Posted in new releases

Trying to Save What’s Important: New Releases

Check out these middle grade new releases coming out on September 21st, about characters trying to save things be it the world or their own worlds, whether they are facing monsters or prejudice these characters stand up and face their fears.

Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds

Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds (Amira & Hamza, 1) by [Samira Ahmed]

On the day of a rare super blue blood moon eclipse, twelve-year-old Amira and her little brother, Hamza, can’t stop their bickering while attending a special exhibit on medieval Islamic astronomy. While stargazer Amira is wowed by the amazing gadgets, a bored Hamza wanders off, stumbling across the mesmerizing and forbidden Box of the Moon. Amira can only watch in horror as Hamza grabs the defunct box and it springs to life, setting off a series of events that could shatter their world—literally.
 
Suddenly, day turns to night, everyone around Amira and Hamza falls under a sleep spell, and a chunk of the moon breaks off, hurtling toward them at lightning speed, as they come face-to-face with two otherworldly creatures: jinn.
 
The jinn reveal that the siblings have a role to play in an ancient prophecy. Together, they must journey to the mystical land of Qaf, battle a great evil, and end a civil war to prevent the moon—the stopper between realms—from breaking apart and unleashing terrifying jinn, devs, and ghuls onto earth. Or they might have to say goodbye to their parents and life as they know it, forever.…

Amazon: Amira and Hazma: The War to Save the Worlds

Maya and the Return of the Godlings (Maya and the Rising Dark)

Maya and the Return of the Godlings (Maya and the Rising Dark) by [Rena Barron]

The threat from The Dark is far from over. Twelve-year-old Maya knows this. After crossing the veil between the two worlds, saving her father, and narrowly escaping the sinister clutches of the Lord of Shadows, tensions between the human world and The Dark are higher than ever. And even worse, Maya’s orisha powers as a godling are out of control.
 
Now a guardian in training, Maya spends her days patching up veils with her father and cleaning up near-disasters like baby wormholes that her erratic powers create. But when Maya and her friends discover that something went terribly wrong during their journey to bring her father back to the human world, they are forced to return to The Dark and restore what they left behind, the one thing keeping the veil from falling: her father’s soul.
 
The Lord of Shadows is mobilizing his forces for an all-out war against the human world. And this time, Maya and her friends will need all the help they can get. Even if that means teaming up with their greatest enemies, the darkbringers.

Amazon: Maya and the Return of the Godlings

Room to Dream

Room to Dream (Front Desk) by [Kelly Yang]

Mia Tang is going for her dreams!

After years of hard work, Mia Tang finally gets to go on vacation with her family — to China! A total dream come true! Mia can’t wait to see all her cousins and grandparents again, especially her cousin Shen. As she roams around Beijing, witnessing some of the big changes China’s going through, Mia thinks about the changes in her own life, like . . .

1. Lupe’s taking classes at the high school! And Mia’s own plans to be a big writer are . . . stuck.

2. Something happened with Jason and Mia has no idea what to do about it.

3. New buildings are popping up all around the motel, and small businesses are disappearing.

Can the Calivista survive? Buckle up! Mia is more determined than ever to get through the turbulence, now that she finally has . . . room to dream!

Amazon: Room to Dream

Posted in backlog reviews, Reviews

The Brave

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

The Brave by [James Bird]

Summary

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

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

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

Review

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

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

Amazon: The Brave

Additional Reading

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

Posted in new releases

Culture-Finding your way

Whether it’s in your own home at or at school these books deal with finding your own way when dealing with a majority culture or trying to understand a minority culture. These books are about mixing of cultures.

Eleven-year-old Danny’s life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother comes to live with his family in England. Things get worse when Danny finds out he’ll have to share his room with her, and she took the top bunk! At first, Danny is frustrated that he can’t communicate with her because she doesn’t speak English—and because he’s on the verge of failing math and Nai Nai was actually a math champion back in the day. It just feels like he and his grandmother have nothing in common. His parents insist that Danny help out, so when he’s left to look after Nai Nai, he leaves her at the bingo hall for the day to get her off his back. But he soon discovers that not everyone there is as welcoming as he expected . . . Through the universal languages of math and art, Danny realizes he has more in common with his Nai Nai than he first thought. Filled with heart and humor, Danny Chung Sums It Up shows that traversing two cultures is possible and worth the effort, even if it’s not always easy.

