Category: Reviews

May 21
Bite-Sized Reviews of Lucky Caller, Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions, The Princess and the Fangirl, and Insignificant & Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus

Bite-Sized Reviews of Lucky Caller, Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions, The Princess and the Fangirl, and Insignificant & Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus

Reviews 28

  I’ve got five reviews for you today: two YA contemporaries, a MG fantasy and a MG contemporary duology. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! Everyone raves about Emma Mills, and I just needed to see what all the fuss is about. She seems to be the new big name in contemporary YA. So when I saw that Hoopla had a few of her audiobooks available, I decided to give one a listen! This book is a wonderful representation of the many facets of family. I loved that it showed a complicated family relationship without getting overly dramatic or angsty. Nina’s mom’s remarriage is mostly okay with Nina and her sisters—but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have any reservations. Their relationship with their dad is even more confusing: they don’t see him much since he moved away, and they don’t seem to be… Read more »


May 15
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar: Review & Giveaway

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar: Review & Giveaway

Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 33 ★★★★

Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Google A portrait of coming out in a Muslim family, The Henna Wars explores the ways that our culture defines who we are—and the ways it can’t define us. Nishat knows that her family isn’t going to be happy when she comes out to them—after all, in her home country of Bangladesh, being a lesbian is punishable by death. But since her parents broke all the rules and married for love and then moved to Ireland for a better life, Nishat has hope that they’ll accept her. Unfortunately, acceptance doesn’t come easily—she’s basically told that she can’t be gay because she’s Muslim and that she’ll bring shame to the family. Meanwhile, Nishat is nursing a crush on Flávia, while also competing against her in a business competition where they both decide to apply henna as their business. Of course, Nishat is more than a little upset that she has… Read more »


May 05
The Incredibly Dead Pets of Rex Dexter by Aaron Reynolds: Review & Reynolds’s Top Ten Addictions

The Incredibly Dead Pets of Rex Dexter by Aaron Reynolds: Review & Reynolds’s Top Ten Addictions

Author Top Ten Lists, Reviews 20 ★★★★★

Today I’m featuring the hilarious tale of a sixth-grader who’s forced into sleuthing by the spirits of zoo animals who need him to solve the mystery of their deaths. This book is written by Aaron Reynolds, who I knew in (what feels like) a past life—he wrote a full-scale musical that we performed for the kids’ ministry at my previous church, way back before I had kids. (His wife wrote the music and he wrote the lyrics—and they were both in the musical too!) I have so many amazing memories from that time, and to this day, I still find myself singing my main song in the musical at random times—it obviously had an impact on me.  🙂  I’ve been following Aaron’s writing career ever since I happened upon Creepy Carrots in my local library, and I was thrilled to see that he had a middle grade book coming out,… Read more »


Apr 28
Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi: Review and Giveaway (Plus, a Quick Review of Aru Shah and the Song of Death)

Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi: Review and Giveaway (Plus, a Quick Review of Aru Shah and the Song of Death)

Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 12 ★★★★½

Today I’m reviewing books two and three of the Pandava Quartet! Since this is technically a blog tour for the third book, I’m posting that review first, but you can scroll down to see my quick thoughts on Aru Shah and the Song of Death as well. Also, check out my review of book one, Aru Shah and the End of Time! You can purchase Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes at the following Retailers: Amazon, Kindle, Audible, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org These books are such a fabulous foray into Hindu mythology! I adore how many tales Chokshi manages to weave seamlessly into her story—Aru and her sisters (and friends) meet so many characters from these stories on their journey, and each time the original story is reflected somehow in Aru’s tale. This makes Aru’s journeys through the Otherworld that much more exciting and interesting—a point that held true in this book as she went on… Read more »


Apr 21
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo: A Dual Review with Danielle Hammelef

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo: A Dual Review with Danielle Hammelef

Dual Reviews, Reviews 12 ★★★★

(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 If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. I got an autographed copy of this book at ALA 2016, and I don’t know why I hadn’t read it yet. I LOVED Russo’s Birthday, so I had high hopes for this one. I’m so glad Danielle chose it! Read on to see what we thought of the book… A compelling Own Voices book about a transgender girl seeking acceptance as her true self. What Fed Our Addiction: DANIELLE SAYS: The author’s note at the end. I found this enlightening and it helped my understanding of the assumptions Russo made for this book, such as the cost of surgery and… Read more »


Apr 17
Man Up by Kim Oclon: Review & Giveaway. Plus Author & Character Top Ten Addictions Lists!

