Genre: Fantasy


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 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 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 »


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 21
The Fire Keeper by J.C. Cervantes: Spotlight & Giveaway (Plus a Link to My Review & Poem!)

The Fire Keeper by J.C. Cervantes: Spotlight & Giveaway (Plus a Link to My Review & Poem!)

Giveaways (Ended) 14

Amazon, Kindle, Audible, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD Check out my review of the book, along with a fun sestina poem that I wrote to go along with it!! This series focuses on Mayan mythology, which is a fascinating mythological system we rarely encounter in books! I really enjoyed the first book—check out my review of STORM RUNNER!  About the Author J.C. Cervantes is the New York Times best-selling author of The Storm Runner, The Fire Keeper, and Tortilla Sun. Her books have appeared on national lists, including the American Booksellers Association New Voices, Barnes and Noble’s Best Young Reader Books, and Favorite MG Science Fiction/Fantasy Top Ten Books, as well as Amazon’s Best Books of the Month. She has earned multiple awards and recognitions, including the New Mexico Book Award, and the Zia Book Award. J.C. lives in New Mexico (otherwise known as the Land of Enchantment) can read, write, and talk backwards, always… 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 17
The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy: Spotlight and Giveaway

The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy: Spotlight and Giveaway

Giveaways (Ended) 3

Today I’m shining the spotlight on The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy, a YA fantasy with some truly unique worldbuilding. Imagine a world in which memories are used as a commodity … they can be stolen, traded, sold, even used as torture! Etta has basically sworn off her gift of being able to steal memories—until she needs it to save her mother from a horrific death. About the Author Lauren lives in the Chicago area, where she’s spent years working with youth, from young children to high schoolers. When she’s not writing, Lauren is usually with her family or exploring the city to find the best deep dish pizza. The Memory Thief, which was inspired by Lauren’s own journey with her mother, is her first novel. Author Links:         1 finished copy of The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy + a poster and signed bookplate (USA only) a… 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 »


Sep 26
Cursed by Thomas Wheeler & Frank Miller: Review & Giveaway

Cursed by Thomas Wheeler & Frank Miller: Review & Giveaway

Reviews 14 ★★★★

Just the pitch for this book told me there was a whole lot to love: an illustrated YA King Arthur retelling from the perspective of Nimue (the Lady in the Lake). First of all, why aren’t more books for older readers illustrated? I didn’t stop loving artwork when I was a little kid, and I think many other people feel similarly, so I would love to see more illustrated books for older readers. But I digress… I’ll confess that I don’t remember much about the tale of King Arthur beyond the basics: the sword in the stone, King Arthur’s court, Guenivere and Lancelot’s shenanigans. None of that is in this book. This all takes place before you would get to the point of the knights of the round table, so if you go into this book looking for that story you might be disappointed. In fact, I have no idea if any of… 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 20

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 26 ★★★★

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 »