Posted in Readathons, Recommendations, Wrapup

PokemonAThon Wrap Up

PokemonAThon was fun even though I came in about half way though I managed to get some badges and get to the first evolution of my Pokemon. So what did I read for the badges?

Since some can count twice I’ll show you the books I used and the badges I got as well as any other bonuses I used.

Luminous

Luminous by [Mara Rutherford]

Summary

Liora has spent her life in hiding, knowing discovery could mean falling prey to the king’s warlock, Darius, who uses mages’ magic to grow his own power. But when her worst nightmare comes to pass, Darius doesn’t take her. Instead, he demands that her younger sister return to the capital with him. To make matters worse, Evran, Liora’s childhood friend and the only one who knows her secret, goes missing following Darius’s visit, leaving her without anyone to turn to.

To find Evran and to save her sister, Liora must embrace the power she has always feared. But the greatest danger she’ll face is yet to come, for Darius has plans in motion that will cause the world to fall into chaos—and Liora and Evran may be the only ones who can stop him.

I know close to 400 might not be a heavy book for everyone but it too me awhile to get through, so I thought it fit the the prompt for PokemonAThon. There were spooky and supernatural themes in Luminous so it worked for that prompt. There were also creepy animal companions so I go a great ball for that and a Pokeball for the blue cover.

Amazon: Luminous

Violets are Blue

Violets Are Blue by [Barbara Dee]

Another blue book which got me a bonus for color. This one I used for the ebook for PokemonAThon prompt

Summary

Twelve-year-old Wren loves makeup—special effect makeup, to be exact. When she is experimenting with new looks, Wren can create a different version of herself. A girl who isn’t in a sort-of-best friendship with someone who seems like she hates her. A girl whose parents aren’t divorced and doesn’t have to learn to like her new stepmom.

So, when Wren and her mom move to a new town for a fresh start, she is cautiously optimistic. And things seem to fall into place when Wren meets potential friends and gets selected as the makeup artist for her school’s upcoming production of Wicked.

Only, Wren’s mom isn’t doing so well. She’s taking a lot of naps, starts snapping at Wren for no reason, and always seems to be sick. And what’s worse, Wren keeps getting hints that things aren’t going well at her new job at the hospital, where her mom is a nurse. And after an opening night disaster leads to a heartbreaking discovery, Wren realizes that her mother has a serious problem—a problem that can’t be wiped away or covered up.

After all the progress she’s made, can Wren start over again with her devastating new normal? And will she ever be able to heal the broken trust with her mom?

Amazon: Violets Are Blue

Manu: A Graphic Novel

Summary

A funny and heartwarming middle-grade graphic novel adventure about friendship, defying expectations, and finding your place.Manu and her best friend, Josefina, live at a magical school for girls, and Manu is always getting into trouble. The headmistress believes that Manu has the potential to help people with her magic, but Manu would rather have fun than fall in line. One day, a prank goes seriously wrong, and Josefina gets angry and wishes for Manu’s magic to disappear… and it does. Manu uses a dangerous spell to restore it, but it makes her magic too powerful and nearly impossible to control. Great power comes at a cost, and it may be a price that Manu isn’t able to pay!

This one I used for the PokemonAThon prompt Light Book or a book with nature on the cover.

Overall I think I did pretty well coming in a week late, I’m happy with progress and I think this helped keep me reading it’s over today so I’ll have other readathons to focus on but I really enjoyed this one and would love to do another Pokemon themed one in the future.

Posted in Recommendations, Reviews

Luminous Review

I just finished Luminous yesterday and it was a great read, a interesting magic system. High stakes, likable main characters that grew throughout the book, evil villain with layers, and good resolution. It’s definitely one of my favorite books of the year because of the storyline.

Luminous

Luminous by [Mara Rutherford]

Summary

From the author of Crown of Coral and Pearl comes an immersive new fantasy about a witch who must learn to harness her power—or risk losing her loved ones forever.

Liora has spent her life in hiding, knowing discovery could mean falling prey to the king’s warlock, Darius, who uses mages’ magic to grow his own power. But when her worst nightmare comes to pass, Darius doesn’t take her. Instead, he demands that her younger sister return to the capital with him. To make matters worse, Evran, Liora’s childhood friend and the only one who knows her secret, goes missing following Darius’s visit, leaving her without anyone to turn to.

