Category: Reviews

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 »


Mar 18
Don’t Check Out This Book! by Kate Klise & M. Sarah Klise: Blog Tour Review

Don’t Check Out This Book! by Kate Klise & M. Sarah Klise: Blog Tour Review

Reviews 16 ★★★★

Don’t Check Out This Book! is a fun, tongue-in-cheek exploration of the serious issue of censorship. The story is told in an epistolary format, completely through emails, newspaper articles, notes, etc. It follows the travails of the new school librarian at a tiny school (in my home state of Illinois). Rita B. Danjerous (yep, all the names in this book are puns—it’s quite fun) has some wild ideas about books, mainly that kids should have free and easy access to them, even to those books that might be about more embarrassing topics kids are curious about but may not necessarily want to openly talk about. But she comes up against a whole lot of opposition, especially in the form of the new school board president (Ivana Beprawpa—read it fast. Hint, she’s very concerned with raising up kids who are “proper”). But Ms. Danjerous starts to win people over in her… Read more »


Mar 13
Bite-Sized Reviews of Freaky in Fresno, Descendant of the Crane, Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom, & A Dash of Trouble

Bite-Sized Reviews of Freaky in Fresno, Descendant of the Crane, Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom, & A Dash of Trouble

Reviews 13

  I’ve got four reviews for you today: a YA paranormal, a YA fantasy, and two MG reads. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! This is one of those books that’s just plain fun to read (or listen to, as I ended up doing). It takes the basic Freaky Friday premise and gives it a modern twist by making it about two cousins who couldn’t be more different. Ricki is a horror film buff who desperately wants to save her local drive-in theater—and share a perfect first kiss during the drive-in’s big night. Lana, on the other hand, is a blossoming beauty YouTube star who cares much more about her follower count than anything going on IRL—or at least that’s what Ricki thinks. When the two switch places and Ricki has to live Lana’s life for a day, she realizes that there’s a… Read more »


Mar 03
If We Were Giants by Dave Matthews and Clete Barrett Smith

If We Were Giants by Dave Matthews and Clete Barrett Smith

Current Giveaways, Reviews 17 ★★★★★

Amazon, Kindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org This book is utterly wonderful! When you were a kid, did y0u ever imagine people living up in the trees or in the base of a volcano or some other place tucked away, hidden by nature? I know I did. Well, the authors of this book take that concept of hidden societies and imagine, what if those hidden worlds were in danger? Kirra’s home has always been safe and peaceful, tucked away in a volcano. Her father’s stories of volcano demons have ensured that no one will find them. Until, one day, someone does. Takers come, and they destroy everything Kirra has ever known. She escapes to a society where everyone lives in the trees, and she blocks out everything from her past life, but nowhere is safe forever. There is so much to love about this book—setting is incredibly important, and it’s imagined so… Read more »


Feb 20
Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold: Review & Giveaway

Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold: Review & Giveaway

Current Giveaways, Reviews 22 ★★★★

Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, Google This book is a dark, brutal retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, an unflinching exploration of the victimization of women. It is not for the faint of heart, and I’m honestly a little unsure if I’d recommend it to the average YA reader. If you’re going to read this book, you need to know what you’re getting into. Not only are there many triggers in it, but Arnold pulls no punches when she depicts sex and violence (and menstruation, which is a big part of the story and is often described in vivid detail). That being said, it’s also incredibly powerful and will most certainly leave an impression. And the storytelling itself is masterful—I found myself flying through the book, eager to find out how the events would unfold. I was also surprisingly fond of the second-person narration (meaning that the story is told… Read more »


Feb 14
Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun: Review & Giveaway

Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun: Review & Giveaway

Current Giveaways, Reviews 12 ★★★★½

You can purchase Pippa Park Raises Her Game at the following Retailers:   To sum this book up, it’s Mean Girls for middle graders with the addition of basketball and a big lie that threatens to blow up everything! I know this is a Great Expectations retelling, but honestly, as I was reading this, I couldn’t help but think of Mean Girls often—it just has that vibe (I guess I’d forgotten most of GA, which I read in my high school days, but that didn’t cut down on my enjoyment of the book). Pippa has just transferred to a private school from the local public school, and she feels like a fish out of water. She wants so much to fit in, but she isn’t really sure how. All of the kids in her class come from money, and they seem to have a bunch of expectations that she has no idea… Read more »


Feb 11
Bite-Sized Reviews of Don’t Read the Comments, Find Me Their Bones, Snug, and The Real Boy

Bite-Sized Reviews of Don’t Read the Comments, Find Me Their Bones, Snug, and The Real Boy

Reviews 38 ★★★★

  I’ve got four reviews for you today: a YA contemporary, a YA fantasy, a graphic novel (adult, I suppose, though it’s appropriate for YA), and a MG fantasy. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! I was incredibly excited to read Eric Smith’s newest, just because he is such an amazing presence on Twitter. I figured if half of his Twitter wit and intelligence showed up in his book, I’d be happy. Don’t Read the Comments is an astute commentary on the joys and very real dangers that come with being a major online presence. It also tackles topics like sexism and racism (in the online gaming world, but also in the “real world”) in a very realistic way. I think that teenagers today will easily be able to see their favorite You-Tube stars in Divya. She is charismatic in her gaming videos,… Read more »


Feb 05
Malice by Pintip Dunn: Review & Giveaway

Malice by Pintip Dunn: Review & Giveaway

Current Giveaways, Reviews 24 ★★★★½

A twisty time travel tale! This is one of those books that keeps you on your toes—Alice’s future self has contacted her because she needs current-Alice to stop a classmate from creating a virus that will decimate the population. You’re left not only wondering who will be a future evil genius, but also trying to piece together how future-Alice’s instructions will possibly stop the upcoming apocalypse. I love stories like this because it’s so fun to try and figure out exactly what’s going on. I actually had the villain pinned right from the start, but the book definitely threw me for more than a few loops by the end as the time travel aspect of the book got twistier and twistier. Alice is never sure who to trust—in the current world or from the future. I especially loved seeing her live out aspects of her future life and finally experiencing the whole timeline so she… Read more »


Jan 30
Multicultural Children’s Book Day! The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! by Sharon Chappell

Multicultural Children’s Book Day! The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! by Sharon Chappell

Picture Books, Reviews 14

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 is tomorrow (1/31/2020) and it’s in its 7th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators. Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. I received a book from MCBD to feature here on the blog. I was happy to help spread the word about multicultural kids’ books! Check out my thoughts below and also make sure you scroll down to the bottom of the post to find out about the Twitter Party where you can join the discussion and enter to win… Read more »