Posted in backlog reviews, Reviews

Hide and Don’t Seek Review

Hide and Don’t Seek was a great spooky anthology book, some stories were spookier than others but they were all pretty scary for the age group. I enjoyed reading this book back in September when it came out, I think I may have read all the spooky books too early because now not many are coming out in October.

Hide and Don’t Seek: And Other Very Scary Stories

Hide and Don't Seek: And Other Very Scary Stories by [Anica Mrose Rissi]

Summary

A contemporary collection of original short stories by Anica Mrose Rissi that is sure to elicit chills, laughs, and screams, even from the most devoted fans of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark!

A game of hide-and-seek goes on far too long…

A look-alike doll makes itself right at home…

A school talent-show act leaves the audience aghast…

And a summer at camp takes a turn for the braaaains

This collection of all-new spooky stories is sure to keep readers up past their bedtimes, looking over their shoulders to see what goes bump in the night.

So if you’re feeling brave, turn the page.

Amazon: Hide and Don’t Seek

Review

As I said before I think these were pretty scary stories for the age group for which they were directed (8-12). It was compared to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I’d agree with that comparison but I’d also compare it to Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces Quartet. They definitely aren’t slasherly just psychological horror. Which may be good depending on what you’re looking for.

I had a couple favorites the school talent show one was very good. And the Hide and Seek one were both good. Anyway if you are looking for some short reads for and a good anthology. Check out Hide and Seek and Other Very Scary Stories. It’s definitely worth your time and a good read for the season

Posted in backlog reviews, Reviews

Not Your All American Girl-Backlog Reviews

So I’ve been reading pretty seriously to try to catch up with my shortage earlier in the year. Thanks again broken ankle, we all love you, not. But I’ve been reserving no time to write up these book review meaning I have reviews going back to August. I’m going to try to remedy that by posting at least one backlog review a week. This book was a great one from Scholastic. I know Scholastic has been under fire lately but I trust the brand and will continue to support them here.

Not Your All-American Girl

Not Your All-American Girl by [Wendy Wan-Long Shang, Madelyn Rosenberg]

Summary

Lauren and her best friend, Tara, have always done absolutely everything together. So when they don’t have any classes together in sixth grade, it’s disastrous. The solution? Trying out for the school play. Lauren, who loves to sing, wonders if maybe, just maybe, she will be the star instead of Tara this time.

But when the show is cast, Lauren lands in the ensemble, while Tara scores the lead role. Their teacher explains: Lauren just doesn’t look the part of the all-American girl. What audience would believe that she, half-Jewish, half-Chinese Lauren, was the everygirl star from Pleasant Valley, USA?

From amidst the ensemble, Lauren tries to support her best friend. But when she is not bring herself to sing anymore, her spot in the play and her friendship are in jeopardy. With the help of a button-making business, the music of Patsy Cline, and her two bickering grandmothers, can Lauren find her voice again?

Review

This book makes great points about open casting, in this way it reminds of Chance to Fly. I especially loved a quote towards the end of the of the book where they are talking about how Alice in Wonderland is going to be their play next year and the teacher talks about how it’s always been done and Lauren says about the casting how about let them wonder. I love how Lauren found her voice through Patsy Cline and how she thought she was Jewish and I loved the interaction between her Chinese and Jewish grandmothers. The solution the cast found to play in the book was excellent.

Overall 5/5.

Amazon: Not Your All American Girl

Posted in backlog reviews, Reviews

The Brave

The Brave is meant to be a lovely novel about overcoming health issues of the mind and body. It’s also meant to be about Native American ways of doing things. However it relies deeply on caricatures and the idea of Native American spiritualism.

The Brave by [James Bird]

Summary

Collin can’t help himself—he has a unique condition that finds him counting every letter spoken to him. It’s a quirk that makes him a prime target for bullies, and a continual frustration to the adults around him, including his father.