To find Evran and to save her sister, Liora must embrace the power she has always feared. But the greatest danger she’ll face is yet to come, for Darius has plans in motion that will cause the world to fall into chaos—and Liora and Evran may be the only ones who can stop him.

Review

The author makes a lush and unique fantasy world that I want to spend time in as a reader, not as person because there is a evil leader going on but there are interesting characters I want get to know and that I do get to spend time with throughout the book and get to watch them grow and change. Even the villain, who is evil, isn’t one dimensional.

I also love Liora’s powers, they aren’t like anything I’ve seen in other books, so I have to give Mara Rutherford points for creativity. Everan’s powers are pretty unusual to so it’s nice to see something other than stock powers in a book.

I also love Everan’s mom and her power, and even the villain’s power is interesting, what I think I’m saying is really like the magical system.

You should totally read Luminous it’s a 5 star read and even though it wasn’t a quick read I really enjoyed it.

Amazon: Luminous

Posted in new releases, Recommendations

Prejudice and Power

Check out these new releases for this week. Since November is Native American Hertige Month and it is always a good time to look at the Black and Indigious people face, I’m focusing these books around prejudice and the eventually power from the people that can emerge.

The 1619 Project: Born on the Water

I’m really looking forward to reading this it looks lovely, even though it is about a tough topic I don’t read enough books by BIPOC and I want to change that starting soon as possible and into the New Year.

The 1619 Project’s lyrical picture book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States, thoughtfully rendered by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newbery honor-winning author Renée Watson.

A young student receives a family tree assignment in school, but she can only trace back three generations. Grandma gathers the whole family, and the student learns that 400 years ago, in 1619, their ancestors were stolen and brought to America by white slave traders.
But before that, they had a home, a land, a language. She learns how the people said to be born on the water survived

Amazon: Born on the Water

Killers of the Flower Moon

I’ve been reading lots of Native fiction but not much non-fiction, this sounds like something I should pick up a take a look at especially due to the prejudice of the US government, I want to learn more about how the FBI is involved.

Killers of the Flower Moon: Adapted for Young Readers: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by [David Grann]

The New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist Killers of the Flower Moon is now adapted for young readers.

This book is an essential resource for young readers to learn about the Reign of Terror against the Osage people–one of history’s most ruthless and shocking crimes.

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma, thanks to the oil that was discovered beneath their land. Then, one by one, the Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances, and anyone who tried to investigate met the same end.

As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created Bureau of Investigation, which became the FBI, took up the case, one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations. An undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau, infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Working with the Osage, they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

In this adaptation of the adult bestseller, David Grann revisits his gripping investigation into the shocking crimes against the Osage people. The book is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward Native Americans that allowed the murderers to occur for so long.

Amazon: Killers of the Flower Moon

Posted in Recommendations, Reviews, YARC

Teenager Wren Stories of Markup and Secrets

Summary

Twelve-year-old Wren loves makeup—special effect makeup, to be exact. When she is experimenting with new looks, she can create a different version of herself. A girl who isn’t in a sort-of-best friendship with someone who seems like she hates her. A girl whose parents aren’t divorced and doesn’t have to learn to like her new stepmom.

So, when Wren and her mom move to a new town for a fresh start, she is cautiously optimistic. And things seem to fall into place when Wren meets potential friends and gets selected as the makeup artist for her school’s upcoming production of Wicked.

Only, her mom isn’t doing so well. She’s taking a lot of naps, starts snapping at Wren for no reason, and always seems to be sick. And what’s worse, Wren keeps getting hints that things aren’t going well at her new job at the hospital, where her mom is a nurse. And after an opening night disaster leads to a heartbreaking discovery, Wren realizes that her mother has a serious problem—a problem that can’t be wiped away or covered up.

After all the progress she’s made, can she start over again with her devastating new normal? And will she ever be able to heal the broken trust with her mom?

Violets are Blue Summary

This was a sweet story about a girl trying to fit in, in a new place while also trying to deal with some serious issues, she’s torn between her parents, especially because her mom doesn’t want to hear about her dad or his new life. Also her mom’s problems which she can’t name but certainly senses throughtout the book. she may not know exactly what is wrong but she knows something is wrong and tries to fix it, but also being a kid find herself getting lost in the online special effects makeup world because all this really is too much for someone her age.

Amazon: Violets are Blue

Posted in Readathons, Recommendations

IndigAThon TBR 2021

I said a few days back I was participating in IndigAThon so I thought I’d post my TBR for challenge

1) Group Book “Apple in the Middle”

This is the group book for IdigAThon the year I’m glad it’s YA, The group book last year from what I remember was an adult piece which I don’t read, so I’m glad this is in my wheelhouse.

