusive order of priestesses called the Order of the Blue who weave and do magic.. You should read the book just for them.  

If reading the book for the Order of the Blue isn’t enough. There is plenty more to keep your intrest, such as, lots of sword fighting. An unexpexted miltary coup. An inclusive magic system Oh and wonderful beautiful art. 

You can find my review here 

Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash

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 D&D Reading Challenge, Feature

Dungeons and Dragons-Sorcerers

 A sorcerer’s magic wants to be wielded, and it has a tendency to spill out in unpredictable ways if it isn’t called on. Sorcerer’s often set of on adventures to understand the nature of their magic or try and understand it’s origin, while some sorcerers see their magic as a gift others see it as a curse from from draconic ancestors. With this list I’m focusing on character with a bloodline of magic, that is unpredictable or outside forces that cause them to use their magic.

Wings of Ebony

Wings of Ebony by [J. Elle]

Making something out of nothing is just a way of life for Rue. But her changes for she and her younger sister when their mother is shot dead on their doorstep. Suddenly Rue is taken from her neighborhood by a father she never knew forced to leave her little sister behind. Her father wisks her away to Ghizon-a hidden island of magic wielders.

Rue is the odd girl out, being half god/half human. Leaders on the island protect their magical power at all cost and thrive on human suffering. Rue is miserable and desperate to see her sister again. So on the anniversery of her mother’s death she breaks Ghizon’s sacred Do Not Leave Law and returns to Houston only to discover that Black kids are being foreced into crime and violence. Worse yet her sister Tasha is in danger of falling sway to the forces that claimed their mother’s life.

But evidence is pointing to the fact that the evil on East Row is also in Ghizon, and it will stop at nothing until it takes everything and everyone Rue loves from her. To beat it Rue must embrace her true power to save her neighborhood before the gods destory it. .

J. Elle is fromTexas but currently lives in Southern California, she enjoys reading, writing and cooking. She also love elevating fearless, unapologetic Black heroines.

Amazon: Wings of Ebony

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by [F. C. Yee]

Genie is a perfectionist feeling the struggle to get into a top-tier college. It consume her every waking though, until she discovers she’s a celestial spirit powerful enough to bash through the gates of heaven with her fist. Then college, well it’s not exactly at the top of the list, maybe like number two though.

Then there is Quentin a transfer student from China. He’s tone-deaf assertiveness intruges Genie, yet it also annoys her to the point of madness. Quentin helps with Genie’s outrageous transfromation sometimes gently sometimes agressively as their sleepy suburb in the Bay Area comes under threat from hell-spawn.

Drawing from Chinese folklore Yee perfectly balences a larger than life heroine’s high school life, with the supernatural world she finds herself commanding.

F. C. Yee grew up in New Jersey and went to school in New England, but has called the San Francisco Bay Area home.

MUTI Creative Studio designed the cover for The Epic Crush of Genie Lo.

Amazon: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo.

The Twelve

Usagi was born in the year of the wood rabbit, she can hear a squirrel’s heartbeat a mile away and soar over treetops in a giant leap. The year of her birth gave her extraordinary zodiac gifts.

But she can never use them not with the mysterious and vious Dragonload in charge, he hunts down all those in her land with zodiac powers. Instead she must keep her powers and her rambunctious sister Uma’s powers a secert.

But after Uma is captured by the Dragonlord. Usagi can’t ignore her powers anymore, She must journey to Mount Jade with the fabled Heirs of Twele, a mystical group of warriors who once protected the land.

But as new mysteries unfold Usagi must decide who she’s willing to stand with and trust, as she goes after deadly foe after deadly foe in her path to the elusive and dangerous Dragonlord.

A former award winning journalist Cindy Lin love reading, yoga and has recently taken up archery and kendo.

Amazon: The Twelve

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Life was perfect for Maren Partridge before her sister’s accident. Now her sister is in a coma and her parent are talking about the hospital bills, and putting her sister Hallie in a long term care facility. Maren knows what this is code for, Hallie never getting better.

While Maren isn’t worried about Hallie she works in her family’s dream shop, with her Gran Gran Lishta where she can hand craft any dream imaginable. The shop only has one rule. Dreams cannot be given without the person consent.

Maren has never had a problem with this until Hallie got sick, if dream can help people with other problems then maybe they can help heal her sister. Maren’s certain she can cure Hallie with a few well-chosen dreams. And when no one is watching, she slips her a flying dream.

But someone is watching, a strange new customer, Ms. Malo to the shop has been watching Maren, and she knows what she’s been up to with trying to heal Hallie. Now she’s planning to blackmail Maren into creating custom nightmares’ for a dark and terrible purpose. Now she must make a choice protect her family or the town she loves?

Nicole Lesrpance is a young adult and middle grade author, and she lives near Boston with her husband, two kids, and two black cats. Her debut MG novel, THE NIGHTMARE THIEF, was published by Sourcebooks Kids. Her debut YA novel, THE WIDE STARLIGHT, was published this month.

Federica Frenna, was the illustrator, and Jordan Kost was the designer for THE NIGHTMARE THIEF

Amazon: The Nightmare Thief

Root Magic

A wonderful book about the Gullah people who I’ve never seen in a middle grade book before (please correct me if I’m wrong!)

Set during 1963 when things are changing for Jezbel Turner. Her beloved grandmother has just passed away. Her family is the target of harassment from the local police deputy. And with school integration beginning in South Carolina Jez and her twin brother are going to start school with a bunch of new kids.

But the biggest change comes from their Uncle Doc who tells them he’s going to train them in rootwork. Jez and her brother Jay have alway been intrested in the African American folk magic, that has been in their family for generations.

They are especially curious about the potions and powers Doc and Gran would make for the people on their island. But Jez soon finds out her family’s power is much bigger than she ever could have imagined, and not a moment too soon. Because her family will have to deal with both natural and supernatural evil as it comes to town and it’s going to take every bit of Jez’s magic to see this problem through.

Eden Royce is from Charleston, South Carolina and is a member of the Gullah-Geechee nation.When she’s not writing or reading, she’s probably roller-skating, watching quiz shows.

Amazon: Root Magic

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash