Genre: Contemporary


Sep 08
Bite-Sized Reviews of My Life in the Fish Tank; Girl, Serpent, Thorn; Flamer; and Graceling

Bite-Sized Reviews of My Life in the Fish Tank; Girl, Serpent, Thorn; Flamer; and Graceling

Reviews 9

  I’ve got four reviews for you today: two YA fantasies, a MG contemporary, and a YA historical graphic novel. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! A compelling story about grief and mental health, My Life in the Fish Tank examines how secrecy and shame can be the root of pain. When Zinnia’s brother is in an accident, her whole life changes, not because he’s hurt but because it reveals an issue her family had been unknowingly dealing with for a very long time—her brother is bipolar. Now, Zin’s parents have asked her to keep her brother’s mental health issues private, while her friends seem to be expecting her to unload her grief on them—it all leads to Zin feeling like she’s under the microscope and like she can’t win, no matter how she responds to the circumstances. This book deals with mental… Read more »


Aug 19
Two Books by Natalie Rompella: Secrets of Storytelling: A Creative Writing Workbook for Kids & Cookie Cutters and Sled Runners – PLUS Rompella’s Top Ten Addictions!

Two Books by Natalie Rompella: Secrets of Storytelling: A Creative Writing Workbook for Kids & Cookie Cutters and Sled Runners – PLUS Rompella’s Top Ten Addictions!

Reviews 10 ★★★★★

Today I’m featuring two books by Natalie Rompella: her newly-released kids’ writing book, Secrets of Storytelling: A Creative Writing Workbook for Kids, and her MG contemporary, Cookie Cutters and Sled Runners. Plus, scroll down to see Natalie’s top ten addictions! Natalie is a friend of mine from my SCBWI critique group, so I was excited to get this chance to feature her! Purchase Links: This workbook is perfect for the budding writer! Filled with interesting prompts and writing exercises, the book has a lot of the same insights you’d see in a writing craft book for grown-ups, but everything is written in a way kids can understand and relate to. I love that Rompella includes so many creative and clever examples with each exercise—I find that kids crave solid (and interesting!) examples when they’re learning a new writing concept. The book is more than just prompts, though. It contains valuable guidance… Read more »


Jul 29
Bite-Sized Reviews of Cinderella Is Dead, The Elephant’s Girl & New Kid

Bite-Sized Reviews of Cinderella Is Dead, The Elephant’s Girl & New Kid

Reviews 14

  I’ve got three reviews for you today: a YA fantasy retelling, a MG contemporary fantasy, and a MG contemporary graphic novel. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! What if the stories that we think of as fairy tales were historical accounts? And what if those accounts had been twisted to serve the purposes of the people in power? This is the case in Cinderella Is Dead. Cinderella’s story has been told for generations as an example—and now every girl is expected to go to the ball to be “chosen” by her husband. She has no say in the matter, or in basically any other matter in her life. Girls are considered property and are meant to serve (and look pretty for) their husbands, nothing more. On the surface, it’s easy to feel like this society is over-the-top. So many of the women… Read more »


Jul 08
Bite-Sized Reviews of Deeplight, More to the Story, The Female of the Species, and Knockout

Bite-Sized Reviews of Deeplight, More to the Story, The Female of the Species, and Knockout

Reviews 16

  I’ve got four reviews for you today: a YA fantasy, a MG contemporary retelling, a YA contemporary and a MG contemporary in verse. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! A fascinating YA fantasy with incredible worldbuilding! Deeplight had me entranced from the very beginning. It reminded me of books by my favorite fantasy author, Robin Hobb, because of its unique worldbuilding and epic-but-not-overly-ponderous fantasy feel. Hardinge’s gorgeous writing accompanies incredible worldbuilding—the way religion and myth and healing magic are woven together is fantastic. Then there’s Hark himself. It’s easy to empathize with him, especially since he’s so obviously being manipulated by his best friend. Hark’s loyalty is both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness, and it’s interesting to see how that plays out throughout the book. Hark is one of those characters who always wants to do the right thing, but figuring… Read more »


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 »


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 »