Nov 17, 2020

Recent Reads: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig


The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date:  September 29, 2020



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52578297-the-midnight-library  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0525559477/ref=x_gr_w_bb_glide_sin?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_glide_sin-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0525559477&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Format: Audible Audiobook
Source:  Bought on Audible for Book Club


Rating: 




Goodreads Synopsis: 
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig's enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place
Review: 
First things first - TRIGGER WARNING:
The beginning of this book deals with suicide and can be very emotional for anyone that has had experience with suicide and/or depression.

With that said, the beginning of this book is very emotional, a lot more emotional than I anticipated for myself. The main character is Nora, she is not doing well. She is depressed and everything is compiling and the book is counting down to her decision to leave this world. After that point weird things start happening, Nora is whisked away to a magical library where she can live different lives that could have been hers, had she chosen differently at certain parts of her life.

I read this book with my family and friends in book club this past month, the title and cover really pulled us in during the vote, little did we know what an emotional ride this book would be. AND IT WAS. I loved this book, I hated this book, I loved the realizations this book had me make about my own situation and I also loathed how this book made me feel emotionally. This was a wonderful book club book and I would highly recommend it for that but be emotionally prepared - I was not.

What I liked about this book: It really makes you think - about your life choices, about your regrets, what your magical library might look like. I also really liked Nora. I listened to the Audible version and the reader was fantastic, she made you feel like you were with Nora the whole time experiencing new lives. I also enjoyed the sub characters, they were interesting and fun in the roles they playing in Nora's lives. The overall theme was pretty well played out as well.

What I disliked: While Nora learns a lot in her experiences with the Midnight Library, her suicide was very built up (there is reason for that) but I feel like the ending was a cop-out. Choose a new life or die seem to be her choices going in, but it takes a few weird turns. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but the enviable ending puts a flippant stance on suicide that did not sit well with me. Nor did the fact that she could just choose a new life.

Nora has the ability to grow throughout her lives in this book and learn more about herself, others, and the roles she plays in her seemingly normal, sad life that she is trying to leave behind. Her learning and acceptance held me in, as mad as I was about the stark beginning of this book.

It is a quick read with short chapters and a lot to chat about it you are reading it with others. It was very emotional and did not contain a trigger warning, thus my warning to you all before you plunge in. Overall, I would read this book again and dissect it far more given more time. It became a feel good tale after sending me on a binge cry.

Have you read this one? Tell me your thoughts below! 

Nov 16, 2020

Early Reader Review: Malcolm and Me by Robin Farmer

Source:  Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

Malcolm and Me: A Novel by Robin Farmer
Publisher: SparkPress 
Publication Date: November 17, 2020 (TOMORROW) 



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Ebook

Rating: 

Goodreads Synopsis: 
Philly native Roberta Forest is a precocious rebel with the soul of a poet. The thirteen-year-old is young, gifted, black, and Catholic—although she’s uncertain about the Catholic part after she calls Thomas Jefferson a hypocrite for enslaving people and her nun responds with a racist insult. Their ensuing fight makes Roberta question God and the important adults in her life, all of whom seem to see truth as gray when Roberta believes it’s black or white.

An upcoming essay contest, writing poetry, and reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X all help Roberta cope with the various difficulties she’s experiencing in her life, including her parent’s troubled marriage. But when she’s told she’s ineligible to compete in the school’s essay contest, her explosive reaction to the news leads to a confrontation with her mother, who shares some family truths Roberta isn’t ready for.

Set against the backdrop of Watergate and the post-civil rights movement era, Angel Dressed in Black is a gritty yet graceful examination of the anguish teens experience when their growing awareness of themselves and the world around them unravels their sense of security—a coming-of-age tale of truth-telling, faith, family, forgiveness, and social activism. 


Malcolm and Me follows a 13 year old girl names Roberta navigate being black in a mostly white, catholic middle school. Within the first few chapters, readers are thrown into the prejudice and racism of the 1970's (and today) along with religion, faith, and social activism. Roberta is trying to figure out who she is in a world that does not accept or want to see her for what she is, an clever, outspoken and smart girl. All they see is color. 

