Posted in Author Recommendations, Recommendations

Give and Take Review

I’ll be honest I didn’t think I’d like this as much as Finding Perfect, but Swartz has done it again. I swept though the pages just as quickly as I did with finding perfect, the character are charming and the mental health is handled with a deft hand.

Summary

Maggie’s family has always been important to her, she’s coached by her dad at trapshooting, and cheered on by her mom. She visit her grandfather regularly, but her gradmother’s recent death has left a hole in Maggie’s heart and her life. She thinks she can fill it, thinks she can’t, won’t forget like her grandma did if she starts keeping things from her important days like candy wrappers, milk cartons, tassels of her Nana’s favorite scarf all stuffed in cardboard boxes under her bed.

During this time her family decides to take in a foster infant and Maggie loves the baby deeply not wanting her to be adopted and making her hoarding worse. She soon finds herself taking and taking until she spirals out of control, with some help from family and friend she learns love can also mean letting go.

Review

Maggie is a sweet and relatable character with big feelings around her hoarding that are made easy to understand for someone that doesn’t have anybackground in childhood mental health issues. It’s a very approachable book, also I love the fact that Maggie isn’t just her hoarding she’s a very well rounded character. I’d put this in the hands of any kids in upper elementary, lower middle grade. I also like her thearpist and wish all child thearipists in life were that cool (and well dressed) also love the system for Maggie’s recovery they use which I’m pretty sure is actually based on real mental health methods.

Overall I’d give this book 5 stars it another book in my mental health library.

Posted in Uncategorized

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, and while I could never make a list extensive enough to cover all the types of women the world needs to uplift I thought I’d at least highlight some of my favorite books with women in them.

Zenobia July 

Zenobia July by [Lisa Bunker]

Zenobia July is starting a new life. She used to live in Arizona with her father; now she’s in Maine with her aunts. She used to spend most of her time behind a computer screen, improving her impressive coding and hacking skills; now she’s coming out of her shell and discovering a community of friends at Monarch Middle School. People used to tell her she was a boy; now she’s able to live openly as the girl she always knew she was.

When someone anonymously posts hateful memes on her school’s website, Zenobia knows she’s the one with the abilities to solve the mystery, all while wrestling with the challenges of a new school, a new family, and coming to grips with presenting her true gender for the first time. Timely and touching, Zenobia July is, at its heart, a story about finding home.

Amazon: Zenobia July

The Henna Wars

The Henna Wars by [Adiba Jaigirdar]

Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, and it only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life. Flávia is beautiful and charismatic, and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat decide to showcase their talent as henna artists. In a fight to prove who is the best, their lives become more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush, especially since Flávia seems to like her back.

As the competition heats up, Nishat has a decision to make: stay in the closet for her family, or put aside her differences with Flávia and give their relationship a chance.

Amazon: The Henna Wars

From the Desk of Zoe Washington

Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime?

A crime he says he never committed.

Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.

But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies

Amazon: From the Desk of Zoe Washington

I Can Make This Promise

All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn’t have any answers.

Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic—a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her.

Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have kept this secret from her all her life, how can she trust them to tell her the truth now?

Amazon: I Can Make This Promise

Happy International Women’s Day! Be sure to uplift the women in your life, and if you are a white women, try and use your privilege to uplift women of of color.

Photo by catrina farrell on Unsplash

Posted in Uncategorized

Dungeon’s and Dragon’s Book List-Rangers

Fighters learn the basics of all combat styles. They must be at home with most weapons and some magic. They must also be adept with using shields and every form of armor. Beyond that some fighters specialize in a specific style of combat. Not all soliders are fighters something draws them to the lifestyle of being a fighter. For this post I’m going to showcase traditional fighters as well as characters who are protective of their friends in tough situations.

Tami from the The Flower of the Witch

The Flower of the Witch by [Enrico Orlandi, Jamie Richards]

Tami has traveled long and far from his home in the south, forbidden to return until he has become a man, in this coming-of-age story.

Defeating monsters and saving princesses has not been enough, and now he must find the fabled flower of the witch, but in his quest Tami inadvertently sparks a feud between the villagers who shelter him and the demon Yabra! And when the conflict comes to a head, Tami will have to choose between proving himself as a man, and protecting the villagers he’s come to love.

Available for the first time in English, Enrico Orlandi’s exciting tale of adventure and compassion is a timely reflection on identity, responsibility, and the true meaning of maturity.

