Posted in monthly goals, Monthly Reads, TBR

September TBR

Well I finished books in August so much better than June and July, I’m finally settled into my new helping out role with my family and I’m back on my game a bit.

My first pick for the month is a great book about a girl whose mother has died and she is sent to live with her aunts, and about the the changes in her life that happen as she lives there.

A Home for Goddesses and Dogs

Amazon: A Home for Goddesses and Dogs

The next book I’ve been meaning to read since it came out since it has literally gotten nothing but good press plus I’m a one of the author’s followers on Twitter.

The Dragon Warrior by [Katie Zhao]

A great tale of people of the Asian diaspora and from what I’m told awesome battle sequences and food.

Amazon: The Dragon Warrior

All Are Welcome

I like to try to read at least one picture book a month and this one is a book I’ve wanting to read for awhile.

A wonderful book about a school that focuses on diversity and inclusion. It’s a school where no matter what young children have a place where they are loved and appreciated.

The book follows a group of children through their day at this school where everyone is welcomed with open arms and students from all backgrounds celebrate and learn from each others traditions. Discover the a world as we might hope it can be.

Amazon: All Are Welcome

The Dragon Egg Princess

I’ve had the The Dragon Egg Princess on my TBR for months, I don’t know why, I really like the world and the story so I resolve to finish it up this month. It’s a great fantasty by founder of the We Need Diverse Books Movement, Ellen Oh.

Amazon: The Dragon Egg Princess

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Posted in TBR, Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

July TBR

Okay I’m sorry I missed you guys on Monday and Wednesday. Last week was an emotional roller coaster for my family and this week I had a medical procedure to help my migraines. So I’ve been taking a lot of naps. Also it made me realize I’ve hardly missed a post since January so maybe I should give myself a break.

I’m not pushing myself too hard this month because let me tell you I’m tired. Plus I’ve got some volunteer commitments. Considering I only finished one book last month we’re keeping this at four books, and hoping that I can do that. Also I’m not sure if I should count all the non-fiction books about bread I’m reading. I’m probably going to go with yes, but I may not review them here, because I’m not sure you guys are interested in baking book reviews.

This Book Is Anti-Racist

This Book Is Anti-Racist by [Tiffany Jewell, Aurelia Durand]

This lovely book by Tiffany Jewell helps the middle grade and young adult audience and beyond understand the roots of racism. Jewell also talks about social identities, the histories of racism and resistance against it and how to become anti-racist and use your voice to help move society towards equity and liberation.

Jewell guides you through a deeper understanding of your anti racist self as you progress through 20 chapters. These chapters will help you spark deeper thinking about racism, reveal the origins of racism we are still experincing, and help give you the courage and power to undo it. Each chapter builds on the previous one as you learn about yourself and racial oppression. All you need is a pen and paper. The activities get you thinking and help you grow with the knowledge.

Author Tiffany Jewell, an anti-bias, anti-racist educator and activist, builds solidarity beginning with the language she chooses – using gender neutral words to honour everyone who reads the book. Illustrator Aurélia Durand brings the stories and characters to life with kaleidoscopic vibrancy.

Amazon: This Book is Anti-Racist

No Fixed Address

No Fixed Address by [Susin Nielsen]

I found this book because I really loved the The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, which I still need to finish by way, whoops.

Tween Felix Knutsson knows his trivia. His favorite game show is Who What Where When; he likes the show so much he’s even named his gerbil after the host. His mother Astrid is loving but can’t manage to hold a job. So the two of them end up living in their van, a fact Astrid swears Felix to secrecy about. He can’t even tell his best friends at his new school Dylan and Winnie.

Astrid is worried Dylan will be taken away and put into foster care. And as things go from bad to worse Felix gets a chance to audition for the junior edition of his favorite game show. He knows if he gets his spot and wins the cash prize will make everything okay.

But thing don’t turn out exactly the way he plans

Susin Nielsen is a Canadian author for children, adolescent and young adults. She received a Governor General’s Award and the 2013 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award for her young adult novel The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen.