This was a beautifully written book about horrible themes that still seem to plague our society today. Farmer does a wonderful job setting the stage for Roberta's identity story and intersperses it with faith and inquisition that is like nothing else I have read recently. It was so well done. 

The story does a good job speaking out about the injustices of the time and makes it painfully clear that we have not gotten very far. Which is sad but needs to be seen and realized. 

Roberta is a strong female characters that had me fully with her, I wanted to read Malcolm X's autobiography, I wanted to slap nuns, and fight for her along with her and I was able to through this book. I think that I would have been better prepared had I actually read Malcolm's autobiography but it was a wonderful story either way. 

There is always a place for characters of color especially as main characters and I think that this would be a great book to include in any classroom or as reading for anyone anywhere, any age! I recommend this book to all, and will be talking about it for a while.



About the Author

Robin Farmer is a national award–winning journalist and transplanted Philadelphian who currently calls the Richmond, VA, area home. At eight, she told her mother she would write for a living, and she is grateful that her younger self knew what she was talking about (many young folks do). Her other interests include screenwriting, poetry, movies, and traveling. She’s still hoping to write stories about young people for television and film. Robin earned her degree in journalism from Marquette University. She lives in Richmond, VA.

Nov 6, 2020

Early Reader Review: Find a Moose with Me! by Suzanna Buzby Hersey

Source: From Netgalley and McSea Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

Find a Moose with Me by Suzanne Buzby Hersey
 
Publisher: McSea Books
Publication Date: November 24, 2020  


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55451612-find-a-moose-with-me  https://www.amazon.com/Find-Moose-Suzanne-Buzby-Hersey/dp/1732302049/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=9781732302044&linkCode=qs&qid=1603891172&s=books&sr=1-1&tag=x_gr_w_bb_sin-20

Format: Ebook


Rating: 

Goodreads Synopsis:
It's Oscar's first moose hunt, and his parents know the perfect place to find a moose. Join Oscar on this exciting adventure! Be sure to keep an eye out for turtles, loons, and squiggly worms! Let's count some critters along the way--but will we spot a moose today? Find a Moose with Me - a Countdown Adventure

Review

I love a good moose hunt, I have been on them... but in cars while driving through the mountains in Vermont and New Hampshire, and I have actually seen two! That being said, moose can be really dangerous, so it kind of floors me that this family is walking around in the woods purposefully looking for a moose. From what I understand, you should not be getting that close!

Aside from the fact that this family might have a death wish, the book is a counting book. It is nature themed, and includes cute illustrations of the forest and the wildlife there. The book is also written in verse so it is easy to read and flows pretty well. There is nothing spectacular about it, it is counting, animals, and the wild which pop up in a lot of counting books, but it was nice to see one about Moose. (Although the danger aspect really had me wondering if it was a good choice to moose hunt).

 

Nov 4, 2020

Book News: DC Comics 2021 Middle Grade Titles



Today's book news: Upcoming middle grade graphic novels debuting in 2021 from Drew Brockington (CatStronauts), Brendan Deneen (The Ninth Circle), Ryan North, Derek Charm and more! 

All titles are available to pre-order now!!


Written, Illustrated and lettered by Drew Brockington
Colored by Wendy Broom
On sale everywhere books are sold on May 4, 2021
MSRP: $9.99

The big city is full of Superman sightings, but here in Metropolis Grove? Every kid in this suburb knows that he’s not real…except newcomer Sonia Patel, who convinces her friends Duncan and Alex to believe! When the trio discover a mysterious cave full of Super-memorabilia, they can't keep it to themselves, and that sets off a school year full of drama and adventure and more than a few opportunities for a newfound friendship to test its limits. 

And when they finally figure out the resident of the cave is Bizarro, things get even more out of control!

###

About Drew Brockington:
Drew Brockington is the author and illustrator of the IndieBound bestselling graphic novel series CatStronauts and the picture book Hangry. He works at his drawing table while his dog, Leroy, snores next to him. He has a special love for comics and will never shy away from a pun. He lives with his family in Minneapolis.