Summary

Apple Starkington turned her back on her Native American heritage the moment she was called a racial slur for someone of white and Indian descent, not that she really even knew how to be an Indian in the first place. Too bad the white world doesnt accept her either. And so begins her quirky habits to gain acceptance.


Apple’s name, chosen by her Indian mother on her deathbed, has a double meaning: treasured apple of my eye, but also the negative connotation a person who is red, or Indian, on the outside, but white on the inside.


After her wealthy father gives her the boot one summer, Apple reluctantly agrees to visit her Native American relatives on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in northern North Dakota for the first time. Apple learns to deal with the culture shock of Indian customs and the Native Michif language, while she tries to find a connection to her dead mother. She also has to deal with a vengeful Indian man who loved her mother in high school but now hates Apple because her mom married a white man.


Bouncing in the middle of two cultures, Apple meets her Indian relatives, shatters Indian stereotypes, and learns what it means to find her place in a world divided by color. This book has been honored many times including

2020 American Indian Youth Literature Young Adult Book Honors Award


2019 WILLA (Women Writing the West) Finalist


2019 Independent Publisher Award, Gold Medal, Multicultural Young Adult


2019 Independent Press Award for Young Adult Fiction


2018 Winner of the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award for Young Adult Fiction General

So it’s a perfect fit for the IndigAThon group book.

Amazon: Apple in the Middle

2) Read a book with a Indignous Joy “Healer of the Water Monster”

Maybe not what everyone thinks to when they go to joy but I also find a good adventure book to be joyous.

When Nathan goes to visit his grandma, Nali, at her mobile summer home on the Navajo reservation, he knows he’s in for a pretty uneventful summer, with no electricity or cell service. Still, he loves spending time with Nali and with his uncle Jet, though it’s clear when Jet arrives that he brings his problems with him.

One night, while lost in the nearby desert, Nathan finds someone extraordinary: a Holy Being from the Navajo Creation Story—a Water Monster—in need of help.

Now Nathan must summon all his courage to save his new friend. With the help of other Navajo Holy Beings, Nathan is determined to save the Water Monster, and to support Uncle Jet in healing from his own pain.

Amazon: Healer of the Water Monster

3) Host Recommendations “In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse”

This book could have fit the IndigAThon Elder prompt but I decided to use it for this one since I’d read all the other host kidlit host recommendations.

Jimmy McClean is a Lakota boy, though you wouldn’t guess it by his name. His mother is Lakota, and his father is half white and half Lakota. Over summer break, Jimmy embarks on a journey with his grandfather, Nyles High Eagle. While on the road, his grandfather tells him the story of Crazy Horse, one of the most important figures in Lakota, and American, history.

Expertly intertwining fiction and nonfiction, celebrated Brulé Lakota author Joseph Marshall III chronicles the many heroic deeds of Crazy Horse, especially his taking up arms against the U.S. government. He fiercely fought against encroachments on the territories and way of life of the Lakota people, including leading a war party to victory at the Battle of the Greasy Grass (the Battle of the Little Bighorn) and playing a major and dangerous role as decoy at the Battle of the Hundred in the Hands (the Fetterman Battle). With Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse was the last of the Lakota to surrender his people to the U.S. Army. Through his grandfather’s tales about the famous warrior, Jimmy learns about his Lakota heritage and, ultimately, himself.

Drawing references and inspiration from the oral stories of the Lakota tradition, Marshall gives readers an insider’s perspective on the life of Tasunke Witko, better known as Crazy Horse.

Amazon: In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse

4) Non Fiction”The Sea Ringed World”

I’ve been meaning to read this book since last year but this prompt for IndigAThon gave me the perfect reason. I’m looking forward to reading more about the stories that make up the origin stories of the tribes of North and South American

Fifteen thousand years before Europeans stepped foot in the Americas, people had already spread from tip to tip and coast to coast. Like all humans, these Native Americans sought to understand their place in the universe, the nature of their relationship with the divine, and the origin of the world into which their ancestors had emerged. The answers lay in their sacred stories.

Amazon: The Sea Ringed World

5) Land Acknowledgement “Long Ago Stories of the Eastern Cherokee”

I loved this new category of Land Acknowledgement, and was glad there was a book on Kindle Unlimted that fit this prompt for IndigAThon. I’m looking forward to learning a lot of native stories this year.