Amazon: No Fixed Address

The Astonishing Color of After

I’ve fallen off the tracks when it comes to my YARC challenge books, however I intend to do better about that this coming month.

Leigh Chen Sanders is having to deal with a lot lately, after losing her mother via suicide. She is visiting her maternal grandparents for the first time. Leigh, who is half white and half Asian is only certain of one thing lately. When her mother died, she turned into a bird.

During this trip to Taiwan to meet her grandparents she also intends to find her mother, the bird. But some question lead to answers you didn’t know you were looking for, and Leigh finds herself chasing ghost, dealing with family secrets, and finding a bond with her grandparents.

She must also deal with her own grief and guilt tied up in her mother sucide.

Dealing with real and magic, The Astonishing Color of After is a wonderful tale about finding oneself though family history, grief, art, and love.

Emily X.R Pan is Taiwanese and Chinese American. She has received numerous awards for this book including the APALA Honor Award and the Walter Honor Award, the honor of being an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist, and being long-listed for the Carnegie Medal, among other accolades.

Amazon: The Astonishing Color of After

Before I Let Go

Okay so I’m not going to give too much away about the plot but there is ace rep!!!! So happy. Also mental health rep, this is why I’m like a third into this book already.

Corey and Kyra were inseparable best friends in their tiny Alaskan town of Lost Creek. But as Kyra starts to seriously struggle with her bipolar disorder Corey’s family move away. Corey is worried about what might happen in her absense so she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long dark winter.

Just as Corey is about to visit Kyra dies. Corey is devestated and confused because Kyra promised she wouldn’t hurt herself. But any time she tries to find out more information the Lost community speaks in hushed tones saying Kyra’s death was meant to be.

They push Corey away, but as Corey dives deeper into the mystery of her best friend’s death, she finds more questions than answers and her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets, like maybe Kyra’s death wasn’t a suicide after all, but can she piece together the cold hard truth and survive her visit?

Amazon: Before I Let Go

Anyway I’ll try to be better about posting, or if I take a break I’ll try and let you guys know in advance. I’ve just got to keep reading and hopefully those numbers will jump back up in July.

Posted in monthly goals, Monthly Reads, TBR

June TBR

So I’m late enough into May that I can finally pick out my TBR for June. Nothing overly exciting just books I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten the chance to catch up on.

All the Stars and Teeth

All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth Duology Book 1) by [Adalyn Grace]

Amazon: All the Stars and Teeth

The next book is another I’ve bought an put off for no particular reason other than I was reading other stuff faster. I really loved the magic system(s) in this book and can’t wait to see what happens next.

The First 7 (The Last 8 Book 2)

The First 7 (The Last 8 Book 2) by [Laura Pohl]

I’ve read the first few chapters and it’s a great sci-fi piece like the first one was. I just got into other stuff and kind forgot about it.

Amazon: The First 7

The Dragon Egg Princess

The Dragon Egg Princess by [Ellen Oh]

This is a great middle grade fantasy written by the fantastic Ellen Oh, I was about half way through and I just need to finish it up.

Amazon: The Dragon Egg Princess

Finally a graphic novel I’ve been meaning to read

New Kid

New Kid by [Jerry Craft]

Amazon: New Kid

Posted in Recommendations, TBR

New Releases April

We’ve got some great books coming out this month including one I’ve been looking forward to since last year! This first book is the one I’m especially looking forward to. They are all out today so you should check them out!

Greystone Secrets #2: The Deceivers

Until their mother disappeared the Greystone kids,—Chess, Emma, and Finn—didn’t even know another world existed along with this one.

But everything is different there. It’s a mirror to this world, except it’s a broken mirror, things are wrong, evil. Their mom tried to fix it but she and a friend got trapped there along with Natale’s mom Ms. Morales.

