Posted in Reviews

Allergic: A Graphic Novel Review

Allergic: A Graphic Novel

Allergic: A Graphic Novel by [Megan Wagner Lloyd, Michelle Mee Nutter]

Summary

A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl who is allergic to most pets, but still wants to find her perfect friend.

At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with getting ready for a new baby, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie loves animals and thinks a new puppy to call her own is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She’s severely allergic to anything with fur!

Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet?

Allergic Author/Illustrator

With illustrations by Michelle Mee Nutter, Megan Wagner Lloyd uses inspiration from her own experiences with allergies to tell a heartfelt story of family, friendship, and finding a place to belong.

Review

The idea of being allergic-like Maggie would be so hard, but the allergies are just masking her larger problem which is the loneliness she feels in her family. But as she tries and fails at having different pets and her mom progresses in her pregnancy, she realizes she maybe has a place after all and that her role as a big sister is important, and that she doesn’t need a pet to fill the void, that her family is already there.

Amazon: Allergic

Posted in Reviews

How to Become a Planet Review

How to Become a Planet by [Nicole Melleby]

Summary

Named after a planet, Pluto for summer has always started with a trip to the planetarium to see her namesake planet. The trip is the launch of her favorite season into her favorite season which also includes visits to the boardwalk arcade, working in her mom’s pizzeria, and her best friend Meredith’s birthday party. But this summer, none of that feels possible.
 
A month before the end of the school year, Pluto’s frightened mom broke down Pluto’s bedroom door. What came next were doctor’s appointments, a diagnosis of depression, and a big black hole that still sits on Pluto’s chest, making it too hard to do anything.
 
Pluto can’t explain to her mom why she can’t do the things she used to love. And it isn’t until Pluto’s dad threatens to make her move with him to the city—where he believes his money, in particular, could help—that Pluto becomes desperate enough to do whatever it takes to be the old Pluto again.
 
She develops a plan and a checklist: If she takes her medication, if she goes to the planetarium with her mom for her birthday, if she successfully finishes her summer school work with her tutor, if she goes to Meredith’s birthday party . . . if she does all the things that “normal” Pluto would do, she can stay with her mom in Jersey. But it takes a new therapist, a new tutor, and a new (and cute) friend with a checklist and plan of her own for Pluto to learn that there is no old and new Pluto. There’s just her.

Review

This book was a great representation for anxiety and depression. It also did a good time showing recovery from a mental break down, the fact that recovery isn’t linear and that some times things have to change not because you had a breakdown but because they were wrong in the first place. My absolutely favorite character is Pluto ‘friend’ Fallon. I also think that Pluto helping them completing their list. Really helped Pluto with her depression and in the end helped Pluto ask some hard questions she needed to ask of her parents.

Finally I love how certain things were just accepted and nothing was said about it and I wish we lived in a world like that.

Amazon: How to Become a Planet

Posted in Recommendations, Reviews

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids Review

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids by [Cynthia Leitich Smith]

Summary

Ancestor Approved was a delightful collection that wove stories from talented storytellers and poets. It was edited by the wonderful award-winning and bestselling Cynthia Leitich Smith it shows hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. The event of Ancestor approved are all shown at the events at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In a high school gym full of color and song, people dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. Young protagonists will meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another (plus one scrappy rez dog).

They are the heroes of their own stories.

Featuring stories and poems by:
Joseph Bruchac
Art Coulson
Christine Day
Eric Gansworth
Carole Lindstrom
Dawn Quigley
Rebecca Roanhorse
David A. Robertson
Andrea L. Rogers
Kim Rogers
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Monique Gray Smith
Traci Sorell,
Tim Tingle
Erika T. Wurth
Brian Young

In partnership with We Need Diverse Books.

Review

Ancestor Approved was woven together masterfully. I realized the book was an anthology, but once I caught on they were all happening at the same place (at about Rez Dog) it was magical now I want to go back and reread it to go back and spot the characters I missed in the earlier stories that I pick up in the later ones. There were so many good stories in here, but I think my favorite was the one about Bad Dog and Big Loon, because of the ending. Other favorites include the boy who couldn’t ‘read’ and the boy and girl at the raffle. Truly there wasn’t a story I didn’t like in the bunch and sped through this book in a few days.

Five stars loved the book and I would totally add it to my personal collection. Great book for your brain and your cultural understanding.

Amazon: Ancestor Approved

Posted in Reviews

The Sea in Winter

The Sea in Winter

The Sea in Winter by [Christine Day]

Summary

Maisie Cannon has had a rough year, ever since she hurt her leg and couldn’t keep up with her ballet training and auditions the emotional and physical toll that’s taking on her bothers her more than she realizes.

Her blended family is loving and supportive, but Maisie knows that they just can’t understand how hopeless she feels.

But with everything that’s going on with her (ex?) friends ballet successes, troubles in school, and perhaps unrealistic hopes for her recovery. Maisie is not excited about their family midwinter road trip along the coast, near the Makah community where her mother grew up.

But soon, Maisie’s anxieties and dark moods start to hurt as much as the pain in her knee. How can she keep pretending to be strong when on the inside she feels as roiling and cold as the sea?

Will she be able to get to find a way to move forward with her new circumstances? Or will she allow herself to be stuck in the past?

Review

When I started this book earlier in the year I wasn’t ready to pick it up. But this was definitely the book I needed for right now. I’m in a similar place as the book’s protagonist. Since I injured my ankle in January I’ve struggled with wanting to be in the same place I was before the injury. I often want to have the same level of energy. It’s been a challenge not to push myself to where I was before, and even when I do something

I think shouldn’t make me tired and does, it’s tough not to be angry that I can’t do more. For example, I’ve only been healing for 5 months and I want to think about roller skating, realistically I should be thinking about this 1-2 years out, but my brain is still annoyed with what I can’t do. So I get Maisie’s frustration and I’m trying to redirect my energy into a more positive place.