In this priceless and engaging collection, native Cherokee and professional storyteller Lloyd Arneach recounts tales such as how the bear lost his long bushy tail and how the first strawberry came to be.

Amazon: Long Ago Stories of the Eastern Cherokee

6) Favorite Color on the Cover “Jo Jo Makoons”

Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend by [Dawn Quigley, Tara Audibert]

Hello/Boozhoo—meet Jo Jo Makoons! Full of pride, joy, and plenty of humor, this first book in an all-new chapter book series by Dawn Quigley celebrates a spunky young Ojibwe girl who loves who she is.

Jo Jo Makoons Azure is a spirited seven-year-old who moves through the world a little differently than anyone else on her Ojibwe reservation. It always seems like her mom, her kokum (grandma), and her teacher have a lot to learn—about how good Jo Jo is at cleaning up, what makes a good rhyme, and what it means to be friendly.

Even though Jo Jo loves her #1 best friend Mimi (who is a cat), she’s worried that she needs to figure out how to make more friends. Because Fern, her best friend at school, may not want to be friends anymore…

Amazon: Jojo Makoons

7) Book of Poetry “Fry Bread: “A Native American Family Story”

I’ve thought this book was cute for ages, plus I really want to try fry bread some day, because after reading about it, sound yummy. So when this prompt for Indigathon came up I knew I had to read this book.

Told in lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpre Award winner and Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal.

Fry bread is food
.
It is warm and delicious, piled high on a plate.

Fry bread is time.
It brings families together for meals and new memories.

Fry bread is nation.
It is shared by many, from coast to coast and beyond.

Fry bread is us.
It is a celebration of old and new, traditional and modern, similarity and difference.

Amazon: Fry Bread

8) A book with an Elder protagonist “Indian Shoes”

I love anything Cynthia Leitch Smith puts her hands on but I hadn’t read this classic. So for IndigAThon this fit the prompt and I decided to pick it up.

Indian Shoes by [Cynthia Leitich Smith, MaryBeth Timothy]

The beloved chapter book by New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith about the love and adventures shared by a Cherokee-Seminole boy and his Grampa now has brand-new illustrations! A perfect pick for new readers.

What do Indian shoes look like, anyway? Like beautiful beaded moccasins… or hightops with bright orange shoelaces?

Ray Halfmoon prefers hightops, but he gladly trades them for a nice pair of moccasins for his grampa. After all, it’s Grampa Halfmoon who’s always there to help Ray get in and out of scrapes—like the time they teamed up to pet sit for the whole block during a holiday blizzard!

Award-winning author Cynthia Leitich Smith writes with wit and candor about a boy and his grandfather, sharing all their love, joy, and humor.

Amazon: Indian Shoes

Check out some Indigenous literature this November even if you aren’t taking part in the challenge! There is a whole lot to offer in all genres. And think about joining IndigAThon, these prompts are flexible enough to fit any reading style/ age range.

Posted in Feature, Recommendations

Samhain Favorites Book List

Happy Halloween/Samhain everyone! Plaid Reader here, I thought I’d give you a little Samhain surprise and do a list of my favorite scary books from the past few years. I’m still held up being sick from the COVID booster so I’m around but not very useful. Shoot me a comment or tweet me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

1) The Cassidy Blake Series by Victoria Schwab

Perfect for the younger set but nice as a comfort read for the older set. Where Cassidy goes ghosts follow or is it the other way around? With a lovely cast of side characters, including a ghost best friend and clueless parents and great black cat. These books are a can’t miss! I imagine Cassidy celebrating Samhain with Grim and Jacob at her parents latest film destination.

City of Ghosts by [Victoria Schwab]

Amazon: City of Ghosts

2) The Contagion Series by Erin Bowman

If you think being stuck on a planet full of zombies during eternal night when people keep turning into zombies isn’t scary enough imagine being the rookie roped into the mission trying to stay alive. Then imagine being the survivor from the previous ship where everyone got zombiefied and you have decide whether or not to trust the current crew. With more action in the second book, Thea, Nova and Coen could all use an escape to a sunny beach for Samhain. I see them lighting candles on Samhain with Thea’s mom and Coen’s sister on some planet with long days and sunny afternoons.

