Posted in monthly goals

Keep Up as Summer Comes: May Goals

Allowing myself to keep a slow pace on healing was the theme of April. I’m doing much better now and even made it out to some stores today now that I have full immunity. I can’t wait to get out to book shop, once to gas shortage calms down. We’ve been in pretty hard lockdown since March 2019 so it’s nice to get out finally.

1)Try and keep posting ahead of time

Since I’ve gotten better from my injury I’ve found I had a whole lot to do to make up for my time down while I was recovering. Do you know there is this weird phenomena that when you have an injury you literally lose all your things. I couldn’t keep up with a game controller. Which was no where near I injured myself, several outfits and remotes.

2) Finishing up my books from previous months

I’ve still got a lot books from the Disability and Autistic Readathons. Some of the are really good and I want to get the reviews out, so I want to do that in May.

3) Celebrate AAPI authors this month!

I’ve already got several AAPI authors lined up to read this month including Joan He The One We’re Meant to Find to keep me current, The Dragon Egg Princess by Ellen Oh, and Andrea Tang’s Rebelwing. That’s just a few of the ones on the list,

4) Get back to 10 books a month.

I got close last month but healing keeps making tired, think the gif of the book keeps falling onto the person’s face because they’re asleep. That’s me, trying to get any reading in.

5) Look for Readathons for this month/next month

I know there are going to be a lot of Pride readathons in June so I’m going to probably one of those. But I’d love to try another Readathon, so if you know of any cool ones send them my way.

Posted in new releases

Released this week, from contemporary to mythology to history.

Released this week were a variety of books to choose from depending on what your interest was, from contemporary to history, mythology with a twist. Presented here are just a few of the new books released this week starting with:

Bea Is for Blended

Bea is used to her and her mom being a two-person team. But with her mom getting married, their team is growing, by her mom new husband Wendell, his three boys and two dogs, and a cat.

But finding her place in her new blended family is tougher than she imagined, however, she’ll need a team behind when Bea finds out her school might not get the all-girls soccer team they’d been promised.

Bea soon learns that the bigger the team, the stronger the fight, and for the girls to get what the where promised, they are going to need a squad behind them

Author

Lindsey Stoddard has written other classics, Right as Rain and Brave like that she is also a former teacher who live with her family in Vermont and loves skiing and being on the beaches of Lake Champlain.

Amazon: Bea is for Blended

This book released May 4th 2021

Finding Junie Kim 

Junie Kim just wants to fit in, she’s not the type to draw attention to herself. But after racist graffiti appears at her middle school she must choose between staying silent and speaking out.

Then Junie’s history teacher assigns a project and Junie decides to interview her grandparents about their unbelievable experiences as children during the Korean War. Through hearing their stories Junie comes to admire her grandma’s fierce determination to overcome impossible odds and her grandpa’s unwavering compassion during wartime.

But as racism becomes more pervasive at her middle school. She must use the same skills her ancestors did as she finds the courage to do what is right.

Finding Junie Kim is a reminder that within all of us lies the power to overcome hardship and emerge triumphantly.

Author

Ellen Oh is the co-founder of We Need Diverse Books (WNDB), a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing diversity in children’s literature. Originally from New York City, Ellen lives in Potomac, Maryland, with her husband and three children and has yet to satisfy her quest for a decent bagel.

Finding Junie Kim released May 4th 2021.

The Best Worst Summer

In this tale told across time Peyton is sure this is going to be the worst summer ever. She’s lonely and bored. She had to leave her best friend behind when her family moved. There isn’t any excitement until she comes across a box buried in her backyard, with a message: I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. Things are about to get interesting.

Back in 1989, it’s going to be the best summer ever for Melissa and Jessica. They have two whole months to goof off and explore and they are going to even buy a time capsule! But when one girl’s family secret starts to unravel, it seems like things might not go exactly as planned.

Told in alternating chapters from Peyton in the present to Melissa in 1989, it’s a story of mystery and two sets of unforgetable characters.