When Collin asked to leave yet another school, his dad decides to send him to live in Minnesota with the mother he’s never met. She is Ojibwe, and lives on a reservation. Collin arrives in Duluth with his loyal dog, Seven, and quickly finds his mom and his new home to be warm, welcoming, and accepting of his condition.

Collin’s quirk is matched by that of his neighbor, Orenda, a girl who lives mostly in her treehouse and believes she is turning into a butterfly. With Orenda’s help, Collin works hard to overcome his challenges. His real test comes when he must step up for his new friend and trust his new family.

Review

To quote the The Circle a publication of Native American News and Arts ” How closely did they read? Granted, the story is make believe and brimming with magic and mystery and ghosts, but this magic and mystery depicts wooden caricatures in a fake reservation setting. Insight into why adults do what they do is rarely offered. All we learn is that one drinks too much alcohol, another is always getting into or out of her truck, and a wise, spooky grandmother appears and disappears.” They go on say of The Brave ” He is also welcomed by a next door neighbor – Orenda – who spends most of her time in a treehouse. Orenda, wise beyond her years, teaches Collin to be brave when faced with adversity. Sick with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Orenda predicts that one day she will turn into a butterfly. As Orenda loses strength, Collin gains strength both mentally and physically. With the help of some kind of medicine man and after turning into a wolf and killing a boogeyman, or dreaming that, Collin is mostly free from his OCD.

I personally can’t speak to another spiritual tradition but Collin losing his OCD just seemed too easy as someone with OCD myself. Feel free to argue with me in the comments. While the book was an attempt to be a book about improving oneself. It came off as putting Native American caricatures and the over used idea of Native American spiritualism.

Amazon: The Brave

Additional Reading

“The Brave” is compelling, but could do without the stereotypes

Posted in backlog reviews, Reviews

Infinity Courts: A Sweeping Fantasy

The Infinity Courts swept me away I seriously got annoyed when I learned the sequel wasn’t out till next April because the book was THAT good. Also the cliff hanger was great but what I’m saying is I need more of this story stat.

The Infinity Courts by [Akemi Dawn Bowman]

Summary

Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.

The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.

When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen of Infinity, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.

As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.

Review

Bowman definitely does a good job creating a whole different world. The part of the world we spend the most time in Victory is very well fleshed out. The different lands that are threatened are also hinted at just enough to be ominous but still mysterious. As for the characters the entire rebel group is well flesh out. I especially liked how reluctant Nami was to help the group, she tried to shy away from conflict sometimes to her own detriment but she wasn’t going for that Chosen One role, she just happened to be the only one who could do a job and struggled deeply with having to do it, the book also has a couple major plot twist especially the one at the end that I liked and I can’t wait to see how they play out in the sequel.

If you want surprise, morally grey characters, and a really beautifully thought out world give The Infinity Courts a try

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 backlog reviews, Reviews

The Most Beautiful Thing Review

The Most Beautiful Thing

Summary

Based on the author Kao Kalia Yang’s childhood. Yang, a Hmong refugee shows her family’s experience with lots of love not a lot of money. The story focuses on Kalia and her beloved grandmother, the book moves back and forth from the jungles of Laos to the family’s early years in the United States. Sharing the Kalia’s grandmother’s story along with their own.

When Kalia becomes tired of having to do without and decides she wants braces to improve her smile, her grandmother who has just one tooth in her mouth, helps her see that true beauty isn’t skin deep. And instead with family and those we love most.

This stunning intergenerational tale is brought to life by illustrations from Vietnamese illustrator Khoa Le

Review

This book is beautifully illustrated to show the close relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter. I especially love the portions of the book that show the grandmother’s youth. There is one particular illustration of her facing a tiger that is especially memorable.

I love the style of art it’s almost like a collage. The whole book deserves a 5/5 both for story and illustration.

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

Posted in backlog reviews, Blogtober, Reviews, Uncategorized

Backlog Reviews: Legacy

 The Keeper of the Lost Cities: Legacy

Legacy

So I’ve been meaning to put this review up but with Unlocked coming out in less than a month (don’t ask me how many copies I’m buying) I figured I’d better put this up so I’d have room to review Unlocked which I’m going to stay up and finish in like a day. 

