Wednesday, December 19, 2018

PLUM by Sean Hayes and Scott Icenogle / Book Review #Plum

By: Sean Hayes & Scott Icenogle
Illustrated by: Robin Thompson
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released on: October 16th, 2018
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase Links
Rating: 4 owlets
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Plum will not stay glum.

For as long as she can remember, Plum has lived at the Mary Fitzgerald Orphanage, wishing and hoping for a family. When a sudden snowfall threatens a delivery of presents on Christmas Eve, Plum is determined to save Christmas—even for the kids who laugh at her.

Plum’s pure heart grants her an unexpected reward. When she eats a cake left behind by a mysterious magician, she is transported into the Land of Sweets. But Christmas here is threatened, too—by a sourness that is spreading from the center of the land. Plum’s determined to help, and in doing so, she might just find the family she’s always dreamed of, thanks to a good heart—and Christmas magic!

Inspired by the Nutcracker and how the Sugar Plum fairy got her wings, this is a magical, Christmas book with a heartwarming story that kids of all ages will love. Readers will love Plum's pure heart, and the magical world she finds herself in. It's no surprise she gets her happy ending. She has a heart of gold, and goes out of her way to do nice things to those who aren't nice to her at all. It's not hard to fall in love with Plum! Thompson's illustrations are simply adorable. I love the warm color she uses. Her illustrations bring Plum's story to life perfectly. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

ALL IS MERRY AND BRIGHT by Jeffrey Burton and Don Clark / Book Review #AllIsMerryAndBright

By: Jeffrey Burton
Illustrated by: Don Clark
Published by: Little Simon
Released on: October 30th, 2018
Ages: all
Purchase Links
Rating: 5 Owlets 
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

A gorgeous keepsake book that shines with holiday cheer and foil on every spread, All Is Merry and Bright is full of illumination and hope—perfect for the youngest readers in your life.

Stars jingle in the sky
All is calm over night
All is merry
All is bright

As cheer and good will fill the air, there is an undeniable, joyous feeling that connects the world during the holiday season. With show-stopping foil, embossing, and spot UV on every page, All Is Merry and Bright is an artistic and shimmering board book celebrating the deep sense of happiness and hope that glows as warm and bright as the holiday lights.

ALL IS MERRY and BRIGHT is a visually stunning board book that captures that merriment of the holiday season perfectly. I absolutely loved this oversized, beautifully embossed, brightly illustrated board book. The illustrations stand out, the color scheme is eye catching, and will easily hold very short attention spans, and the binding is extremely sturdy for a board book. This book is the most durable board book I've read. The use of limited, yet simplistic wording describing the holiday season makes for a read that kids will enjoy and understanding. Having the bright illustrations embossed creates a book that kids will not only love looking through, they'll enjoy feeling the textures. This book definitely lives up to it's MERRY and BRIGHT name. I recommend picking this one up! I gifted it to my 14 month year old niece, whom loved it. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

CONSTRUCTION SITE ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT by Sherri Duskey Rinker / Book Review #ConstrutcionSiteOnChristmasNight

Written by: Sherri Duskey Rinker
Illustrated by: AG Ford
Published by: Chronicle Books
Released on: October 16, 2018
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase Links
Rating: 5 Owlets
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

VROOM and ZOOM into the holidays with this new Christmas classic from the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and Mighty, Mighty, Construction Site!

The trucks are gearing up for Christmas by building a special gift! But, there's a surprise waiting for each of them, too! Presents await for Excavator, Bulldozer, Crane, Dump Truck, and Cement Mixer as each finishes their part of this big, important job and rolls off to a sweet and sleepy goodnight.

Playful rhyming text from the bestselling author of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and vibrant illustrations from the acclaimed artist AG Ford make this a perfect gift for young construction fans everywhere.

Another fabulous Construction book to fall in love with. This festive holiday read is an  ode to the original book. Kids will love the illustrations, and rhyming text, and the richer storyline than the original story will keep kids entertained. 

