Wildings

by Eleanor Glewwe

wildings-by-eleanor-glewwe

 

 

Do your kids (and you) love the magic of Harry Potter, InkHeart, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe? Do they love fantasy fiction but have run out of books to read? I know my middle grade reader has read just about every fantasy book under the sun. I was happy to pass on Wildings to her after I read it, I know she is going to fall in love with this book. I had not read or heard of the book Sparkers so this was my first introduction to the magical world that Rivka, Arik and other Wildings live in. I will go back and read it this book was so good I didn’t want it to end. I loved that Rivka is a strong girl who doesn’t back down if she feels she is doing what is right! We need more books with good, positive girls. This book deals with the topic of racism within the magical world and Rivka doing everything she can to reunite and change the laws so other wildings can be reunited with their families. Grab a copy for your fellow bookworms and gift it this holiday season. I really hope this story line continues I would love to read more and see where they go from here.

summary: Rivka is one of the magical elite and the daughter of an important ambassador. But she harbors a deep secret: She once had a twin brother, Arik. When Arik failed to develop his own magical abilities, the government declared him a wilding, removed him from his home, placed him with non-magical adoptive parents, and forbade him any contact with his birth family. Now it is as if he never existed at all.

But Rivka refuses to forget her twin brother. Even though she knows she could lose everything—her father, her friends, even her freedom—she sets out to find Arik. She has nothing to go on except her still-new magical powers and her love for her brother. Can that possibly be enough to bring them together again, when all of society believes they belong apart?

Thank you Viking Books for Young Readers for allowing me to read Wildings. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

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Love and Chicken Nuggets

Series: Pippa Morgan’s Diary
Author: Annie Kelsey

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Love and Chicken Nuggets by Annie Kelsey

summary: Meet Pippa Morgan, a small girl with a BIG imagination.

Pippa’s class has just been given a project all about “love”—gross! Luckily, there are lots of things she loves—like chicken nuggets and TV detectives, and her best friend forever, Catie Brown. But now that her mom is single, Pippa wonders whether she needs a little more love in her life. She comes up with a way to handle two problems at once…by making her mom the subject of her school project! Will Pippa be able to find her mom a husband? And can she get Catie to taste chicken nuggets for the first time ever? You’ll have to read her super-secret diary to find out!

ALSO BY ANNIE KELSEY: Pippa Morgan’s Diary

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Pippa Morgan's Diary by Annie Kelsey

summary: Sometimes a little white lie can land you in a whole lot of trouble…

Pippa’s new BFF Catie Brown is perfect. So perfect, that Pippa tells her a teeny tiny lie—that she once auditioned for Voice Factor—to impress her. And it works.  It works so well, in fact, that Catie enters Pippa into the school talent show.

 The only problem? Pippa can’t sing. Not at all.  In fact, her singing is so bad it scares the neighbors. But if she doesn’t participate in the talent show, Catie will know she lied. But if she does participate, the whole school will find out what a horrible singer she is…including Catie! It’s up to Pippa to put an end to this pesky problem!

The Girl in the Tower

by Lisa Schroeder

The Girl In The Tower by Lisa Schroeder

 

I’m all about fairy tales and retellings. Many will say this is a retelling of Rapunzel however I think it is better. This book has some similarities but that is where it ends. Lisa Schroeder is a wonderful story-teller and we have enjoyed many of her books. The Girl in the Tower was a delightful book and we enjoyed every minute of reading this book. You will be rooting for Violet and wishing the story doesn’t end. We would love to read more books about Violet. The character and world building is so vivid and descriptive that you really feel that you are in that fairy tale right along with the characters. This book is geared towards middle grade and upper elementary but I just about any one who loves a great fairy tale. The art work is by one of favorites Nicoletta Ceccoli, her illustrations are simply amazing and so perfect for this story. The Girl in the Tower is delightful in every way. Add it your you elementary and middle school readers summer reading and enjoy some magic.

summary: Ever since she could remember, Violet and her mother have been locked away in a tower by the evil Queen Bogdana, who has the kingdom under her spell. The queen has all she wants except one thing-beauty. Violet possesses this beauty. She also has a secret: though she is very small, both her spirit and her heart are mighty.

When Violet is summoned by Bogdana to start training to become a real princess, it seems like her life might be taking a turn for the better. But hope quickly fades when Violet’s mother is expelled from the castle and they’re forbidden to see each other ever again. With everyone’s lives in the balance, it’s up to Violet to break the spell and reunite her family.

thank you MacMillan Children’s Publishing, Lisa Schroeder and netgalley for allowing us to read The Girl in the Tower. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.

Summerlost

by Ally Condie

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Giveaway: Ally Condie Prize Pack: 5 finished copies of SUMMERLOST, paperback copy of ATLANTIA, copy of book one of MATCHED

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Summerlost by Ally Condie

 

 

A Spring 2016 Kids’ Indie Next List Top 10 Pick!