 


Written by Ryan North
Illustrated and colored by Derek Charm
Lettered by Wes Abbot
On sale everywhere books are sold on June 1, 2021
MSRP: $9.99

After angering a number of hostile spirits in England, 13-year-old magician Johnny Constantine has to find a way out of the country. Persuading his parents to send him to America, John arrives at the Junior Success Boarding School in Salem, Massachusetts. But once there,he finds himself to be something of an outcast. And he is also convinced that his homeroom teacher really has it in for him. Worse, he's convinced that's she's really a witch. Fortunately, John is able to find one kindred spirit at school with whom he's able to form an alliance--another misfit named Anna, who also happens to have her own developing magical powers. John recruits Anna in his efforts to uncover the truth about Ms. Kayla and expose the Meanest Teacher's real identity to the world. Joined by a friendly demon named Etrigan, these two amateur sleuths will uncover clues and stumble upon forces beyond their control in a humorous series of misadventures.
 
###
 
About Ryan North:
Ryan North is the writer responsible for Dinosaur Comics, the Eisner and Harvey award-winning Adventure Time comics, the #1 bestselling anthology series Machine of Death, and the New York Timesbestselling and Eisner-Award winning Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series for Marvel. He's adapted Kurt Vonnegut's SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE into a graphic novel, turned Shakespeare into NYT-bestselling choose-your-own-path books, and his book HOW TO INVENT EVERYTHING is nothing less than a complete cheat sheet for civilization. He lives in Toronto.

About Derek Charm:
Derek Charm is an Eisner Award-winning comics artist and illustrator living in New York. He was the artist on the Jughead and Jughead's Time Police comics series for Archie Comics, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl for Marvel, and Star Wars Adventures for Lucasfilm/IDW Publishing. Outside of comics, he has done illustration and design work for Random House, Marc Jacobs, and DreamWorks Animation.

Written by Brendan Deneen
Illustrated and colored by Bell Hosalla
Lettered by AndWorld Design
On sale everywhere books are sold on July 6, 2021
MSRP: $9.99


Following a plane crash on a deserted island, 13-year-old Oliver Queen must learn the skills he needs to survive and to protect his injured father. Ollie has always hated the idea of hunting, but his dad insisted they go on this trip with his business partner, Sebastian, and his son, Tyler. When Ollie fails to take a perfect shot, the teasing starts, and he wonders if his dad will ever be proud of him again. But just when he thought their trip couldn't get any worse, their private jet is struck by lightning and crash lands on a deserted island. Ollie awakens to find his dad seriously injured and the other passengers nowhere in sight. If they hope to survive, he’s going to have to learn skills he’s been avoiding developing so far. He has never felt less sure of who he is...or if he will be able to hang on until help arrives.

###

About Brendan Deneen:
Brendan Deneen is the author of the novels The Ninth Circle, The Chrysalis, and Morbius: The Living Vampire--Blood Ties, as well as the bestselling Night Night, Groot picture book series. His graphic novel work includes multiple volumes of Flash Gordon, an original Island of Misfit Toys book, and Scatterbrain. His short stories and essays have been published by St. Martin's Press, Reader's Digest Books, 13Thirty Press, and Necro Publications.

About Bell Hosalla:
Bell Hosalla is an illustrator and comic maker. They love creating art filled with plants and magic. They graduated from Far Eastern University with a bachelor's degree in fine arts.

 


 

Oct 15, 2020

Early Reader Review: Poppy and Sam and the Search for Sleep by Cathon

Source: From Netgalley and Owlkids Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

Poppy and Sam and the Search for Sleep by Cathon

Series: Poppy and Sam #3
Publisher: Owlkids Books
Publication Date: October 15, 2020  
 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Ebook


Rating:
 

Goodreads Synopsis: 
The seasons are changing in the garden, and Poppy and Sam are stocking up for a long winter’s nap. There’s just one problem: Poppy can’t sleep! Determined to hibernate like her friends, Poppy and her panda buddy, Sam, go hunting for advice on how to get to sleep.