With Christmas fast approaching, the vehicles are all working together to make a new fire house for the fire trucks in time for Christmas night. The rhyming makes this book entertaining for young readers, as does the illustrations. We loved the classic look and feel they gave this book. I gifted this book to my nephews for Christmas who also have the other books in this series, and they absolutely loved it. We loved this book. Whether or not you have the other books in this series, this book is one I'd recommend picking up this Christmas season. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

THE CHRISTMASAUSRUS by Tom Fletcher / Blog Tour: Book Review #TheChristmasaurus

By: Tom Fletcher
Illustrated by: Shane Devries
Published by: Random House Kids
Released on: October 23, 2018
Ages: 8 & up
Purchase Links
Rating: 5 Owlets
Thank you to RHK for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

Why settle for a pony or a puppy for Christmas when you could have a dinosaur? A rollicking adventure from singer-songwriter and YouTuber Tom Fletcher.

Once upon a time--long, long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth--an egg rolled away from its mother and landed in the ocean, where it froze solid and stayed peacefully for thousands of years. Then one day Santa and his elves discover the frozen egg, and Santa sits on it to see if it will hatch. But he can't guess what's inside. . . . A dinosaur!

Meanwhile, a young boy named William Trundle has only ever wished for one thing for Christmas: a dinosaur! So when Santa accidentally gives William the real Christmasaurus instead of a stuffed replica, it's the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER! Until an evil man known as the Hunter decides a dinosaur will be the perfect addition to his collection.

A wild and hilarious adventure ensues. An instant Christmas classic!

"Believing is the most powerful magic of all."

Why settle for any other Christmas story when you can read one about a Christmas-aurus? If you've not heard of a Christmasaurus before, I hadn't either until I read Tom's book. Now I want one. This one of a kind Christmas dinosaur definitely steals the show in this sweet holiday story.  

Tom Fletcher is a fantastic story teller! He has created a story that captures the essence of Christmas, while at the same time creating the perfect laugh out loud families / classrooms will enjoy. It's a fun mix of a kid friendly Christmas caper, mixed with a North Pole adventure, complete with elves (not the kind you're thinking), a villain who is not nice at all, and another who turns out to not be so quite as bad as she thinks she is, and a boy named William Trundle whom you can't help but love. 

I loved that Tom Fletcher created a main character who is in a wheel chair. It's not often you find a character in a wheelchair in kid books. William is a character so many readers will love, and identify with. Despite how amazing he is, he's a kid who does get bullied. He doesn't let that stop him from being who he is, or believing in what he believes in (Santa). There's an interesting turn of events with William and the person who bullies him that ties into the Christmas part of this story. 

Rich in family friendly humor, this story paired with beautifully illustrations is a must read. I absolutely loved it! I highly recommend picking this book up! Don't forget to look at the extras at the end of this book. It's totally worth it. I'm hoping this will be the first of many books from Fletcher and Devries.

Monday, December 10, 2018

THE BROKEN ORNAMENT by Tony DiTerlizzi / Book Review #TheBrokenOrnament

Written & Illustrated by: Tony DiTerlizzi
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released on: September 18th, 2018
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase Links
Rating: 5 Owlets
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

When a beloved ornament breaks, will it ruin the holidays or save them? New York Times bestselling author and Caldecott Honor–winning illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi offers a brand-new Christmas story that is sure to be a holiday classic.

Jack wants this to be the best Christmas ever, and he knows just how to make it happen…

More! More lights, more presents, more cookies, more treats. More. More. More! So, when Jack breaks a dusty old ornament, he’s not sure why his mom is so upset. They can always get more ornaments, so what’s the big deal? Turns out the ornament was an heirloom, precious for more reasons than one. And Jack has a lot to learn about the true meaning of Christmas.

A fairy emerges from the shattered ornament. She has the power to make the most magical Christmasy things happen. Suddenly trees are sprouting, reindeer are flying, and snowmen are snowball fighting. All of it is so perfect, or it would be if she could fix Mom’s ornament. But she can’t.