Amazon: Danny Chung Sums It Up

Partly Cloudy by [Tanita S. Davis]

Lightning couldn’t strike twice, could it? After a terrible year, Madalyn needs clear skies desperately. Moving in with her great-uncle, Papa Lobo, and switching to a new school is just the first step.

It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, though. Madalyn discovers she’s the only Black girl in her class, and while most of her classmates are friendly, assumptions lead to some serious storms.

Papa Lobo’s long-running feud with neighbor Mrs. Baylor brings wild weather of its own, and Madalyn wonders just how far things will go. But when fire threatens the community, Madalyn discovers that truly being neighborly means more than just staying on your side of the street— it means weathering tough conversations—and finding that together a family can pull through anything.

Award-winning author Tanita S. Davis shows us that life isn’t always clear, and that partly cloudy days still contain a bit of blue worth celebrating.

Amazon: Partly Cloudy

Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero by [Saadia Faruqi]

Yusuf Azeem has spent all his life in the small town of Frey, Texas—and nearly that long waiting for the chance to participate in the regional robotics competition, which he just knows he can win.

Only, this year is going to be more difficult than he thought. Because this year is the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, an anniversary that has everyone in his Muslim community on edge.

With “Never Forget” banners everywhere and a hostile group of townspeople protesting the new mosque, Yusuf realizes that the country’s anger from two decades ago hasn’t gone away. Can he hold onto his joy—and his friendships—in the face of heartache and prejudice from the culture around him ?

Amazon: Yusef Azeem is not a Hero

Posted in Orillium Readathon, Weekly Wrap-ups

Reading A Lot this Week-All of the Books

I’ve found myself just reading more daily with my two readathons, I rolled, Humans, New and Cute for my Bookaplaton rolls so I’m read and am reading Ghost Girl, The Smashed Man of Dread End and Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating. For Magical Readathon I’m working on Fellowship of the Ring on the principle of getting the toughest book out of the way first, if other books come up the match my Bookaplaton prompts that are also on my Magical Readathon List I’m going to double up and try and maximize my reading as best I can.

What have I been doing when I haven’t been reading. I’ve been trying to post as you can see I’ve put up either reading or writing stuff every day. I’m also going to try and go back and do the reviews for the books I’ve been reading, for example all the stuff in August but that I’ve gotten behind on. I also plan to get back to posting new releases every Monday when there is enough content and all the other things I was doing for the blog before I kind of blinked out and took a bit of a hiatus due to my health.

I’m also using the blog as a bit of a distraction, I have a disability hearing on the 15th and that decides whether or not I’m considered disabled and can get the money to move out on my own, it’s causing me major stress so I’m just throwing myself into things I can control, like reading books. Or posting on the blog, maybe I’ll feel better after my hearing but they still have a month to tell me how I did so I think the blog might be a bit of a distraction for awhile.

I’m not sure I can focus due to stress levels but I also want to get back to writing, even if it’s just a little. I miss telling stories, and you only get better by telling the bad drafts first.

There is one good thing other good thing, it is starting to feel like fall here! One it took long enough, and two, that makes September the best month, and three that means it’s spoopy season! Lets be real though, it’s been spoopy season here since mid-July.

Posted in Challenges, Orillium Readathon, Reviews

Ghost Girl Review-A New Spooky Book

So my readathons have been going well, I’m trying to combine them as much I can, for example, I got Humans as my prompt on Day 1 of Bookoplaton, and Humans were the main characters in Ghost Girl but the book also fulfilled my prompt for Ruin of Skye where I needed a book with supernatural characters. Anyway, I’m doing great with all the extra reading so far and can’t wait to start my next book.

Ghost Girl by [Ally Malinenko]

Summary

Zee Puckett loves ghost stories. She just never expected to be living one.

It all starts with a dark and stormy night. When the skies clear, everything is different. People are missing. There’s a creepy new principal who seems to know everyone’s darkest dreams. And Zee is seeing frightening things: large, scary dogs that talk and maybe even . . . a ghost.

When she tells her classmates, only her best friend Elijah believes her. Worse, mean girl Nellie gives Zee a cruel nickname: Ghost Girl.

But whatever the storm washed up isn’t going away. Everyone’s most selfish wishes start coming true in creepy ways.

To fight for what’s right, Zee will have to embrace what makes her different and what makes her Ghost Girl. And all three of them—Zee, Elijah, and Nellie—will have to work together if they want to give their ghost story a happy ending.

