Middle Grade Monday · Uncategorized

Middle Grade Monday (May 22)

MondayMiddle Grade Monday is an original weekly meme created to spotlight a great middle grade book!

This Monday I wanted to spotlight a middle grade book that hasn’t come out yet but I’m really excited for!

25117605We Need Diverse Books founder Ellen Oh returns with Spirit Hunters, a high-stakes middle grade mystery series about Harper Raine, the new seventh grader in town who must face down the dangerous ghosts haunting her younger brother. A riveting ghost story and captivating adventure, this tale will have you guessing at every turn!

Harper doesn’t trust her new home from the moment she steps inside, and the rumors are that the Raine family’s new house is haunted. Harper isn’t sure she believes those rumors, until her younger brother, Michael, starts acting strangely. The whole atmosphere gives Harper a sense of déjà vu, but she can’t remember why. She knows that the memories she’s blocking will help make sense of her brother’s behavior and the strange and threatening sensations she feels in this house, but will she be able to put the pieces together in time?

SPIRIT HUNTERS comes out 7/25/17!

Reviews

Mini Review: Shadow and Bone

Capture

Book: SHADOW AND BONE
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Rating: 5/5
TWs: Blood, gore, abuse
Series: The Grisha (Book 1)

CaptureI have had the Grisha series sitting on my TBR shelf since August of last year. I had initially purchased it for YallFest, ended up leaving early, and never got around to actually reading it because everyone kept telling me that it wasn’t as good as SIX OF CROWS/CROOKED KINGDOM.

They’re not wrong. There a magic in SoC/CK that the Grisha series doesn’t have but I still LOVE this series so far.

Book one introduces us to Alina, our main heroine, who is likeable but forgettable. Seriously, she’s kind of like every other white YA heroine. Skinny, clumsy, but full of untapped potential. Then there’s Mal (who I hate… with a fiery passion), her playboy best friend.

And then the Darkling. My beautiful, beautiful Darkling. Yes, he’s evil. Yes, he has terrible morals. Yes, he is stylishly handsome.

While this is definitely not as good as SoC/CK… it’s still good. I haven’t been this excited for a series in  along time.

Spooky Saturday

Spooky Saturday (May 20)

CaptureSpooky Saturday is an original weekly meme to spotlight spooky books I’ve read or am currently reading.

I swear this isn’t a weekly Stephen King post. It just… looks that way.

 

10614My Grandma is a huge Kathy Bates fan. Even though I wasn’t supposed to watch TV (my parents were devout UPC for the first half of my childhood), whenever I would go to Grandma’s we would watch a movie and it usually was something with Kathy Bates. Misery was one of two movies that really stuck with me (the other was Dolores Claiborne, another King masterpiece).

I ended up reading MISERY for the first time in 2016 and while it’s not my absolute favorite King novel, it definitely ranks in the top 5. I think what’s so terrifying about MISERY is that Annie Wilkes isn’t some supernatural creature… she’s just a woman. There’s nothing mysterious or overtly powerful about her. She’s not a demon, she’s not possessed- she’s just pure human evil.

However terrifying the movie was… the book is worse. I understand why they changed the movie so much but man, what a hell of a movie that would have been if they hadn’t.

Right off the bat, Annie is terrifying. Her moods flit between 1950s Sitcom Mom (“Oh, Paul!”) and severely unstable murderess. And the most terrifying thing is that Paul never knows what will set her off, what she will regard as him being “spoiled” and what she will regard as him “being against her”. She’s convinced herself that she’s doing this for his own good, that she’s doing God’s work by forcing him to burn the manuscript for a book he was actually proud of and making him write another book for the Misery series (making him bring back the title character of a series he had ended because he hated the character and wanted to move past it).

I think the most terrifying part of Misery is that in the back of our minds, we all know one person we could see kidnapping their favorite celebrity and putting them through the ringer under the guise of being their number one fan.

For me, the best part of the book was just Paul’s sheer will to survive and live… even if that’s just long enough to kill Annie.

If you want something spooky without a supernatural element, this is definitely the book for you.

Forever Friday

Forever Friday (May 19)

CaptureForever Friday is an original weekly meme where I showcase a book I’m going to love forever.

CaptureMy mom read of ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery to me when I was a kid and even though I didn’t 100% understand everything that was happening in the story, I did know that I loved Anne.

Years later, I still love the red head with the big vocabulary and bigger imagination. I’ve since read the entire series and while I love all of those books, I keep coming back to the first one. There’s nothing like the magic of rediscovering a book that changed your life.

I was a timid kid. I had a plethora of cousins that I was comfortable with but I was never able to really express myself around people I didn’t know. You know those kids who never meet a stranger? Yeah, I definitely was not one of them. I was painfully shy and fearful of everyone… which would later be diagnosed as anxiety. Anne was everything I wanted to be, though. She was loud, unafraid to take up space, and when she wanted or needed a friend, she wasn’t afraid to make one.

I also identified with Anne because like her, I spent the majority of my childhood living inside my head. Sure, I went places with my cousins and rode bikes with the neighborhood kids but I was never fully present in those moments. Like Anne, every road was a new landscape… mostly imagined. I created spaces and places and I lived more there than here, something that made me a ‘dreamy’ child. Anne was the first character who talked openly about her daydreams and I believe that’s why I connected so deeply with her on out first meet.

Of course, Anne is not the only great thing about this series. Gilbert Blythe was my first real book crush, I desperately wanted an uncle like Matthew, and I fell in love with Marilla the same way Anne did- slowly but surely.

At this point, I can’t tell you how many copies of ANNE OF GREEN GABLES I own. I love collecting the different covers and the storybooks.

While the language is outdated and society has moved on, Anne is still a classic to me.

Reviews

Review: THE END OF OZ

Capture

Book: THE END OF OZ
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die- Book 4
Rating: (a timid) 3/5 stars
TWs: Light gore, blood mentions, slavery, death.

Chasity: I know you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed… but can you ever just be whelmed?

Bianca: I think you can in Europe.

From: 10 Things I Hate About You

I must be in Europe.

CaptureTHE END OF OZ picks up right where YELLOW BRICK WAR left off. We find Amy, Nox, and Madison flying on the Yellow Brick Road to… somewhere. When the road dumps them in the land of Ev, Amy has to forge new alliances, navigate her strained relationship with Madison, and maybe, finally, kill Dorothy.

I loved the first and second book of this series, was a little underwhelmed by the third, and had high hopes for the fourth. It’s not that it’s a terrible book, I just think I expected more out of it than was actually delivered. Danielle Paige is a beautiful, sweet person but it felt like she was little bored of her own story by the end of this book.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book. Amy is one of my favorite book heroines. I love the fact that Paige talks about poverty and addiction in her books and how it impacted Amy’s life and the way she views things even in Oz. I was also pleasantly surprised that Amy and Madison have an actual conversation about why Madison was so awful to Amy- and that Amy didn’t let Madison weasel out of not explaining herself.

I enjoyed the progression of Amy and Nox’s relationship. It was 3 books coming and I loved seeing their ending.

But the book ending? Woo, boy. While I can appreciate the ending with Dorothy, the rest of it felt like a cheap copout. And I have so many unanswered questions. Which makes me wonder… is this really the end of Oz? Paige definitely left the door wide open for another book but I’m not sure my love for Oz could survive another one.

Again, it’s not a terrible book. Just go in expecting some fairly good scenes with a lot of ‘eh’ in between.

 

Wishing and Waiting Wednesday

Wishing and Waiting Wednesday (5/17)

CaptureWishing and Waiting Wednesday is an original meme where I talk about one book I’ve been wanting to buy and one book that’s been on my TBR shelf for way too long.

wishimg

 

17586458I added this book to my TBR on GoodReads back December 2014. THE SUMMER I WASN’T ME by Jessica Verdi follows Lexi as she attends New Horizons summer camp. She’s got a secret but she’s determined to change.

She can make herself like boys… right?

But the heart wants what the heart wants and Lexi learns sexuality and love isn’t a choice.

 

 

 

waitimg

 

Capture.According to my Instagram, I hauled WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT by Sarah Winman about 75 weeks ago. I’m in love with the cover and the title… and I need to get to this soon!