Amazon;The Flower of the Witch

Talin

Talin is a Striker, a member of an elite fighting force that stands as the last defense for the only free nation in the world: Mara.

A refugee, Talin knows firsthand the horrors of the Federation, a world-dominating war machine responsible for destroying nation after nation with its terrifying army of mutant beasts known only as Ghosts.

But when a mysterious prisoner is brought from the front to Mara’s capital, Talin senses there’s more to him than meets the eye. Is he a spy from the Federation? What secrets is he hiding?

Only one thing is clear: Talin is ready to fight to the death alongside her fellow Strikers for the only homeland she has left . . . with or without the boy who might just be the weapon to save—or destroy—them all.

Amazon: Skyhunter

Erik and Hesekiel

Though Aedhan also plays a role in protecting the village it’s really Erik and Heskiel who fit the trope, going from town to town finding strange things and investiaging mysteries.

Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash

Posted in D&D Reading Challenge, Recommendations

Dungeon’s and Dragons Book Class List-Bard

In Duegons and Dragons Bards are storytellers who use the power of their music to make magic and expand what their party can do. They can do cureing wounds with their magic to charming people, and their past is often not as important as the stories they tell about them.

For this list, I left the actual bards to Young Adult, and here focused on musical characters finding their voices or music and learning how to use them.

Summaries from Amazon.

The Mystwick School of Musicraft

The Mystwick School of Musicraft by [Jessica Khoury]

Amelia Jones always dreamed of attending the Mystwick School of Musicraft, where the world’s most promising musicians learn to create magic. So when Amelia botches her audition, she thinks her dream has met an abrupt and humiliating end—until the school agrees to give her a trial period. Amelia is determined to prove herself, vowing to do whatever it takes to become the perfect musician. Even if it means pretending to be someone she isn’t. Meanwhile, a mysterious storm is brewing that no one, not even the maestros at Mystwick, is prepared to contain. Can Amelia find the courage to be true to herself in time to save her beloved school from certain destruction?

All Summer Long

Thirteen-year-old Bina has a long summer ahead of her. She and her best friend, Austin, usually do everything together, but he’s off to soccer camp for a month, and he’s been acting kind of weird lately anyway. So it’s up to Bina to see how much fun she can have on her own. At first it’s a lot of guitar playing, boredom, and bad TV, but things look up when she finds an unlikely companion in Austin’s older sister, who enjoys music just as much as Bina. But then Austin comes home from camp, and he’s acting even weirder than when he left. How Bina and Austin rise above their growing pains and reestablish their friendship and respect for their differences makes for a touching and funny coming-of-age story

Amazon: All Summer Long

Not Your All-American Girl 

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 can’t 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?Acclaimed coauthors Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang return to the 1980s world of Sydney Taylor Honor Book This Is Just a Test with this laugh-out-loud coming-of-age story.

Amazon: Not Your All American Girl

Amina’s Voice

Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.

Amina’s Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani-American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.

SING (Like No One’s Listening) 

SING (Like No One's Listening) by [Vanessa Jones]

Since her mother died, Nettie Delaney hasn’t been able to sing a note. This wouldn’t be a problem if she wasn’t now attending Dukes, the most prestigious performing arts college in the country, with her superstar mother’s shadow hanging over her. Nettie has her work cut out for her and everyone is watching.

But one night, in an empty studio after college, Nettie finds herself suddenly singing, as someone behind the curtain accompanies her on the piano. Maybe all is not lost for Nettie. Maybe she can find her voice again and survive her first year at Dukes. But can she do it before she gets thrown out?

SING (Like No One’s Listening) by Vanessa Jones is a novel about dreaming a dream, finding your voice, and not throwing away your shot!

Amazon: Sing Like No One is Listening

Posted in Feature, Recommendations, Uncategorized

Plaid Reader’s Valentines Day Ace Book Showcase

We most of on the ace and aro end of the spectrum know that Valentines Day doesn’t exactly acknowlodge us as an important part of the holiday. So I thought what better day than to showcase some ace and aro books than one traditionally focused on hetronormative love.

Summaries from Amazon

Before I Let Go

Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their tiny snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. But as Kyra starts to struggle with her bipolar disorder, Corey’s family moves away. Worried about what might happen in her absence, Corey makes Kyra promise that she’ll stay strong during the long, dark winter.