Review

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while and I wasn’t disappointed, Zee was a great protagonist. I knew I liked her from the moment she was up in the middle of the thunderstorm. She’s a great role model for every girl who has been cast out for not liking girly things or shunned for their interest in the macabre. The way the three main characters must face their fears at the end is a scary scenario even for adults.

And the villain is a unique blend of demon, ghost, and unknown creepy being. He’s especially creepy because you don’t know exactly what he is, and what his powers are, or how far they reach. The book is well-paced with many scary moments throughout that keep the reader interested and the plot going. Also, I really love the ending, I’d totally read another spooky book from the author.

Amazon: Ghost Girl

Posted in Challenges, Feature, Updates

Novel Notes-Microwriting Challenges

So I’m trying to get back into writing my novel. So what I’m doing is some micro writing challenges here.

SpilltheVillianousTea

1LineWeds: Introduce Your Antagonist

Villian 1: It was time to finally see she didn’t silence everything around her. That had been a joke, a trick, a distraction. L could finally see now what she really was someone who could morph into anything and everything and she’d fooled her right up until it was too late.

Villian 2: She burned the brightest L had every seen she would have shielded her eyes or looked on in awe, that is if her burning hand currently didn’t have her by the throat.

ThursdayAesthetics

Villian 1: She loved climbing the walls of palace being above everyone just gave her a better view the view she’d have when that country girl was finally won over when this backwater was lost and won, when she was finally Queen.

Villian 2: She wasn’t like her sister she didn’t fear the water because she knew without a doubt it couldn’t hurt her she stood on the beach and shot her fire into the water steam opening a path for her. She stopped the shot her fire at the sand hitting it with more and more intensity until it turned to glass. She didn’t care what her mother said, they didn’t need peace with waring tribe, they had all the powers they needed, and she would show the little lightning witch she’d never threaten her people again.

#WriterFriendsChallenge

1. I’m a middle grade to YA fantasy writer not sure where I fit at the moment. I like writing about neurodiverse, witchy and LGBTQIA characters, oh and dragons and magic, and sometimes ghosts and mental health.

2. Put 10,000 words on my main project and 5,000 on my side project

#TheMoonStardustandSkyChallenge

  1. I’m a middle grade and young adult fantasy novel writer who likes to write about fantasy and the spooky witchy stuff.
  2. On my main series two book novel that could each be read as stand alones but work better together. On my side series a standalone.

#Seatember2021

L watched the ocean for a long moment every fiber of her soul wanting to dive back under those waves and choke the people who were responsible for what happened to her family. But as she watched the reds in the sunrise, she realized the world was on fire and it wasn’t just about her anymore. She dug her toes into the sand one last time, a promise she would return and face her demons before she turned away from sunrise when she stepped back into the jet and A asked where they were going she replied simply. “Back to the capital, we need to fix this.”

Posted in Challenges, Discussion, Feature, Monthly Reads, Orillium Readathon

First Day of September Reads

So I’m going to update what I’m reading every day since I get a new roll on Bookaplaton every day so today on Bookaplaton I got the prompt of a book with humans so I’m reading Ghost Girl which I bought yesterday because it was just too good not to read ASAP. I’m also reading Fellowship of the Ring for Magical Readathon’s first prompt. In addition to this I’m reading Goddess in the Machine because I just started it and am enjoying it.

The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings by [J.R.R. Tolkien]

Amazon: Fellowship of the Rings

Ghost Girl by [Ally Malinenko]

Amazon: Ghost Girl

Goddess in the Machine by [Lora Beth Johnson]

Amazon: Goddess in the Machine

Posted in Recommendations

Spooky and Mysterious Adventures

It’s September so I can finally say it’s spooky season, even though it’s been spooky season in my heart since you know mid-July. So here are some spooky and mysterious new releases to match the hopefully soon coming fall. Check them out below.

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by [Nancy Springer]

Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of her more famous brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. But she has all the wits, skills, and sleuthing inclinations of them both. At fifteen, she’s an independent young woman–after all, her name spelled backwards reads ‘alone’–and living on her own in London. When a young professional woman, Miss Letitia Glover, shows up on Sherlock’s doorstep, desperate to learn more about the fate of her twin sister, it is Enola who steps up. It seems her sister, the former Felicity Glover, married the Earl of Dunhench and per a curt note from the Earl, has died. But Letitia Glover is convinced this isn’t the truth, that she’d know–she’d feel–if her twin had died.