Now the four of them Chess, Emma, Finn, Natalie are determined to rescue everyone, but doing so means going back to the other world. Where even telling the truth can be illegal.

All of the kids respond to the other world differently Chess doubts he can be brave enough, Emma’s worried she’s not smart enough to break the code this world will throw at her, Finn doesn’t want to have to pretend he’s okay when everything is out of control.

And Natalie might have the toughest job of all because the other world includes some lies she actually wishes were true and the lines between truth and lie may start to blur.

The first book The Strangers, was amazing, and you can find my review here, Greystone Secrets #1 Review as always be careful of spoilers, but I can’t wait to see what twists and turns this new book throws at us.

The series is by bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix.

The book comes out on April 7th, 2020.

Amazon: The Greystone Secrets #2

Ghost Squad

I’ve been waiting for this one too! It’s a diverse book with POC protagonists so I’m always happy to read MG literature like that.

Lucely Luna, ghosts are more than just the family business. Near Halloween when Lucely and her best friend Syd accidentally cast a spell that awakens malicious spirits, that start wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine

They must find a way to fix their mistake, along the way they join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother Babette, and her cat Chunk, to fight the haunting and reverse the curse and save the town before it’s too late.

With hints of both Coco and Ghostbusters, this novel by Claribel A. Ortega is both spooky and sweet.

The book comes out on April 7th, 2020.

Amazon: Ghost Squad

The Loop

For some reason I’m on a thriller kick during quartine, maybe something to do with all that pent up scared energy, I don’t know. I’m not a scientist, but I do know that thrillers and mysteries are where its at right now for me reading-wise.

The Loop seems like a pretty cool setup. The Loop is a death row for prisoners under eighteen. It focuses on Luka Kane who has just had his sixteenth birthday inside the Loop. He’s already been in two years. Every prisoner is serving a death sentence but can delay it by six months if they opt into different scientific and medical procedures designed to help the world’s elite.

But the outside world isn’t as peaceful as the inmates are being lead to believe, and rumors of a war on the outside are spreading inside the prison. Soon their routines are interrupted, things are happening to the guards and finally, they are left alone in the prison.

Was Luka’s cell only designed to keep him safe? As he escapes through the prison he must get past other inmates bent on killing him, the warden who is losing her mind, rabid animals, and a population turned into murderous monsters.

If he can get through all this maybe he can get out of The Loop, save his family, and figure out who is responsible for all the chaos.

Out April 7th.

Amazon: The Loop

The Lucky Ones

Eleven months after a school shooting that killed her twin brother May doesn’t know how to feel, she’s angry, lost and alone. She doesn’t know why she’s the only one that survived. No one gets what it’s like to be her or what she went through.

Zach also lost his old life with the shooting, when his mother decided to defend the shooter. Now the only friends he has left are his little sister and the one friend who won’t let him withdraw into himself.

His path crosses with May when he goes to band practice the same night May goes with her best friend to audition for a new band.

Once they meet and get to know each other, they figure out that surviving might be an option after all.

Out April 7th.

Check out all these new books that are out today!

Amazon: The Lucky Ones

Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels

 

 

Posted in Monthly Reads, TBR

April TBR

So I finished 5 books in March despite all the issues with the Coronavirus. That puts me right on track with my goal for the year which is 50. It also makes up for February, where I only finished three books.

I have six books on my TBR this month. I’m being a bit ambitious since I’m under a shelter in place order from my state’s governor and will have way more time to read.  Here are a few of my picks for the month.

I Can Make This Promise

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now, one because I don’t read enough Native American fiction and two because it just sounds like a cool story. Inspired by her family’s history—Christine Day tells the story of a girl who uncovers her family’s secret and finds her own Native American identity.

Edie has known her whole life that her mom was adopted by a white couple, even though she’s Native American. Edie is curious about her own history but is sure her family doesn’t have any answers so she tries to put it out of her mind.

Everything is perfect until one day she and her friends find a box in the attic with letters signed “Love Edith” and a photo of a woman who looks just like her.