Then, just days before Corey is to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused, because Kyra said she wouldn’t hurt herself. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones, saying Kyra’s death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger.

The further Corey investigates―and the more questions she asks―the greater her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. Can she piece together the truth about Kyra’s death and survive her visit?

Corey is a wonderful ace lead and there are also many other LGBTQ characters thoughout the book.

Sea Foam and Silence

Sea Foam and Silence (Fairytale Verses) by [Lynn E. O'Connacht]

Long, long ago, a little mermaid became intrigued by the way tall-crabs don’t act at all like the prey she’s more comfortable chasing. Her quest to understand will take her places she had never dreamed possible – onto land and beyond the endless cold.

But quests always come with a price and hers is no exception. If she cannot find love within a year, she’ll become sea foam. With only a month left and no closer to understanding ‘love’ at all, what is Maris to do? Tall-crabs – humans – are confusing and contradictory and love comes in so many forms, how can she ever know which one is right to win her life amidst friends and family on land?

Fantastical worldbuilding meets verse novels in this queerplatonic retelling of The Little Mermaid, the first story in a series of queer fairytale retellings.

Elatsoe

Elatsoe by [Darcie Little Badger, Rovina Cai]

Elatsoe—Ellie for short—lives in an alternate contemporary America shaped by the ancestral magics and knowledge of its Indigenous and immigrant groups. She can raise the spirits of dead animals—most importantly, her ghost dog Kirby. When her beloved cousin dies, all signs point to a car crash, but his ghost tells her otherwise: He was murdered.

Who killed him and how did he die? With the help of her family, her best friend Jay, and the memory great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother, Elatsoe, must track down the killer and unravel the mystery of this creepy town and its dark past. But will the nefarious townsfolk and a mysterious Doctor stop her before she gets started?

A breathtaking debut novel featuring an asexual, Apache teen protagonist, Elatsoe combines mystery, horror, noir, ancestral knowledge, haunting illustrations, fantasy elements, and is one of the most-talked about debuts of the year

Let’s Talk About Love

Let's Talk About Love by [Claire Kann]

Alice had her whole summer planned. Nonstop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting—working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating—no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library-employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

Claire Kann’s debut novel Let’s Talk About Love, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, gracefully explores the struggle with emerging adulthood and the complicated line between friendship and what it might mean to be something more.

Finally I need to mention the Asexual and Aromantic Characters Database which is a great resourse for finding ace or aro characters.

Photo by Rinck Content Studio on Unsplash

Posted in new releases, Uncategorized

Middle Grade Books Coming Out This Week

So how is the first week of Feburary going for everyone

Chef Yasmina and the Potato Panic

Yasmina isn’t like the other kids in her city. Maybe it’s the big chef hat she wears. Or the fact that she stuffs her dad’s lunchbox full of spring rolls instead of peanut butter and jelly. She might be an oddball, but no one can deny that Yasmina has a flair for food. All she needs to whip up a gourmet meal is a recipe from her cookbook and fresh vegetable form the community garden.

But everything changes when the garden is bulldozed and replaced with a strange new crop of potatoes. Her neighbors can’t get enough of these spuds! And after just one bite their behavior changes―they slobber, chase cats, and howl at the moon. What’s the secret ingredient in these potatoes that has everyone acting like a bunch of crazed canines? Yasmina needs to find a cure, and fast!

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

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

Native families from Nations across the continent gather 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).

Featuring stories and poems from many Native talents such as Christine Day, Monique Gray Smith, and Cynthia Leitich Smith.

In partnership with We Need Diverse Books

Amazon: Ancestor Amproved:Intertribal Stories for Kids

One Jar of Magic

One Jar of Magic by [Corey Ann Haydu]

Magic is like a dream. Delightful. Terrifying. Unreal.

Rose Alice Anders is Little Luck. Lucky to be born into the Anders family. Lucky to be just as special and magical as the most revered man in town—her father. The whole town has been waiting for Rose to turn twelve, when she can join them in their annual capturing of magic on New Year’s Day and become the person she was born to be.

But when that special day finally comes, Rose barely captures one tiny jar of magic. Now Rose’s dad won’t talk to her anymore and her friendships have gotten all twisted and wrong. So when Rose hears whispers that there are people who aren’t meant for magic at all, she begins to wonder if that’s who she belongs with.

Maybe if she’s away from all the magic, away from her dad telling her who she’s meant to be, who she has to be, Rose can begin to piece together what’s truly real in a world full of magic.