The Best Worst Summer

Author

Elizabeth Eulberg is the author of novels for teens and young readers, including internationally best-selling YA novels The Lonely Hearts Club and Better Off Friends, and the acclaimed Great Shelby Holmes middle-grade series.

Her newest novel, The Best Worst Summer released on May 4, 2021. Elizabeth now lives in London, where she spends her free time going on long walks around her favorite city in the world and eating all of the scones. ALL OF THEM.

Last Gate of the Emperor

Last Gate of the Emperor by [Kwame Mbalia, Prince Joel Makonnen]

Yared Heywat’s life is isolated in Addis Prime. It’s a hardscrabble city with rundown tech lots of rules and not much to do. It doesn’t help that his uncle is a worrywart and bionic lioness Besa is on his tail. But they are still his only family his only friends.

Still, you can’t always stay out of trouble and his need for thrill-seeking and wisecracking sense of humor make Yared a star player on the underground augmented reality game The Hunt for Kaleb Obelisk.

But when rules change and Yared has to log in with his real name, it triggers an attack that rocks the city. In the chaos his Uncle Moti disappears. Suddenly all the stories Yared’s uncle told as boy are making sense and coming to life, about kingdoms in the sky and city razing monsters.

Somehow Yared is at the center of them? Together with Besa and Ibis–a game rival turned reluctant ally Yard must find his uncle and maybe his place in a forgotten, galaxy-spanning war.

Authors

New York Times Best Selling Author Kwame Mbalia who is the co-author of LAST GATE OF THE EMPEROR with Prince Joel Makonnen, from Scholastic Books. A Howard University graduate and a Midwesterner now in North Carolina, he survives on Dad jokes and Cheezits.

The Last Gate of the Emperor released May 4 2021.

The Last Shadow Warrior

Twelve year old Abby Beckett is proud of heritage. She comes from a long line of Viking warrior known as the Aesir. She’s spent entire life training to hunt down Grendels, just like her mother did before she died. There is just one problem, no one has seen a Grendel in centuries.

Now the Viking council wants to disband the Aesir forever. If that weren’t enough when Abby’s dad is in an attack that leaves him in a coma, Abby must take refuge at Vale Hall a mysterious school in Minnesota. She soon finds out she’s the one being hunted, by a Grendel no less but when she alerts the Viking council, they acuse her of making up stories like her mother.

To protect her father and clear her mother’s name, Abby goes on a dangerous quest to discover the truth. A journey that brings her face to face with some unlikely foes including a sea monster with a wicked backhand, and a dark Valkyrie with a fondness for bingo. Abby quickly realizes she’s facing a plot to destroy the Aesir for good and that the threat comes from somewhere within the school, now all she has to do is find them before it’s too late!

Desperate to protect her father and clear her mother’s name, Abby goes on a dangerous quest to discover the truth–a journey that brings her face-to-face with some unlikely foes, including a Ping-Pong-playing sea monster with a wicked backhand, and a dark Valkyrie with a fondness for bingo. Abby quickly realizes that someone at the school is trying to stop her progress and destroy the Aesir for good. And only she can unravel the sinister plot before it’s too late.

The Last Shadow Warrior Released May 4 2021.

Author

But in either case, Sam Subity is very likely imagining himself fighting mythical creatures or at the prow of a dragon ship feeling the wind and sea spray on his face alongside his own Viking queen and their two Vikelets. His greatest hope is that in reading his books, you too may be transported to another place where, for a little while, you can exchange the ordinary for the extraordinary. 

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized

Alone Review

This was one of my favorite books this month, for a couple of reasons. One I love a good survival/dsytopia story. But two Alone dealt with it from a girl’s perspective which you don’t often see in survival stories. I not saying Jack London, Hatchet, and Sign of the Beaver don’t have their place. I just think the dynamic of the survival story can be more interesting if it’s not limited to white men and their dogs.