Amazon: The Sea in Winter

Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

Posted in Reviews

Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp

Oh Goosebumps, whoever sure who decided to give go-ahead for Marieke Nijkamp to write a comic adaptation had a very good idea. This piece was excellent. I may be a bit bias. I am a huge fan of Nijkamp in the first place. However, I’ll go over the reasons I loved it in the review.

Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp by [Marieke Nijkamp, Yasmin Florez Montanez, Yasmin Flores Montanez]

Summary

Twelve-year-old Blake was shipped off to her weird Aunt in Fever Swamp for the Summer. Lucky for her at least there is the internet and her favorite game Lore Hunter. lake’s never let anything–including her prosthetic hand–slow her down or stop her from crushing her opponents in a game of Lore Hunter.

But when she learns she’s going to meet the person on the top of the leaderboard in Lore Hunter in person, she’s hesitant. What’s she like in real life after all. Lily seems nice but ready for a real-life adventure she wants to go into the swamps to see what’s really there and when her other friend won’t go with her she ropes Blake in for the ride.

Soon Blake finds herself she finds herself in a spooky turf war between werewolves and wolf hunters! But real-life monsters on all sides take danger and fear to a whole new level, and Blake will need to use all of her gaming skills to escape.

Review

I don’t know if there were meant to be racial undertones here. However, most of the werewolves seemed to be people of color. While most of the wolf hunters were white or appeared white. So I thought that was worth noting especially since Fever Swamp brings to me an image of the South in the US and all the soci-political issues thereabouts. Perhaps I’m reading too much in it but Goosebumps books are never written down to kids or teens so who knows.

I really liked the friendship that developed between one of the female werewolves and Blake, it was someone Blake knew from before so the surprise reveal was interesting.

Finally I loved the end of the comic I really hope there is a volume two!

Amazon: Goosebumps:Secrets of the Swamp

Photo by Krystian Piątek on Unsplash

Posted in Reviews

Black Widow: Forever Red

So apparently I can’t get enough Marvel lately. Who else is excited about Loki? Because I know I am. Another thing I excited about for the long-overdue Black Widow movie. So to keep up with the fact that I need more Marvel I’ve been reading some of the spin-off books.

Black Widow: Forever Red (A Marvel YA Novel) by [Margaret Stohl]

Summary

The novel focuses on Black Widow’s past in the Red Room. Natasha Romanoff is there to finish off Ivan the man who caused her so many scars when he was running the Red Room. But when she comes to collect she finds Ivan with a new child running some kind of experiment. She manages to kill him or so she thinks and and send the girl to be raised by S.H.I.E.L.D. with the promise to come if the girl, Ava ever needs her.

Cut to eight years later and Ava has broken out of S.H.I.E.L.D protection and isn’t looking back, she’s also got a major chip on her shoulder about Black Widow, who promised to help her as a child but whom she hasn’t seen since. Not to mention the dreams she has of a boy she’s not sure is real, Alexei.

Alex Major is very much real and like Ava on the way to a fencing tournament in Philly. Where they will run head to head into each other, Black Widow and danger.

Before things are over they will run into Avengers and adventure and all of their pasts, and everything is not as it seems.

Review

This was action packed and easily believable as part of the Marvel Universe. I’m reading the sequel now so that should be up soonish too. I especially like Ava as a counter to Natasha, one because seeing Natasha annoyed by teens and people who are like her is its own degree of amusing. Two because Ava is a well written character she may be like Natasha but she’s different and I really like her personality. I also like some of the memories that certain people share when they get their memory back even if it’s bittersweet.

Amazon: Black Widow: Forever Red

Posted in Reviews

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

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

Summary:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review

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

Photo by Leah Berman on Unsplash

Posted in ARCs, new releases, Reviews

Willa of Dark Hollow Review

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

Willa Smoky Mountains

Review

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

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

Amazon: Willa of Dark Hollow

Posted in Author Recommendations, Giveaway, new releases, Reviews

Foreverland Book Tour

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

Foreverland by [Nicole C. Kear]

Summary

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

Purchase Foreverland

Foreverland Author

Foreverland Author

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

Foreverland Giveaway Information

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

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

Posted in Reviews

Song for a Whale Review

Summary

Iris is a tech genius. If you put any old radio in her hands she’ll have it running like it was never broken. But being the only D/d student at a hearing school makes her feel out of place. She has an interpreter and all but people often treat her like she’s not very smart. She feel like she’s not truly seen or heard.

When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales she understands how he must feel. Iris who is already interested in sound waves from her interest in old radios has an idea. What if she creates a song for Blue 55, a way to sing back to him.

Even after she creates her song, how will she ever get it to him, he’s with a little luck and a little help from her grandma. The two of them take a trip that Iris will never forget. But will she get to play her song in time.

Review

I like the way this book explored D/deaf issues. I am in no way an expert on these issues but I did like the connection between Iris and her grandmother. Some children don’t learn sign language the way they that would make them more able to communicate. Communication is the real theme of this book and Iris comes back from her journey to see 55 as a better communicator and able to finally tell her parents what she wants, her grandmother also finds her voice.

This book is a five/five. I’d totally read it again. I would suggest this book for Disability Readathon but it’s not #OwnVoices. The author however is a long-time interpreter, but I don’t know about the feelings in the D/deaf community about interpreters writing stories so that might be an issue.

Amazon: Song For a Whale

Photo by Cameron Venti on Unsplash