Amazon:One Jar of Magic

Of a Feather

Of a Feather by [Dayna Lorentz]

Great horned owl Rufus is eight months old and still can’t hunt. When his mother is hit by a car, he discovers just how dangerous the forest can be.

Reenie has given up on adults and learned how to care for herself—a good thing, since she’s sent to live with an aunt she’s never met. Yet this aunt has a wonderful secret: she’s a falconer who agrees to help Reenie catch an injured passage hawk in the wild and rehabilitate it.

When Reenie traps bedraggled Rufus, his eyes lock onto her heart, and they form a powerful friendship. But can Rufus learn to trust in the outside world and fly free? And can Reenie open her heart enough to truly soar?

Amazon: Of A Feather

Photo by Darren Nunis on Unsplash

Posted in Author Recommendations, Blogtober, Recommendations

Best Creepy MG Reads

So it’s basically Halloween in my mind. I mean I love Pumpkins, fall and everything October, so I’m so happy the spooky season is here. I’m fairly hard to creep out but I love books that go for mystery not gore, that’s why I tend towards more MG here are some of my favorite picks.

1) City of Ghosts

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This first book in Schwab’s Cassidy Blake Series all of the books are creepy I just found this book more creepy than the second one, the third and final book of the series comes out in April 2021 and I literally cannot wait that long.

Plot

Cassidy is just looking forward to a vacation at the beach. She needs a break from the ghosts that demand her attention both around her city and at school. Her break with her family is blissfully free of ghosts, except for her best friend, Jacob, who happens to be corporally challenged.

See Cassie almost died (did die but she doesn’t like to think about) about a year ago. Since then she’s been able to see ghosts. Another side effect of her almost dying, she and Jacob seem to be tangled up. She’s the only one who can see him, and he can read her mind. It works better than one would expect, they’ve set up a series of rules that govern their friendship. After all, being friends with a ghost needs some ground rules.

Yet another side effect of her almost dying Cassidy has been able to pass through something she calls The Veil, which separates the world of the living from the dead. She goes to the world of the dead to take pictures and find out if ghosts stories are true.

But her connection with The Veil and with Jacob are about to get a lot more complicated. Instead of her vacation to the beach, her parents let her know they going to be traveling to Edinburgh, Scottland to film their new TV show called The Inspecters. Cassidy’s parents are ghost hunters who can’t actually see ghosts but have written books on some of the world’s most haunted places.

Cassidy is apprehensive about going to Scotland, after all, which its rich and often violent history, she knows the city will be full of ghosts like she’s never seen before. But Cassidy doesn’t know how much of a surprise she’s in for when they arrive in Edinburgh and Cassidy meets a girl who like herself can cross through The Veil.

However Cassidy doesn’t just attract the attention of this new girl, now that she’s in Edinburgh, she’s caught the attention of one of the cities’ most powerful ghosts. Cassidy must face this ghost and win because she doesn’t realize until it is too late what the ghost really wants from her: her life.

Amazon: City of Ghosts

2) Small Spaces

Truly terrifying and delightful, I’m looking forward to re-reading it again soon. Probably some of the best mystery and scares I’ve seen done in middle grade that I’ve read.

Plot:

Ollie is reeling over losing someone in her family the year before, she wants to shut everyone out. She doesn’t even want to take part in things she used to love. They remind her too much of the person she lost. But soon she’ll find herself becoming part of a mystery after she finds a woman about to throw away a book by a river.

Ollie saves the book and starts reading it, forgetting her grief for a moment as she gets caught up in the story of a woman named Beth, two missing brothers and the mysterious ‘smiling man’.

Things get even weirder as Ollie goes on a class trip and discovers that the story in her book might be real. She finds the graves of the people she’s been reading about in the book. When the school bus she and her class are riding on breaks down, she wonders if the ‘smiling man’ might be real as well. Especially when her watch that has previously been broken starts a countdown to nightfall and flashes the word RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates Coco and Brian decide to take the warning seriously, getting off the bus and heading into the woods, with a field of scarecrows watch them from the farm. The scarecrows aren’t what they seem, and neither is the farm, leaving Ollie, Coco, and Brian in for a night of terror as they try and solve the mystery of ‘the smiling man’ and Ollie’s book while making it out alive.

