Genre: Fantasy


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

Current Giveaways, Reviews 6 ★★★★★

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 10 ★★★★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 »


Jul 30
Amelia Fang Series by Laura Ellen Anderson: An Adorably Creepy Middle Grade Fantasy

Amelia Fang Series by Laura Ellen Anderson: An Adorably Creepy Middle Grade Fantasy

Reviews 12 ★★★★½

These books are so incredibly adorable! I just wanted to stare and stare at the illustrations all day long, and the story matched them pretty much perfectly. The series is a truly delightful concoction of creepiness and cuteness! The Goodreads description says that these books are written for reluctant readers, and I can see how they’d be perfect for that group. They feature short chapters and plenty of wonderfully quirky illustrations so the books don’t feel overwhelming, but the storylines don’t seem too “little kiddish.” Plus, I think these storylines would be engaging for older readers as well as younger ones! This book introduces us to the spooky cast of characters—Amelia (the vampire) and her friends (a Yeti, a grim reaper, and her pet pumpkin). Like I said, it’s really impressive how well Anderson managed to merge creepy and cute. These books sort of remind me of Monster High for… Read more »


Jun 19
Bite-Sized Reviews of Finale, Autoboyography, Virtually Yours and Secrets of a Fangirl

Bite-Sized Reviews of Finale, Autoboyography, Virtually Yours and Secrets of a Fangirl

Reviews 28 ★★★★

I’ve got four reviews for you today: a YA fantasy, two YA contemporaries, and a MG contemporary. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! I loved this series-ender! I’ll confess that I was nervous at first—I thought that we were going to end up with a long, drawn-out love triangle between Scarlett, Julian and Nicolas (and it was going to be played out in the form of a contest, no less), but things … didn’t go that way. Thank goodness!! I won’t say what did happen, but I’ll say that I was very pleased to see the end of that love triangle come early in the book. Now, technically there was also the love triangle with Tella, Legend and Jacks, but that one hardly felt like a true love triangle at all, and I was okay with it. Actually, in general, I liked Tella a… Read more »


Jun 13
Alistair Grim’s Odditorium by Gregory Funaro: A Dual Review with Danielle Hammelef

Alistair Grim’s Odditorium by Gregory Funaro: A Dual Review with Danielle Hammelef

Dual Reviews, Reviews 16 ★★★★

(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 Alistair Grim’s Odditorium by Gregory Funaro. I read the book and then sent it along to Danielle, and we did a dual review together. Read on to see what we thought of the book… A wacky and adventurous MG romp through a magical world!  What Fed Our Addiction: DANIELLE SAYS: Grubb. This author captured an authentic middle grade voice in Grubb. I found myself caring for him immediately and cheering him on through his adventures and internal struggles. NICOLE SAYS: I agree that Grubb was a wonderfully endearing character. The beginning of the book, with his struggles as an orphan in a bad situation tug at your heartstrings and… Read more »


May 23
The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos: Excerpt & Giveaway

The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos: Excerpt & Giveaway

Giveaways (Ended) 12

Today I’m sharing an excerpt and giveaway for The Wise and the Wicked. Epic Reads aptly calls it a lush, dark, and unforgettable story of the power of the past to shape our futures—and the courage it takes to change them. I’m reading this one now, and I’m loving the LGBTQ rep in the book. For now, I’m sharing just a little taste of what you can expect with this story … EXCERPT FROM EPIC READS WEBSITE (Click the link to read even more—all the way through chapter 4) In an old house built of bloodred bricks, with a tea shop in the converted front rooms, there lived three sisters and their mother. Solnyshko, the eldest, was willow-tree tall and sweet. Zvyozdochka, the middle child, was beautiful and sharp as a cut diamond. The youngest, Zerkal’tse, was small but hard, like an unshelled nut. Each was different as could be… Read more »


May 21
Bite-Sized Reviews of The Truth About Leaving, City of Ghosts, The Forever Song, & Educated

Bite-Sized Reviews of The Truth About Leaving, City of Ghosts, The Forever Song, & Educated

Reviews 22 ★★★★

I’ve got four reviews for you today: a YA contemporary, a MG contemporary fantasy, a YA fantasy and a memoir. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! Lucy has spent her whole life living for other people: when her mom moves for work, she sacrifices her own time and energy to help take care of her little brothers; when it’s time to think about college, she doesn’t consider anywhere but where her parents want her to go; when her boyfriend wants more of her time, she quits dance, her one true outlet. She doesn’t know who she wants to be because she’s never given herself a chance to think about it—she just fills whatever roles are “assigned” to her in life. This book is about Lucy finding herself in a sea of other people’s expectations.  When Lucy meets Dov, her perceptions of the world… Read more »