So it’s up to Jack to make some Christmas magic of his own.

A timeless Christmas classic, DiTerlizzi's newest release is a visual feast that captures the childlike innocence and wonder of the Christmas season. Beautifully told and illustrated, this a heart felt Christmas story that reminds us of the joy, wonder the Christmas season holds. Most importantly, at the heart of this story is what the Christmas holiday is all about; giving to others. 

I only wish this was a story I had, had when my children were little. I absolutely love this book. Stunning illustrations, and a beautifully told story aside, I love the concept of a winter fairy being set free when an ornament breaks. If you're looking to add a new Christmas book to your collection, I highly recommend adding this one! This book has been added to our collection of favorite Christmas books along side classics like The Polar Express. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

THE DARK CRYSTAL TALES by Cory Godbey / Book Review #TheDarkCrystalTales

Written & Illustrated by: Cory Godbey
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released on: August 1st, 2017
Purchase Links
Rating: 5 Owlets
Source: Book from author/illustrator in exchange for my honest review

Short stories from within the world of Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal from acclaimed children’s book illustrator, Cory Godbey. 

The colorful characters from Jim Henson’s beloved cult-classic film The Dark Crystal, embark on new side-adventures “in the age of wonder.” 

Cory Godbey, the storyteller behind the bestselling Jim Henson’s LabyrinthTales, delves deep into the Skeksis’ ruled land of Thra in this gorgeously rendered look at some of Jim Henson and Brian Froud’s finest creations.  

Set in the world of The Dark Crystal, this story is one readers of all ages will love. This book features three short tales that focus on friendship, and kindness.  Each of the stories intertwines together to create a book that long time fans, and new ones to this world will enjoy. 

We loved this book. Godbey's illustrations pay homage to the movie perfectly! His illustrations are stunning, and alone make this book one worthy of picking up. With the holidays fast approaching, this book will definitely make a great gift for long time fans of The Dark Crystal. I highly recommend picking it up!

Friday, November 2, 2018

NICK THE KNIGHT, DRAGON SLAYER by Aron Dijkstra / Book Review #NickTheKnightDragonSlayer

Written & Illustrated by: Aron Dijkstra 
Published by: Clavis
Released on: November 1st, 2017
Ages: 3 & up
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 Owlets
Source: e-arc from the publisher exchange for my honest review

Nick the Knight can't wait to fight Breakhorn the Dragon, but Breakhorn just doesn't feel like it. He keeps making up excuses to put off the fight but brave little Nick won't give up. An inspiring picture book about big dreams and an unexpected friendship.

A dragon, an unlikely friendship and a Knight who learns to never give up. This is an adorable picture about a fearless Knight, a wise, lonely Dragon, who just wants a friend, and unlikely friendship that forms between them. This is a fun and inspiring picture book for kids. Mixed with easy to understand text, and adorable illustrations, this is a book kids will enjoy reading over, and over again. Plus, what's not to love about a friendly dragon who loves playing board games. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

THE DREADFUL TALE OF PROSPER REDDING by Alexandra Bracken / Book Review #TheDreadfulTaleofProsperRedding

By: Alexandra Bracken
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: September 5th, 2017
Series: The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1
Ages: 9 & up
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Source: arc / book from publisher in exchange for my honest review

Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history — that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper's great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made — and then broke — a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, four-thousand-year-old Alastor isn't exactly the forgiving type. 

The fiend has reawakened with one purpose — to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him. With only days to break the curse and banish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his future without a side of eternal servitude, thanks.

Little does Prosper know, the malefactor's control over his body grows stronger with each passing night, and there's a lot Alastor isn't telling his dim-witted (but admittedly strong-willed) human host.

The perfect Halloween read! Bracken's middle grade debut is the perfect blend of creepy, spellbinding, and mixed with the right amount of humor to keep the story lighthearted. I liked the mix of witches, demons, and the history, and legends that have been past down through the generations in Prospers family, that tie into this story.