Alone

Summary

Twelve-year-old Maddie’s plans for a secret sleepover sound perfect, she’ll tell each of her divorced parents she is at the other’s house. Then watch old movies with her friends, it sounds perfect. But then her friends bail on her. Oh well, she may be alone but at least she’s watching cool old movies and getting some time to herself in her grandparents’ old winter cabin. But during the night some sort of disaster happens and she wakes up to find herself: alone. Her town has been left behind and mysteriously evacuated and abandoned.

With no one to rely on, all cell phones have been left behind. And the power stops working soon after the town is abandoned. Maddie slowly learns to survive alone. She does meet a dog named George who she comes to treasure as a dear friend, and she has all the books she could ever read.

Being alone at first is a rough start but Maddie slow comes to rely on her own creativity and ingenuity and comes to find new ways to survive in her abandoned town. She fights, nature, wild dog, and maraduers to name a few of her problems.

However, this isn’t her biggest issue she learns she can deal with most outside issues that are thrown at her. But can she truly deal with the crushing loneliness that comes from being alone for so long will her stubbornness keep her together or will her own loneliness be the thing that takes her out in the end?

Review

Okay, so it’s a girl and her dog. Still not swaying too far from the genre but it does get some points. Plus I really love George and he saves Maddie several times throughout the book. I really liked the lyrical way the novel was written and how all of Maddie’s challenges were described. She definitely grows as a character but almost to the point where she blends with nature. She has to get out of one puzzle towards the end of the book it’s like she’s embraced herself as part of the natural world. She’s still human but the time she’s taken on by being on has made her not quite.

Author

Megan Freeman writes middle grade and young adult fiction, and her debut middle grade novel, ALONE, is available from Simon & Schuster/Aladdin. Megan is also a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, and her poetry chapbook, Lessons on Sleeping Alone, was published by Liquid Light Press.

Amazon: Alone

Posted in Reviews

The Comeback: A Figure Skating Novel Review

The Comeback: A Figure Skating Novel

There is a purple background with silver colored glitter coming down on a tween girl, she has her hair done in a pony tail with a ice blue ribbon that matches her fancy blue ice skating outfit. The outfit itself looks like it has crystals on it, the girl has one leg up in the air with white ice skates on and her head bent back. Between her head and leg is the title "The Comeback"

Summary

Twelve-year-old Maxine Chen is trying to keep her life in balance. She wants everything to be perfect when it comes to skating, she wants the perfect landing on the ice, in middle school, and at home where her parents worry competitive skating it too much for their tween daughter.

But that’s not all Maxine has to deal with she’s sure about her life on the ice, what she’s not so sure about is when a bully at school starts teasing her for her Chinese heritage, leaving her with no idea how to respond. And when she thinks the rink is her place to be confident, a new very talented skater named Hollie up-ends that belief and threaten to edge Maxine out of the competition.

With everything she knows on uneven ice will she crack under the pressure of find a way to make a comeback.

Set in Lake Placid, New York, this is a spunky yet stirring middle-grade story that examines racism, female rivalry and friendship, and the enduring and universal necessity of love and support.

E. L. Shen is a writer, editor, and former figure skater. Her childhood skating career was not nearly as prolific as Maxine’s, but her personality is just as fiery. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College of Columbia University.

Review

Shen’s emotional writing was easy to relate to, you could really feel Maxine’s emotions as she went through all the experinces in the book finally becoming the more confident young woman in the end. I also appricate how the side characters are written Hollie is a great rival then friend for Maxine and shows the the stress of having all the skating talent but not wanting it to be your whole life.

I think she’s a good model for the pressures of sports competition, also the fact that Maxine envied her earlier in the book while all the while she was looking up to Maxine makes a great contrast of how you can think someone is perfect but they really aren’t.

Also the way Maxine handles the bullying about her Chinese heritage seems very realistic for someone her age. I love the way her parents respond to the bullying and it makes for a very sweet monent in the book.

Overall this is going to be a favorite and I’d give the book 5/5 stars I hope to read more of Shen’s writing in the future.

