Friday, June 29, 2018

KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES Series by Shannon Messenger #KeeperOfTheLostCities #SummerReading

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on reading. If you're like me, you probably have a number of series you're wanting to finish reading, or maybe you want to re-read. KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES series by Shannon Messenger, is a fantastic MG series. This is a 9 book series (I am so excited about this), with book 7 in the series, FLASHBACK, set to be released 11.6.18 from Aladdin. I absolutely love these book covers. Find out more about the series, and the first (7) books below:


By: Shannon Messenger 

Published by: Aladdin
Series: Keeper Of The Lost Cities ( books 1-9)
Ages: 8 & up
Purchase from: Simon & Schuster

Twelve-year-old Sophie finally discovers where her secret telepathy ability comes from when she learns she’s actually not human, but instead from another world that exists side by side with our world, in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series.

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.”
There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where one girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first.

Sophie Foster thought she was safe. Settled into her home at Havenfield, surrounded by friends, and using her unique telepathic abilities to train Silveny--the first female alicorn ever seen in the Lost Cities--her life finally seems to be coming together.

But Sophie's kidnappers are still out there. And when Sophie discovers new messages and clues from the mysterious Black Swan group, she’s forced to take a terrifying risk—one that puts everyone in incredible danger.

As long buried secrets rise to the surface, it’s once again up to Sophie to uncover hidden memories—before someone close to her is lost forever.

In this second book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must journey to the darkest corners of her luminous world in a sequel that will leave you breathless for more.

Sophie Foster is ready to fight back.

Her talents are getting stronger, and with the elusive Black Swan group ignoring her calls for help, she’s determined to find her kidnappers—before they come after her again. 

But a daring mistake leaves her world teetering on the edge of war, and causes many to fear that she has finally gone too far. And the deeper Sophie searches, the farther the conspiracy stretches, proving that her most dangerous enemy might be closer than she realizes. 

In this nail-biting third book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must fight the flames of rebellion, before they destroy everyone and everything she loves.

Sophie Foster is on the run—but at least she's not alone.

Her closest friends from the Lost Cities have gone with her to join the Black Swan. They still have doubts about the shadowy organization, but the only way to find answers is to start working with them. And as they settle into their new lives, they uncover secrets far bigger than anything they’d imagined.

But their enemies are far from done, and unleash a terrifying plague that threatens the safety of an entire species. Sophie and her friends fight with everything they have—with new allies joining them—but every choice has consequences. And trusting the wrong person could prove deadly.

In this game-changing fourth book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must question everything to find a truth that will either save her world—or shatter it.

Dark schemes unfold--and Sophie's loyalty is pushed to the limit--in this thrilling fifth book in the best-selling KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES SERIES. 

Sophie Foster is back in the Lost Cities--but the Lost Cities have changed. The threat of war hangs heavy over her glittering world, and the Neverseen are wreaking havoc. 

The lines between friend and enemy have blurred, and Sophie is unsure whom to trust. But when she's warned that the people she loves most will be the next victims, she knows she has to act. 

A mysterious symbol could be the key--if only she knew how to translate it. Every new clue seems to lead deeper into her world's underbelly and the Black Swan aren't the only ones who have plans. The Neverseen have their own Initiative, and if Sophie doesn't stop it, they might finally have the ultimate means to control her.

Sophie Foster is struggling. Grieving. Scrambling. But she knows one thing: she will not be defeated.

The Neverseen have had their victories—but the battle is far from over. It’s time to change tactics. Make sacrifices. Reexamine everything. Maybe even time for Sophie to trust her enemies.

All paths lead to Nightfall—an ominous door to an even more ominous place—and Sophie and her friends strike a dangerous bargain to get there. But nothing can prepare them for what they discover. The problems they’re facing stretch deep into their history. And with time running out, and mistakes catching up with them, Sophie and her allies must join forces in ways they never have before.

In this unforgettable seventh book, Sophie must let the past and present blur together, because the deadliest secrets are always the ones that get erased.

Sophie Foster doesn’t know what—or whom—to believe. And in a game with this many players, the worst mistake can be focusing on the wrong threat.

But when the Neverseen prove that Sophie’s far more vulnerable than she ever imagined, she realizes it’s time to change the rules. Her powerful abilities can only protect her so far. To face down ruthless enemies, she must learn to fight.

Unfortunately, battle training can’t help a beloved friend who’s facing a whole different danger—where the only solution involves one of the biggest risks Sophie and her friends have ever taken. And the distraction might be exactly what the villains have been waiting for.


Summer is the perfect opportunity to pick up this series and read it. Check out what you can own on 8/14/18! Releasing from Aladdin, the box set of the first 5 books in the series! This is definitely a boxset worth getting. Find out more about the box set by visiting Simon & Schuster, here


A telepathic girl is the key to an unknown world—and it’s up to her to save it—in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series. The first five books are now available as a collectible paperback boxed set! 

Sophie Foster has never quite fit into her life. The reason? Sophie’s a Telepath, someone who can read minds. No one knows her secret—at least, that’s what she thinks… 

It turns out the reason Sophie has never felt at home is that, well…she isn’t. And as she sets out for a new life that is vastly different from what she has ever known, telepathy is just the first of many shocking secrets that will be revealed. 

This action-packed boxed set includes paperback editions of Keeper of the Lost CitiesExileEverblazeNeverseen, and Lodestar.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

CITY OF GHOSTS by Victoria Schwab / #CityOfGhosts #SummerReading

In continuing with our SUMMER READING spotlight, City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab is another middle grade book worth checking out, when it's out later this summer. Great for fans who love adventure and mystery, this book targeted for readers 9 & up. It's the first in the Cassidy Blake series, and Scholastic will be releasing it on August 28th, 2018. More about the book below. 


By: Victoria Schwab
Published by: Scholastic
To Be Released on: August 28th, 2018
Series: Cassidy Blake #1
Ages: 9 & up
Pre-Order from: Scholastic | Amazon | B&N

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.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

CITY OF ISLANDS by Kali Wallace / #SummerReading #MGLit Spotlight #CityOfIslands

How's your summer reading going? Our summer reading is going okay. Not bad, but not as good as I had hoped it would. Though we are only in the beginning of our summer vacation. Our summer reading pile seems to be never ending. Anyone else have that problem? There are so many titles to read, and too little time to get them all read in. 

To add to my pile, is a book that was just recently put on my radar, CITY OF ISLANDS by Kali Wallace. I'm completely intrigued with it. I am loving this book cover. The book isn't out until July 24th, but when it releases I'm picking it up. You can currently enter to win an arc of it on Goodreads, here. Keep reading to find out more about the book below:


By: Kali Wallace 
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
To Be Released on: July 24th, 2018
Ages: 8 & up 
Pre-Order from: Harper Collins 
Add it to Goodreads

A dark and riveting middle grade fantasy from the critically acclaimed Kali Wallace about an archipelago of magical islands and one girl’s dangerous discovery on the ocean floor. Perfect for fans of Holly Black and Kate Milford. 

In a foggy archipelago called the City of Islands, twelve-year-old Mara has always been fascinated by the magic that drifts on the air as songs. But as a servant for the powerful Lady of the Tides, Mara must earn her keep by searching for magical treasures deep in the murky ocean.

Then Mara finds the skeletons of strange hybrid creatures that haven’t existed in the city for centuries—all humming with a powerful spell-song. Convinced her discovery will earn her the opportunity to study magic, Mara shares them with the Lady. But instead of a reward, the Lady gives Mara a new challenge: to sneak into the island fortress, the Winter Blade.

Now Mara must dive deeper than ever before to survive her mission. The chilling truths that Mara uncovers along the way, about her past as well as about the secrets of her beloved city, are more dangerous—and magical—than she ever imagined.