The story is about 12 year old Prosper Redding, who has the unfortunate task of having a malefactor named Alastor, the demon thing who shares his body, thanks to a centuries old curse that his forefather broke. Prosper isn't at all who Malefactor excepts him to be. In fact, he's not at all what I had excepted him to be either. He's a character you can't help but want to love. The dialogue between Prosper and Alastor is at times comical. There are times, like when Prosper needs to run for his life, that Alastor comes in handy. Though Alastor is the real reason why Prosper's life is threatened in the first place. 

Plot wise, I had a hard time diving into this book like I have with Bracken's YA books. I'm not sure what exactly it was. This book is definitely a fun read with a twists, and darker, fantasy elements to it. It's one as a middle grade reader I would have devoured. Having said that, this is a book that is written for a middle grade audience whom I can see easily jumping into this dark, twisted, middle grade book. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

FOR EVERYONE by Jason Reynolds / Book Review #ForEveryone

By: Jason Reynolds
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released on: April 10th, 2018
Ages: 12 & up
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Rating: 5 owlets
Source: borrowed from the library

Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the dreamers of the world.

For Every One is just that: for every one. For every one person. For every one dream. But especially for every one kid. The kids who dream of being better than they are. Kids who dream of doing more than they almost dare to dream. Kids who are like Jason Reynolds, a self-professed dreamer. Jason does not claim to know how to make dreams come true; he has, in fact, been fighting on the front line of his own battle to make his own dreams a reality. He expected to make it when he was sixteen. Then eighteen. Then twenty-five. Now, some of those expectations have been realized. But others, the most important ones, lay ahead, and a lot of them involve kids, how to inspire them. All the kids who are scared to dream, or don’t know how to dream, or don’t dare to dream because they’ve NEVER seen a dream come true. Jason wants kids to know that dreams take time. They involve countless struggles. But no matter how many times a dreamer gets beat down, the drive and the passion and the hope never fully extinguish—because just having the dream is the start you need, or you won’t get anywhere anyway, and that is when you have to take a leap of faith.

A pitch perfect graduation, baby, or love my kid gift.

A short, yet powerful read to never give up on your dreams! Jason Reynolds has a way with words. His words in this book will move and inspire you. This book will make you realize that on the road less traveled, you're not alone. On the dreams you feel as though have passed you by, really haven't. No matter the fear, the obstacle, where you are at in life, how old you are, who you are now, etc, JUST JUMP! Take that leap of faith! Follow those dreams! 

This book makes the perfect gift. It's the motivational speech that everyone needs. It's the reminder that you can do it. No matter what it is you want to do. This poem/letter/whatever you want to call it, is the kind of read you'll be glad you read. Though short, it's a very direct, quick read. This book is one that will resonate with it's teen audience, as much as it will with the adults who read it. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

WICKED NIX by Lena Coakley / Book Review #WickedNix

By: Lena Coakley
Illustrated by: Jaime Zollars
Published by: Amulet Books 
Released on: October 9th, 2018
Purchase Links
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An arc of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Mischievous woodland fairy Nix is up to no good. His beloved fairy queen has gone away, leaving him with a very important job: He must protect the forest from a most dangerous enemy—humans.

When a determined invader trespasses on his territory, Nix’s skills are put to the test as he invents several wicked tricks to chase the sorry fellow away. But when his efforts don’t go quite according to plan, it becomes clear that this intruder—and this sprite—may not be at all what they seem.

An intriguing, heartwarming story that intertwines the fae and human world perfectly. Nix is a mischievous woodland fairy, who will stop at nothing to protect his beloved forest. When a stranger trespasses into the forest he's tasked to protect, it throws everything he knows off balance. 

Told by an unreliable narrator, this story makes you question everything the narrator is telling you. It's done in such a way that is fitting to both Nix's character, and what the reader discovers through out Nix's story. That fuels the need to know answers, and sets up the shocking discovers, and surprising twists perfectly. 