Other garden creatures are full of ideas on how to nod off. The bees suggest snuggling into a honeycomb. The frog says a mug of fly milk does the trick, while the ants recommend a good book before bed. But will anything help Poppy fall asleep?

The third book in the Poppy and Sam series, this picture book/graphic novel hybrid is full of delightful, detailed illustrations, adorable characters, and a sweet, funny storyline sure to draw young readers in.
Review: 
This was a cute book about animals and hibernation. Poppy and Sam are getting ready to hibernate and are all set with supplies but Poppy is wide awake and cannot fall asleep. They go around to the other hibernating animals and ask what helps them prepare for sleep to try out their tricks. 

While a note entirely accurate portrayal of what animals do for hibernation, this was still a fun read. The images throughout are two page spreads that are beautifully illustrated with cute little animals and insects trying to help Poppy. I have read another Poppy and Sam book and think they are very easy and fun reads that children will enjoy, especially if they are nature and animal lovers.

Oct 14, 2020

Early Reader Review: Swamp Thing: Twin Branches by Maggie Stiefvater

Source:  From Netgalley and DC Comics in exchange for an honest review. this in no way alters my opinion or review.

Swamp Thing: Twin Branches by Maggie Stiefvater, 
Illustrated by Morgan Beem
Publisher:  DC Comics
Publication Date: October 13, 2020


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Ebook


Rating: 


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Twins Alec and Walker Holland have a reputation around town. One is quiet and the other is the life of any party, but they are inseparable. For their last summer before college, the two leave the city to live with their rural cousins, where they find that the swamp holds far darker depths than they could have imagined.

While Walker carves their names into the new social scene, Alec recedes into a summer school laboratory, because he brought something from home on their trip—it’s an experiment that will soon consume him. This season, both brothers must confront truths, ancient and familial, and as their lives diverge, tensions increase and dormant memories claw to the surface.
Review: 
I will preface this review with noting that I have never read any comics of graphic novels about Swamp Thing, nor have I watched the new TV show (yet). However, I have read books by Maggie Stiefvater and I like her style so I decided why not give this one a read. I was happy that DC Comics gave me that opportunity. 

The book follows twins Alec and Walker, the nerd and the socialite, they are twins but very very different aside from looks. Alec does not like people, parties, just his science and plants, as an introvert I can get behind that. The book follows them moving form the summer and Alec bringing his work with him, trying to transfer memories of plants and eventually causing a solution that allows for these memories to be carrier to a new plant. His experiments are impressive and eerie and it takes the whole book to get to Swamp Thing.  The book is really an origin story and a pretty good one. 

Alec cares for his brother even through they are so different, he is the only person he really cares about and that means a lot. The book was full of emotion - from Alec, from the plants, and the various emotions of the plot of the story as well. It was a lot in a graphic novel but the lead up was very well done. 
I am not sure how this relates to other origin stories or what piece it is in the grand scheme of the Swamp Thing lore, but for a one off, for a first-timer, I enjoyed it. 



About The Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Raven Cycle, the Shiver trilogy, and other novels for young people and adults. She is also an artist, an auto enthusiast, and a bagpiper. She lives on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley with her husband, her two children, and an assortment of fainting goats. Find her online at www.maggiestiefvater.com.


About the illustrator: Morgan Beem
Morgan Beem is a freelance artist and member of the Jam House collective located in Denver, Colorado. Her work is predominantly in comics and illustration. She has worked on such properties as Adventure Time, Planet of the Apes, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is the co-creator, alongside writers Justin Jordan and Nikki Ryan, of the series The Family Trade from Image Comics.


About DC’s YA Graphic Novels
DC’s young adult graphic novels introduce DC’s most iconic Super Heroes to a new generation of fans with stories told by some of the most successful authors from the young adult publishing space. The YA titles are standalone stories, not part of DC’s ongoing continuity, and completely accessible to new readers who have no previous knowledge of DC characters. 

Oct 13, 2020

Early Reader Review: The Witches of Orkney by Alane Adams

Source:  From the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion on review


Good Morning Readers! 

