Category: Reviews

Sep 20
Picture Book Spotlight: Sulwe and Smarter Than a Monster

Picture Book Spotlight: Sulwe and Smarter Than a Monster

Reviews 2 ★★★★★

Today I’ve got two soon-to-be-released picture books under the spotlight. Check out these two adorable reads! This book is stunning in just about every way imaginable. The story follows little Sulwe, who struggles to see her own beauty because of the darkness of her skin. Sulwe wishes she could look more like her parents, more like her sister, more like the other boys and girls at her school. Like most children, she doesn’t want to feel different—and her dark skin doesn’t make her feel special or unique, no matter what her mother might tell her. It takes a beautiful fable about day and night to make her see how she brings beauty to the world. As a reader, your heart goes out to Sulwe, and it soars with hers as she discovers her true worth. The depth and detail of every illustration in this book is incredible. I’m amazed at how… Read more »


Sep 09
Bite-Sized Reviews of Vow of Thieves; Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss; The Okay Witch; and Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea

Bite-Sized Reviews of Vow of Thieves; Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss; The Okay Witch; and Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea

Reviews 19

I’ve got four reviews for you today: a YA fantasy a YA contemp, and two MG graphic novels. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! First off, I didn’t realize when I started reading this that the series is a duology. So I was expecting perhaps a bit of middle-book syndrome and was surprised when the book didn’t feel sluggish in the least. In fact, I found myself eager to read this book every chance I got. The book starts out with Kazi very hurt and in captivity and then moves back a couple of weeks to show us how she got there. So, of course, I was eagerly reading to find out what happened and how she was separated from Jase. Surprisingly, it wasn’t one of those cases where it took us half the book to get back to where we’d started, though. No,… Read more »


Sep 05
Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan: Review & Giveaway

Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan: Review & Giveaway

Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 25 ★★★★

When I heard that Annie Sullivan had written a retelling of “The Lady or the Tiger” I was incredibly excited! I’d loved her unique retelling of “The Midas Touch,” and I had no doubt she’d do one of my favorite short stories justice. I distinctly remember reading this story when I was a teenager and being left with that agonizing open ending. I read the story again with my own students when I taught at my homeschool co-op, and one of our exercises was to write their own ending (and, yes, a few of my students did have the princess sick the tiger on her lost love). I was curious to see if Sullivan would leave us with an open ending as well or give us her own version of closure. Of course, I can’t tell you the answer to that. You’ll have to read to find out! Sullivan has created… Read more »


Aug 30
Bite-Sized Reviews of Awesome Dog 5000, The Fourteenth Goldfish, The Third Mushroom, and A Boy Called Bat

Bite-Sized Reviews of Awesome Dog 5000, The Fourteenth Goldfish, The Third Mushroom, and A Boy Called Bat

Reviews 23

I’ve got four reviews for you today: one MG contemp and three MG science fiction books (or maybe one is fantasy? A superhero story with robots and … I’m just going with sci-fi). I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! This book is hilarious!! I literally laughed through pretty much the whole book. (My mom can attest to this, as she was sitting next to me when I read it. I kept stopping to read her funny quotes.) There were also cute little footnotes like this one: Book safety disclaimer: This dangerous trick should only be attempted by professionally trained stunt babies. I mean, if a book needs disclaimers like that, you have to know some amusing stuff is happening. There were a few of the typical fart jokes and butt jokes (those aren’t my favorite), but they were overwhelmed by the just pure funny… Read more »


Aug 23
Bite-Sized Reviews of The Lady Rogue, The Silence Between Us, The Kingdom, and Sorry for Your Loss

Bite-Sized Reviews of The Lady Rogue, The Silence Between Us, The Kingdom, and Sorry for Your Loss

Reviews 20 ★★★½

I’ve got four reviews for you today: a YA historical fantasy, a YA sci fi, and two YA  contemps. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! If you’re a fan of historical fiction with a gothic feel and a paranormal twist, this book will make your heart happy. The story follows Theodora as she travels across 1930’s Romania with her ex (who she has no closure with) in order to save her father from a mysterious group of people who want to get their hands on Vlad the Impaler’s evil magical ring. Theodora is plucky and intelligent—a woman who holds her own in a man’s world. The romantic tension between her and Huck is palpable, which I loved. I did wish the magical elements had been a bit more pronounced throughout the book, but that’s just my personal preference. Things took a definitively supernatural turn… Read more »


Aug 20
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly: A Dual Review with Danielle Hammelef

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly: A Dual Review with Danielle Hammelef