Lena does a wonderful job at luring the lines between fantasy and realistic. She infuses this story with feelings of loss, longing, wanting to belong, and love. It's those feelings that pull her readers in, and connect them to this story. I loved the author note in the arc (not sure if it will be in the published book), about what inspired this story. What she wrote in that, is beautiful captured in this story.

What a great story. I loved the forest setting, and the blur of fae world with that of the human world. The stories within the story itself are interesting, and definitely add a lot to this story. The illustrations are perfectly fitting for this book. This is one fae book with a heartwarming twist! 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

BEANSTALKER and OTHER HILARIOUS SCARY TALES by Kiersten White / Book Review #BeanStalker

By: Kiersten White
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: July 25th, 2017
Ages: 8 & up
Purchase Links
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Rating: 5 Owlets
An arc of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

What about, once upon a time, a bunch of fairy tales got twisted around to be completely hilarious, a tiny bit icky, and delightfully spooky scarytales; in other words, exactly what fairy tales were meant to be. Grab some flaming torches, maybe don't accept that bowl of pease porridge, and get ready for a wickedly fun ride with acclaimed author Kiersten White and fairy tales like you've never heard them before.

Snow White is a vampire, Little Red Riding Hood is a zombie, and Cinderella is an arsonist — and that is only some of the mayhem the reader will find in this collection of fractured fairy tales.

A laugh out loud debut middle grade book from one of my favorite YA authors. Kiersten White has created my favorite mix of fractured fairytales and nursery rhymes to date! I loved the way she intertwined, and interconnected so many classics, and the spin she gave each one. If having vampires, zombies and stepmothers isn't enough to entice you, the illustrations, and the narration will be. 

This is the perfect blend of fairytales and nursery rhymes. Who knew you could combine stories like Snow White, The Princess and the Pea, Jack & Jill, The Dish and The Spoon, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack Be Nimble, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Stepmother. White's intertwining of these stories was awesome! Numerous times while reading this book I wondered how White was able to pull this off so well. 

The narration in this story is my favorite part of the entire book. Talk about sassy! The narrator definitely stole the show in this book. It's what made this story so much fun to read. It's not just their self awareness that makes the narrator so appealing either. The narrator would make a great language arts teacher. Numerous times in this story the narrator points out the homonym and homophone words that characters miss. Like The Princess and The Pea. Let's just say it's not, well, you wouldn't want to sleep on that mattress. This narration definitely makes for the perfect, hilarious, read aloud. 

This book is a must read! It's equal parts hilarious, and spooky, though it is way more hilarious than spooky. It's spooky in the best way possible, because some of these characters are not the sweet, innocent characters we all grew up reading about. The spooky twists come from some of them being vampires and zombies. This may be written for middle grade readers, but it will definitely be appealing to all readers ages 8 and up. Including adults. It was part of my Halloween read up earlier this week, but this is one book that can be read all year long. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

SANITY & TALLULAH by Molly Brooks / #SanityandTallulah

SANITY & TALLULAH by Molly Brooks is finally out on bookstore shelves! Released last week from Disney Hyperion, this is a brand new, sci-fi, graphic novel, middle grade readers will enjoy. 


Written & Illustrated by: Molly Brooks
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: October 16th, 2018
Ages: 8 & up
Add it to Goodreads
A copy of this book as provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Sanity Jones and Tallulah Vega are best friends on Wilnick, the dilapidated space station they call home at the end of the galaxy. So naturally, when gifted scientist Sanity uses her lab skills and energy allowance to create a definitely-illegal-but-impossibly-cute three-headed kitten, she has to show Tallulah. But Princess, Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds is a bit of a handful, and it isn't long before the kitten escapes to wreak havoc on the space station. The girls will have to turn Wilnick upside down to find her, but not before causing the whole place to evacuate! Can they save their home before it's too late?
Readers will be over the moon for this rollicking space adventure by debut author Molly Brooks.

An out of this world debut! This is a fun, fast paced, diverse read with engaging illustrations. Part of what makes this graphic novel so appealing is it's mix of sci-fi, adventure, and and mystery. Brooks does a wonderful job at intertwining all these elements together to create a story that middle grade readers will enjoy. 