The Earl’s note is suspiciously vague and the death certificate is even more dubious, signed it seems by a John H. Watson, M.D. (who denies any knowledge of such). The only way forward is for Enola to go undercover–or so Enola decides at the vehement objection of her brother. And she soon finds out that this is not the first of the Earl’s wives to die suddenly and vaguely–and that the secret to the fate of the missing Felicity is tied to a mysterious black barouche that arrived at the Earl’s home in the middle of the night. To uncover the secrets held tightly within the Earl’s hall, Enola is going to require help–from Sherlock, from the twin sister of the missing woman, and from an old friend, the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether!

Amazon: Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche

The Dollhouse

The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story by [Charis Cotter]

Alice’s world is falling apart. Her parents are getting a divorce, and they’ve cancelled their yearly cottage trip — the one thing that gets Alice through the school year. Instead, Alice and her mom are heading to some small town where Alice’s mom will be a live-in nurse to a rich elderly lady.

The house is huge, imposing and spooky, and everything inside is meticulously kept and perfect — not a fun place to spend the summer. Things start to get weird when Alice finds a dollhouse in the attic that’s an exact replica of the house she’s living in. Then she wakes up to find a girl asleep next to her in her bed — a girl who looks a lot like one of the dolls from the dollhouse . . .

When the dollhouse starts to change when Alice isn’t looking, she knows she has to solve the mystery. Who are the girls in the dollhouse? What happened to them? And what is their connection to the mean and mysterious woman who owns the house? What’s truly going on in this spooky adventure?

Amazon: The Dollhouse

The Collectors (Fright Watch #2) by [Lorien Lawrence]

After defeating the Oldies, Quinn and Mike thought that things would settle down on Goodie Lane. But then new neighbors move in. Maybe it’s because they all work at the interior design firm, but Abigail, Eleanor, Jade, Brea, and Cami seem to always be together, dressed in only white.

After everything that happened last summer, Quinn’s a bit wary of the Ladies in White, but her friend Lex is thrilled that someone in town finally has some style. But when Lex starts volunteering at the Ladies’ design firm, things get strange. Lex is acting less like herself, and Quinn begins seeing strange shadows lurking in their neighborhood. She knows the Ladies are to blame; she just has to prove it.

Twisty and haunting, The Collectors is the second book in the Fright Watch series, Check out the sequel in this spooky adventure.

Amazon: The Collectors

So is everyone as ready for fall as I am, comment on your favorite fall read below!

Posted in Discussion, monthly goals, Monthly Reads, Weekly Wrap-ups

Extremely Productive Month

So I thought August wasn’t going to amount to much reading wise. Instead it became an extremely productive reading month I’ve had to date since I’ve started reading seriously. Now posting on the blog fell behind which I’m going to try to remedy next month. But I read A LOT. A few were picture books but most were novels, and I may be able to fit a few in more in before the end of the month.

It’s a good thing too since I’ve got two extremely major readathons coming coming up. They both require a lot of books and a lot of time spent. Those two readathons are BookoplAthon and Orillium, one is readathon inspired by Monopoly and the other is a journey to a magical school. So the books I’ve read this month were great training for the TON of reading I’m going to do next month.

Let’s talk about the books I’ve read this month shall we 13 in all. 13! For some of you who hit double digits often this may not sound like a lot but I’ve been having trouble getting out of the low single digits so it’s a big success for me, so I’m going to try for 15-20 next month.

Below are the books I’ve read this month.

The Dragon Egg Princess by [Ellen Oh]
The Revenge of Magic by [James Riley]
Dark Waters by [Katherine Arden]
Hide and Don't Seek: And Other Very Scary Stories by [Anica Mrose Rissi]
The Last Dragon (The Revenge of Magic Book 2) by [James Riley]
Bridge of Souls (City of Ghosts #3) by [Victoria Schwab]
The Forgotten Girl by [India Hill Brown]
In My Mosque by [M. O. Yuksel, Hatem Aly]
Say It Out Loud by [Allison Varnes]

So as we can see I have a lot of reviews to do, well as some reviews from the summer that I’ve missed. I’ll try to get to all that in September. But it’s nice to look at all the reading I’ve done in a visual form. Most of this reading was done for the two readathons I was taking part in this month, which were, The Royal Readathon, and the Trope-ical Readathon. I feel particularly accomplished this year because I hit most of the prompts on the Trope-ical Readathon.