Dual Reviews, Reviews 14 ★★★★

(No actual dueling—or even arm-twisting—was involved. Don’t worry, this is a dual review, not a duel review. Sorry if you’re disappointed.) Danielle Hammelef was the latest winner of my Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up “Make Me Read It” giveaway, and she chose to make me read Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. I’d bought this book since it was the 2018 Newbery Medal winner, and I was excited that Danielle chose it for us to read! Read on to see what we thought of the book… A quiet middle grade read about the connections between us and the mysterious ways that fate can bring us together.  What Fed Our Addiction: NICOLE SAYS: Valencia’s experiences as a deaf child. I think my favorite character in this book was Valencia. She’s got a certain strength to her, even as she’s dealing with difficult situations (like her best friend ditching her when it gets too “hard” to communicate with… Read more »


Aug 06
Cape by Kate Hannigan: A High-Flying Historical Adventure!

Cape by Kate Hannigan: A High-Flying Historical Adventure!

Reviews 14

This book is such a fun mixture of genres and formats: a historical fiction superhero novel with graphic novel elements! Right there, I was sold. This book will appeal to such a wide variety of kids, and I think it will get many of them reading about an era that they wouldn’t otherwise have thought they’d be interested in. The book is set in the US during WWII, and it highlights the real-life women (and a few men) who contributed to the war effort in truly unique ways! I actually felt like I learned a lot from the book (and the author’s note at the end), but it definitely doesn’t feel like learning while you’re reading. The superhero elements are incredibly fun, and many of the most active superhero sections of the book are told via graphic novel format (via the amazing illustrations from Patrick Spaziante). The book also features… Read more »


Jul 30
Amelia Fang Series by Laura Ellen Anderson: An Adorably Creepy Middle Grade Fantasy

Amelia Fang Series by Laura Ellen Anderson: An Adorably Creepy Middle Grade Fantasy

Reviews 12 ★★★★½

These books are so incredibly adorable! I just wanted to stare and stare at the illustrations all day long, and the story matched them pretty much perfectly. The series is a truly delightful concoction of creepiness and cuteness! The Goodreads description says that these books are written for reluctant readers, and I can see how they’d be perfect for that group. They feature short chapters and plenty of wonderfully quirky illustrations so the books don’t feel overwhelming, but the storylines don’t seem too “little kiddish.” Plus, I think these storylines would be engaging for older readers as well as younger ones! This book introduces us to the spooky cast of characters—Amelia (the vampire) and her friends (a Yeti, a grim reaper, and her pet pumpkin). Like I said, it’s really impressive how well Anderson managed to merge creepy and cute. These books sort of remind me of Monster High for… Read more »


Jul 25
Bite-Sized Reviews of Birthday, Soul of the Sword, My Fate According to the Butterfly and Teen Titans: Raven

Bite-Sized Reviews of Birthday, Soul of the Sword, My Fate According to the Butterfly and Teen Titans: Raven

Reviews 20 ★★★★★

I’ve got four reviews for you today: a YA contemp, a YA fantasy, a MG contemp and a YA graphic novel. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! This book!! This book made my heart hurt and also made it incredibly happy. I have to warn you, there were tears shed. If you’ve ever wanted to understand how someone could feel a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth, you need to read this book. (Obviously this book can’t represent every transgender person’s experience, but it does a great job of portraying one person’s experience.) Being inside Morgan’s head makes it so clear—the struggle to fit in when you just feel wrong somehow, the fears of how others will react, the painful process of coming to terms with a reality you might not want to face at first. The book chronicles four… Read more »


Jul 18
Before I Disappear by Danielle Stinson: Review, Giveaway, & Stinson’s Top Ten Addictions

Before I Disappear by Danielle Stinson: Review, Giveaway, & Stinson’s Top Ten Addictions

Author Top Ten Lists, Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 20 ★★★★★

You know how sometimes you start reading a book, and within just a few pages, you’re already saying, “I LOVE this!”? That was Before I Disappear for me. Right away, I could tell there was going to be something special in these pages—I was immediately wrapped up in the intrigue: What’s so odd about Charlie? What’s this music he’s hearing? Why have they had to move so much? What are they running from? What dangers are lurking in Fort Glory? Well, I’m happy to say that the book never let me down. I was riveted throughout. I don’t want to say too much about what happens because I think it will be more fun to discover on your own, but I will say that a whole lot of craziness ensues when Fort Glory disappears. But I also loved these characters. Both Ian and Rose are obviously broken in many ways,… Read more »