Spanning four decades, from 1968 onwards, this is the story of a fabulous but flawed family and the slew of ordinary and extraordinary incidents that shape their everyday lives. It is a story about childhood and growing up, loss of innocence, eccentricity, familial ties and friendships, love and life. Stripped down to its bare bones, it’s about the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.

 

What books are you Wishing and Waiting on?

 

Talking Tuesday

Talking Tuesday

ttTalking Tuesday is an original meme created by me! Because sometimes you just want to talk about books without a theme.

This week I want to talk about books that I really want to reread again. Last week on twitter, I finally gave in and did the ‘1 like = 1 character I love’ meme, and as I was going through my goodreads to jog my memory of characters I love… I realized there are a TON of book I would love to reread (maybe this year!).

6320534I read UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King in late 2015 and absolutely LOVED it. It’s another massive King novel with more characters than you can shake a stick out, and yeah, maybe the alien thing is a little over the top but I loved every single second of this book. I own the two mass market paperbacks (the book was split into part 1 & 2) and it made reading it seem much more manageable. This book is full of characters to love and hate… it doesn’t get much better than that, right?

 

 

233682Another King novel! Pet Sematary was my introduction to the frightening world of Steven King… I had nightmares for days. There’s just something about evil undead cats and babies that shake me to the core.

It’s not even that, really- King is a master of setting in this book. You’ll get a case of the shivers when nothing is really happening.

This one will probably be a part of my October TBR.

 

38709HOLES by Louis Sachar is a true classic to me. I remember first “reading” this book in 4th grade in Mrs. Shelton’s class. Every day after lunch, Mrs. Shelton would turn off the lights and let us have a rest while she read us a book. HOLES was one of those books and it stuck with me.

I’m definitely ready to revisit Stanley, Zero, the yellow-spotted Lizards, Mr. Sir, and the rest of the boys at Camp Green Lake!

 

 

22896I saw the movie PRACTICAL MAGIC before I ever knew there was a book. It’s really hard for me to say which one I prefer, but I can say that I love Gillian and Sally with all of my heart. Maybe Sally a little more, shh.

When I first read this book (and then watched the movie for the 100th time), it stirred up that part of me that desperately wants to be magical and have magic aunties who make midnight margaritas. A person can dream, right?

This will be another October read.

 

1201724Last fall, I bought a ton of October and Halloween themed books off of ThriftBooks. I had no idea what any of them were other than that common theme. DARK HARVEST by Norman Partridge was one of those books I randomly picked and oh my god, what a book.

A town haunted by the October Boy sends their young men out every year on Halloween to kill him. One boy will win… but at what cost? Who is the October Boy, why does he come back, and why… why does he seem so familiar.

Definitely on my October TBR.

 

12000020You can just look at this cover and understand why I want to reread ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE by Benjamin Alire Saenz.

I read this book back in 2015 when I was first starting to really get into LGBTQAIP+ YA fiction and I’ve loved it ever since. I’m not sure why I haven’t already reread this, but it’s definitely on my June TBR.

 

 

What are some books you want to reread this year?

Middle Grade Monday

Middle Grade Monday (May 15)

MondayMiddle Grade Monday is an original weekly meme to spotlight a middle grade book!

1016314BIRDWING by Rafe Martin is a continuation of the Grimm Fairytale ‘The Six Swans’. In the original fairytale, six brothers are turned into swans by their evil stepmother. In order to break the spell, their sister must make each brother a shirt out of nettles and keep a vow of complete silence for six years. She completes this task but unfortunately does not finish the sixth shirt, leaving her youngest brother disfigured with a wing for an arm.

This book picks up after the fairytale and follows Ardwin, the youngest brother through his journey as he struggles to find his place and either accept himself and his wing or allow his father to cut his wing off and replace it with a golden arm.

I picked this up on a whim at the used bookstore and have put off reading it for several months because while I am a fan of fairytale retellings and continuations, I was put off a little by the medieval time frame it was set in- princes and castles just really aren’t my thing. This was surprisingly good and while the storyline did drag at times, the story and Ardwin’s journey were uplifting and his final acceptance of himself was triumphant.