It is my pleasure today to share the newest installment of a middle grade series, out TODAY! Below you will find a review of all three books currently available in the series called The Witches of Orkney by Alane Adams. it is a fantasy adventure just in time for the Halloween/Spooky season. The plots are inspired by Norse mythology but about a young witchling learning who she is. I hope you enjoy! 

XOXO, Steph

STOP!!! 

If you have not read the first two books in the series scroll down!

 
BOOK 3 Review!


Witch Wars by Alane Adams
Series: Witches of Orkney #3
Publisher: Spark Press
Publication Date: October 13, 2020 (TODAY)  


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Paperback ARC


Rating:
Goodreads Synopsis: 
Abigail’s second year at the Tarkana Academy has been an all-out disaster. She’s just unwittingly helped Vertulious, an ancient he-witch and powerful alchemist, destroy Odin’s Stone and restore his powers, and now all of Orkney is caught up in the threat of war as the witches prepare to destroy the helpless Orkadians. Determined to set things right, Abigail and Hugo set off for Jotunheim, the land of the giants, to find a weapon to restore the balance. All they have to do is track down the God of Thunder and convince Thor to turn his hammer over to them.

When their former-friend-now-foe Robert Barconian arrives with a band of dwarves, intent on stopping them, Abigail and friends must unite to prevent a war that will destroy them all. But has Abigail made the biggest mistake of all by trusting in the wrong ally?
Book 3 Review: 
Abigail is her persistent and courageous self in this, the third installment, of the Orkney series.  The story follows her and her friends as they attempt to prevent the impending war between the witches and Orkadians.

This series is just enchanting. It is a beautifully build fantasy adventure with all the elements of a great middle grade series. There is conflict, and friendship/ trust battles, there is magic and suspense, there are Norse GODS! oh and dragon-esq creatures. I really loved this book in the series. It introduced more of the mythical world the witches live in and it was wonderful. 

Abigail is growing up to be a strong, determined, and brave young woman. She believes in herself and her values and is doing her very best to show the other witches that there is another way, they don't have to be so evil all the time. We get more Norse mythology than ever in this book in the series, and I really enjoy learning about Thor and the giants. 

This book left me on the edge of my seat and I flew through it in one sitting. Really spectacular.


The Rubicus Prophecy by Alane Adams 
Series: Witches of Orkney #2
Publisher: Spark Press
Publication Date: October 15, 2019


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20 

Format: Paperback ARC


Rating:  

Goodreads Synopsis: 
Abigail has just started her second year at the Tarkana Witch Academy and is already up to her ears studying for Horrid Hexes and Awful Alchemy! Worse, Endera’s malevolent spellbook has its hooks in her, whispering in her ear to use its dark magic. Meanwhile, the entire school is talking about the Rubicus Prophecy; a sign has arrived that the chosen witchling is among them, the one who will one day break Odin’s curse over them. When an Orkadian warship arrives carrying troubling news, Abigail and her friend Hugo are swept into a new mystery after a young boy from the ship, Robert Barconian, asks for their help retrieving a missing item.
Along with the former glitch-witch, Calla, the four friends end up deep in the catacombs beneath the Tarkana Fortress—a place where the draugar, the living dead, wander about. Abigail discovers there is more to the Rubicus Prophecy than anyone ever imagined. Can she stop it in time before she and her friends are destroyed?
Filled with magical spells, spine-tingling ghosts, and visits from the Norse gods, The Rubicus Prophecy pits Abigail against a sinister power greater than anything she has ever imagined.

Book 2 Review:
In book 2 of the Orkney series, Abigail is starting her 2nd year at Tarkana Academy and she has made her fair share of enemies but is not exactly sure why. This plot follows Abigail's strange magic some more, we learned a little about it in book 1 but no there is a prophecy that might come from it. 