Amazon: The Comeback

Posted in new releases, Reviews

Claudia and the New Girl Baby-sitters Club Graphic Novel #9

Claudia and the New Girl

Summary

Claudia has always been the most creative person she know. That is until new girl Ashley Wyeth comes along. Ashley is really different and really cool. She wears hippie clothes and has multipe earings and she’s the most fantastic artist Claudia has ever met.

Ashley says that Claudia is just is good but she’s wasting her time and talent with the Baby Sitter’s Club. When Claudia starts spending more time with Ashley and missing meetings it becomes clear, one of them has to go! But will Claudia let go of the BSC?

Review

I enjoyed this spotlight on Claudia who is one of my favorite BSC characters. I figured her art would come in to comflict with her BSC duties at some point, and I like Ashley Wyeth, as an antagonist, she wasn’t really evil like none of the BSC antagonists tend to be, she was just conflicted, and I liked the ending a lot. Another great entry in the series. I can’t wait for the next one.

Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash

Posted in Feature

Chinese New Year-Chinese Author and Character Appreciation

I thought I’d do a post featuring books by Chinese authors and with Chinese characters since Chinese New Year is tomorrow. Happy New Year to everyone who celebrates! A little bit about Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year is also celebrated in other countries  Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

This year is the Year of the Ox, the second in the 12-year cycle of animals, the date of Chinese New Year varies on the Gregorian calendar because it’s date is based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar.

People born in the Year of the Ox are attributed with such positive characteristics, as being hardworking and honest.

Celebrations vary but usually include fireworks, red paper lantern decorations, and dinners with the family. In fact, the migration of people in China coming home for Chinese New Year is one of the biggest yearly migrations in the modern world though this has changed in recent years due to COVID.

Book Suggestions

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao

Amy enjoys making bao with her family, but it takes skill to make the bao taste and look delicious And her bao keeps coming out all wrong.

Then she has an idea that may give her a second chance…Will Amy ever make the perfect bao?

Written by Kat Zhang and illustrated by Charlene Chua.

Shadow Frost

Shadow Frost (Shadow Frost Trilogy Book 1) by [Coco Ma]

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes.
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm.
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.
Not one has ever returned.

Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria is heir to the throne, but that might not be the most important thing about her. She may hold the key to defeating the demon that has been terrorizing her kingdom. She vows not to rest until the beast is slain, she has her powers (even though she doesn’t fully understand them) and she has her friends. Asterin and her company set out to complete a task everyone else has failed at

To kill the demon.

But when they go hunting they may find something other than the Demon, like a plot to assassinate the princess instead. The company begins to wonder how much of their lives have been lie, they begin to see that the center of the web of decit they are uncovering my be themselves.

How much are they willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they’ve ever known?

That is….if the demon doesn’t get them first.

Born in 2000, Canadian-Chinese author and pianist Coco Ma began playing the piano at the age of five and a half. Since then, she has performed on some of the world’s greatest concert stages and graduated with a pre-college diploma in piano performance from The Juilliard School in New York City. At fifteen years old, she finished writing her first novel, Shadow Frost. Currently, she studies at Yale College. When she isn’t practicing piano, writing, or studying, you might find her bingeing Netflix or eating cake. Lots of cake.

The cover was designed by Kathyrn G. English. Kathryn has worked as an in-house designer for Blackstone Publishing (previously Blackstone Audio, Inc) since 2002, and currently works as the lead designer, and art director for the new print books imprint.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by [F. C. Yee]

Genie is a perfectionist feeling the struggle to get into a top-tier college. It consume her every waking though, until she discovers she’s a celestial spirit powerful enough to bash through the gates of heaven with her fist. Then college, well it’s not exactly at the top of the list, maybe like number two though.

Then there is Quentin a transfer student from China. He’s tone-deaf assertiveness intruges Genie, yet it also annoys her to the point of madness. Quentin helps with Genie’s outrageous transfromation sometimes gently sometimes agressively as their sleepy suburb in the Bay Area comes under threat from hell-spawn.

