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 backlog reviews, Reviews

Infinity Courts: A Sweeping Fantasy

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

The Infinity Courts by [Akemi Dawn Bowman]

Summary

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

Posted in Reviews

Creepy Thriller: The Companion Review

The words "The Companion" on a cream colored background along with a silver old fashioned spoon that has sewing pins in it. In small print it says "The lies pile up and then they bury you."

Summary:

In this creepy thriller everyone thinks that protagonist Margot is lucky. The other orphans say Margot is lucky.
 
Lucky to be the only one to survive the horrible accident that killed her family.
 
Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night from horrible nightmares she can’t escape.
 
And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate.
 
But it wasn’t luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home.  Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha–and getting to know her handsome younger brother–seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons . . . and herself.  And her luck may not be what it seems as things turn dark at the Sutton estate.

Review

This gets major thriller points, the book is long and the author paces it well, so every time you think something is going to get the characters it seems like will but it doesn’t leading to more tension. The Sutton estate is creepy as soon as we are introduced to it, it’s got haunted house written all over from the moment Margot steps in. What’s something about the family isn’t right, rigid and old fashioned Laura is a puzzle Margot can’t figure out but doesn’t want to cross.

And at first Margot thinks that Agatha the girl she’s going to companion is almost creepy at first, and is simply catatonic, things become more complicated when Agatha begins to show in small ways that she’s aware and she’s trying hard to tell Margot something but what, when Margot meets the other sibling Barrett they soon grow close and begin to uncover family mysteries that go deeper than either of them expected. Things that maybe shouldn’t be disturbed, family secrets that could shake up everything about life at Sutton Hall.

Margot worries soon that things are getting much too serious for her and it might be time for her to leave, even if that means going to the State Intuition, but she may not be given the the chance as she may have inadvertently fallen into a web of secrets and danger she might not be able to escape.

This book was great the pacing was on point and the character development even of characters who weren’t able to speak, was excellent. Also you find yourself questioning the narrator just as much as she questions herself. This is a five out of five and I hope I find more spooky reads like this.

Amazon: The Companion

Posted in Reviews

Improv Activism: Ava Andrews Review

I tried listening to this book at first an it didn’t stick, but once I tried reading it I got through it very quickly. Five things refers to an improv exercise that is of some importance in the book. There is also some disability representation.

Five Things About Ava Andrews by [Margaret Dilloway]

Summary

In her mind Ava Andrews is filled with ideas and plans, but only her best friend Zelia sees them. What’s worse Zelia has just moved away leaving Ava with people who think she doesn’t talk or is stuck up. What they can’t see are her invisible disabilities: anxiety and a heart condition.

Ava had hoped middle school would be a fresh start but with Zelia gone she’s not sure what to do, her Nana Linda encourages her to speak up about social issues that just sends Ava further into her shell. Until her writing is recognized by her teacher and impress her classmates and they invite her to join an improv group.

Ava is initially concerned she won’t be able to do it, but wanting something to challenge her anxiety she decides to try going to the group. With the group she discovers a whole new side of herself and a set of friends, and learns what it’s like to be on a team.

But as Ava’s self-confidence blossoms, her relationship with Zelia strains, and she learns that it isn’t enough just to raise your voice—it’s how and why you use it that matters.

Review

First this book did a great job showing the effects of invisible disabilities and how they often aren’t understood by those around the person. It also shows how important the arts can be for disabled people expressing themselves. It’s so important that disabled people are allowed to find their way to show what they have to say. I also loved the activism element of this book and how it shows how kids and teens can be involved in making social change in their communities. Overall, great representation and plot, 5/5.

Amazon: Five Things about Ava Andrews

Posted in Reviews

The Sea in Winter

The Sea in Winter

The Sea in Winter by [Christine Day]

Summary

Maisie Cannon has had a rough year, ever since she hurt her leg and couldn’t keep up with her ballet training and auditions the emotional and physical toll that’s taking on her bothers her more than she realizes.

Her blended family is loving and supportive, but Maisie knows that they just can’t understand how hopeless she feels.

But with everything that’s going on with her (ex?) friends ballet successes, troubles in school, and perhaps unrealistic hopes for her recovery. Maisie is not excited about their family midwinter road trip along the coast, near the Makah community where her mother grew up.

But soon, Maisie’s anxieties and dark moods start to hurt as much as the pain in her knee. How can she keep pretending to be strong when on the inside she feels as roiling and cold as the sea?

Will she be able to get to find a way to move forward with her new circumstances? Or will she allow herself to be stuck in the past?

