May 4, 2021

Early Reader Review: Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly

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

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly 
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date:  May 4, 2021 TODAY!

Format: Ebook


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Marisol Rainey's mother was born in the Philippines. Marisol's father works and lives part-time on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. And Marisol, who has a big imagination and likes to name inanimate objects, has a tree in her backyard she calls Peppina . . . but she's way too scared to climb it. This all makes Marisol the only girl in her small Louisiana town with a mother who was born elsewhere and a father who lives elsewhere (most of the time)--the only girl who's fearful of adventure and fun.

Will Marisol be able to salvage her summer and have fun with Jada, her best friend? Maybe. Will Marisol figure out how to get annoying Evie Smythe to leave her alone? Maybe. Will Marisol ever get to spend enough real time with her father? Maybe. Will Marisol find the courage to climb Peppina? Maybe.
Marisol is a young girl who would love nothing more that to be brave. She is a sweet but scared little girl that would really like to climb the tree in her yard, that she has named Peppina. This was a very cute middle grade read. Marisol is creative, imaginative,  sensitive, and a wonderful character to follow as she learns to be courageous throughout the book. 

The book features shorter chapters as well as illustrations which I think young readers will enjoy. I also think that readers will relate to Marisol, she is struggling with a few fears and I think that readers will resonate with them. Marisol has a girl in her class that is not the nicest, she has a brother who is also a bit mean, but she has a supportive family and friends that really help her. 

Overall this book was cute and I think readers will enjoy it. It is kind-hearted and sweet and it is told in a way that the characters are realistic and you are in Marisol's head. If you are looking for a book to help someone young  try to overcome fears, this is a good one for that. It was a fun, quick, little chapter book that I think both parents and kids will enjoy.

May 3, 2021

Spotlight: Excerpt! Perfect Patchwork Purse by Corey Ann Haydu

Hello Book Lovers, 

It is a Spotlight Day!! Today I bring you Perfect Patchwork Purse #3 by Corey Ann Haydu, available on May 4th. The story is one in a new middle-grade series that is a "magical May must-read" and I have an excerpt for you below!!

Interested, keep reading to learn more...


Perfect Patchwork Purse by Corey Ann Haydu, Illustrated by Luisa Uribe
Series: Hand-Me-Down Magic series #3
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Publication Date:  May 4, 2021!


From the critically acclaimed MG/YA author of EVENTOWN, RULES FOR STEALING CARS, EVER CURSED AND OCD LOVE STORY, the third installation to the Hand-Me-Down Magic series is perfect next read for fans of Ivy & Bean and Dory Fantasmagory. 

Children ages 4-8 (Grades PreK-3) will love following best-friend-cousins Del and Alma on their newest adventure! When Alma see’s the most perfect patchwork purse while window shopping, she can think of nothing else– it was absolutely magical. But when her friend Cassie buys the purse, Alma swallowed her disappointment and assured her it looked just right on her. Del on the other hand, took matters into her own hands to lift up her cousin– all she needs is a little bit of glue, glitter, and maybe a little magic. 

Hand-Me-Down #3: Perfect Patchwork Purse

Chapter 1 - Stripes and Flowers and Polka Dots and Plaids

When Cassie came into the Curious Cousins Secondhand Shoppe, Alma could tell she knew exactly what she wanted.

“That,” Cassie said. She pointed at the purse that had been hanging in the window all month. It was a patchwork bag, made from at least thirty different fabrics. It was yellow and silver and blue and purple. It had stripes and flowers and polka dots and plaids. Parts of it sparkled. Parts

of it shined.

It was beautiful. It was special. It was strange. And it was supposed to be Alma’s.

“Oh,” Alma said sadly. “Are you sure?”

“Totally sure!” Cassie replied. “I’ve been saving up for the entire school year to buy something special. And this is it. This is my something special.”

Alma nodded. Cassie had talked for months about coming into the store to buy her something special. And Alma had been excited to see what she would pick! But she never imagined Cassie would pick the perfect patchwork purse. Alma wasn’t sure if she believed in magic, but that purse looked magical. It looked like maybe, maybe, it might be the kind of magic Alma could

finally understand.