Drawing from Chinese folklore Yee perfectly balences a larger than life heroine’s high school life, with the supernatural world she finds herself commanding.

F. C. Yee grew up in New Jersey and went to school in New England, but has called the San Francisco Bay Area home.

MUTI Creative Studio designed the cover for The Epic Crush of Genie Lo.

The Comeback

The Comeback: A Figure Skating Novel by [E. L. Shen]

Twelve-year-old Maxine Chen is trying to balance everything in her life. She just has to keep her life on the ice, in middle school, and at home, where her parents worry that competitive skating is too much for their budding tween.

Maxine isn’t worried though-she knows she’s going to glide to victory.

But then a bully at school starts teasing her for her Chinese heritage, leaving her stunned and without a response. And it not only school where she’s thrown for a loop, at the rink she finds herself up against a stellar new skater named Hollie, will her grace and skill edge Maxine out of the competition?

Everything she knows is on uneven ice, will Maxine crash under the pressure? Or can she power her way to a comeback?

Set in Lake Placid, New York Shen examines racism female rivalry and enduring and universal necessity of love and support.

E. L. Shen is a writer, editor, and former figure skater. Her childhood skating career was not nearly as prolific as Maxine’s, but her personality is just as fiery. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College of Columbia University, where she majored in English with a concentration in creative writing. Originally from upstate New York, she currently resides in Manhattan.

Dung Ho and Cassidy Clausnitzer are the cover artist and worked on the design for the book.

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Posted in Reviews

The Flower of the Witch

The Flower of the Witch

Summary

Tami comes from a village that kicks boys out at at a certain age so they can go on adventures and become men. Only then can they return to the village. Tami has done a lot saving princesses and defeating monsters hasn’t been enough to call himself a man. But when he kills a demon in self defense on his quest for the fabled flower of the witch. He puts a village that rescues him in danger from the demon’s daughter Yarbra!

When the conflict between the village and Yarba comes Tami will have to choose between getting the fabled flower of the witch or helping the villagers he’s come to love? What will Tami choose and how will it reflect what kind of man he’s going to become.

For the first time in English Enrico Orlandi’s exciting tale of adventure reflects on compassion and the true meaning of maturity.

Review

First off the world is set up beautifuly everything from the clothing design to the demons to the witches. Orlandi has definitely built his own world.

He was quoted as saying about the book and it’s theme of growing up. “To those who read this book, I would like to say that a girl can go on adventures, that a boy can cry if he needs to, that there is no right way to grow up. You just have to take the time to understand who you want to be.”

I think the quote sort of covers all the themes in the book, Tami makes mistakes but eventually chooses the kind of person he wants to be even when it’s almost too late. He gets help from an unlikely source and is willing to bear the consequences of his actions if this isn’t maturity what it?

Definitly 5/5.

Amazon: The Flower of the Witch

Posted in Reviews

Awkward

Awkward (Berrybrook Middle School Book 1) by [Svetlana Chmakova]

Summary

I’ve been wanting to read this book for quite awhile. I thought the concept was interesting and it definitely didn’t dissapoint. Penelope–Peppi–Tores has some basic rules for surving at a new school. The first is not to get noticed by the mean kids, but when she drops her backpack on the first day and quiet boy Jamie helps her up the mean kids start calling her ‘nerder girlfriend’. She’s already broken the first rule! How does she handle it? By pushing Jamie and running away. Her second rule is to seek out groups with similar interests and join them, so she ends up in art club with new friends, but she still can’t help feeling bad about the way she treated Jamie. She agonizes over apolizing to him, but the timing never seems to be right.

Things get even more awkward when he becomes her science tutor and she learns more about Jamie. However art club and science club which Jamie is a part of are archrivals. When the two clubs go to war will it cut off any chance at a friendship between Peppi and Jamie. Or will the two be able to show there isn’t that much difference between science and art and that the two clubs might just get along if they are willing to drop their rivalry and work together.