Named one of Publishers Weekly’s Most Anticipated Children’s and YA Books of Spring 2016

 

 

 

 

Praise:

“Condie (Matched) strikes a deep emotional chord with this coming-of-age story.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Multiple, seemingly random details, including a family of turkey vultures that now roost outside Cedar’s window, an absurd soap opera narrative of a woman buried alive, and Leo’s quest for a trip with his father, coalesce into metaphors that help Cedar make sense of her grief and the life she now has to look forward to. Thoughtful, poetic chapter endings guide readers new to psychological depth toward meaningful connections between plot events and thematic reflections.” – BCCB

“A moving tale of friendship and loss. I loved these characters—I wish we could have been friends when I was a kid.” –Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fablehaven and Five Kingdoms series

“Ally Condie’s first middle grade book might also be my favorite out of ALL her books to date. Summerlost is a story packed with nostalgia, heart, and gorgeous prose.” – The Novel Novice

“A nuanced portrait of grief deeply grounded in the middle-school mind-set.” – Booklist

“Honest, lovely, and sad.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A sweet, heartfelt story.” – School Library Journal

“Achingly good.” – Summer Laurie, Books Inc.

Letter from Ally:

Dear Readers,

I think most of us have had our hearts broken. Sometimes we can see it coming, and sometimes it comes down with the unexpected force of a sudden gale of wind or a rising of waters that we thought were still and safe. Loss is universal to human experience, but the way we each feel and recover is one of the most personal things we do.

In Summerlost, Cedar is dealing with the loss of her father and younger brother. And my intent was to show how hard their deaths are for her. But this is also a book about the healing power of friendship. Most of us have been broken-hearted; I hope that most of us have also discovered the miracle of friendships that were just what we needed. Cedar and Leo’s friendship is based on someone I met when I was twelve. Like Leo, my friend was fun and liked to enlist me in crazy adventures (although we never gave a secret guided tour of our town the way they do in Summerlost). And, like Leo, he thought I was wonderful and of worth at a time when I needed it most.

SUMMERLOST is my attempt to pay tribute both to the pain we feel and the friendships that save us. Thank you so much for supporting this book, and for your willingness to give Cedar’s story a try. I hope it makes you think of a wonderful friend of your own, whether that is someone you met in the pages of a favorite book or outside, in the world where it is often hard and beautiful to live.

Best wishes and happy reading always,

Ally Condie

Earth Day middle grade books

There are many great Earth Day reads for upper elementary and middle grade readers. Today I’m going to share 2 that are the favorites right now with this age group. We really loved Fuzzy Mud and Chomp was a great book also, Hoot is our favorite but Chomp is right up there. Both these books raise awareness and might just get your reader asking questions and researching ways to help their local environment.

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

 

Courage just meant pretending to be brave. “After all, if you’re not scared, then there’s nothing to be brave about is there?” (P. 15) this is one of my favorite lines from the book. I love it and it is so true.

Fuzzy Mud was written by a favorite kid lit author of mine and he did not disappoint! This book has 2 main themes throughout the story and does an excellent job and making them both work through out the storyline: Bullying and the Human Impact on the Environment. This book is a beyond 5 stars for me, I loved how it flowed so well and has mystery and suspense in it. This book would appeal to upper elementary and middle school. I think it would be a good classroom read aloud and would fit in perfectly with a science unit on the environment. This book even talks about secret senate meetings (loved reading those “transcripts”) the CDC and NIH are even mentioned and a part of the book. Fuzzy Mud helps raise awareness for the environment and I hope it goes on to win awards.

Tamaya: A sweet girl who wants to do the right thing. Even when that right thing means going back into the Fuzzy Mud woods to help find the kid who is the biggest bully she has ever known. She is scared because she knows there is something very wrong about the Fuzzy Mud but she is going to be brave because it’s the right thing to do.

Marshall: A good kid who is the target for the school bully. He hates school and just wish he could be invisible. He doesn’t have any friends anymore and he wish life was like before the bully targeted him. However he is best friends with Tamaya and she has gone missing and he knows where she is heading. Now he just needs to put on a brave face and go searching for her even it means facing the one who has made his life awful.

Chad: Oh Chad is that bully that targets one kid and makes his or her life horrible. Maybe he doesn’t have a great home life? Or maybe he is just mean? Either way he is mad and he has his sights set on Marshall. However he is going to cross paths with both Tamaya and Marshall in the woods and to get away Tamaya is going to expose both her and Chad to the Fuzzy Mud.

In the end all 3 come together to help each other out…

summary: Be careful. Your next step may be your last.

Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and seventh grader Marshall Walsh have been walking to and from Woodridge Academy together since elementary school. But their routine is disrupted when bully Chad Hilligas challenges Marshall to a fight. To avoid the conflict, Marshall takes a shortcut home through the off-limits woods. Tamaya, unaware of the reason for the detour, reluctantly follows. They soon get lost. And then they find trouble. Bigger trouble than anyone could ever have imagined.