And Alma didn’t know how to say that to Cassie.

“Great pick!” Alma’s cousin and best friend, Del, said. “That purse is really special.”

Alma’s littlest cousin, Evie, ran to get the ladder so she could be the one to climb up to get the purse. Their family cat, Fraidycat, bounded behind her. Fraidycat was always curious, and Evie was always doing something that made her extra curious. Maybe Evie was Fraidycat’s something special.

Alma had been thinking the purse was her something special. She had been the first person to see the purse. She’d been helping Abuelita go

through bags of donations, and the purse had been at the very bottom of one. At first, Alma had thought it was weird. Maybe even ugly. But the longer the purse hung in the window, the more beautiful it became.

Alma loved having the purse in the window. It reminded her that even though she didn’t believe in magic the way Del did or the way Abuelita did—which was a whole lot—she believed things were not always what they seemed. She believed that something ordinary could become something special. And she believed that maybe, someday, she’d be the kind of person who could use a magical-looking purse like that.

Alma was thinking all of that, but it sounded too silly to say out loud.

“Maybe you’d like this purse more?” Alma said to Cassie, holding up another beautiful purse that customers were always admiring.

“No, I like this one!” Cassie said. “It’s going to be perfect for all the end-of-the-school-year stuff—the parade and the picnic and everything else. I can put my sunglasses in it. And books. And a hat.”

Evie came back with the ladder. She was grunting and gasping, pulling the ladder through the store all by herself. Fraidycat swung her tail around, as if she was helping too. “I’ll get the purse for you!” Evie said excitedly.


About the Author

A picture containing person, outdoor, clothing

Description automatically generatedCorey Ann Haydu is the author of EventownThe Someday Suitcase, and Rules for Stealing Stars and four acclaimed books for teens. She grew up in the Boston area, earned her MFA at the New School, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her dog Oscar. Find out more at

Haydu’s books have received multiple starred reviews from School Library Journal and Booklist, have been Amazon Book of the Month Selections, Junior Library Guild Selections, Indie Next Selections, and BCCB Blue Ribbon Selections. Most recently, in 2020, her novel EVENTOWN received an Edgar Award Nomination. 

About the Illustrator 

Luisa Uribe likes drawing, reading, and chasing the cat around the house. She lives in Bogotá, Colombia, where students (like the Earth Heroes in her book Dear Earth...From Your Friends in Room 5) are helping protect the environment and our natural resources. Of her many illustration projects, her true love is picture books. Luisa was honored with the Dilys Evans Founder's Award at the Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibit in 2018. You can find more of her wonderful art at


May 2, 2021

Building the Book Pile #344

Welcome to Building the Book Pile!

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Happy Sunday Evening Everyone, Sorry for todays delayed post. Had a final paper to finish and turn in and then I took a nap... because I needed it and wanted to :) #SelfCareSunday.
I hope you are all well!! How was your week/weekend?

This past week I took the week off from work for my birthday week. Getting older kinda sucks after a certain point, but I made the most of the week by planting new things out front, getting school work done, playing Animal Crossing, and reading. I also finally got a haircut! It feels nice to do something so normal.  Sepaking of which, we are getting our 2nd vaccinations this week - so wish me luck that it doesn't kick my butt.

Wishing you all a safe and healthy week!

If you enjoy the blog and want to share some love and caffeine,
you can buy me a coffee via Ko-fi

Coming up on the Blog

Spotlight: Excerpt! Perfect Patchwork Purse by Corey Ann Haydu (MG)

Early Reader Review: Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly (MG)

Recent Reads: Guards! Guards! (Discworld #8) by Terry Pratchett (Adult)

Books Received Recently...


I went to the bookstore with birthday shopping for myself in mind... and did some damage (LOL - no shame). I was in the mood for some vacation books i.e. lighter reading/ romance. 

Have you missed anything lately?

Comment or leave me a link and I will see you online again soon.
Happy Reading!