This is the eighth book in The Keeper of the Lost Cities series. It clocks in at 789 pages so I’m not sure it’s the longest in the series but it’s one of the longest. 

The series focuses on Sophie Foster and her friends. This book specifically has Sophie and her friends reeling after one of their group is taken by the enemy, The Neverseen. In the book Sophie and her friends are finally seen as equals by the Elvin council after years of strife but what does all that responsibility mean, and will Sophie and her friends be able to stop the enemy’s plans and save their friend in the process.

Sophie wants to know who her biological parents are, but the Black Swan, who created her won’t tell her and it’s essential to the match, where elves are given lists of who they can marry, so its essential information if she wants to be with Fitz. But Mr. Forkle doesn’t seem to think so. He sees staying single for centuries as a solution which is why Sophie starts to investigate the issue on her own, with Keefe’s help.

Just when she’s about to start working on it, the Council offers her a unique position in the nobility, she will be a Regent and a leader of a team of her friends, and Stina Heks, her frienemy. They will be responsible for helping the council with some of the same concerns that The Black Swan has about the dwarves and their missing friend Tam’s ability as a Shade being used against them.

But Sophie isn’t the only one with blank spots in her past, Keefe’s mother, Lady Gisela the leader of the Neverseen, erased some of his memories and wants him to face up to something called his ‘legacy’. When their friend Tam warns he’s been ordered to kill Keefe, Sophie must do everything she can to keep Keefe out of the line of fire. But Keefe may be a part of something much bigger than Sophie can even imagine so keeping him out of the line of fire may be impossible.

Sophie is also trying to put together a plan to face the dwarves and figure out how to be the leader of her new team called Team Valiant. All while Keefe is throwing mind-bending ideas about who her biological parents might be and she is trying to be Fitz’s girlfriend.

Keeping everything in balance seems impossible especially when Mr. Forkle throws her new information about the fact that one of her abilities may be malfunctioning and she may have to risk her life to get it to reset, again.

But none of them can stop the showdown that is coming with the enemy, and Keefe’s legacy is coming for him whether he likes it or not, will Sophie be able to keep Keefe, herself, and her friends safe, or will everything fall apart?

This book may be long but it’s also one of my favorites and I can’t wait till book 8.5 Unlocked comes out in November! Less than a month from now but still way too long! 

Image by Jalyn Bryce from Pixabay

Amazon: Legacy

Posted in backlog reviews, Recommendations, Reviews

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Flashback

Though this book has it’s moments that I like I wouldn’t call it one of my favorites in the series, maybe because it spends a lot of time focusing on characters I’m not super duper fond of. I like some of Sophie’s growth in it and some of the side characters.

Flashback

Summary

Sophie and her friends are out of their depth, the Neverseen have injured her and Fitz and they got them good. They used something called shadowflux which even their trusty psychician Elwin had no idea about. Thankfully their Shade friend Tam was able to rescue them by pulling this poison like substance from their bodies.

What clear is they’ve got a long recovery ahead of them as the shadowflux did some damage to their bone, muscles and bodies, even to their minds. Fitz is sedated for until they can figure out how this shadowflux is messing with his heart. Sophie meanwhile has a monster haunting her dreams that may have something to do with the Neverseen’s attack.

So they can be taken care of they are staying at Foxfire Elwin, but Sophie can’t help thinking they were taken out for a reason, Keefe tries to keep her cheerful, and Sophie has to make an unusual new agreement with Sandor in order to get her bodyguard to stay.

But even after the Foxfire slumber party is over things don’t exactly feel right either both Fitz and Sophie still have echos ( shadows of the attack) which bother their mind (in Sophie’s case) and their emotions (in Fitz’s case.)