Review

This was cute, loved the friendship between Peppi and Jamie but I also loved the positive portrayal of disability with Jamie’s mom. I liked the diverse students in both clubs. The author did a good job of making everyone in a large ensemble cast seem unique something that isn’t oftentimes easy to do. I also loved Miss T, and her making Peppi diagram the mermaid drawing. It’s just such a teacher move. Anywany very cute and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Amazon: Awkward

Posted in new releases, Recommendations

Middle Grade Books Releasing this Week

1)Red, White, and Whole

Anyone who has been reading the blog know I’m a huge fan of Rajani Larocca.I loved Midsummer’s Mayhem. I also can’t wait for Much Ado About Baseball which is coming out this summer so I can’t wait to read this one.

Reha lives in two worlds: school where she’s the only Indian American student, and home with her family’s traditions and holidays. Her parents don’t understand the conflict though they only seem to notice when Reha doesn’t meet their strict expectations.

Reha feels universes apart from her mother even though their names are linked Reha mean “star” and her Amma’s Punam means “moon”

But then Reha finds out her Amma is sick, really sick,

Reha dreams of becoming a doctor even though she can’t stomach the sight of blood, she is determined to make her mother well again. She’ll be the perfect daughter if it means saving her mother’s life.

Amazon: Red, White and Whole

2) The Year I Flew Away

In 1985 ten-year old Gabrielle is excited to move from Haiti to America. Unfortunatly, her parents won’t be able to join her and she’ll be living with relatives she’s never met in Brooklyn, New York.

She promises her parents she will behave, but life in the US proves to difficult, from learning the language to always feeling out of place, and being bullied. So when a witch offers her a chance to be a perfect “American” Gabrielle makes the deal.

But she soon realizes how much she’s given up trying to fit in and. Now she must reverse the spell along with her two new friends (one of them a talking rat). as she takes on the witch in an epic battle.

Amazon: The Year I Flew Away

3)The Last Bear

There aren’t supposed to be any polar bears left on Bear Island. At least that’s what April’s father says. April’s father is there for his scientific research, that takes them to the faraway Artic outpost

But one night April catches a glimpse of something that is distinctly bear shaped loping across the horizon. A polar bear who shouldn’t be there who is hungry loney and a long way from home.

Amazon: The Last Bear

4)Real

Now as an an Autistic #OwnVoices reader I like to read whatever comes out, but as an Autistic #OwnVoices Reader I have very high standards for things being good. So I’m just reading the desciption here knowing that it’s going to take quite a bit to win me over.

My name is Charity. I am thirteen years old. Actually, thirteen years plus eighty-seven days. I love sour gummies and pepperoni pizza. That last part no one knows because I have not spoken a sentence since I was born. Each dawning day, I live in terror of my unpredictable body that no one understands.

Charity may have mad math skills and a near-perfect memory, but with a mouth that can’t speak and a body that jumps, rocks, and howls unpredictably, most people incorrectly assume she cannot learn. Charity’s brain works differently from most people’s because of her autism, but she’s still funny, determined, and kind. So why do people treat her like a disease or ignore her like she’s invisible?

When Charity’s parents enroll her in a public junior high school, she faces her greatest fears. Will kids make fun of her? Will her behavior get her kicked out? Will her million thoughts stay locked in her head forever? With the support of teachers and newfound friends, Charity will have to fight to be treated like a real student.

Amazon: Real

Photo by krystina rogers on Unsplash

Posted in TBR, Uncategorized

February TBR

I’ve got lots good stuff to read, and lots of time to read it thanks to my recovery lol. Here are a few of the things I’m going to focus on during Feburary.

The Only Black Girls in Town

The Only Black Girls in Town by [Brandy Colbert]

Amazon: The Only Black Girls in Town

Re-read Dead Voices

Dead Voices by [Katherine Arden]

Amazon: Dead Voices

Root Magic

Root Magic by [Eden Royce]

Amazon: Root Magic

Ironheart Vol 1.

Amazon: Ironheart Volume 1

Rereading Lumberjanes and doing a reflection as the series is ending.

Amazon:Lumberjanes Volume 1

Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash