WWW Wednesday: 3.20.2019

Hi Friends! Happy Spring! WWW Wednesday is here once more so I figured I would update on my reading agenda. Today’s post will be done in twos, meaning two books for each W!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Alrighty! Let’s get started!

81AG0bQkYDL71kGvbCnfXLCurrently Reading:

I’m working on this eArc from NetGalley called, The Remarkable Inventions of Walter Martinson by Quinn Sosna-Spear. I really like the steampunk vibe this book gave me when I initially read the synopsis. I’m still at the beginning, but I’m already excited to see how it will turn out. Released date is 4.2.2019.

The second book I’m working on is Laurie Halse Anderson’s poetry memoir, ShoutMost known for her work, Speak, Anderson has never been afraid to write, speak out, and advocate for survivors of sexual assault. For the first time in 25 years, she is telling her story. I’m only halfway through this book and I can feel the raw emotion that Anderson has poured into her poetry. Like Speak, this is not for the faint of heart, but definitely one of the most important works I’ve ever picked up. This book was released 3.12.2019.

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Recently Finished:

A friend of mine on Goodreads finished the book, The Boy, The Bird, & The Coffin Maker by Matilda Woods (released 5.1.2017) and, like so many people out there, I judged the book by its cover and was intrigued to see what it was about. This fairytale-like story was as hopeful as it was sad, and the illustrations were whimsical. Did I mention the text and illustrations are printed in blue? Because that was an awesome surprise when I opened this book!

Of course, I could not pass up the opportunity to read Angie Thomas’ latest book, On the Come Up (released 2.5.2019). If you have not read her first book, The Hate U Give, you should stop reading this post and go get that book now! On the Come Up is a separate novel set in the same neighborhood as the previous story. This book is about Bri and her fierce passion to become a famous rapper. Like The Hate U Give, this is a book you will have A LOT of trouble putting down once you’ve started reading it.

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Reading Next:

The next eArc on my list is Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby. Looking at the title, it may seem obvious what the book could be about, but after reading the synopsis, it seems to be more of a metaphorical title than a literal one. I’m looking forward to reading this one and seeing how it unfolds. In this story, 12-year-old Fig wants nothing more than to be closer to her father. But with her being a math and science wiz and her father a once renowned pianist, Fig feels far from understanding him. This book will be released 5.7.2019.

The next book I’ll be reading next is Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeymi (released 3.6.2019). I have been seeing this book all over social media and have heard AMAZING things. When the book appeared in the stack at my library, I snagged it before anyone else could. I read the synopsis and now I’m itching to get started. I have a feeling this is going to be a un-put-downable book.

 

That’s all for now, friends! Feel free to take a look at my book reviews by clicking the Home page. I review picture books, middle grade, and young adult novels! You can also follow me on twitter!

Until next time!

 

 

 

WWW Wednesday: 1.16.2019

Hey everyone! I thought I would take on WWW Wednesday today, revived by Taking on a World of Words! Go check out their blog and participate!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Okay. Here goes…


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Currently reading: I downloaded this eARC from Netgalley a while ago. The cover of The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away by Ronald L. Smith was caught my eye when I first came across this book. I had never read anything by this author but became interested after reading the synopsis. I love a good suspense/paranormal story and am eager to see how this will play out in a middle grade novel. I’m only in the first few chapters so it’s a little early to give too much of an opinion, but upon first impressions, I’m definitely seeing this as a book for older readers. Maybe 10-13 years old. Unfortunately the rating it’s been given on Goodreads makes this book seems not as promising, but I’m giving it a chance. This book will be published 2.19.2019.

 

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Recently Finished: I actually finished two books this week, but I’ll show the cover of the one I wrapped up last night. A Voice for the Spirit Bears  by Carmen Oliver with illustrations by Katy Dockrill is a beautiful non-fiction picture book about a boy named Simon Jackson who found his voice by advocating to save the rare Kermode bears, or Spirit bears. I loved the artwork and writing style as well as Simon’s passion to save these animals. There will be a more extensive review on this book later this week. It is set to be released 5.7.2019.