Man Up by Kim Oclon: Review & Giveaway. Plus Author & Character Top Ten Addictions Lists!

Author Top Ten Lists, Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 16 ★★★★★

Today I have a super fun post highlighting my friend Kim Oclon’s debut MAN UP. Not only do I have a review and giveaway of the book, but I’m also featuring top ten addictions lists from both Kim AND David, the MC of her book (I think lists from characters’ perspectives are so interesting!). Read on to find out more!! Purchase Links: This LGBT story highlights the importance of taking control of your own destiny and your own narrative. David is going into his senior year feeling uncertain about his future—he needs a scholarship in order to be able to afford college, and baseball is his best chance for that. He’s been one of the star players on his team since sophomore year. But when a teammate goes to the coach with the accusation that David is gay, he has to decide how to handle it. Should he ignore it,… Read more »


Apr 15
Bite-Sized Reviews of The Darkest Star, Efrén Divided, Awesome Dog 5000 vs. Mayor Bossypants, & Pretty in Punxsutawney

Bite-Sized Reviews of The Darkest Star, Efrén Divided, Awesome Dog 5000 vs. Mayor Bossypants, & Pretty in Punxsutawney

Reviews 31

  I’ve got four reviews for you today: two YA paranormals, a YA contemporary, and a MG humorous sci-fi. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! This was my favorite JLA book that I’ve read in a while. I really love JLA, but I was starting to worry that I might have been getting the teensiest bit bored with her formula—a girl starts to fall for a somewhat gruff, pompous alien (or Origin, or demon, or gargoyle or… ) and chaos ensues. The latest books have the added benefit of a secret that the girl doesn’t know about herself but the guy does. Well, I don’t know if something (besides the formula) was different in this book or if this was just the exact sort of distraction I needed right now, but this book definitely worked for me. I started listening on an extra-long trip… Read more »


Apr 09
More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer: A Dual Review with Danielle Hammelef

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer: A Dual Review with Danielle Hammelef

Dual Reviews, Reviews 21 ★★★★★

(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 More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer. I’d received an ARC of this book at an event I went to at Anderson’s Bookshop a few years ago, and I have no idea why I hadn’t read it yet. I’m so glad she made me pick it up finally! This dual review is actually sort of a trio review because as soon as I was done with it I passed it along to my fifteen-year-old daughter (also Danielle), and I asked her thoughts on it too! Read on to see what we thought of the book… An emotionally compelling contemporary that will give you plenty to think about!… Read more »


Mar 30
In the Red by Christopher Swiedler: A Stunning Survival Story Set on Mars!

In the Red by Christopher Swiedler: A Stunning Survival Story Set on Mars!

Reviews 8 ★★★★★

Get a SIGNED (can be personalized) copy of the book from Florey’s Books. You know those awesome survival books where someone gets stuck on a mountain somewhere and barely makes it out alive? Well, this is that, but on MARS! If that doesn’t sound cool to you, you’re obviously not reading it right. Go back and try again. (I was going to write a bite-sized review for this, but I just had too many things to say!) Seriously, though, this book was fantastic! I loved every heart-stopping moment of action. Lately, I’ve been struggling to read, but I absolutely flew through this book. Not only does the adventure aspect of the book keep you on your toes, but Michael’s personal story is also incredibly compelling and makes you want to keep reading. Michael suffers from panic attacks, which have kept him from his dream of following in his father’s and brother’s… Read more »


Mar 20
A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen: A Little Light Pandemic Reading, Anyone?

A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen: A Little Light Pandemic Reading, Anyone?

Reviews 26 ★★★★★

I don’t review many adult books on the blog anymore, but I couldn’t resist spreading the word about this one. Just read the synopsis and you’ll see why this is either a perfect read for these times or an absolutely horrible one—depending on your personality. If you’re like me, and you’re more than a little fascinated by all things pandemic and can’t get enough, you should read this book immediately. However, if you get stressed out by the mere thought of the damage a worldwide pandemic might do, you might want to skip this one (or at least wait to read it until the worst of COVID-19 has passed). I actually started listening to this book at the end of January, not knowing that talk of an actual pandemic was right around the corner. By the time I got to the end of the book (I listen in the car,… Read more »