Edie now has a bunch of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Does that mean she also belongs to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have lied to her this long, why would they tell the truth now?

Amazon: I Can Make This Promise

Between the Water and the Woods

I really am liking this so far, it is pitched as being like a fairy tale and that really is how it comes across. Very mystical and the illustrations are lovely.

Emeline doesn’t know she has ancient magic, all she knows is when her little brother breaks the rules of the village and goes into mystical, dangerous woods, she fights back and somehow fights the monster off. But her brother has awakened a dark thing called the Ithin. Any sighting of dark creatures must be reported, so by law, Emeline and her family must travel to the royal court to warn the king.

But Emeline has never been out of her village, how is she going to take the journey which requires the protection of sour magister and a handsome, whip-wielding Lash Knight. Will Emeline find the answers to the questions about her magic in a city where there are conspiracies everywhere and her magic shouldn’t even exist?

Amazon: Between the Water and the Woods

Sisters of Shadow and Light

This one is really interesting to me because of the way one of the sisters is portrayed, I’m going to read it and see how it goes but it may end up on my mental health list.

Sisters Zuhra and Inara have grown up in the Citadel of the Paladins, The Paladins were legendary magical warriors, they have since disappeared from the world. Leaving the two girls to grow up an abandoned fortress surrounded by a massive magical hedge.

All the Paladins may have gone from the world but Inara inherited their father’s power, her eyes glow blue and she’s able to make plants grow at magical rates. But at a cost, she’s trapped in her own mind because of a “roar” that drowns everything else out, leaving Zuhra by herself with their emotionally broken human mother.

It seems like nothing will change, they have lived there for fifteen years trapped in the citadel until one day a stranger passes through the hedge and turns their whole world upside down.

Amazon: Sisters of Shadow and Light

What is on your TBR this month or what are your goals?

 

 

 

Posted in Monthly Reads, TBR

March TBR

I’ve got 4 books I’d like to read in March. The first is Gravemaiden by Kelly Coon

Gravemaidens

I just started Gravemaidens and the concept seems pretty creepy, three women having to join the dying ruler in the grave. Protagonist Kammani wants nothing to do with any of it, she’s just trying to eke out a living as a doctor. She believes if she becomes a good enough doctor she can reclaim the life that was stolen from herself and her family. But Kammani is also worried about keeping her family especially her little sister Nanaea safe.

But with the ruler of their city stat Alu, slowly dying three maiden’s have to be chosen soon to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And when Nanaea is chosen she believes it’s her chance to live a grand life in the afterlife.

But Kammani knows it’s a death sentence. So she hatches a plan to heal the dying ruler, but there is more danger in the palace that Kammani imagined, and she may end up having to sacrifice everything, including herself.

Amazon: Gravemaidens

Serafina and the Black Cloak

This book is a re-read. It was very popular back in 2016-2017 and was on the #1 New York Times Bestseller, for like 50 weeks. It also won the prestigious 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize.

Serfina isn’t like most other girls at the Biltmore Estate, she lives in the basement with her Pa, hiding from sight. She lives by one rule set down by her father.“Never go into the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.She has no reason to complain there are plenty of places to explore in the Vanderbuilt’s opulent home. 

Serfina must never be seen because the rich folk don’t know she exsist and her Pa might lose his job if they found out she did. But that’s okay with her, she’s learned to sneak through the darkned corridors at night, sneaking and hiding, finding spots in the mansion no one else knows.

But when children start disappearing at the mansion Serfina may be the only one that can help. After all she’s the only one who knows about the mysterious man in a black cloak who haunts the corridors at night and goes after children. After she barely makes it away from him, Serafina teams up with young Braeden Vanderbuilt the nephew of the owners of the estate, to solve the mystery before all the children vanish.

But Serfina’s hunt leads her to the forest where she not only has to face The Man in the Black Cloak, but the truth about herself. 