“City of Islands is a richly imagined, thoroughly engrossing adventure featuring terrible secrets hiding in murky depths, power-hungry mages battling over ancient magic, and, best of all, one brave girl with the vision and heart to set things right. I loved this book.” - Anne Ursu, author of Breadcrumbs and The Real Boy
City of Islands churns with mystery and adventure, friendship and betrayal. I fell right under its singing-spell, and didn’t want to leave.” - Sally Pla, author of The Someday Birds
“A thrilling, magical adventure, full of surprises.” - Claire Fayers, author of The Voyage to Magical North

Monday, June 25, 2018

WILLA OF THE WOOD by Robert Beatty / Marvelous Middle Grade Monday #Willa #SummerReading

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! Today I'm spotlighting an upcoming release I am so excited about. Robert Beatty, author of the hugely popular SERAFINA series is taking readers back into that exciting, magical world with the a brand new series. The first book, WILLA OF THE WOOD, will be out July 10th, 2018 from Disney Hyperion. I absolutely love this cover!


By: Robert Beatty
Published by: Disney Hyperion 
To Be Released on: July 10th, 2018
Series: Willa #1
Ages: 8 & up 
Pre-order from: Disney | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Robert Beatty comes a spooky, thrilling new series set in the magical world of Serafina.

Move without a sound. Steal without a trace. Willa, a young nightspirit of the Great Smoky Mountains, is her clan's best thief. She creeps into the homes of day-folk in the cover of darkness and takes what they won't miss. It's dangerous work — the day-folk kill whatever they do not understand. But when Willa's curiosity leaves her hurt and stranded in a day-folk man's home, everything she thought she knew about her people — and their greatest enemy — is forever changed.


This book is a wonderful addition to any summer reading lists. It's targeted for readers 8 years and older. Don't miss my review, which will be posted soon here on the blog. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

WEE SISTER STRANGE by Holly Grant / Book Review #WeeSisterStrange

By: Holly Grant
Illustrated by: K.G. Campbell
Published by: Schwartz & Wade
Released on: 9.19.17
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase from: Penguin Random House + other retailers 
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 owlets
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

With a lyrical text and gorgeous, ethereal illustrations, here is a mesmerizing and magical original bedtime fairy tale reminiscent of Emily Winfield Martin's Dream Animals, and perfect for reading aloud.
They say there's a girl
Who lives by the woods
In a crooked old house
With no garden but gloom.

She doesn't have parents.
No one knows her name.

But the people in town
Call her Wee Sister Strange. 

Like Emily Winfield Martin's bestselling Dream Animals, here is a bedtime read-aloud sure to entrance young listeners. Each evening, as the shadows grow long, Wee Sister Strange climbs from her window and runs into the woods. She talks to the owls and rides on a bear. She clambers up trees and dives into the bog. She is searching for something.... She looks far and wide, over forest and marsh. What is it she seeks? Why, it's a wee bedtime story to help her fall asleep!

I really enjoyed the illustrations in this book. It definitely added to the over all feel of the book's charming mix of whimsical, pagan like, and spooky. The story is told in rhyming, though it's not a strong rhyming. It's just enough the keep the reader entertained. Overall, this is a book I really enjoyed. I liked that the story focused on a girl who loves to hear stories, including those that are about her. The illustrations were definitely my favorite part of this picture book. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Art of Disney's Dragons / Book Review #Disney #DisneyDragons

By: Tom Bancroft
Published by: Disney
Released on: June 28th, 2016
Ages: Disney fans of all ages, especially for adults.
Purchase from: Disney + other retails 
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets
Thank you to Disney for providing a copy of this book in xchenage for my honest review

Imagine if one sketchbook had been passed down through the decades from one Disney artist to the next, with each one making a contribution before leaving it in the talented hands of another. That idea was the inspiration for The Art of Disney’s Dragons. The drawings contained within this volume represent the entire range of dragon-themed development art from animators, live-action studio artists, and Imagineers. Inside find playful pencil studies of Mushu; color concepts on Figment (who was green before he became purple!); bold pencil layouts on Maleficent, and the latest character explorations of Elliot from the new Spring/Summer 2016 live-action film Pete’s Dragon. Tom Bancroft, often recognized in Disney circles as being lead animator on Mushu the dragon in Mulan, writes the book’s introductory essay.

A must have for fans of Disney's dragons. This collection of art features Disney dragons, both good and bad, through the years. It's a collection of sketches, and illustrations, making it a must have for Disney fans of all ages, as well as Disney art fans. Plus, dragons! I loved getting a look through the years at all of the various dragons Disney has used for both their movies, and their stories. 