In the days and weeks that follow, the authorities and the U.S. Senate become involved, and what they uncover might affect the future of the world.

 

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Chomp by Carl Hiassen

 

I  grabbed Chomp from the local library as an ebook. It was a bundle that also included Hoot, Flush, and Scat. It was a some fun reading and I think upper elementary and middle grade kids would love this set either all together as an ebook or individually as a physical book or ebooks. Hiaasen writes with such a great flair and creative flow that I can’t imagine anyone not loving his books. Readers will enjoy the plot and settings of the books as well as the likable characters. I love the sarcastic humor that is always sprinkled throughout any of his books and Chomp did not disappoint. Chomp delivers a great message about Carl Hiassens passion for the environment and how things we are doing are affecting plants and animals. He doesn’t preach it so much so that it turns off the reader or goes over the younger reader’s head. Chomp as well as any of his books would be great read alouds for the home or classroom. You could use any of his books as a jumping point for further action and study of your own local environment and habitats.

summary: Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he’s grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his backyard. The critters he can handle. His father is the unpredictable one.
When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called “Expedition Survival!”, Wahoo figures he’ll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show’s boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger seems to actually believe his PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo’s acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who’s sporting a shiner courtesy of her old man and needs a place to hide out.
They’ve only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna’s dad shows up with a gun . . .
It’s anyone’s guess who will actually survive “Expedition Survival”. . . .

thank you so very much Penguin Random House for kids, Delacorte Books for Young Readers and Louis Sachar for allowing me to read and review this. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars it was so good! All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.

Once Was A Time

by Leila Sales

Publication Date April 5, 2016

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Once Was A Time by Leila Sales

 

Once Was A Time is a time travel book for upper elementary and middle grade readers. It touches a little on the WWII in England but not a large amount.  That would be my only wish for this great little book. I  wish there was more during WWII but understand why there wasn’t as much as I would have liked. This book is about 2 best friends that are inseparable till sadly they are. It follows Lottie as she tries to cope with the fact that she jumps through a portal and abandons her dad and best friend Kitty. She ends up in the middle of nowhere USA in the 2000’s. She is not only living with the guilt and also trying to figure out what might have happened to them but also trying to figure out how all this stuff and life works in the future. She is essentially an orphan just like the girl in her favorite book “The Little Princess”. All the references and talking about this children’s classic makes me want to read it and soon! 🙂 Kitty has to decide who she wants to be in the future since she is never going to be able to jump back to the time she is really from. She has to let go of the guilt and decide who her real friends and new family is. As if that isn’t enough for most people she also has to do all this while being a tween. Once Was A Time is a really great book that I think the age group it is written for will enjoy it very much.

summary:  In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte’s scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to another time and place? Her split-second decision has huge consequences, and when she finds herself alone in the world, unsure of Kitty’s fate, she knows that somehow, some way, she must find her way back to her friend. Written in the spirit of classic time-travel tales, this book is an imaginative and heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable ties of friendship.

thank you Chronicle Books, Leila Sales and netgalley for allowing me to read Once Was A Time. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.

The Inn Between

By Marina Cohen

Publication Date: March 22, 2016

The Inn Between by Marina Cohen

 

The Inn Between is a quirky book that has a bit of eery suspense, while the reader is trying to figure out what is going on at the inn. Quinn is going through a lot, more than any kid should have to go through. She has a lot of quilt over a tragedy that happened in her family and this little vacation is her time to get away from it all. However this place doesn’t make that easy, add the fact that her best friend Kara’s family is slowly disappearing and a man is chasing them down and you got 2 scary tweens. I guessed the main background of the book half way through maybe before but I don’t think a middle school or upper elementary aged reader would. The ending wasn’t really what I expected or wanted it was so fast. The Inn Between is a great book that I’m not sure I’ve read before in middle grade books. The author did a great job at presenting the story without being so scary. There is 1 pretty creepy section that some kids might find pretty scary but is probably not much different from a R.L. Stine book like fear street. Overall I’d let my middle grade reader read this one. The ARC copy had 2 drawing that I really don’t think were really needed but gave the reader a glimpse of what the author envisioned the scene to be like. Overall I would have been fine with out them, but they don’t detract from the book either.

summary: 11-year old Quinn has had some bad experiences lately. She was caught cheating in school, and then one day, her little sister Emma disappeared while walking home from school. She never returned.

When Quinn’s best friend Kara has to move away, she goes on one last trip with Kara and her family. They stop over at the first hotel they see, a Victorian inn that instantly gives Quinn the creeps, and she begins to notice strange things happening around them. When Kara’s parents, and then brother disappear without a trace, the girls are stranded in a hotel full of strange guests, hallways that twist back in on themselves, and a particularly nasty surprise lucking beneath the floorboards. Will the girls be able to solve the mystery of what happened to Kara’s family before it’s too late?

thank you MacMillan Children’s Publishing, Roaring Book Press and Marina Cohen for allowing me to review The Inn Between. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.