Amazon: Serafina and the Black Cloak

Lalani of the Distant Sea

Wow, this book is still on her TBR list you may say. I know I know, I just can’t seem to finish it, I like it though so I will get it finished it’s just taking FOREVER.

Lalani Sarita’s is just trying to get by Sanlagita where life is difficult and women aren’t valued. Whenever someone tries to leave the island they never come back, a fate that befell Lalani’s father. Lalani and her mother have to suffer from her stepfather and stepbrother. And deal with a drought that has hit the island.

When Lalani travels up the mountain the islanders think is evil, her wish is granted but not in the way she imagined. And when distress falls on the village, Lalani ends up shouldering the blame.

To help her mother who has fallen ill from an incurable disease, Lalani must leave the island to find the riches of the legendary Mount Isa, which towers on an island to the north. It holds what might be a cure for her mother and a way for Lalani to erase the mistakes she’s made in the village. But where generations of her people have failed to reach the island what chance does an ordinary girl have?

Amazon: Lalani and the Distant Sea

The Science of Breakable Things

I wanted to add at least one book for my Mental Health TBR this month, and this one not only fits that but works for YARC, so I had to add it to the list.

The book starts with Natalie’s teacher suggesting she enter an egg drop competition. Natalie thinks this will be the perfect solution to all her problems. After all their will be prize money, and if she and her friends win, she can take her mother who is a bonist to see the miraculous Cobalt Blue Orchids–flowers that survive against impossible odds.

Natalie’s mother’s been depressed, but Natalie is sure seeing the flower will help break her out of it. But she has to win the competition first, and Natalie’s friends begin to show her that talking about a problem can be the way to heal it. With their help Natalie learns solving depression isn’t so simple but that hope and love are always present.

Publisher’s Weekly also notes that “Natalie’s Korean heritage is sensitively explored, as is the central issue of depression.”

Amazon: The Science of Breakable Things

Check back throughout the month to see how I’m doing with my TBR!

 

 

Posted in Monthly Reads, Pondathon, TBR

Mental Health Books TBR

This TBR will go across a couple months, but I’m trying to focus more on books where mental health is represented, and these are some of the ones I want to start with, I’m especially looking for books with female-identified or gender non-conforming narrators because the story on many conditions (especially autism) is overwhelmingly male.

1)Give and Take

Elly Swartz did such a good job with Finding Perfect, I want to see her take on another mental health issue, hoarding. When Maggie’s parents become temporary guardians to a baby from foster care, Maggie’s need to hoard spirals out of control. I’m interested to see how this compares to Finding Perfect.

To see my review of Finding Perfect look here: Finding Perfect Review

Amazon: Give and Take

2)The Someday Birds

The Someday Birds

Another book about mental health, this one about OCD and autism, both of which I have so I’ll be happy to do another #ownvoices review. Twelve-year-old Charlie, who is autistic and has OCD has to travel cross country with his siblings and a strange babysitter to visit his father who is about to have brain surgery.

I hope this will be another good take on OCD, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this author deals with an autistic narrator. I have high hopes but low expectations because I’ve yet to see an author deal with autism properly. Which I suppose means I need to read more #ownvoices autistic authors.

Amazon: The Someday Birds

3)On the Edge of Gone

On the Edge of Gone

Sixteen-year-old Denise, who is autistic must survive the end of the world with her neglectful mother and try to find her missing sister as they find space upon a generational ship where they aren’t supposed to be. Deals with the issues of who deserves to be saved at the end of the world. I’ve heard lots of good things about this book so I’m hopeful.

Amazon: On The Edge Of Gone

4)Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse

Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse

This book has two narrators, Jesse, who is autistic and her friend Springer, the two are trying to solve a mystery related after Springer’s father is accused of stealing. It also happens during post-tornado cleanup efforts. The autistic narrator is female and has what I believe is an emotional support animal her pomeranian.