Some illustrations featured in the book may be a little scary for younger kids.

Monday, June 18, 2018

PUG PALS: Two's A Crowd by Flora Ahn / Book Review #PugPals

By: Flora Ahn
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: January 30th, 2018
Series: Pug Pals #1
Ages: 8 & up
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 Owlets
Thank you to Scholastic for providing an arc in exchange for our honest review

A hilarious, highly-illustrated chapter book from debut author illustrator, Flora Ahn.

Two pugs. One beloved toy bunny. What could go wrong?

Sunny's new little sister, Rosy, is getting her paws into everything. When Rosy takes Sunny's favorite toy, Mr. Bunny, and loses him, Sunny is barking mad.

But when Rosy sets off on her own to find and rescue Mr. Bunny, Sunny starts to worry. Rosy's never been outside by herself before. Sunny will have to gather all the canine courage she has and go after them-before Rosy and Mr. Bunny are both lost fur-ever!

Today we have a guest reviewer. We're thrilled to have B. Ann share her review of PUG PALS....... 

This was a fun, easy read for me. I like that there are sweet moments in the story, and some funny parts. My favorite part is when Sunny was going to yell at her younger sister, only to find that she younger sister was already trying to fix her mistake. That was a really sweet moment. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Dr. Seuss's 100 First Words / Book Review #DrSeuss100FirstWords

By: Dr. Seuss
Published by: Random House
Released on: May 8th, 2018
Ages: 2 & up
Purchase from: The Publisher | Amazon 
We are a PRH partner & all books are received in exchange for our honest review

A word book illustrated with images from the works of Dr. Seuss—starring the Little Cats from The Cat in the Hat Comes Back!

This super-sturdy casebound board book introduces babies and toddlers to 100 essential first words and to the artwork of Dr. Seuss! Illustrated with images from his most beloved, classic books (among them One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, and Hop on Pop)—the book also features the Little Cats—the tiny cats from The Cat in the Hat Comes Back—doing something fun on every spread! Perfect for learning and for play, there’s plenty to look at and talk about on each page.

This new Dr. Seuss board book introduces the essential first words to toddlers. With the signature Dr. Seuss illustrations many of us grew up loving, young readers will enjoy being introduced to the classic characters, silly illustrations, and learning first words. Bright, primary colored illustrations make this book visual stimulating as well. The larger size and sturdy board book pages make this ideal for babies and toddlers. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

This Is The Nest That Robin Built by Denise Fleming / Book Review #ThisIsTheNestThatRobinBuilt

Written & Illustrated by: Denise Fleming
Published by: Beach Lane Books 
Released on: March 6th, 2018
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase fromAmazon | B&N
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review 

A robin’s animal friends help build her nest in this cumulative collage picture book.

Robin is building a nest, and her friends are ready to help! The squirrel trims the twigs. The dog brings the string. The horse shares his straw. And then a surprise gatefold spread reveals how Robin knits them all together to make a safe and cozy home for her babies.

A fun, interactive story that fans of animals will enjoy reading. Great for spring time, young readers will enjoy seeing how Robin, and each of her friends help her make her nest. Each friend has something unique to offer her; from the mud that holds the nest together, to the twigs and various other things she needs. This story is reminiscent of Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See in both the repetitive story telling, and illustrations. This book is a great addition to elementary school classrooms. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

ONE OF A KIND by Chris Gorman / Book Review #OneOfAKind

Written and Illustrated By: Chris Gorman
Published by: Penguin Random House
Released on: May 8th, 2018
Ages: 5 & up
Purchase from: Penguin Random House
Rating: 4 Owlets
We are a PRH partner and all books are received in exchange for our honest review 

Bold, graphic art by indie rocker Chris Gorman of Belly captures the thrill and challenges of marching to your own beat.

Meet a pogo-dancing, punk-rock-loving kid who loves to express himself in his own unique way. His clothes, hairstyle, music, and just the way he hears the world, all set him apart. Not everyone understands him, but he likes being one of a kind–even though it’s lonely sometimes. Fortunately, it’s a wide world out there, and if he looks around a kid is sure to find other one-of-a-kinds with common interests.

