Bite-Sized Reviews of Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch; Four Days of You and Me; Maya and the Rising Dark; and Hello, Arnie!: An Arnie the Doughnut Story

October 8, 2020 Reviews 7

 

I’ve got four reviews for you today: two MG fantasies, a YA contemporary, and a picture book. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!


Bite-Sized Reviews of Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch; Four Days of You and Me; Maya and the Rising Dark; and Hello, Arnie!: An Arnie the Doughnut StoryEva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe
Series: Eva Evergreen #1
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on August 4, 2020
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Pages: 400
Source: NetGalley
Cover Artist: Shan Jiang
My rating:
4.5 Stars

A charming new middle-grade fantasy adventure, about a young witch whose pinch of magic just might be more than enough, perfect for fans of Kiki's Delivery Service and Aru Shah and the End of Time.

Sometimes all you need is a pinch of magic...

Eva Evergreen is determined to earn the rank of Novice Witch before she turns thirteen years old. If she doesn't, she'll lose her magic forever. For most young witches and wizards, it's a simple enough test:

ONE: Help your town, do good all around.TWO: Live there for one moon, don't leave too soon.THREE: Fly home by broomstick, the easiest of tricks.

The only problem? Eva only has a pinch of magic. She summons heads of cabbage instead of flowers and gets a sunburn instead of calling down rain. And to add insult to injury, whenever she overuses her magic, she falls asleep.

When she lands on the tranquil coastal town of Auteri, the residents expect a powerful witch, not a semi-magical girl. So Eva comes up with a plan: set up a magical repair shop to aid Auteri and prove she's worthy. She may have more blood than magic, but her "semi-magical fixes" repair the lives of the townspeople in ways they never could have imagined. Only, Eva's bit of magic may not be enough when the biggest magical storm in history threatens the town she's grown to love. Eva must conjure up all of the magic, bravery, and cleverness she can muster or Auteri and her dreams of becoming a witch will wash away with the storm.

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An utterly adorable fantasy adventure about finding and playing to your strengths. This reminded me a lot of The Worst Witch (a series that my daughter really enjoys) because Eva’s magic often goes a bit awry. Except this book is set in a fantasy world with hints of Japanese culture (rather than having witches who live in the regular world like in TWW). Eva only has a pinch of magic, but she’s bound and determined to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a top-notch witch. One aspect of the book that I really loved is that it’s not about Eva suddenly discovering that she’s way more powerful than she originally thought, but instead Eva learns to lean on and trust in the strengths she’s had all along. While she’s at it, she makes some wonderfully unexpected friendships and finds a furry flame fox to love!! There were some interesting twists and turns when it came to The Culling, the magical weather disaster that has been plaguing their world, and I’m eager to see where the series will lead next!

**Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch; Four Days of You and Me; Maya and the Rising Dark; and Hello, Arnie!: An Arnie the Doughnut StoryFour Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on May 5, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley
Cover Artist: Jenna Stempel-Lobell
My content rating: YA (Characters have sex, but it isn't shown)
My rating:
4 Stars

A new swoon-worthy romance following a couple's love story on the same date over four years.

Every May 7, the students at Coffee County High School take a class trip. And every year, Lulu’s relationship with Alex Rouvelis gets a little more complicated. Freshman year, they went from sworn enemies to more than friends after a close encounter in an escape room. It’s been hard for Lulu to quit Alex ever since.

Through breakups, make ups, and dating other people, each year’s class trip brings the pair back together and forces them to confront their undeniable connection. From the science museum to an amusement park, from New York City to London, Lulu learns one thing is for sure: love is the biggest trip of all.

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This romance chronicles one couple’s romance over four years of high school—from its roots as an enemies-to-lovers romance, through break-ups and reunions, until the pair finally go off to college—the question is will they make it that far together or will all the complications of life get in their way? It focuses on four specific days that made a big difference in their relationship and flips between timelines so that you get little glimpses of the past and the present along the way. The result is intriguing because you’re always curious how the couple ended up where they’re at in each timeline. I felt like the book is a pretty realistic portrayal of a lot of high school romances and the big and small things that can get in the way of making a relationship work. Sometimes Lulu and Alex seem perfect for each other, and other times they just seem a little too self-absorbed to truly make a connection. In the end, they have to make it past all that to get to their happily ever after.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.*** 


Bite-Sized Reviews of Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch; Four Days of You and Me; Maya and the Rising Dark; and Hello, Arnie!: An Arnie the Doughnut StoryMaya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron
Series: Maya and the Rising Dark #1
Published by Rick Riordan Presents on 9/22/20
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley
Cover Artist: Geneva Bowers
My rating:
4 Stars

Twelve-year-old Maya’s search for her missing father puts her at the center of a battle between our world, the Orishas, and the mysterious and sinister Dark world.