Amazon: Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse

5)The Goldfish Boy

The Goldfish Boy

I’m going to give this book a chance, but I’m not super happy with the ableist language in the description where the narrator is described as ’emotionally crippled’ by his OCD. I’m not saying OCD can’t be debilitating, however, it doesn’t bode well for the viewpoint of the book. The plot revolves around teenage Matthew who rarely leaves his room due to his condition, yet may be the key to solving a mystery of a missing neighbor due to his people watching.

Amazon: The Goldfish Boy

I also have to point out that the protagonists as far as I know for all the novels are white, it doesn’t surprise me but there is a definite representation problem within the disability community.

If anyone has more diverse picks containing mental health issues please shoot them my way.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Posted in Pondathon, TBR, YARC, Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

February TBR

My goal is to read 4 books this month. I read three in January so it isn’t so much of a stretch, I’d love to read five to catch up to my yearly goal, but I’ll be happy with three or four.

1)Give and Take

Elly Swartz did such a good job with Finding Perfect, I want to see her take on another mental health issue, hoarding. When Maggie’s parents become temporary guardians to a baby from foster care, Maggie’s need to hoard spirals out of control. I’m interested to see how this compares to Finding Perfect.

To see my review of Finding Perfect look here: Finding Perfect Review

Amazon: Give and Take

2)On the Edge of Gone

On the Edge of Gone

Sixteen-year-old Denise, who is autistic must survive the end of the world with her neglectful mother and try to find her missing sister as they find space upon a generational ship where they aren’t supposed to be. Deals with the issues of who deserves to be saved at the end of the world. I’ve heard lots of good things about this book so I’m hopeful.

Amazon: On The Edge Of Gone

3)The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart

The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart

I’m already about a third of the way through this book but I’m going to count it on my February TBR since I’m probably not going to finish it in the next few days. A very cute story about a dragon who gets turned into a human after drinking enchanted hot chocolate then finds work at a chocolate house.

Amazon: The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart

4) The Girl King

The Girl King

When Lu’s father names a male cousin to replace him on the throne Lu must go on the run to reclaim her birthright. Meanwhile, her sister Min must discover her own hidden power. Also happy to add to my YARC goals.

Amazon: The Girl King

5)Peasprout Chen

Peasprout Chen

I didn’t finish this in January but it’s super cute, its about a girl from a rural country who goes to a famous school to learn how to do, wu liu, the deadly and beautiful art of martial arts figure skating. I’m already a few chapters in and the narrative reads more like poetry, so it took a little getting used to but I like it.

Amazon: Peasprout Chen

What’s on your February TBR list?

 

Posted in Monthly Reads, Reviews, TBR, Uncategorized

Tunnel of Bones Review

I love the Cassidy Blake series and what I’ve read from Victoria Schwab so far. However, I didn’t find the second book and frightening as the first.

Cassidy, her family and her ghost best friend Jacob are back in this second adventure from Victoria Schwab. This time Cassidy’s parents show The Inspectors is in Paris looking for ghosts.

Cassidy doesn’t need to look for ghosts they seem to have a way of finding her, when Cassidy is exploring the Paris Catacombs one of the sites for this episode of her parents show. She awakens a spirit that was trapped there, the only problem is its a poltergeist. A powerful ghost capable of causing mayhem and eventually destruction.

The poltergeist has latched on to Cassidy and soon starts causing trouble for her family and everyone around her including Jacob. With help from Lara, her friend from the first book, and some Paris locals help Cassidy learns she has to make the ghost remember his past before she can send him on.

Equally troubling what does Jacob’s growing power in the real world mean for Cassidy and Jacob, and Jacob’s state as a ghost and Cassidy’s friend. With the warning from Lara that Cassidy will eventually have to send Jacob on, his new powers will help Cassidy, but they might mean he’s getting closer to becoming something darker, like the poltergeist.

While Cassidy is getting close to a solution to sending the poltergeist on, it is turning powerful it is tearing Paris apart. Will Cassidy be able to solve this mystery, will her worries about Jacob come to fruition? And will they both survive this powerful ghost reign of mayhem and destruction?