A picture book that celebrates individuality, self acceptance and moving to the beat of your music. This book is about embracing the things that make each of us different, and celebrating those things. Gorman's story telling is mixed with unique illustrations that easily bring the emotions felt on each page to life. This is a book that readers will be able to identify with on their own unique level. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Mommy's Khimar by Jamilah Thomkins-Bigelow / Book Review #MommysKhimar

By: Jamilah Thomkins-Bigelow
Illustrated by: Ebony Glenn
Published by: Salaam Reads / Simon Kids
Released on: 4/3/18
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase from: Simon & Schuster | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads 
Rating: 4 Owlets 
Thank you to Simon Kids for providing a copy of this in exchange for my honest review 

A young Muslim girl spends a busy day wrapped up in her mother’s colorful headscarf in this sweet and fanciful picture book from debut author and illustrator Jamilah Tompkins-Bigelow and Ebony Glenn. 

A khimar is a flowing scarf that my mommy wears. 
Before she walks out the door each day, she wraps one around her head.

A young girl plays dress up with her mother’s headscarves, feeling her mother’s love with every one she tries on. Charming and vibrant illustrations showcase the beauty of the diverse and welcoming community in this portrait of a young Muslim American girl’s life.

This is an adorable debut picture book about an African-American Muslim girl who loves to play dress up with her mother's khimar (hijab). Mixed into the imaginative play is a story about celebrating the diversity in this young girl's life, and that of her family and community. I really loved the diverse accept of this story. The vibrant, heartwarming illustrations bring this story to life perfectly. The added bonus to this story the mother/daughter relationship. I look forward to reading more books from this author / illustrator duo. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

RAMADAN by Hannah Eliot / Book Review #Ramadan

Written by: Hannah Eliot
Illustrated by: Rashin
Published by: Simon Kids
Series: Celebrate The World Book #1
Ages: 0 & up
Purchase from: Simon Kids | Amazon 
Thank you to Simon Kids for providing a copy of this book in exchange for our honest review 

Learn all about the traditions of Ramadan with this first book in the brand-new board book series Celebrate the World, which highlights celebrations across the globe.

In the ninth month of the year, when the first crescent moon rises in the sky, it’s time to celebrate Ramadan! In this lovely board book with illustrations from Rashin Kheiriyeh, readers learn that Ramadan is a time to reflect on ourselves, to be thankful, and a time to help others.

Ramadan is the first book in a series of new board books from Simon Kids titled, Celebrate the World. In this introductory book, Ramadan, teaches readers about the Ramadan holiday. A time when those that celebrate focus their time on helping others, being thankful, and more. This is a great introduction into learning a little more about the Ramadan celebration. The illustrations are ones young readers will enjoy. The color scheme is festive, and one that will engage toddlers. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

TINY AND THE BIG DIG By Sherri Duskey Rinker / Book Review #TinyandtheBigDig

By: Sherri Duskey Rinker

Illustrated By: Matt Myers
Published By: Scholastic
Released On: January 30, 2018
Ages: 3-5
Purchase From: Scholastic l Amazon l B&N
Add it to  Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

A New York Times bestselling powerhouse team presents a doggie, a bone, and tons of determination that remind us that going for what you want brings ginormous surprises.

Tiny may be a small dog, but don't let that fool you. He's a pooch with power who knows what he wants. And he's going for it. But oh, those pesky pessimists ­­ they're trying to rain on Tiny's dig­parade! Thank goodness for one special boy who believes in Tiny, because in the end, this dog's grit proves that he's the little pup who could… dig up some giant surprises!

Tiny and the Big Dig is an inspiring book that you will want to have in your library. Tiny is little dog on a big dig mission. He knows he is "I-don't-give-up strong"and so he doesn't listen to all the other animals that tell him to give up or quit because he is too small. His self-confidence and the cheering of his boy, give him the perseverance to keep digging until he reaches his goal.

We loved this book! The message, the pictures and the rhyming sentence structure were perfect for story time. This book is not only engaging and fun, but it was also a great way to have a discussion with children about understanding their self worth and finding their own confidence. We also talked about achieving goals and overcoming obstacles to reach those goals. You will love Tiny, like we did, and you will love seeing him reach his goal in his big dig!

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 ~