Category: Reviews

Nov 12
The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta: A Dual Review with Danielle Hammelef

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta: A Dual Review with Danielle Hammelef

Dual Reviews, Reviews 7 ★★★★

(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 The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta. I’d bought this book at a Scholastic Book Fair awhile back because it looked like such a fun MG fantasy. I’m so glad she made me read it! Read on to see what we thought of the book… An imaginative middle grade fantasy that weaves Bengali folklore into the life of an everyday sixth grader!  What Fed Our Addiction: NICOLE SAYS: The Bengali folklore! If you’ve been around my blog for long, you know that I’m a fan of books that focus on cultures that haven’t been in the mainstream a whole lot. This book definitely fits the bill. I hadn’t heard… Read more »


Nov 08
Bite-Sized Reviews of Lexi Magill and the Teleportation Tournament, Becoming RBG, Friend or Fiction, and Catwad

Bite-Sized Reviews of Lexi Magill and the Teleportation Tournament, Becoming RBG, Friend or Fiction, and Catwad

Reviews 9

  I’ve got five reviews for you today: a MG sci-fi, a MG contemporary fantasy, and three MG graphic novels. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! This book is absolutely perfect for fans of The Amazing Race!! Of course, you don’t have to be familiar with the show to enjoy the book, but if you are, you’ll get that extra layer of enjoyment. I actually hadn’t read the blurb before reading the book, so I hadn’t expected the comparison—but I immediately found myself thinking, “This is a middle grade Amazing Race with a teleportation twist!” Everything I used to love about that show is in here: the interesting puzzles (which readers can try to solve right along with the characters), the travel to new sites, the race to the finish line, and even the backstabbing competitors. 🙂 (I actually didn’t realize that the show is… Read more »


Nov 07
Every Stolen Breath by Kimberly Gabriel: Review & Giveaway

Every Stolen Breath by Kimberly Gabriel: Review & Giveaway

Current Giveaways, Reviews 11 ★★★★

This heart-thumping thriller will keep you guessing! Who is behind Lia’s father’s death—and will she be the next victim? I hadn’t heard of the flash mob violence in Chicago, even though I live in the suburbs (now that I’ve looked it up, I know it’s scary stuff!), but I was incredibly intrigued at the idea of a book based on the concept. The idea of teenagers organizing violent mobs via social media is pretty scary. And then Gabriel took the concept and made it even scarier: What if the attacks were targeted, a cover-up for some larger scheme, and the victims were actually dying? The result is a YA thriller with incredibly high stakes. Lia hasn’t given up on finding the “Swarm” who killed her father, but when she tries to capture another attack on video, she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous game—one she doesn’t know the… Read more »


Nov 05
The Edge of the Word by Drew Callander and Alana Harrison: Review, Giveaway & the Authors’ Top Ten Addictions

The Edge of the Word by Drew Callander and Alana Harrison: Review, Giveaway & the Authors’ Top Ten Addictions

Author Top Ten Lists, Current Giveaways, Reviews 9 ★★★★

I dare say that this second book in the series is even more interactive than the first! The book puts you right in the action, since you’re the main character (much like a Choose Your Own Adventure book) as you go on a quest to save Astorya by hiding the Original original in a place no one will ever look for it—on the Other Side (basically the underneath side of the world). This book includes even more fun Mad Libs style fill-in-the blanks and gives you more chances to actually draw your creations (for instance, you design a monster disguise that you wear in order to fool the monsters on the Other Side). And it also includes puzzles that you have to solve in order to complete your quest. This book is full of surprises (especially since you get to make up some of it yourself), and the quest ends in… Read more »


Oct 30
The Fire Keeper by J.C. Cervantes: Review & My Sestina Poem About the Book!

The Fire Keeper by J.C. Cervantes: Review & My Sestina Poem About the Book!

