Genre: Middle Grade


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 5

  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 05
The Incredibly Dead Pets of Rex Dexter by Aaron Reynolds: Review & Reynolds’s Top Ten Addictions

The Incredibly Dead Pets of Rex Dexter by Aaron Reynolds: Review & Reynolds’s Top Ten Addictions

Author Top Ten Lists, Reviews 20 ★★★★★

Today I’m featuring the hilarious tale of a sixth-grader who’s forced into sleuthing by the spirits of zoo animals who need him to solve the mystery of their deaths. This book is written by Aaron Reynolds, who I knew in (what feels like) a past life—he wrote a full-scale musical that we performed for the kids’ ministry at my previous church, way back before I had kids. (His wife wrote the music and he wrote the lyrics—and they were both in the musical too!) I have so many amazing memories from that time, and to this day, I still find myself singing my main song in the musical at random times—it obviously had an impact on me.  🙂  I’ve been following Aaron’s writing career ever since I happened upon Creepy Carrots in my local library, and I was thrilled to see that he had a middle grade book coming out,… Read more »


Apr 28
Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi: Review and Giveaway (Plus, a Quick Review of Aru Shah and the Song of Death)

Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi: Review and Giveaway (Plus, a Quick Review of Aru Shah and the Song of Death)

Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 12 ★★★★½

Today I’m reviewing books two and three of the Pandava Quartet! Since this is technically a blog tour for the third book, I’m posting that review first, but you can scroll down to see my quick thoughts on Aru Shah and the Song of Death as well. Also, check out my review of book one, Aru Shah and the End of Time! You can purchase Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes at the following Retailers: Amazon, Kindle, Audible, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org These books are such a fabulous foray into Hindu mythology! I adore how many tales Chokshi manages to weave seamlessly into her story—Aru and her sisters (and friends) meet so many characters from these stories on their journey, and each time the original story is reflected somehow in Aru’s tale. This makes Aru’s journeys through the Otherworld that much more exciting and interesting—a point that held true in this book as she went on… 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 »


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 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 14

  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

Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 16 ★★★★★

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

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

Giveaways (Ended), 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 »