Twelve-year-old Maya is the only one in her South Side Chicago neighborhood who witnesses weird occurrences like werehyenas stalking the streets at night and a scary man made of shadows plaguing her dreams. Her friends try to find an explanation—perhaps a ghost uprising or a lunchroom experiment gone awry. But to Maya, it sounds like something from one of Papa’s stories or her favorite comics.

When Papa goes missing, Maya is thrust into a world both strange and familiar as she uncovers the truth. Her father is the guardian of the veil between our world and the Dark—where an army led by the Lord of Shadows, the man from Maya’s nightmares, awaits. Maya herself is a godling, half orisha and half human, and her neighborhood is a safe haven. But now that the veil is failing, the Lord of Shadows is determined to destroy the human world and it’s up to Maya to stop him. She just hopes she can do it in time to attend Comic-Con before summer’s over.

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Maya and the Rising Dark is a fantastical adventure based in African Mythology. Maya has always loved her dad’s stories of the Orishas and other magical creatures, but she never thought for a minute that they might all be real. So, she’s in for a big surprise when the Lord of Shadows starts appearing in her dreams and hinting at her father’s true identity—he is the guardian of the veil, the only thing keeping the Darkbringers from overwhelming the world of light. Turns out, her whole neighborhood is a haven for magical mythological (or so she thought) beings. When Maya’s dad is kidnapped, she and her two best friends take it upon themselves to do something about it. They find themselves in an alternate dark world full of danger, and discover their own abilities just when they need them most! One of my favorite aspects of this book is the tight-knit community that Maya lives in—it’s a positive portrayal of Chicago neighborhoods that you don’t get often. This book will definitely appeal to fans of Riordan’s books, many of whom would probably be introduced to a mythology they didn’t know much about. Plus, the trio of heroes are easy to relate to. This is a super fun read for the middle grade crowd!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.*** 


Bite-Sized Reviews of Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch; Four Days of You and Me; Maya and the Rising Dark; and Hello, Arnie!: An Arnie the Doughnut StoryHello, Arnie!: An Arnie the Doughnut Story by Laurie Keller
Illustrator: Laurie Keller
Published by Henry Holt & Company on 9/29/20
Genres: Picture Book
Pages: 40
Source: The Publisher
My rating:
4 Stars

Arnie the Donut wants to know what kind of giant donut YOU are in Hello, Arnie!, a picture book for preschoolers by bestselling, Geisel Award-winning creator Laurie Keller.

Arnie is excited to say hello to all his pastry friends in the bakery. There are all the usual confection suspects: Chocolate, Glazed, French Twist, Long John, and Crueller. But there is one pastry that he’s never met before. This pastry looks nothing like the others. Hmmm. Who could it be? Spoiler alert—it’s the Reader!

This charming picture book introduces children to everyone’s favorite doughnut through a series of questions that the youngest reader will love taking part in.

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I don’t do many picture book reviews, but Macmillan sent me this one and I figured why not throw it in here for fun?

Arnie the doughnut is having fun greeting all of his friends in the bakery, but then he discovers a pastry he doesn’t quite recognize—you, the reader! He spends the book trying to figure out what kind of confection you could possibly be and throws out lots of fun possibilities that kids will get a kick out of. I do actually think this is one of those books that adults will need to kind of “help” the kid they’re reading to understand. I have a feeling small children might miss the fact that the “you” Arnie is trying to identify is actually them—and then they’ll miss the punchline completely—but it’s quite fun as the child is following along.

Here’s a little sample:

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review purposes. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.*** 


That’s it for now! Have you read any of these? What did you think?

7 Responses to “Bite-Sized Reviews of Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch; Four Days of You and Me; Maya and the Rising Dark; and Hello, Arnie!: An Arnie the Doughnut Story”

  1. Sam@wlabb

    I loved Four Days so much. I am all about being in it for the long haul and getting to see their relationship grow and change over the years was great for me. I also liked the way it was written. I enjoyed collecting the pieces and filling in those gaps. It had a great ending too. I am smiling just thinking about it

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