Set on a dilapidated space station, this story quickly gets interesting when best friends Sanity and Tallulah, create a three headed cat named Princess, Sparkle, Destroyer of the Worlds. When she gets loose, things quickly go from bad to worse. Not only were they not suppose to create this cute three headed cat,  these two best friends need to find her before she destroys the station. In the middle of all the chaos, they also discover something else that is causing more problems than Princess Sparkle, Destroyer of the Worlds is. Hopefully they can stop it before it's too late.

I loved that there are two intelligent girls at the heart of this story. Tallulah and Sanity not only have a strong friendship, they have a diverse support group of family and friends on the space station that help them. The mystery added a fun twist to this story. With the rise of popularity when it comes to graphic novels. this one worth adding to any middle school library / classrooms, I'm looking forward to reading more of Sanity and Tallulah's out of this world adventures. 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Middle Grade Books: Halloween Reading Round Up / #MarvelousMiddleGradeMonday

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! If you're looking some good books to read to get you in the Halloween spirit, check out these fantastic middle grade reads. This Halloween Reading Round Up has a little bit of something for everyone. From are spooky, to just fun reads, dragons, monsters, witches, and a variety of other fun elements. While most all of these books can definitely be read all year long, they are also make the perfect reads for Halloween. Be sure to click on the titles beneath the books featured to find out more about each title.

There are a number of great books to add to your Halloween reading round ups. These are just a few of the ones I'd recommend. What are some other middle grade books you'd recommend picking up for Halloween reading? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

THE DARKDEEP by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs / Book Review #TheDarkDeep

By: Ally Condie & Brendan Reichs
Published by: Bloomsbury
Released on: October 2nd, 2018
Series: The Darkdeep #1
Purchase Links
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Rating: 4 owlets
An arc of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

When a bullying incident sends twelve-year-old Nico Holland over the edge of a cliff into the icy waters of Still Cove, where no one ever goes, friends Tyler and Ella - and even 'cool kid' Opal -rush to his rescue... only to discover an island hidden in the swirling mists below.

Shrouded by dense trees and murky tides, the island appears uninhabited, although the kids can't quite shake the feeling that something about it is off. Their suspicions grow when they stumble upon an abandoned houseboat with an array of curiosities inside: odd-looking weapons, unnerving portraits, maps to places they've never heard of, and a glass jar containing something completely unidentifiable.

As the group delves deeper into the unknown, their discoveries - and their lives -begin to intertwine in weird and creepy ways. Something ancient has awakened... and it knows their wishes and dreams - and their darkest, most terrible secrets. Do they have what it takes to face the shadowy things that lurk within their own hearts?

This book is a creeptastic, hard to put down, kind of read! I'm thrilled that Condie and Reichs finally wrote a book together. Their joint middle grade debut did not disappoint either. It is the right amount of creep, mixed with a little dark, but not in the terrifying Stephen King kind of way, and given a good dose of hard to put down, and wondering what was going to happen next. 

Sure it may give you some goose bumps, and make you jumpy, but this book is also about friendship, self confidence, over coming fear, bullying, and empathy. The friendship in this book was an element I really enjoyed. I loved seeing how each of the characters grew individually, and collectively. For once, I don't have a favorite character, as each of them brought something unique to the story. I liked getting to know each of them.

The Darkdeep on the other hand.....well that's just say I have a feeling there's a lot more to this than we've learned about in this book. The history to this place was equally creepy and intriguing. I'm definitely intrigued and want to know more. Just look at the cover and tell me that doesn't make you want to learn more.... haha On serious note, I do love that cover. It illustrates the Darkdeep perfectly. 

What a fun, fast paced, action packed read. It's the perfect blend of thrilling, and mystery. This is the kind of books that gives you just enough answers that you're hooked, but still leaves you wanting to know more. I can hardly wait to pick up the second book in this series. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

PROJEKT 1065: A Novel of World War II by Alan Gratz / Book Review #Projekt1065

By: Alan Gratz
Published by: Scholastic Press
Released on: October 11th, 2016
Ages: 12 & up
Purchase Links
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Rating: 4 owlets 
Source: borrowed library book

Infiltrate. Befriend. Sabotage.