Contagion by [Erin Bowman]

Amazon: Contagion

3)The Darkdeep Series by Allie Condie and Brendan Reichs

The Darkdeep Series follows a group of friends as they become guardians and deal with with the problems of dark puddle in the bottom of an old boat that can conjure your greatest wishes or darkest fears. As the series goes on they learn more about the portal and the portal’s powers. I imagine the group sharing a meal for Samhain on the houseboat, they’ve had a tough time with Halloweens, so I imagine they’d keep things quiet maybe some smores.

The Darkdeep by [Ally Condie, Brendan Reichs]

Amazon:The Darkdeep

4) Before I Let Go-Marie Najkamp

Since the book itself follows Kyra’s suicide, and the town’s frightening attempt to hunt Corey down because she comes looking for knowledge about her friend. I imagine in the future on Samhain she puts up some kind of ofrenda for Kyra to celebrate her life.

Before I Let Go by [Marieke Nijkamp]

Amazon: Before I Let Go

5)The Nightmare Thief

I imagine now that Hallie is awake the Dream Shop is somewhat back to normal. I think Maren has learned her lesson about making nightmares after her adventure with Obscura. I think she and Gran Gran now make only slightly spooky dreams for Samhain and keep it mostly cute. I think she, her parents, Hallie and Gran Gran and maybe Henri are having a dinner at one of the fun magical bake shops of Rockpool Bay.

Amazon: The Nightmare Thief

6) Even If We Break

Five go into a cabin in the woods but who comes out alive? Part RPG mystery part locked room mystery part simply awesome Even If We Break set my standard now for who survives the horror movies. I don’t want to give who survives away. (IT’S TOO GOOD A TWIST). But I imagine they are living out their post high school dreams. I can see them as the type to dress up and give out candy to the little ones and do a display on their apartment door.

Amazon: Even If We Break

7) Willa of Dark Hollow

Willa wouldn’t really celebrate Samhain but she would respect the turning of seasons and like the idea of humans observing and respecting nature. Since she already does that all the time anyway.

Amazon: Willa of Dark Hollow

8) The Companion

Margot and Agatha totally celebrate Samhain and are busy making protection charms just in case Laura ever gets released from the state facility. Margot also has an ofrenda to her family.

The Companion by [Katie Alender]

Amazon: The Companion

9)Dark Waters

This is just the latest outing in the Small Spaces Quartet. I can see each character having different feelings about Samhain, I can see Ollie starting off as suspicious because of everything she’s been through with the Smiling Man. I can see Coco jumping right in because she’s smart but has a gut for what good or bad when it comes to spooky. I can also see Brian being weary because of his Smiling Man experiences but eventually having a good time and the three of them and their parents all having a Samhain dinner at the Egg.

Dark Waters (Small Spaces Quartet Book 3) by [Katherine Arden]

Amazon: Dark Waters

10) Ghost Girl

Since Zee is totally a young witch I can totally see her in a crystal shop on Samhain then hanging out with Elijah, and Nellie and her father and sister over some sort of meal and maybe sharing one of her ghost stories.

Amazon: Ghost Girl

11) What Lives In The Woods

After the summer she had in the woods of Michigan, I can see Ginny spend Samhain maybe helping her mom bake a cake to celebrate Samhain, and remembering one spirit in particular. I can see her trying to solve another mystery and maybe helping the dead.

Amazon: What Lives In the Woods

Posted in new releases, Recommendations

Wizardry of New Releases

It’s the week before Halloween so expect a few magical books to come out this week. Watch the authors use their wizardry as we see some new great books.

The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams

It’s 1944 Sutton, NY, and Poppy’s family owns and runs, Rhyme and Reason, a magical bookshop that caters to people from all different places and time periods. Though her world is ravaged by World War II, customers hail from the past and the future, infusing the shop with a delightful mix of ideas and experiences.
 
Poppy dreams of someday becoming shopkeeper like her father, though her older brother, Al, is technically next in line for the job. She knows all of the rules handed down from one generation of Bookseller to the next, especially their most important one: shopkeepers must never use the magic for themselves.
 
But then Al’s best friend is killed in the war and her brother wants to use the magic of the shop to save him. With her father in the hospital suffering from a mysterious illness, the only one standing between Al and the bookstore is Poppy. Caught between her love for her brother and loyalty to her family, she knows her brother’s actions could have devastating consequences that reach far beyond the bookshop as an insidious, growing Darkness looms. This decision is bigger than Poppy ever dreamed, and the fate of the bookshops hangs in the balance.