Review

While I love the mystery of the book, I didn’t find it as scary as the first one. Something about the Raven in Red from the first book is just more creepy than the poltergeist in this one. However, there were a number of things I liked about this book:

  1. Jacob and Cassidy’s close calls with the poltergeist felt like real threats, and I was concerned for their outcome so Schwab did a good job of putting a sense of urgency into the story.
  2. Cassidy’s concern about Jacob’s growing power and what that means for him.
  3. Jacob’s own reactions to the poltergeist and some close calls gave the book another sense of mystery that I think the main plot kind of lacked.
  4. A very creepy scene at the end of the book that makes me look forward to book 3!
  5. Cassidy’s cat Grim in a particular scene.

The book was a solid four stars I just found the subplot more interesting than the main plot in this one. However, the cool locations and some of Cassidy’s new friends in Paris rounded out things nicely making this a very pleasant read.

Photo by Louis from Pexels

 

 

 

Posted in Pondathon, TBR

Pondathon Update-Cuddle’s Conundrum!

The Pondathon is having special side quests to help the different animals do magic. It’s seriously the cutest thing and one of the things that help me fight off depression. I really appreciate The Quiet Pond and CW (@artfromafriend) for the work she is doing. So please consider joining us or supporting her. The Pondathon goes on until March so you have plenty of time to join up and help fight evil!

Pondathon: Readathon side-quest available!

For this quest, we’re helping Cuddle Cuddle giving you the thumbs up and holding up a list of things she needs.the shy sea-otter from the pond with her mushroom soup. To help out with this quest you can do several things.

  • For every 10 pages that you read, you gain 2 points – and you successfully collect firewood to keep the cooking pots going! [Repeatable]
  • Post (blog post, tweet, or Instagram post; using the #Pondathon hashtag and tagging @artfromafriend [so she can keep track!]) or tweet about your current read for the Pondathon. You gain 5 points – and successfully add love and kindness to Cuddle’s mushroom soup.
  • Bonus: Do something kind for one person who is not yourself AND do something kind for yourself to earn the quest reward item: Recipe for Compassion!

So I’m going to talk about my current read for the Pondathon: The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis

The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart

Now I love books about magic and cooking. Somehow magical cooking always seems to result in a cute book, and its the perfect book for this quest. Aventurine is a dragon, who feels confined to the caves where her family lives, she can’t explore the outside world yet because her scales haven’t thickened up and she could be hurt by humans or other creatures.

Her mother tells her to find something she likes to do to help the years while her scales harden pass. For example, her brother Jasper likes human philosophy. Nothing seems to catch her attention though.

Aventurine just has to explore so one day she sneaks out and files around, only to encounter a human who is cooking something. This is where Aventurine finds what she’s truly interested in because the human is making chocolate. She knows she has to have some, so the human lets her try it.

Ooops, only it turns out to be enchanted chocolate that turns her into a human girl. The human was a food mage in disguise and refuses to turn Aventurine back, or give her more chocolate, instead, he suggested she find a livelihood at one of the chocolate houses in a nearby town.

Intrigued by the idea of a chocolate house, thinking its a house made of chocolate, Aventurine ventures to a nearby town, she learns things about humans, such money, and their silly need for references to get work at a chocolate house.

Still, she’s finally found the thing that she loves, so she isn’t going to give up and eventually ends up at the worse rated chocolate house in town, where the chef has just thrown her apprentice out on the street. She manages to talk herself into a job with the cranky chef and sets out to learning chocolate secrets.

I’m about halfway through the book and I can’t wait to see what other adventures are in store for Aventurine. I really love her dragonish observations about human ways and the friend she makes at the market who shows her about human ways.

Stephanie Burgis is also the author of many other cute middle-grade fantasy books such as The Girl with the Dragon Heart and The Princess who Flew with Dragons.

Again cooking +magic=cute! So if you’re a fan of middle-grade fantasy you should give this book a chance.