Posted in Challenges, Orillium Readathon

Orillium TBR-A magical reading adventure

So while I’m mostly a mood reader I thought I’d put up a few things I might read during the Orillium challenge.

The Novice Path-Read a book with a map

For this one I decided to back to an old one that I’ve been meaning to re-read. I plan to read the whole series but I’m starting with Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring.

The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings by [J.R.R. Tolkien]

Synopsis

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in 

The Hobbit. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.

Amazon: The Fellowship of the Ring

Ashthorn Tree-A book that keeps tempting you.

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu is one I’ve been meaning to read for forever but it just keeps passing me by.

The Lost Girl by [Anne Ursu]

Synopsis

When you’re an identical twinyour story always starts with someone else. For Iris, that means her story starts with Lark.

Iris has always been the grounded, capable, and rational one; Lark has been inventive, dreamy, and brilliant—and from their first moments in the world together, they’ve never left each other’s side. Everyone around them realized early on what the two sisters already knew: they had better outcomes when they were together.

When fifth grade arrives, however, it’s decided that Iris and Lark should be split into different classrooms, and something breaks in them both.

Iris is no longer so confident; Lark retreats into herself as she deals with challenges at school. And at the same time, something strange is happening in the city around them, things both great and small going missing without a trace.

As Iris begins to understand that anything can be lost in the blink of an eye, she decides it’s up to her to find a way to keep her sister safe.

Amazon: The Lost Girl

Mist of Solitude-Read a Standalone

This book came out and I actually meant to read it for this month but it’s perfect for this prompt.

Rise of the Dragon Moon by [Gabrielle K. Byrne]

Princess Toli may be heir to the throne, but she longs to be a fierce hunter and warrior. Alone in a frozen world, her queendom is at the mercy of the dragons that killed her father, and Toli is certain it’s only a matter of time before they come back to destroy what’s left of her family.

When the dragons rise and seize her mother, Toli will do anything to save her—even trust a young dragon who may be the only key to the Queen’s release.

With her sister and best friend at her side, Toli makes the treacherous journey across the vast ice barrens to Dragon Mountain, where long-held secrets await. Bear-cats are on their trail, and dragons stalk them, but the greatest danger might be a mystery buried in Toli’s past.

Amazon: Rise of the Dragon Moon

Ruin of the Skye-Read a book featuring ghosts or other supernatural elements.

Ghost Girl by [Ally Malinenko]

The Ghost Girl is perfect for this prompt and I’ve also been meaning to read it forever.

Synopsis

Zee Puckett loves ghost stories. She just never expected to be living one.

It all starts with a dark and stormy night. When the skies clear, everything is different. People are missing. There’s a creepy new principal who seems to know everyone’s darkest dreams. And Zee is seeing frightening things: large, scary dogs that talk and maybe even . . . a ghost.

When she tells her classmates, only her best friend Elijah believes her. Worse, mean girl Nellie gives Zee a cruel nickname: Ghost Girl.

But whatever the storm washed up isn’t going away. Everyone’s most selfish wishes start coming true in creepy ways.

To fight for what’s right, Zee will have to embrace what makes her different and what makes her Ghost Girl. And all three of them—Zee, Elijah, and Nellie—will have to work together if they want to give their ghost story a happy ending.

Amazon: Ghost Girl

Obsidian Falls-Read a Thriller or a mystery book.

I’m glad September has such great releases because I’m drawing from them for these challenges.

What Lives in the Woods by [Lindsay Currie]

Synopsis

All Ginny Anderson wants from her summer is to sleep in, attend a mystery writing workshop, and spend time with her best friend. But when Ginny’s father—a respected restoration expert in Chicago—surprises the family with a month-long trip to Michigan, everything changes. They aren’t staying in a hotel like most families would. No, they’re staying in a mansion. A twenty-six room, century-old building surrounded by dense forest. Woodmoor Manor.

But unfortunately, the mansion has more problems than a little peeling wallpaper. Locals claim the surrounding woods are inhabited by mutated creatures with glowing eyes. And some say campers routinely disappear in the woods, never to be seen again.

As terrifying as it sounds, Ginny can’t shake the feeling that there’s something darker . . . another story she hasn’t been told. When the creaky floors and shadowy corners of the mansion seem to take on a life of their own, Ginny uncovers the wildest mystery of all: There’s more than one legend roaming Saugatuck, Michigan, and they definitely aren’t after campers.