Amazon: Small Spaces

3) Stritch Scratch

So I really haven’t been scared by a book since Katherine Arden’s work last year, Scritch Scratch was scary, and then extra scary and sad once you found out the twist. Lindsay Currie did a great job with her historical research mixing that with middle school drama, and all the while making a believable yet tough to solve ghost story so props to her.

Plot:

Claire’s father does ghost tours of Chicago, and she wants absolutly nothing to do with them. She’s a scientist and the stuff her dad talks about is just paranormal foolishness, right?

But one night she gets stuck helping her dad with a tour and some of the stuff he’s talking about starts to seem a little too real, she’s ready for the tour to be over and she thinks she’s made it through especially when she see a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the busy, there is something off about him, especially since at the end of the tour, he’s just gone.

Claire tries to think nothing of it at first, she must be imagining things, letting ghost stories she heard on the tour get the best of her, but then the scratching starts, then the whispers in the dark, the number 396 appearing everywhere she turns, and the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.

Claire realizes she’s being haunted and she’s got to find out what the boy from the bus wants before it’s too late.

Amazon: Stritch Scratch

4) Frozen: Forest of Shadows

I love Frozen everything and when COVID is over I want to get a Frozen tattoo, so when I heard this book was coming out I was happy I didn’t expect it to be creepy though however it takes some mysteries left unsolved by the movies and brings them forward in very intriguing and spooky ways.

Plot:

Elsa has established herself as queen and is about to go on her first royal journey to several neighboring kingdoms. But as Elsa seems to be feeling like the perfect queen Anna feels like Elsa doesn’t need her.

Anna has been trying to find a way to convince Elsa to take her on the royal journey. But every time she tries to ask something comes up, and just when she seems to find the perfect time to ask, a mysterious illness strikes the kingdom, forcing all of Elsa attention to the sick animals and worried villagers.

When Anna finds a mysterious hidden room filled with magic spell books that she and Elsa’s mother collected and translated along with other mysterious old artifacts, Anna thinks she may have found the answer to the illness in a magic spell. A magic spell that is supposed to make your dreams come true.

The spell, however, ends up turning a nightmare into reality and causes more trouble than Anna could have ever imagined.

Filled with myth and all sorts of cool new creatures and people, this book is a great link between Frozen and Frozen 2. I also especially love how much it focuses on emotion and how our emotions can change our perception of reality.

Amazon: Frozen II: Forest of Shadows

5)Dead Voices

I’d almost say this novel is creepier than the first because of the villains, they both are scary however I find this one more personally terrifying.

Plot:

Having survived possessed scarecrows in October, along with beating the evil ‘Smiling Man’ Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready for a quiet winter break with Ollie and Coco’s parents at a newly opened ski resort Mount Hemlock Lodge.

But things start off weird, Coco sees what she thinks is a ghost on the road during their drive up the mountain and this shakes her up. But she’s not the only one, on their first night there Ollie starts having dreams of a strange frostbitten girl who is looking for her bones.

But when a snowstorm traps them in the lodge, they try to make the best of it, setting up board games and roasting smores, only to be interrupted by a ghost hunter, Mr. Voland, who claims the lodge has a sinister history.

Despite the owner’s denial of the possible ghosts, Ollie is intrigued, especially when the ghost hunter claims he can help Ollie connect with her mother. Brian and Coco, aren’t so sure but they want to support their friend. When Mr. Voland helps them escape from a malevolent ghost, he starts to earn their trust.

However, the little girl in Ollie’s dream warns her not to ‘listen to the dead voices’ and her mother’s old watch, which helped the group escape from the ‘Smiling Man’ warns her to BEWARE. There are even more questions about who or what they should help and trust.

And when the propane and generators start acting up, and the kids realize things might not be as they seem and they are in for a long night of ghostly adventures. They are about to find out that while they didn’t give a second thought to the world behind the mist after they escaped the ‘Smiling Man’. The shadow world may not have forgotten about them.

Amazon: Dead Voices

Image by Mircea Ploscar from Pixabay

Posted in Princess Reads, Recommendations

Princess Reads: The Little Mermaid

Some of these are directly inspired some of them just remind me of the basic story, such as To Kill a Kingdom, which is sort of a reverse Little Mermaid situation.

Sea Witch

Sea Witch by [Sarah Henning]

Summary

A cross between Wicked meets the “The Little Mermaid” this is the captivating origin story of one of literatures most iconic villianiness.

After losing her best friend Anna, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing village. She’s had to hide her talent all the while mourning her loss and deeply feeling her guilt.

But when she meets a girl who looks almost identical to her lost friend and the two girls catch the eyes of two charming princes Evie feels like her life is finally turning around, and that she might have a chance at a happily ever after.

But magic isn’t always fair and her new friend can’t stay with her, or on land, without Evie’s help. When Evie uses the power of her magic to save her friends humanity and her princes heart. She discovers too late that some bargains aren’t worth the price.

Why I Picked It

Got to love a good villian orgin story

Amazon: Sea Witch

Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch 

Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch (Villains Book 3) by [Serena Valentino, Disney Storybook Art Team]

Summary

The third novel in Serena Valentino’s (Fairest of All, Beast Within) “VILLAINS” trilogy, featuring the story of the Little Mermaid from the perspective of the sea witch Ursula.

Why I Picked It

Same reason gotta love a good villain story.

Amazon: Poor Unfortunate Souls

Fathomless

Summary

Celia Reynolds thinks her power is pretty much useless. She’s the youngest in a set of triplets who can see the past present and future, being the youngest, Celia is stuck seeing the past. She thinks her power has no use until she meets Lo.

Celia doesn’t know who Lo is or more accurately who Lo was, once a human now almost completely a mermaid, a term too pretty for the soulless monster she’s becoming.

Lo is having a problem figuring out who she is or who was. Now almost entirely a mermaid she clings to the shards of her former self, even though she’s just as tempted to not fight being a mermaid even though it mean a dark sort of immortality.

When a boy named Jude falls off a pier into the ocean Celia and Lo work together to rescue him. Celia and Lo form a friendship with Jude but they soon find themselves competing for Jude’s affecting.

Lo realizes she needs something more if she’s to regain her humanity. She needs Jude to fall in love with her so she can steal his soul.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude’s affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there’s only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

Why I Picked It

If you include mermaids you have to include sirens. Plus Lo needs a mortal to fall in love with her like Ariel does.

Amazon:Fathomless

To Kill a Kingdom

Summary

Kind of a reverse Little Mermaid, Princess Lira is leathal siren royalty who hunts the hearts of princes. She’s revered across the sea. But when she’s forced to kill one of her own, her mother the Sea Queen, turns her into the thing she hates most, a human.

Now with her song taken away from her she must deliver deadly siren hunting Prince Elian’s heart to the sea queen by the winter solstice or remain a human forever.

Why I Chose It

The story just reminds me of a reverse little mermaid.

Amazon: To Kill A Kingdom

Atlantia

Atlantia by [Ally Condie]

Summary

Rio has always dreamed of leaving her artifical city of Atlantia behind, but when her twin sister makes a choice that strands her below, her future of seeing the world above is ripped away from her. Now with the last person who knew about her siren nature gone Rio embarks upon a dangerous path, after all she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by an unlikely mentor Rio formulates a plan that ends up with her asking questions about her mother’s death, her destiny, and the systems that divide the land and sea. But if she and her city are to survive she must find and speak the long hidden truths.

Why I Chose It

Again any story with mermaids ends up reminds me of sirens.

Amazon: Atlania

Pokémon for Little Mermaid.

Seek

I chose this Pokémon because seals were often confused for mermaids.

Brionne

I picked this Pokémon because one of its signature moves is dancing and Ariel wanted to be a human and dance.

Seadra

This little Pokémon reminded me of Flounder.

Tune in soon for our next Princess Reads

Photo by Javardh on Unsplash

Posted in Princess Reads, Recommendations

Princess Reads: Cinderella

So I figured out why I’ve been having such a problem with these Princess Reads. I’ve seen so many people do lists of retellings. Instead, I want to do things books that remind me of the story in a series of different books, for example, things for Cinderella-like dresses, shoes, pumpkins, and singing. I’ll include some retellings but I want expand on it a little bit. I’m also including favorite Pokemon at the end that remind me of the story.

Mechanica

Mechanica by [Betsy Cornwell]

Summary

Nicolette’s stepsister’s call her “Mechanica” to try and insult her. But honestly the name fits. When her mother was alive she learned to be an inventor right next to her mom. Even though her mother is gone now and her step sister have pushed her into a life of servitude she can’t forget those days of inventing.

Everything changes for Nicolette when she discovers a secret workshop in the cellar on her sixteenth birthday. She soon befriends a magical horse named Jules. With the new discoveries she starts to imagine a new life for herself. The timing is also perfect. There is technological exposition and royal ball coming up.

Not content to wait around for the prince to pick her Nicolette is going to invent her own happy ending and show both the prince and the entrepreneurs what she can do.

Why I Chose It

The Cinderella in this story doesn’t care much about princely approval and is focused on making her own future for herself.

Amazon: Mechanica

Cinderella is Dead

Cinderella Is Dead by [Kalynn Bayron]

Summary

A twisted tale of Cinderella’s happy ending. In Sophia’s world 200 year’s ago Cinderella supposedly found her prince. But now the fairy tale is over for everyone else. Teen girl are now required to appear at the annual ball. Men in the kingdom select wives based on a girls display of finery, if you don’t find a match. Well the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sophia doesn’t want anything to do with the Annual Ball, she’d much rather marry Erin her childhood best friend, than go on parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia flees and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb, where she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her stepsisters. Sophia and Constance both have the same goal, to bring down the king and the tradition of the annual ball once and for all.

Why I chose It

A black and queer Cinderella written by a black woman author, this had to be on the list. I don’t think I have to add any other explanation.

Amazon: Cinderella is Dead

Stepsister

Summary

The Cinderella tale told from the perspective of the ‘ugly’ stepsister. This version harkens back to the original where the stepsisters tried to cut off their toes to fit in the glass slipper.

It explores the true nature of beauty, the ugly stepsister Isabelle is a plain girl who was cast aside for Cinderella in a world where beauty is the most important virtue. But she’s a bold girl in a world where girls are supposed to be quiet and demure.

She’s tried to be more like Cinderella, even cut away literal pieces of herself to do it. But it’s only made her bitter, now with a chance to alter her destiny she will have the chance to have her happily ever after and score one for all the ugly stepsisters in the world.

Isabelle will go on journey of empowerment and redemption and find her own meaning of beauty.

Why I Chose It

I wanted a book that mentioned one of the other characters in the original story. I also appreciate the fact that Cinderella’s story on its face can be a shallow one about beauty alone and love to see it turned around or told from different point of view that leads me to my next two picks.

Amazon: Stepsister

Fat Girl on a Plane

This is a bit of a strech but Cinderella has always been about the dress too, and so I found a few books that focused on fashion and young women finding their happily ever after.

Summary

Cookie Vonn just wants to get out of Phoenix and become the next great fashion designer for people of all sizes. But she’s fat, something that’s utterly frowned upon in the world of fashion. It doesn’t help that she’s named after a snack food or that she’s constantly compared to famous supermodel mom.

She scores a chance to pitch her portfolio for New York Designers, but after numerous trials, she finally gets to New York only to find herself replaced by an ultrathin rival. She ends up getting an offer to stay and design clothes like she wanted but it’s nothing like she imagined it would be the fashion designers are more interested in putting women down, no matter their size.

Her designs make waves but her dream of making clothes for people of all sizes seem further away from ever?

When will she realize she’s always had the to make her dreams come true?

Why I Picked It

While it’s not an exact match to the Cinderella story it definitely has the elements, plus I love stories where fat protagonists are featured.

Amazon: Fat Girl on a Plane

A Dress for the Wicked

A Dress for the Wicked by [Autumn Krause]

Summary

Emmaline Watkins is from Shy a town in Avon upon Kynt, it’s a place where nothing much happens. Emmiline always thought her future held much the same nothing much in particular.

But when the head of the most admired fashion house in the country open her prestigious design competion to young women from outside the stylish capital city Emmy’s dreams seem like they might actually have have a chance to come true.

But as the first “country girl” to compete Emmy knows she will have to deal with extra hurdles on her way to the top, but as she deals with the twisted world of high fashion, will she be able to tailor herself to fit into the dark courrupted race, and what’s more, will she want to?

Why I Picked It

It it reminded me of the ball from Cinderella and how Cinderella was a country girl who had to change herself. It just had a few similarities that made me want to add it to the list.

Amazon: A Dress for the Wicked

Pokemon That Remind Me of Cinderella

Azumarill
Azumarill reminds me of Cinderella because of the mice that are sometimes associated with the story.
Delcatty
Delcatty reminds me of Cinderella’s stepmother’s prim cat.
Pumpkaboo
Pumpkaboo reminds me of Cinderella’s enchanted carriage.

Come back next week for more regular content as well as more Princess Reads.

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.