We get a few more characters in this book and it was nice to Abigail gain a few more friends, but not without a few more enemies. This poor girl, I feel for her, she is just trying to be normal but she is anything but normal. She is constantly getting herself into trouble and some of it is not even her fault, but it makes for great reading. The plot about the prophecy is very interesting with a bunch of surprises along the way, many of which made me gasp. This was a very fun adventure and I cannot wait for next book.*  There is more magic and more learning in this book and it makes for a wonderful read.

(* written before reading Book 3).



The Blue Witch by Alane Adams 
Series: Witches of Orkney #1
Publisher: Spark Press
Publication Date: October 23, 2018


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20 

Format: Paperback ARC


Rating:  

Goodreads Synopsis:
Before Sam Baron broke Odin's curse on the witches to become the first son born to a witch and the hero of the Legends of Orkney series, his mother was a young witchling growing up in the Tarkana Witch Academy. In this first book of the prequel series, the Witches of Orkney, nine-year-old Abigail Tarkana is determined to grow up to be the greatest witch of all, even greater than her evil ancestor Catriona. Unfortunately, she is about to fail Spectacular Spells class because her witch magic hasn't come in yet. Even worse, her nemesis, Endera, is making life miserable by trying to get her kicked out.
When her new friend Hugo's life is put in danger by a stampeding sneevil, a desperate Abigail manages to call up her magic―only to find out it's unlike any other witchling's at the Tarkana Witch Academy! As mysteries deepen around her magic and just who her true parents are, Abigail becomes trapped in a race against time to undo one of her spells before she is kicked out of the coven forever!

Rich in Norse mythology, The Blue Witch is the first of a fast-paced young reader series filled with magical spells, mysterious beasts, and witch-hungry spiders
Book 1 Review:
The Witches of Orkney series follows a young witchling, Abigail, as she starts school at the Tarkana Academy for witches. There she will learn to be a cold-hearted, evil witch just like the rest of her coven. Abigail is different though, she as orphaned young and feels weird whenever she recites their creed. During her first year she learns a lot, about herself, her family history, and meets great friends along the way. She also learns that she has a very strange type of magic and it must be kept a secret.  Hugo is a local boy from the island, whose family has assisted the witches in battles for centuries. He would rather be a scientist and is more interested in the witches than scared of them. 

Abigail grows up very quickly in this book, which sets the stage well for the next in the series. The world-building and Norse mythology is very cool and is a great way to learn about it within another book. I really enjoyed the characters and they all had their roles to play. While Abigail was fierce when she had to be, she also acted like a young unsure girl who wanted friends and wanted to know more about her parents and their mysterious past.

Overall this was a great start to the series. You learn a lot about the characters, the settling , and are already on the look out for the baddies.


 

Oct 5, 2020

Recent Reads: A Small Zombie Problem By K.G. Campbell

Source:  From Netgalley and Random House in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.
A Small Zombie Problem By K.G. Campbell
Series: Zombie Problems #1
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  June 4, 2019


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Ebook


Rating: 



Goodreads Synopsis: 
In his fiction debut--and the start of a new series--celebrated illustrator K.G. Campbell brings a touch of Tim Burton to this singularly strange and wonderful story about a lonely boy whose life is about to get a whole lot more complicated when a zombie follows him home.

August DuPont has spent his whole life inside a dilapidated house with his aunt Hydrangea. His lonely existence ends abruptly with the arrival of an invitation to meet an aunt--and cousins--he didn't even know existed. When Aunt Orchid suggests that August attend school with his cousins, it's a dream come true. But August has scarcely begun to celebrate his reversal of fortune when he is confronted by a small problem on his way home. So begins an adventure filled with a wild child, a zombie, a fabled white alligator, and an unimaginable family secret.
Review: 
A Small Zombie Problem is the first in a middle grade series about August DuPont. Many months ago the description hooked me with the prospect of zombies and a Tim Burton-esq flair and the book delivered. 

August is a young by living with his aunt in a run-down old house. They are barely hanging on and aunt Hydrangea is living too much in the past and also deadly afraid of butterflies. August is homeschooled and lonely, so when he is tricked out of the house he learns that he has more family nearby and is invited to tea. One thing leads to another and then a zombie shows up and august is trying his best to get rid of her with little luck.