It’s after her.

Amazon: What Lives in the Woods

Tower of Rumination: A five-star prediction.

There was only one book for this when I heard about the Orillium challenge. It’s a book I’ve been waiting a year for and loved the first in the series.

Steelstriker (Skyhunter Duology Book 2) by [Marie Lu]

As a Striker, Talin was taught loyalty is life. Loyalty to the Shield who watches your back, to the Strikers who risk their lives on the battlefield, and most of all, to Mara, which was once the last nation free from the Karensa Federation’s tyranny.

But Mara has fallen. And its destruction has unleashed Talin’s worst nightmare.

With her friends scattered by combat and her mother held captive by the Premier, Talin is forced to betray her fellow Strikers and her adopted homeland. She has no choice but to become the Federation’s most deadly war machine as their newest Skyhunter.

Red is no stranger to the cruelty of the Federation or the torture within its Skyhunter labs, but he knows this isn’t the end for Mara – or Talin. The link between them may be weak, but it could be Talin and Red’s only hope to salvage their past and safeguard their future.

While the fate of a broken world hangs in the balance, Talin and Red must reunite the Strikers and find their way back to each other in this smoldering sequel to Marie Lu’s Skyhunter

Amazon: Steelstriker

Orillium Academy Arc-Read a book with a school setting.

I’m already reading a series with a school setting so I’m just going to save myself some time and add the next book in that series for this when we finally get to Orillium.

The Timeless One (The Revenge of Magic Book 4) by [James Riley]

The future has been saved, but at a cost: Fort Fitzgerald has been expelled from the Oppenheimer School, and some of Fort’s friends have been lost in time. But time is the one thing Fort, Rachel, and Jia don’t have, as they’ll soon be facing one of the eternal Old Ones, the Timeless One, for the fate of the world.

If they lose, the Old Ones will return, and humanity is doomed. If they win, the Old Ones will still return, and humanity is doomed. Because the Timeless One can see every possibility, and plan for it.

How can Fort and his friends defeat a creature like that? And what does this all have to do with the real-life Merlin, from King Arthur’s days?

Amazon: The Timeless One

These are the prompts for the path, I’m then adding on a few more for my Orillium character, I’m playing an urban female dwarf from Daerune. So I need a book in a city, a book set in a desert and one from an ongoing series.

For the the City Book I’m using

City Spies by [James Ponti]

Sara Martinez is a hacker. She recently broke into the New York City foster care system to expose her foster parents as cheats and lawbreakers. However, instead of being hailed as a hero, Sara finds herself facing years in a juvenile detention facility and banned from using computers for the same stretch of time. Enter Mother, a British spy who not only gets Sara released from jail but also offers her a chance to make a home for herself within a secret MI6 agency.

Operating out of a base in Scotland, the City Spies are five kids from various parts of the world. When they’re not attending the local boarding school, they’re honing their unique skills, such as sleight of hand, breaking and entering, observation, and explosives. All of these allow them to go places in the world of espionage where adults can’t.

Before she knows what she’s doing, Sara is heading to Paris for an international youth summit, hacking into a rival school’s computer to prevent them from winning a million euros, dangling thirty feet off the side of a building, and trying to stop a villain…all while navigating the complex dynamics of her new team.

Amazon: City Spies

For my desert book I’m using

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by [Kaela Rivera]

Living in the remote town of Tierra del Sol is dangerous, especially in the criatura months, when powerful spirits roam the desert and threaten humankind. But Cecelia Rios has always believed there was more to the criaturas, much to her family’s disapproval. After all, only brujas—humans who capture and control criaturas—consort with the spirits, and brujeria is a terrible crime.

When her older sister, Juana, is kidnapped by El Sombrerón, a powerful dark criatura, Cece is determined to bring Juana back. To get into Devil’s Alley, though, she’ll have to become a bruja herself—while hiding her quest from her parents, her town, and the other brujas. Thankfully, the legendary criatura Coyote has a soft spot for humans and agrees to help her on her journey.

With him at her side, Cece sets out to reunite her family—and maybe even change what it means to be a bruja along the way.

Amazon: Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls

I don’t have any idea for my ongoing series right now but hopefully that will come along soon. Let me know if you have any good middle grade ideas? Also how are you doing thinking about what you’ll read for the Orillium Readathon?