Review

When I started this book earlier in the year I wasn’t ready to pick it up. But this was definitely the book I needed for right now. I’m in a similar place as the book’s protagonist. Since I injured my ankle in January I’ve struggled with wanting to be in the same place I was before the injury. I often want to have the same level of energy. It’s been a challenge not to push myself to where I was before, and even when I do something

I think shouldn’t make me tired and does, it’s tough not to be angry that I can’t do more. For example, I’ve only been healing for 5 months and I want to think about roller skating, realistically I should be thinking about this 1-2 years out, but my brain is still annoyed with what I can’t do. So I get Maisie’s frustration and I’m trying to redirect my energy into a more positive place.

Amazon: The Sea in Winter

Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

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 Uncategorized

My Life in the Fish Tank Review

My Life in the Fish Tank 

Summary

Twelve year old Zinnia Manning doesn’t quite know what to do when her older brother Gabriel is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Her parents want Zinnia, and her two siblings, sixteen year old Scarlett and her eight year old brother Aiden to keep it things about Gabriel’s condition private. Zinny thinks that sounds a whole lot like secret. So she doesn’t talk to her two best friends about it quickly driving a wedge between them.

The only good thing about school is science class where her cool teacher Ms. Molina has them doing experiments on crayfish. But Ms. Molina has a condition if Zinnia wants to spend time in the lab she has to go to Lunch Club, a group run by the school guidance couseler.

But Zinny doesn’t have anything in common with the lunch club kids, or does she? Even if she did she’s never betray her family’s secret.

When Zinny has the chance to attend a dream marine biology camp for the summer, she doesn’t know what to do. How can Zinny move forward when Gabriel—and, really, her whole family—still needs her help? Will she ever admit her familiy’s secret to her friends, make up with her old friend or get used to lunch club? And in the end how has the relationship between her and Gabriel changed.

Review

I think this was a very good portyal of bipolar disorder from a middle gradde sibling perspective. The research the author did with medical professionals was good. Of course I always want to see more actual protaganists with a mental health issues, but I can see the need for this book. It was well written and I read it quickly totally four stars.

Photo by Richard Burlton on Unsplash

Posted in new releases, Reviews

Red, White, and Whole Review

Red, White, and Whole by [Rajani LaRocca]

Summary

Reha feels caught between two worlds in her private school where she’s the only Indian American, and at home with her families traditions and holidays. She wants to be like all the other girls not to disrecpect her traditions but try something new too. But she feels like she doesn’t meet her family’s strict expectations she feels especially disconnected from her mother.

Though their names are similar her mother’s, or Amma’s name Punam means “moon” and Reha’s means “star” but she feels like they are worlds apart.

Then Reha finds out the Amma is sick, really sick, and everything else falls by the wayside, Reha doesn’t care about being a new cool girl. She’ll be virtuous and learn everything her parents want her to, she’ll do everything she can to make her mother well.

Reha, who wants to be a doctor even though she can’t stand the sight of blood will be perfect daughter if it means saving her mothers life, the question is will it be enough?

Review

This was a beautiful book in verse. Every chapter felt like a poem. I also love the way it incorporated the time period, it felt like you were in the the 1980’s especially due to the music. I love the the way Reha works in the ancient Indian story to deal with her own situation. I also especially love the aerogramme at the end I literally almost cried it was so sweet. The ending to the book wasn’t what I was imagining but it was actually perfect.

Posted in Uncategorized

Ritu Weds Chandni

Ritu Weds Chandni

I got early access to this book through NetGalley yay them!

Summary

This book is not only sweet but educational about the situation for queer couples in India. Told from the perspective of one of the bride’s younger relatives. Ayesha is excited to attend her cousin Ritu’s wedding, her cousin is going to lead a ceremony which is traditionally lead by men and not everyone is happy about that.

The ceremony involves the family going through the town riding on a horse to see Ritu’s bride Chandni but when bigots get in the way and seem to ruin the wedding Ayesha starts dancing and reminds them that no matter what happens there is still something to celebrate.

I appreciated the glossary at the end though most could be gleaned from context, as well as the authors note about why he chose to write this story.

Review

This is picture book so it’s pretty short, not much to say other than what I said above other than that the illustration is lovely, the book just feels lively because of the rich colors present in the illustrations. I’d read it again just to look at it, I also loved the stylized illustrations of the horses they rode throughout the book.

Anyway it was a very cute book, totally 5 stars.

Amazon: Ritu Weds Chandni

The book will be released December 1st!

Image by rajesh koiri from Pixabay