World War II is raging. Michael O'Shaunessey, originally from Ireland, now lives in Nazi Germany with his parents. Like the other boys in his school, Michael is a member of the Hitler Youth.

But Michael has a secret. He and his parents are spies.

Michael despises everything the Nazis stand for. But he joins in the Hitler Youth's horrific games and book burnings, playing the part so he can gain insider knowledge.

When Michael learns about Projekt 1065, a secret Nazi war mission, things get even more complicated. He must prove his loyalty to the Hitler Youth at all costs -- even if it means risking everything he cares about.

Including... his own life.

From acclaimed author Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087) comes a pulse-pounding novel about facing fears and fighting for what matters most.

WOW, what a read! I feel like I stepped back in time, during WWII, when this book was set. Even though you know the outcome of WWII, this pulse pounding novel will have you questioning what you'd do if you were in Michael's position. Would you face your fears, like he learns to do, and fight for what you believe to be right, even if those around are against don't? 

Gratz definitely knows how to make his readers feel as though they're apart of this story vs just reading about. He makes his readers feel as though they've jumped back into time, and are watching history unravel. I’m so impressed with the research that went into this story. I appreciated the way Gratz interwove history and historical contexts into this fictional story. It felt like a real story. 

I'm not sure why it's taking me this long to read one of Gratz's books. After hearing Alan speak at a middle grade library I was working in, I had to pick up this book. The kids love his books, and really enjoyed hearing him talk about writing this book, as well as a few of his others, and the research and inspiration that went into writing them. I highly recommend checking out this book, along with this others. 

Monday, October 15, 2018

THE DAY WAR CAME by Nicola Davies / Book Review #TheDayWarCame

By: Nicola Davies
Illustrated by: Rebecca Cobb
Published by: Candlewick Press
Released on: September 4th, 2018
Ages: 6 & up 
Purchase Links
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Rating: 5 Owlets
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

A moving, poetic narrative and child-friendly illustrations follow the heartbreaking, ultimately hopeful journey of a little girl who is forced to become a refugee.

The day war came there were flowers on the windowsill and my father sang my baby brother back to sleep.

Imagine if, on an ordinary day, after a morning of studying tadpoles and drawing birds at school, war came to your town and turned it to rubble. Imagine if you lost everything and everyone, and you had to make a dangerous journey all alone. Imagine that there was no welcome at the end, and no room for you to even take a seat at school. And then a child, just like you, gave you something ordinary but so very, very precious. In lyrical, deeply affecting language, Nicola Davies's text combines with Rebecca Cobb's expressive illustrations to evoke the experience of a child who sees war take away all that she knows.

With it's beautiful, childlike illustrations, and it's powerful message written with children in mind, this book is a must read for all ages! Nicola Davies's story, combined with Rebecca Cobb's illustrations, tell the story of a young child who is forced to become a refugee. 

Written from the point of view of a young girl who goes about her day when suddenly war hits her town. Now everything this young girl loved, and enjoyed doing, is gone. Forced to flew, and look for a new home, this young girl's brave, and heartbreaking journey will invoke empathy and understanding from even this book's youngest readers. 

What this powerful story tells, and helps readers see, and understand on a child's level, is how war destroys and takes away all that people know. Like the young girl in this story, war makes refugees out of people who have had everything taken from them, including their homes, their families, their way of lives, and their sense of belonging. This book is a moving reminder that like this child, refugees, are individuals just like the rest of us, and have the same wants and needs we all have. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

CITY OF GHOSTS by Victoria Schwab / Book Review #CityofGhosts

By: Victoria Schwab
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: August 28th, 2018
Ages: 9 & up
SeriesCassidy Blake #1
Purchase Links
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 owlets 
An arc of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Cassidy Blake's parents are The Inspecters, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can really see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspecters head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass and Jacob come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil.