The cast of characters was great. There was a good mix of characters to love, hate, and pity. Alene is with us but for a short time in the book, but her characterization was probably the strongest and most honest of all besides Ardwin himself… prepare to fall in love.

Would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys fairytales, adventure, and self-discovery!

Sunday Funday

Sunday Funday (May 14)

CaptureSunday Funday is an original book meme that will feature a light-hearted read or book I would like to read.

28791088ADORKABLE by Cookie O’ Gorman follows 17-year-old Sally Spitz, a complete dork who is 100% done with boys and being set up on blind dates. Unfortunately, her friend Hooker and her mom are completely ignoring that memo. Sally knows if she wants to get out of another awkward date, she’s going to need to secure a fake boyfriend- fast.

Enter Becks- soccer phenom, all-American good guy, and Sally’s best friend and neighbor since birth. In a fit of desperation, Sally asks him to help her out and pretend to be her boyfriend which might not have been the best decision since Sally is actually in love with him.

This a cute and fluffy, super tropey, best friends to lover book and I LOVE IT. This is the literal embodiment of what feel good fiction should be. Yes, there is the tiniest twinge of angst but it’s short lived and you just know that Sally is going to get the boy… and Becks is going to get his girl.

So if you want a story where the nerd wins, read this!

 

Spooky Saturday

Spooky Saturday (May 13)

CaptureSpooky Saturday is an original weekly meme to spotlight spooky books I’ve read or am currently reading.

Two Spooky Saturdays ago, I talked about how I was biting the bullet and reading IT by Stephen King… despite the fact that it’s 1200 pages… and I’m terrified of clowns. I thought I’d give you an update on how that’s going!

C99O54SUMAAxzp9When I started this book, my goal was to read 100 pages of it every day so that I’m not spending months trying to get through this book.

That didn’t happen.

Summertime is here, the godkids have t-ball, baseball, and softball games, and I spend a good chunk of my time on the river when I’m not at work. So this has become a weekend project. I’ll be reading it Friday and Saturday nights and hopefully will have it finished before Pride season gets in full swing.

The last update I posted here, I was about 200 pages in. After this past weekend, I am now almost 600 pages in and more terrified than ever!

Taken from my review of the first 200 pages: The first two hundred pages sets up the back story for the book. The story starts of with the death of Georgie Denbrough in 1957 at the hands of IT, a seemingly demonic force that manifests as a clown and lives in the sewers. Skipping forward to 1985, we witness another murder and another manifestation of IT. From there, we met the adult characters of the book and learn a snip of each of their lives after they get a call to come back to Derry, Maine… because as children they made an oath to return if IT ever did… and IT has come back.

Picking up from there, King delves into the past. We’re transported back to the summer of 1958 and see where each child meets IT for the first time. It was interesting to see that every character saw IT just a little different- a clown, a mummy, a werewolf, a giant bird, a leper, as a voice in the drain. King also shows us little snippets of other children’s disappearances and how that contributed to the curfew. It’s curious to me how the adults react to the disappearances. They are, of course, scared for their children and want them to come home well before dark. But it’s almost as if they have accepted that IT is as much a part of Derry as any other citizen.

I liked that King is still involving “real life” problems with the supernatural. The book talks about Ben being bullied, Bev’s abusive father, the change in Bill’s parents after Georgie’s death, and it touches on the fact that Eddie maybe isn’t a sick as his mother wants him to be.

After the children all have their stories told, we’re thrust back into 1985 and see all of the children, now adults, heading back to Derry in hopes of defeating Pennywise yet again. The curious thing is that none of them can quite remember what happened that day or much of that entire summer. The longer they are in Derry, the more memories they recover.

The Loser Gang reunites at a restaurant in Derry and fall back into easy friendship. They discuss IT, their lack of memories, and how the town has changed. At the end of the meal, they all get a grisly surprise in their fortune cookies. It makes me wonder just how much IT actually touched them… none of the other adults seem to see what’s going on… so why do they?

What has IT got in store for them this time?