Friday, March 9, 2018

YA Friday! Check out this new release, Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

Just released this week- Restore Me, the fourth book in the Shatter Me world. Take a peek...

Juliette and Warner’s story continues in the electrifying fourth installment of Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series.

Juliette Ferrars thought she’d won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander of North America, and now has Warner by her side. But when tragedy strikes, she must confront the darkness that dwells both around and inside her.

Who will she become in the face of adversity? Will she be able to control the power she wields, and use it for good?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Cover Love- The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

I love Cover Love Thursdays! It is so fun to browse through new book covers and find the ones that catch my eye. Today I spotted a new release that drew me in, The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw.

Jacket illustration by Lisa Perrin
Jacket designed by Jessica Handelman

This cover screams magic, eeriness, and adventure to me. We have three symbols of magic, the pentagram, the raven and the moon. Then we have the bare branches reaching up into the dark of the night with mini stars sprinkled throughout. If you look closely enough you will also see that there is a luminescence to the whole thing, with rainbow colors reflecting off of the silver embossing. The fantasy nut in me went crazy to pick this up and read the jacket. What do you think?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Frederik Sandwich and the Earthquake that Couldn't Possibly Be by Kevin John Scott

Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! Today I am reviewing a new release from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Frederik Sandwich and the Earthquake that Couldn't Possibly Be by Kevin John Scott. Please check out MMGM central at Always in the Middle.

The Story-
Frederik Sandwich, though born in Frederik's Hill, has felt like an outsider his entire eleven years. Because his parents are foreigners, the kids tease him and treat him like an outcast. The only other person treated that way is Pernille, the young girl with olive skin and pure white hair.

Frederik always obeys the rules hoping to fit into the crowd. Pernille does the opposite, breaking all the rules. When an earthquake hits their town, everyone refuses to admit that they even felt the earth move, all but Frederik and Pernille.

Together they decide to find out the truth. They discover a long forgotten railroad line, underground water pipes, secret doorways, and a plot to assassinate the major. Can they save their town, the major, and stop the earthquakes?

My Thoughts-
This book cracked me up. From the get go it is just hilarious. The absurdity of all the rules, all the kids named Frederik, and Pernille's bizarre logic and adventure hero characteristics. At every turn the author throws in a phrase or situation that is absurd. Even all the letter I's in the book are written upside down.

Frederik and Pernille are quite the duo. They play off of each other perfectly. Somehow, in all their misadventures, they actually figure out the truth. The major is really a bad person. Now, here is where I had a problem. Thirty years ago an incident occurred caused by the major. She had the railroad closed, accused someone of attempted murder, and basically took over the town. BUT the author never tells us what exactly happened. UGH! Plus, the book ends with our duo finding out that the major is a bad lady, but there is no resolution on how to stop her and bring her evil deeds and bigotry into the light. I wonder if there is perhaps a second book coming? That would help solve the issue, but I don't have a clue. I'll cross my fingers, because this hilarious book really deserves a chance.

Kids will enjoy the antics of our super duo. The weirdness of the characters and the towns absolute adoration of the major and following the rules will give them pause for thought. I'm giving this book  4 stars!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Cover Love- The Emperor's Riddle by Kat Zhang

It's Cover Love Thursday! Today I picked out a great MG cover that totally grabbed my attention, The Emperor's Riddle.

Jacket illustration by Jim Tierney
Jacket designed by Jessica Handelman

I just love this cover and the peek into Chinese culture. We have the tall mountains in the background with a pagoda, and then the up close buildings with lanterns and curved roofs. The colors reflect sunset and the children running in the middle let you know this book is going to be an adventure. The spotlight is on the title, The Emperor's Riddle, which intrigued me right away. What is this riddle? Is it a contest of some sort? The cover foreshadows a mystery and I would pick this book up just to find out what that mystery involved. What about you?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Top Ranked Children's Book Blog- The Write Path

I am happy to announce that I have won a badge for one of the topped ranked children's book blogs. If you feel so inclined, please go give my blog a thumbs up :) I am number 27 on the list at the moment-
Thank you!

Monday, February 26, 2018

ReStart by Gordon Korman

Welcome to MMGM! The day I focus on middle grade books. Today I am reviewing ReStart by Gordon Korman.

The Story-
Chase Ambrose  wakes up in a hospital with total amnesia after falling off his roof. As he struggles to fit back into his life he learns that he wasn't a very nice person. Students at school avoid him, his buddies encourage him to bully others, and one kid even moved away because of the trauma Chase caused him. With no memory of his past, Chase struggles to find himself. He doesn't want to be seen as a bully, and he is finding other interests than football.

Now Chase has to decide who he is going to be in the future. He has the chance to redo his life, make-up for past wrongs, and even befriend those he before bullied. However, when one has such a torrid past, it tends to catch up with you. Can Chase be forgiven and can he forgive himself?

My Thoughts-
Great book! I love that it tackles the question about inherit good. Chase, a horrible bully before, is granted a tabala rasa, a blank slate. He no longer has his father fueling his pride or his friends following his every command. He is immediately good. He looks at the world and sees areas where he can serve others and enjoy the company of friends regardless of circumstances. Korman tells such a fine story of forgiveness, bravery, and goodness.

I like that we start the story from Chase's perspective. The reader sees him awaken and realizes he has no idea who he is or what happened, but then the chapters begin to switch to other kids perspectives and as they react to Chase, the reader is able to see the horror of Chase's past and the effect his bullying once had on those around him. Those same kids are now slowly becoming his friends, and the reader is able to see a clear contrast between the old and new Chase.

The parts told from Chase's POV allow us a glance into his true heart. You watch as he struggles within himself to deal with his past and his fight to now be the person he wants to be. I really feel the author chose well in allowing the reader into several student's POV's. It just makes the whole story richer and full of life.

The middle school setting is familiar, though I found some of the situations to be older than a 13 year-old would deal with. Sometimes it felt like we were in high school, but overall the story hits the mark. I think the interesting question that stays in the reader's mind is what if Chase does get his memory back? Will he still be the friendly guy he has become? These questions sat in the back of my mind as I read, and though we don't officially get a full on return of memory, the story plays out in such a way that this new, nicer Chase seems to be the guy that will stay around. In the closing chapter, we get a look through Brendan's eyes (one of the boy's Chase used to bully) and we see him notice Chase in the hallways sometimes looking gray and shocked. The conclusion being that occasionally a small memory slips in that makes Chase sick, but he has to learn to deal with his past while heading toward his future.

Like I said, this is a great book full of meaning and deep thoughts. I think it is one every child should read and I'm giving it 5 stars!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

And the winner is...

I almost forgot to announce the winner of my latest giveaway. With all the snow storms and delays I lost track of time. So, drumroll please.... The winner of The Four Fingered Man is Heather B! Congrats :)