Cass isn't sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn't belong in her world. Cassidy's powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

A fantastic middle grade debut! I love it when YA authors can successfully cross over to the middle grade realm of story telling. Victoria Schwab's talent for vivid story telling, has done just that. What I have admired about her YA books is still very present in City of Ghosts, only it's written with a younger audience in mind. 

City of Ghosts is a book with a setting that beautifully and effortlessly comes to life. It's paired with an atmospheric feel that is crucial when writing a ghost story. Schwab makes readers feel as through they're getting their own personal tour of Edinburgh, and are thrust not only into the mix of today's bustle, they also get a glimpse of the city's rich, ghostly history that Cass sees. I absolutely loved this book's atmosphere and feeling as though I was an Edinburgh along side Cass, and her family. 

Character wise, this story has some great, easy to like characters. Like their story, they are straightforward, and fun to get to know. I loved the relationship Cass, and her ghost friend, Jacob have, and finding out why they're drawn to each other. That was a twist I wasn't excepting. Ghost wise, there may be a ghost or two, or possibly more that my younger reader self would have been equally freaked out by, and intrigued with. 

I absolutely love that while this book is in modern day Edinburgh, the historical part of this city is very much alive. That part of this story is what really drew in. It's obvious Schwab did a lot of research. She definitely makes the perfect ghost hunting tour guide. 

If you're looking for a good ghost story, I highly recommend picking up this book! It's an engaging, entertaining, fast past, paranormal read with age appropriate darkness I've come to except in a Victoria Schwab book. I can hardly wait to read the next book in this series.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

THE STORM RUNNER by J.C. Cervantes / Giveaway #TheStormRunner

I'm thrilled to team up with Disney Hyperion to celebrate the recent release of THE STORM RUNNER by J.C. Cervantes, the next book in the Rick Riordan Presents imprint. Thank you to Disney, I have a fantastic prize pack that (1) one lucky winner will receive. First, before you enter to win, here's a little bit about THE STORM RUNNER. 


By: J.C. Cervantes
Published byRick Riordan Presents, an imprint of Disney Book Group
Released onSeptember 18, 2018
Series: A Storm Runner #1
Ages: 10-14
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Indie Bound
Learn more about the book at

How can one boy with a limp stop the Maya god of death, disaster, and darkness from destroying the world?

Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico, even though hiking it is challenging. He'd much rather hang out there with his dog, Rosie, than go to middle school, where kids call him Sir Limps a Lot, McGimpster, or Uno – for his one good leg. 

What Zane doesn't know is that the volcano is a gateway to another world and he is at the center of a powerful prophecy. A new girl at school, Brooks, informs him that he's destined to release an evil god from the ancient Maya relic he is imprisoned in--unless she can find and remove it first. Together they return to the volcano, where all kinds of crazy happens. Brooks turns into a hawk, a demon attacks them in a cave, and Rosie gives her all while trying to protect Zane. When Zane decides to save his dog no matter the cost, he is thrust into an adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods, one of whom happens to be his father. 

To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can't even walk well without a cane?


J. C. Cervantes is the author of Tortilla Sun, which was called "a beautiful and engaging debut" by Kirkus, an "imaginative, yet grounded novel" by Publishers Weekly, and "lean and lightly spiced with evocative metaphor" by School Library JournalTortilla Sun was a 2010 New Voices pick by the American Booksellers Association and it was named to Bank Street's 2011 Best Book List. When Jennifer isn't reading or writing, she helping her husband with his gubernatorial campaign.


The Rick Riordan Presents imprint is dedicated to providing entertaining middle grade fiction based on various world mythologies. Rick Riordan is involved in the selection, editing, and promotion of these books, working with great authors to tell exciting stories inspired by the mythologies of their own heritages. Learn more about the imprint and its current and upcoming titles on their official site. 


One (1) winner will receive a trio of introductory mythology tales from a variety of cultures, including:
  • The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes;
  • Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi;
  • and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan!

Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Disney Book Group.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~