The plot of this book, since it is the first in a series, is a lot of build up, which is nice. We learn about August and his aunt, and the overall family and their secrets and weirdness. There is conflict and some is resolved quickly but the zombie problem seems longer lasting (as the series title would suggest). The characters were interesting and quirky and I laughed at them throughout. They were over-the-top stereotypes which is annoying at times, but worked for comedic effect. 

Overall, this was a fun start to a middle grade series. It is not too spooky, but just weird enough. I think that young lovers of Halloween, the strange and unusual, and those that like zombies. Also a great choice for SPOOKY SEASON woohoo October!!

Sep 24, 2020

Spotlight: The Endangereds by Philippe Cousteau and Austin Aslan

Hello Book Lovers, 

It is a Spotlight Day!! Today I bring you The Endnangereds by Philippe Cousteau, set to release on September 29th from HARPER, it is  "perfect for fans of the Endling books by Katherine Applegate and A Wolf Called Wanderer by Rosanne Parry" and is about spunky endangered animals trying to save the world from climate change and the issues it brings. AND...Philippe Cousteau is the grandson of marine conservationist and explorer Jacques Cousteau (which is awesome!!)!!!

Interested, keep reading to learn more...


XOXO, 
Steph

The Endangereds

THE ENDANGEREDS by Philippe Cousteau, Austin Aslan
Illustrated by James Madsen
Hardcover, $16.99 | eBook, $9.99 | Also available via audiobook
Publisher: HARPER, an imprint of Harpercollins
Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Grade Level: 3 - 7


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20


Goodreads Synopsis: 
It’s time for animals to take fate into their own paws! The Endangereds is the first book in a thrilling new adventure series by world-renowned environmentalist and Emmy-nominated host of Xploration Awesome Planet Philippe Cousteau and award-winning TURBO Racers author Austin Aslan.
Innocent animals are in trouble: temperatures are climbing, tides are rising, and nature is suffering. Someone needs to step in to rescue animals from extinction. Someone needs to turn this mess around, before it’s too late.
And that someone is . . . the Endangereds, the unlikeliest heroes you’ll ever meet—a superstrong polar bear, a pangolin with a genius for engineering, an extremely sarcastic narwhal, and an orangutan with a big dream.
Together, these four daredevils are determined to save endangered species across the globe, no matter what the risk. Rappelling into an underground cavern to save the day? No problem. Looping video footage to sneak through buildings unnoticed? Got it covered. Opening a doorknob? Okay, pretty hard without thumbs. But don’t worry. No matter what it takes, the Endangereds will get the job done.
But when two of their friends get kidnapped by a villain with a dastardly agenda, the team finds themselves up to their snouts in trouble. Can the Endangereds save the day? Or will this villain put humans and animals alike on the extinction list? 
The A-Team meets the animal kingdom in the first book in the thrilling new adventure series from the host of Xploration Awesome Planet Philippe Cousteau and award-winning author Austin Aslan.

About the Authors

Inspired by the legacy of his grandfather Jacques Cousteau, Philippe Cousteau is a multi-Emmy-nominated TV host, author, speaker, and social entrepreneur.  He has hosted numerous TV programs for Discovery, BBC, CNN, Travel Channel and more.  Currently he is the host of the syndicated television show Xploration Awesome Planet and producer/narrator of a new Virtual Reality experience Drop in the Ocean. Philippe is the author of several award-winning books and is a sought-after speaker having keynoted events for the United Nations, Harvard University, and more. In 2004 he founded EarthEcho International; the leading environmental education organization dedicated to inspiring youth to take action for a sustainable planet. Philippe and his wife, fellow explorer and TV host Ashlan Gorse-Cousteau, reside in Los Angeles. 



 Austin Aslan is the author of the TURBO Racers series and the Islands at the End of the World series. A National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, he can often be found camping in a tent on a punctured air mattress. In other lives, Austin drove ambulances way too fast, served as an ecotourism Peace Corps volunteer in a Honduran cloud forest, and managed a variety of campaigns. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.