The other book I just finished is The Girl with the Dragon Heart by Stephanie Burgis. This is the second book in the Tales from the Chocolate Heart series and was released 11.6.2018. I loved this book even better than the first and am excited to read the next one! You can read my review here and check out the first book in the series here if you’re interested!

 

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Reading Next: I’m really looking forward to reading this YA graphic novel. The book is Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle. This author is more known for writing middle grade fiction, but I do admire that she branched out to YA. I’m interested to see the outcome of this graphic novel. This one is also set to be published on 5.7.2019.

 

 

 

 

 

Hey guys! I’m on twitter! so feel free to check out my profile and follow me! Thanks! Until the next review!

Middle Grade Book Review – The Girl with the Dragon Heart by Stephanie Burgis

thegirlwiththedragonheart-uscover Details:

Title: The Girl with the Dragon Heart

Author: Stephanie Burgis

Pages: 278

Publication Date: November 6th, 2018 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Source: NetGalley

Rating: 4/5

 

 

Plot (via Goodreads):

Once upon a time, in a beautiful city famous for chocolate and protected by dragons, there was a girl so fearless that she dared to try to tell the greatest story of all: the truth.

Silke has always been good at spinning the truth and storytelling. So good that just years after arriving as a penniless orphan, she has found her way up to working for the most splendid chocolate makers in the city (oh, and becoming best friends with a dragon). Now her gift for weaving words has caught the eye of the royal family, who want to use her as a spy when the mysterious and dangerous fairy royal family announce they will visit the city. But Silke has her own dark, secret reasons for not trusting fairies …

Can Silke find out the truth about the fairies while keeping her own secrets hidden?

Review:

When I saw that the sequel to the book, The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart was coming out, I definitely had to get a copy. I loved the fantasy, humor, and character development in the first one and this book also did not disappoint. If you have not read the first of this series, I would recommend reading that first as some parts of this review might be a little confusing.

In this book, the story of Drachenburg continues from Aventurine’s best friend Silke’s perspective. Silke is told from the first book is an amazing storyteller and can essentially talk her way through anything. When she is summoned by the crown princess and given a task that hits a little too close to home, she takes on the job in hopes to learn more about her past gone awry.

I felt that the author’s writing style flowed even better in this book than in the first. The backstories of Silke’s past connecting to her task with spying on the fairies kept me reading so I can see what her next move is when the fairies and the royal court respond to her. I was kept on the edge of my seat when Silke ended up in some intense situations that seemed like they were going to be pretty difficult for her to talk herself out of. Silke’s internal struggle with what home is to her starts to take over throughout the book as well. The constant battle with her brother and her village, her confusion with her feelings of the Chocolate Heart where Aventurine, Marina, and Horst work, and her neverending battle with the crown princess’ cross sister Sofia. But while facing her task she learns that her friends would do anything to ensure her safety, even if it’s her friends that need her protection more than ever. Silke begins to understand that sometimes family does not mean blood relative.

This is definitely a great fantasy book that talks about the power of friendship, family, and empathy. This would be a good read for tweens.

Interested in this book? You can find a copy at your local bookstore or check it out at your public library! You can read more reviews like this one on Goodreads!

Middle Grade Book Review – Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

download Details:

Title: Louisiana’s Way Home

Author: Kate DiCamillo

Pages: 240

Publication Date: October 2nd, 2018 by Candlewick Press

Source: NetGalley

Rating: 5/5 Stars

 

Plot (Via Goodreads):

When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana’s and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.)