Poetry, Reviews 7 ★★★★

In this fun follow-up to The Storm Runner, Zane finds himself in a whole new predicament—not only does he have to save his father, he’s also got to save a whole host of godborns who he endangered in the first place! When Zane wrote the original book, he sent it out into the world as a call to the other godborns (only a godborn should have been able to read it—which I thought was a clever way to get the reader engaged with the story—as if they must, in fact, be godborn too if they were reading the book). Only it turns out that his battle cry backfired and revealed all the godborns to the gods, thus putting them in danger. Oops! This book explores shifting relationships: from friends who might be more, to absentee parents who have the chance to become involved in their kids’ lives, to new friendships, to enemies who could… Read more »


Oct 18
Bite-Sized Reviews of Pet; Scars Like Wings; Paul, Big, and Small; and Serious Moonlight

Bite-Sized Reviews of Pet; Scars Like Wings; Paul, Big, and Small; and Serious Moonlight

Reviews 14 ★★★★½

I’ve got four reviews for you today: a YA fantasy and three YA contemps. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! This book is wild and strange and sort of brilliant. I honestly had no idea what to expect when I started reading, and I’ll confess that at first I was confused about the worldbuilding. The book is set in a utopian society where all of the evil people in the world (or “monsters”) were eliminated by a group that’s referred to as angels. Everyone knows that monsters no longer exist, so when Jam accidentally releases a creature from her mother’s painting that says it’s there to hunt them, her parents say she needs to send it back before it causes unnecessary pain and suffering. The book holds a lens to the world and how easy it is to pretend that problems (even very serious… Read more »


Oct 15
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia: Review & Giveaway

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia: Review & Giveaway

Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 19 ★★★★★

Amazon, Kindle, Audible, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD This book is absolutely packed with rich storytelling—both African and African American folklore that many middle graders have probably never encountered before. It’s difficult to even unpack how many different stories are rolled into this adventure and brought to life in a new way. (I’d actually love it if Rick Riordan Presents would do a companion that goes deeper into each individual tale, sort of like the Greek Gods companions that were done for the Percy Jackson Series). This book would be perfect to use in a classroom setting because I believe it will inspire kids to want to learn more about the folklore and mythology behind characters like Nyami, Brer Rabbit, John Henry, High John and Gum Baby. Tristan Strong is just getting over the sting of his first boxing match—and his first defeat. He feels like he’s let the adults in his life (who all have… Read more »


Oct 10
Mightier Than the Sword: Review & Giveaway of a Uniquely Interactive Middle Grade Fantasy

Mightier Than the Sword: Review & Giveaway of a Uniquely Interactive Middle Grade Fantasy

Current Giveaways, Reviews 28 ★★★★½

A uniquely interactive middle grade fantasy adventure that puts the reader right into the story! I’ve never read a book quite like this before, and I doubt you have either. First off, the book is told in second person POV—“you” are the star of the show. The book starts out with you waking up in a strange world. You (conveniently) have no memory of who you are and your goal is to regain your memories and return home—wherever that may be. Except this place you’ve ended up in is … strange. And thus begins your fantasy adventure! The book incorporates lots of interactive elements. You discover that you are an actual human in a world of stories, and you therefore have the ability to write or draw things into existence. Because of this, you often get to create your own aspects of the world via a Mad Libs type fill-in…. Read more »


Oct 08
Grace Goes to Washington: Review & Giveaway

Grace Goes to Washington: Review & Giveaway

Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 12

Amazon, Kindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD This book provides a fun way for kids to learn about the three branches of government. Woodrow Wilson Elementary’s student council has to decide how to use the money from a bake sale, but they can’t seem to agree. Grace realized that the way the student council works is sort of like the three branches of government (with the student council itself like Congress). Grace doubts that the student council will ever be able to come up with an idea they agree on. When she goes on a field trip to Washington DC, she sees a quote that inspires her to come up with a new plan, and the vote is a success! This book is a perfect tool for the classroom and a great way to get kids thinking about how our government works. I love the fact that the author created a setting… Read more »


Oct 03
Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee: Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee: Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Author Interview, Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 28 ★★★★★

I decided to start reading this book before bed a few nights ago, and the next thing I knew it was midnight and I was finished. And I had shed tears. I was not expecting to have this reaction to this book. In fact, honestly, at the very beginning of the book I was feeling a tad bit skeptical. I was thinking, “Wait, is this going to be a book about a boy who squeezed a girl’s shoulder without asking?” But that’s sort of the beauty of the book. It starts off almost completely innocently—with Mila feeling a little bit uncomfortable in a relatively benign situation. The sort of situation that you could reasonably see people brushing off, including Mila herself. But then things start to spiral. The little shoulder squeeze turns into an unwanted hug, which turns into brushing up against her, and then the boys start making comments, and soon Mila realizes… Read more »