Come check out the wizardry of this book:

Amazon: The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams

Frankie and Amelia

I’m interested in this book for several reasons. One I love the relationship between cats and people, two I want to read anything with autism in it and three this just sounds like a good book.

Frankie and Amelia by [Cammie McGovern]

After being separated from his family, Franklin becomes an independent cat, until he meets a goofy dog named Chester. Chester is a service dog to his person, a boy named Gus, and Chester knows just the girl to be Franklin’s person—Gus’s classmate, Amelia.

Amelia loves cats, but has a harder time with people. Franklin understands her, though, and sees how much they have in common. When Amelia gets into some trouble at school, Franklin wants to help the girl who’s done so much to help him. He’s not sure how, yet, but he’s determined to try.

This sweet and moving novel demonstrates how powerful the bond between pets and people can be, while thoughtfully depicting a neurodivergent tween’s experience.

Find your copy here at:

Amazon: Frankie and Amelia

What Will My Story Be? 

From the creator of Pashmina, its a lovely new picture book.

From the creator of the critically acclaimed graphic novel Pashmina, comes a new picture book that encourages kids to be their most creative selves and to imagine all the places that their stories can take them.

After spending an afternoon listening to her aunties tell her stories from their pasts, a young girl ruminates on all of the tales that she can create using her imagination and begins to feel as if the possibilities for her future are endless. Filled with Nidhi Chanani’s signature vibrant illustrations, What Will My Story Be? is for anyone who finds inspiration in the quiet moments and cherishes the wisdom of the generations that came before them. Perfect for fans of Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal, Drawn Together by Minh Le and Dan Santat, and You Matter by Christian Robinson. It has the wizardry of figuring out your own story.

You can find it here at

Amazon: What Will My Story Be

Keep your eye out this week for some spooky book reviews and a special surprise on Halloween!

Posted in Recommendations

Spooky and Mysterious Adventures

It’s September so I can finally say it’s spooky season, even though it’s been spooky season in my heart since you know mid-July. So here are some spooky and mysterious new releases to match the hopefully soon coming fall. Check them out below.

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by [Nancy Springer]

Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of her more famous brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. But she has all the wits, skills, and sleuthing inclinations of them both. At fifteen, she’s an independent young woman–after all, her name spelled backwards reads ‘alone’–and living on her own in London. When a young professional woman, Miss Letitia Glover, shows up on Sherlock’s doorstep, desperate to learn more about the fate of her twin sister, it is Enola who steps up. It seems her sister, the former Felicity Glover, married the Earl of Dunhench and per a curt note from the Earl, has died. But Letitia Glover is convinced this isn’t the truth, that she’d know–she’d feel–if her twin had died.

The Earl’s note is suspiciously vague and the death certificate is even more dubious, signed it seems by a John H. Watson, M.D. (who denies any knowledge of such). The only way forward is for Enola to go undercover–or so Enola decides at the vehement objection of her brother. And she soon finds out that this is not the first of the Earl’s wives to die suddenly and vaguely–and that the secret to the fate of the missing Felicity is tied to a mysterious black barouche that arrived at the Earl’s home in the middle of the night. To uncover the secrets held tightly within the Earl’s hall, Enola is going to require help–from Sherlock, from the twin sister of the missing woman, and from an old friend, the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether!

Amazon: Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche

The Dollhouse

The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story by [Charis Cotter]

Alice’s world is falling apart. Her parents are getting a divorce, and they’ve cancelled their yearly cottage trip — the one thing that gets Alice through the school year. Instead, Alice and her mom are heading to some small town where Alice’s mom will be a live-in nurse to a rich elderly lady.

The house is huge, imposing and spooky, and everything inside is meticulously kept and perfect — not a fun place to spend the summer. Things start to get weird when Alice finds a dollhouse in the attic that’s an exact replica of the house she’s living in. Then she wakes up to find a girl asleep next to her in her bed — a girl who looks a lot like one of the dolls from the dollhouse . . .

When the dollhouse starts to change when Alice isn’t looking, she knows she has to solve the mystery. Who are the girls in the dollhouse? What happened to them? And what is their connection to the mean and mysterious woman who owns the house? What’s truly going on in this spooky adventure?

Amazon: The Dollhouse

The Collectors (Fright Watch #2) by [Lorien Lawrence]

After defeating the Oldies, Quinn and Mike thought that things would settle down on Goodie Lane. But then new neighbors move in. Maybe it’s because they all work at the interior design firm, but Abigail, Eleanor, Jade, Brea, and Cami seem to always be together, dressed in only white.