Review:

This was a continued story from Kate DiCamillo’s novel Raymie Nightingale, where Louisiana was first introduced but is a side character. Between the two novels, I loved this one even more. Lousiana’s story is both heartbreaking and full of hope. Just when she thinks her unexpected journey couldn’t get any worse, it does in a way that even moved me to tears. It’s not all sadness though, Louisiana meets an unlikely new animal friend as well as its owner, a boy around Louisiana’s age that can break into any vending machine, can climb up a hotel wall without fear, and is the kind of person that will give you two instead of one bologna sandwich. Louisiana instantly becomes friends with him and his family and learns so much about this group of heartwarming people and the town she stumbled upon in such a short time. Not all of Louisiana’s encounters are friendly, but thanks to her life lessons from Granny, she never lets them get the better of her. Even when her world is turned completely upside down, she is never alone and begins to learn a whole new meaning of family and love.

Overall, this book touches on a lot of hard topics but is written beautifully and with a lot of emotion. There was never a doubt about any of Louisiana’s feelings or how the reader was supposed to feel throughout the story. This book was definitely a triumph on DiCamillo’s part.

Interested in this book? You can order NOW on Amazon, Barned & Noble, or borrow it from your local library!

Children’s Book Review – A Boy and a House

39671309 Details:

Title: A Boy and a House

Author: Maja Kastelic

Pages: 18

Exp. Publication: September 11th, 2018 by Annick Press

Source: NetGalley

Rating: 3/5 Stars

 

Plot:

A boy is walking down the street when he sees a cat walk into an apartment building. Curious, he follows the cat who walks higher and higher into the apartment. How high will the boy go? What will he find when he gets to the top?

Review:

This was a cute wordless picture book to follow. The artwork had a lot of hidden details in each page that made me go back and look through a few times. A found the story itself to be a little bland, but the details in the art are whimsical and fun find their meanings. There are mice on every page, which I liked, and there were drawing on the walls of the building as the boy makes his way up to the top. I did find it a little strange that a boy would walk not only into a random apartment building, but one that was seemingly abandoned.

Though I did enjoy the artwork, I did find it a little darker and therefore harder to see some of the details in the pages. This could’ve been because I was looking at a digital copy. I also found that even though it was a wordless picture book, some of the details were a little too subtle to notice right away. This could make it harder for young children to keep their interest, especially since the story itself is so linear. The ending was very sweet, however.

Overall, I thought this was a cute and simple picture book. This would be a great book for preschoolers and young school-agers.

Interested in this book? You can pre-order it on Amazon or wait to check it out from your local library.

 

Middle Grade Book Review – Blended by Sharon M. Draper

38351370 Details:

Title: Blended

Author: Sharon M. Draper

Pages: 310

Exp. Publication: November 6th, 2018 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

Source: NetGalley

Rating: 4/5 Stars

 

 


Plot: 

Isabella Badia Thornton feels like she’s living a double life. With her divorced parents exchanging her every week per their custody agreements, Isabella doesn’t have a place she really calls home, just her mom’s or her dad’s house. Being that her father is black and her mother is white, and both are leading very different lives in seemingly different worlds, this makes things very confusing for Isabella’s self-identity and confidence. Strangers are always commenting and asking about her skin color, and along with being taken off guard, she doesn’t even know how to respond. The one thing she does have to call her own is her talent for the piano. When her parents are fighting (which seems to be even more lately, and almost always about her), Isabella can escape to her piano and practice for her upcoming recital. Though in the back of her mind she wonders if her parents can be in the same room for a few hours without going at each other’s throats. When Isabella’s parents get engaged to their significant others, she doesn’t think they will ever get along again. That is, until the unthinkable happens when she’s in the car with her soon to be step brother and are pulled over by the police.