Not only that Fitz is having to play nice with his formerly murderous older brother, Alvar. Fitz and Sophie try everything they can to get Alvar to regain his memories but it seems like he truly is a blank slate is that even possible?

Then there are the feelings Sophie had a crush on Fitz since forever and it’s always been the wrong time to tell him but…

Finally Silveny, Sophie’s pregnant alicorn friend may be in danger and Sophie may have to enter a risky alliance to stop her from losing the baby for good?

Most risky of all to stop her friends from falling into the Neverseen’s big plans she may have to trust an old enemy to down a new one.

Review

I love the pacing of the book. I love the emotional beats of the time the characters spend in the healing center. I also really enjoy Sophie’s new army of body guards and how this book leads up to the next book, however compared to the next book it isn’t my favorite. I think perhaps it’s because of one of the characters that the book is so focused on. I love the reappearance of an old enemy just because he’s cool.

Amazon: Flashback

Photo by Tommy van Kessel 🤙 on Unsplash

Posted in backlog reviews, Reviews

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Nightfall

This is one of my favorite books in the series. I’m not exactly sure why, Sophie has to go through a lot of trouble in this book, maybe it’s because we find out more about old characters and the the new ones who are introduced are either really cool or cool villains.

Nightfall

Summary

The Neverseen have taken many things from Sophie Foster over the years, but have they finally taken too much, she is struggling and grieving and her friends are scrambling for a solution to these new problems.

But will they be able to find one? The battle is far from over but Sophie realizes they may have missed details right from the beginning, to win she may have to trust people who she thought were her enemies.

All paths lead to Nightfall, a door only seen in Keefe’s memories, with an unknown purpose. Sophie and her friends must strike a risky bargain with someone who has lied to them before to get where they need to go.

But nothing can prepare them for what they find and how it’s going to change the world forever. Sophie and her allies must be forced to make choices they have never faced before in challenges set by unimaginably wicked new villians.

Will Sophie and her friends be up for the challenge? Or will the burden of history and their mistakes be too much for the group?

Review

I love Messenger’s world building on this one. I also love how the plot was made personal for the protagonist as well as the return of some familiar characters who hadn’t gotten much page time in past books. Lot of small events in other books had lead up to bigger events in this one so I think that’s part of why it’s one of my favorite books. Completely biased opinion.

Rating: 5 out of 5.


Amazon: Nightfall

Image by Martin Str from Pixabay

Posted in backlog reviews

Backlog Reviews: Loadstar

Spoilers for Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 5

*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 5)

Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 5) by [Shannon Messenger]

Summary

After her banishment in the last book, Sophie and her friends are finally free to return to the Lost Cities, but everything isn’t perfect, because not all of them have come back. Keefe left his friends to join the Neverseen, claiming he was the only one who could fix the problems his mom had caused.

Now Sophie and her friends are reeling from betrayal, but when it turns out they may not have lost Keefe after all and may have a voice on the inside. It seems like it could change everything, that is if they can trust him?

But Keefe isn’t her only worry, Sophie and The Black Swan’s Collective have discovered a symbol in Prentice’s memories that may help find the Neverseen, but it will take all the efforts of Sophie and her friends working together to figure out what it means and how it works.

But the Black Swan isn’t the only one with a plan, and when Keefe warns that her family may be threatened Sophie springs into action, but even with the help of her friends it may not be enough. Will Sophie be able to save everything she cares about or will it all come crashing down around her?

Review

Definitely one of my favorites of the series, it kept me guessing up till the end. It also featured a lot of new places and gave page time to characters who I thought deserved attention but didn’t get it. I’ve probably read it at least 6 or 7 times and some of the stuff in here dovetails really nicely with some of the stuff later in the series. Messenger definitely has her plotting down.

Five Favorite Things

  1. Edaline getting more page time
  2. Keefe’s reappearance
  3. Sophie and Prentice talking
  4. Fintan’s appearance
  5. Keefe showing up when he did.

Amazon: Loadstar

Photo by Egor Kamelev from Pexels