After everything that happened last summer, Quinn’s a bit wary of the Ladies in White, but her friend Lex is thrilled that someone in town finally has some style. But when Lex starts volunteering at the Ladies’ design firm, things get strange. Lex is acting less like herself, and Quinn begins seeing strange shadows lurking in their neighborhood. She knows the Ladies are to blame; she just has to prove it.

Twisty and haunting, The Collectors is the second book in the Fright Watch series, Check out the sequel in this spooky adventure.

Amazon: The Collectors

So is everyone as ready for fall as I am, comment on your favorite fall read below!

Posted in backlog reviews, Recommendations, Reviews

Baseball and Salty Snacks: A Summer Adventure

Summary

Much Ado About Baseball by [Rajani LaRocca]

If you loved Midsummer Mayhem you’ll love this companion novel about the salty side and sports-based side to Lady Titania and Lord Oberon’s summer wager where baseball plays an important part.

Twelve-year-old Trish can solve tough math problems and throw a mean fastball. But because of her mom’s new job, she’s now facing a summer trying to make friends all over again in a new town. That isn’t an easy thing to do, and her mom is too busy to notice how miserable she is.

But at her first baseball practice, Trish realizes one of her teammates is Ben, the sixth-grade math prodigy she beat in the spring Math Puzzler Championships. Everyone around them seems to think that with their math talent and love of baseball, it’s only logical that Trish and Ben become friends, but Ben makes it clear he still hasn’t gotten over that loss and can’t stand her. To make matters worse, their team can’t win a single game. But then they meet Rob, an older kid who smacks home runs without breaking a sweat. Rob tells them about his family’s store, which sells unusual snacks that will make them better ballplayers. Trish is dubious, but she’s willing to try almost anything to help the team.

When a mysterious booklet of math puzzles claiming to reveal the “ultimate answer” arrives in her mailbox, Trish and Ben start to get closer and solve the puzzles together. Ben starts getting hits, and their team becomes unstoppable. Trish is happy to keep riding the wave of good luck . . . until they get to a puzzle they can’t solve, with tragic consequences. Can they find the answer to this ultimate puzzle, or will they strike out when it counts the most?

Review

I’ve been waiting for this book since I finished Midsummer Mayhem came out. I LOVED Midsummer Mayhem and I loved this book as well, I thought I couldn’t find a protagonist as interesting after Mimi since I’m a baker myself. But Trish and Ben stole my heart along with their teammates and the entry of the faries and Lord Oberon was especially well done. I especially loved how the faries responded to the ‘mistakes’ in Midsummer Nights Dream. Oh, and Ben’s dog was a sweetheart. Overall, I wasn’t sure that Midsummer Mayhem could be followed up but I’m glad I was wrong. This book is charming and the character development is on point and the story leaves the characters better than it found them. 5/5

I love most anything Rajani LaRocca touches, so more of this, please.

Amazon: Much Ado About Baseball

Posted in Discussion, Path Or Pantheon, Recommendations, Wrapup

Rock Camp Fatigue: Blog Update

Rock Camp was wonderful and self affirming and seeing the youth and all my fellow volunteers was the highlight of the summer. Now it’s just waiting till fall. Seriously it’s the best thing in the summer, then I have to wait for the air to cool down and for it to be my birthday and spooky season. I have some friends with August birthdays and I’m excited for that, but seriously I don’t like summer even though summer has been really mild here.

I also learned a lesson, don’t try and do a readathon during July, don’t make high reading goals during July. I was too caught up with camp and setting myself up for failure. I think I’ll have much more luck with the readathon I’m planning for August. Though I really do hope Make Your Myth taker shows up again soon because I loved the challenges from Path or Pantheon they just came at a bad time life wise. I’d love to do something about reading for Rock Camp next year but I’m not sure what that would look like just yet. I did a workshop on tarot that went well. So I’m sure I could build something cool.

Anyway expect to see me slowly getting back in the flow of the blog. I did not mean to gone for so long but camp is literally my most important and rewarding volunteer activity all year so sometimes things have to take a backseat.

As for what I’m currently up to while recovering from Rock Camp, I’m playing lots of video games, I’m working my way through Horizon: Zero Dawn and I just got Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin because I needed something like Pokemon until the next Pokemon game came out.

I’m also reading The Companion by Katie Alender. It is very good for a late summer spooky book.