Review:

Sharon M. Draper has once again created a beautifully real and compelling work of art. Blended hits a lot of tough topics children and teens are going through today, such as divorce, custody battles, school threats, racial profiling, and police brutality. In the beginning, 11-year-old Isabella seemed to not have a lot of body and self-confidence. Being that she has a white mother and a black father, she doesn’t seem to know what she categorizes herself. When she has to fill out forms that ask her race, she doesn’t know which box to check. But as time wears on, even though the situation with her parents and the issues going on at school get intense, her sense of self begins to get stronger as she learns from these experiences and she becomes more proud of who she is. This confidence also grows when she figures out how to handle tougher situations, such as racial profiling. She learns how not only to respond to these issues, but to educate those who thought they were complimenting her but were actually being offensive.

Of course the one thing Isabella can always call her own throughout the book is her love for the piano. While all the chaos is going on around her, she can always tune into herself through her piano as she practices for her recital. The recital piece that Isabella is practicing is Muzio Clementi’s Sonatina in C major, op. 36 no. 1Naturally, I had to look up this piece and listen to it. It definitely gave me a sense of just how talented Isabella is and how much she takes it seriously. She even mentions how she wants to be a professional pianist when she grows up.

One of the things that stood out for me during this book was the use of interesting vocabulary words that are fitting for the middle school readers. Isabella’s teacher would give the class these vocab words to study in school, but you also see Isabella using them throughout the book and explaining what they mean. I found this to be a very valuable addition to the book, however small it seemed. As a librarian who runs summer reading programs and tries to encourage young readers to challenge themselves with their reading, having books that give the meanings to larger vocabulary words through the main character is an excellent way to teach those young readers without them needing to take the extra steps to figure out what they mean.

So why 4 stars? The story itself was excellent. The story flowed well and the subject matter was consistent. However, I felt the book ended abruptly. I was expecting a wrap up of some kind with some of the events that I thought were about to take place, but when I flipped to the next page there was nothing. It just ended. Of course, this is an uncorrected proof so the ending may not be finished. Looking back now, it makes sense for it to end the way it did, but upon first reactions, I was left a little confused.

Overall, I thought this book covered a lot of ground. Between the tough issues, the characters internal battles, and finding her voice, this book has something everyone can learn from as they journey with Isabella. This book is a great read for tweens and young teens.

Wanna get your hands on this book? You can pre-order it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Bound, or you can wait and check it out at your local library!

Note: If you’re interested in Sharon M. Draper’s other amazing works (seriously, I can’t say enough how awesome they are. And she writes for all ages!), you can check out her list HERE.

Children’s Book Review – Mr. Pack Rat Really Wants That

Mr. Pack Rat Really Wants ThatDetails:

Title: Mr. Pack Rat Really Wants That

Author: Marcus Ewert, Illus. by Kayla Stark

Pages: 40

Exp. Publication: October 30th, 2018 by Plum Blossom Books

Source: NetGalley

                                                                             Rating: 4/5 Stars
Plot:

Mr. Pack Rat lives in a brown middena nest built out of whatever’s lying around. The problem is Mr. Pack Rat wants more, more, more! More colors, more sparkle, more things! With the help of a magical magnet, Mr. Pack Rat makes wishes to add things to his midden and make him happy. Sometimes, though, wanting too many things can cause more problems than happiness.

Review:

This was a fun picture book with a get lesson material happiness. The illustrations throughout the story were fun and would be eye-catching for toddlers and preschoolers. I particularly liked the ending of the magical chants Mr. Pack Rat uses when he wishes for something:

Mr. Pack Rat,
Mr. Pack Rat,
Mr. Pack Rat really wants that!

Thinking as a Children’s Librarian, I thought this chant would be fun to have my story time patrons say with me every time we come across it in the story. I liked the description of the things Mr. Pat Rack wished for, such as the colorful flowers and the glittering seashells. The magical realism incorporated in each wish came across very well both in the text and the illustrations. I enjoyed the overall moral of the story that wanting material things will not always make you happy. Sometimes being in your favorite place and the memories you take away from it is really all you need.

This book would be great for toddlers and preschoolers as well as a fun storytime read aloud.

Interested in this book? You can pre-order it on Amazon, or you can check it out from your local library this fall!