Genre: Middle Grade


Jan 15
Bite-Sized Reviews of Every Other Weekend, Storm and Fury, The Afterlife of Holly Chase, and All of Me

Bite-Sized Reviews of Every Other Weekend, Storm and Fury, The Afterlife of Holly Chase, and All of Me

Reviews 28 ★★★★

  I’ve got four reviews for you today: a YA contemporary, two YA paranormals, and a MG book contemporary in verse. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! I had no idea this was going to be such an emotional read! I’ll confess that at first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like these characters: Jolene is rebellious(ish) purely for the sake of aggravating her stepmom (who I really sort of felt sorry for) and Adam comes off as a bit holier than thou and is horrible to his dad. If you’ve been around the blog for long, you know that I sometimes have trouble with “unlikeable” (to me) protagonists. There’s even a hint of almost-cheating involved in the story. So, it’s a testament to Abigail Johnson’s writing ability that she soon had me wrapped up in these characters’ lives and wrapped around… Read more »


Jan 09
Cub by Cindy Copeland: Graphic Novel Review

Cub by Cindy Copeland: Graphic Novel Review

Reviews 14 ★★★★★

I’m guessing this graphic novel will be a big hit with middle graders! It’s perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier’s books because it’s very similar to her books in style (and some of the themes). I especially loved that Copeland included empowering messages about young girls without hitting us over the head with them. She shows the ways that she was treated unequally without having a graphic novel that constantly decries those injustices. For instance, there was the fact that her father had high expectations of her brothers but not really of her—but then he was very supportive when she took initiative and started accomplishing things on her own. The reporter that Cindy worked with was very blatantly the only woman in the news office and she wasn’t getting great assignments (at least at first)—but the book showed her taking action about that (and getting what she wanted). Cindy has a boyfriend… Read more »


Dec 31
The Door to the Lost by Jaleigh Johnson: A Dual Review with Marilla

The Door to the Lost by Jaleigh Johnson: A Dual Review with Marilla

Dual Reviews, Reviews 2 ★★★★

(No actual dueling—or even arm-twisting—was involved. This is a dual review, not a duel review. Sorry if you’re disappointed.) Marilla was a recent winner of my Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up “Make Me Read It” giveaway, and she chose to make me read The Door to the Lost by Jaleigh Johnson. I got this book as a gift at an event I went to featuring Johnson’s agent, Sara Megibow (I learned LOTS about the business side of publishing from her). I’m so glad Marilla made me read this book! Read on to see what we thought of the book… An engrossing middle grade fantasy that explores themes of friendship and belonging. What Fed Our Addiction: MARILLA SAYS: I loved the strong friendship between Drift and Rook and later how they formed a relationship with Fox, and I love the found family aspect of both the three of them and then later on with… Read more »


Nov 29
Bite-Sized Reviews of Sick Kids in Love, Slay, Look Both Ways, Parker Looks Up, & Missions to Mars

Bite-Sized Reviews of Sick Kids in Love, Slay, Look Both Ways, Parker Looks Up, & Missions to Mars

Reviews 12 ★★★★½

  I’ve got five reviews for you today: two YA contemporaries, a MG book of contemporary short stories, a picture book and a non-fiction kids’ book. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction! This book shines a (glaring) spotlight on ableism. The main characters, Isabel and Sasha both have chronic illnesses that aren’t life-threatening (at least not directly) but are serious. Isabel has rheumatoid arthritis and lives in near-constant pain. She decided long ago that she didn’t want to be in a relationship—her life is just too complicated, and she knows darn well that she’s not always the most cheerful companion. But when she meets Sasha, her feelings start to change. Sasha has Gaucher Disease, an illness that puts him in the hospital often. Isabel relates to Sasha in a way she hasn’t with anyone else—he understands her, and he understands the challenges of… Read more »


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 »


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 12

  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 »


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 10 ★★★★

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) 16

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 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 20 ★★★★★

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

Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 30 ★★★★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 »