Apr 28, 2021

Blog Tour: Review - How to be a Badass Vigilante by Michael Anderle


“Once again, I find myself in a reader’s paradise with this ‘Bad Ass’ series!” Alicia G., reviewer

“A different twist to the fantasy world. The main character is feisty, fun, loyal & honorable. A theme I love in Michael’s stories.” Kathleen R., reviewer

“A number of unexpected plot twists form a novel solution. Action galore as usual.” Kevin S., reviewer

“It’s extremely hard to find such an interesting and exciting author who not only writes intelligently, but also provides top-rate plots, characters, and excitement in their stories.” — Jim N., reviewer

About the Book
Publisher : Lmbpn Publishing (February 10, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 274 pages
ISBN-10 : 1649714467
ISBN-13 : 978-1649714466

Virtutis gloria merces

Translation: Glory is the reward of valor

When given power, what would you be willing to sacrifice for the greater good?

Fed up with playing the normal game, recent university graduate, ex-cum laude, ex-soccer star, ex-popular and mostly broke Kera MacDonagh changed her life when she read 'How to be a Badass Witch' and shockingly, the spells worked.

She barely made it out of the first few weeks of on-the-job training before her powers got her in trouble.

Hunted as a magical vigilante, the Kims sacrificed to keep her safe.

Kera hunts criminals in the darkness of LA, but will she be able to hide the signature of her powers, too?

Having made the decision to come clean with a boyfriend, she must now live with the results.

With everything happening, Kera is balancing her sanity as well. Will magic be enough to help her come out on top?

Of course, she hopes. Because the other way lies madness.

You can purchase How To Be A Badass Vigilante: Book One at the following Retailers:



How to be a Badass Vigilante is the second series in the How to be a Badass Witch storyline. It follows Kera as she learns more about the powers she has and uses them to fight the crime in her neighborhood under the shroud of the Motorcycle Man name. This is the first book in the next phase of the series, however you get enough of a background to not completely need to read the How to be a Badass Witch series first, although I would have liked to for even more context throughout.

Kera is a very strong character she is stubborn but courageous. It seems like she is consistently finding herself in no-so-great situations. She is able to work her way out of most of them but almost always at the expense of those around her, which I was not always trilled by. At times she read as a strong, defiant, force to be reckoned with, and other times she seemed overly 'woe-is-me'. I think as a main character she is interesting enough to read about but I liked the interplay of other characters alongside her most.

As noted, while following mostly Kera's story, is also told from the POVs of those around her. There is Stephanie - who works with her and is learning more, Chris - her boyfriend of sorts, Pavla - another witch, and then a storyline following some of the US coven higher-ups, Lovecraft and LeBlanc. I really enjoyed having the multiple point of view to read in, it pushed the story along and the side-quest of Lovecraft and LeBlanc was interesting, made me very upset for those poo new witches and wizards out there, and it was a bit foreboding. 

I mostly enjoyed Pavla and her inner conflict with having to help Kera but also to assess her abilities. I won't say more here and ruin anything, but it added a good amount of depth that I felt the book needed. 

Overall, this was a good book and I would like to continue the series. I think Kera has a long way to go and there are a lot of people that want to ensure she doesn't get there. If you like magic, witches, urban fantasy, this book is a good one to grab. It is on the shorter side and a pretty light read. 

About the Author

Michael Anderle was born in Houston, TX. A very curious child, he got into trouble — a lot. What to do with an inquisitive mind when he was grounded? Read!

For his first 20 years, he mostly read Science Fiction and Fantasy. In the last 10 years, he has enjoyed Urban Fantasy and Military Fiction. With this background, he created The Kurtherian Gambit series, a well-selling and fan-loved collection of stories. Fans have propelled these stories beyond Anderle’s wildest imagination and Anderle says they should get all of the credit for sharing with friends, family and occasionally the random person on the street.

Find the Author

Photo Content from Michael Anderle

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

3 Winners will receive a Copy of BADASS VIGILANTE Book One by Michael Anderle.
-  1 Winner will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card
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Apr 20, 2021

Recent Reads: How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps by Andrew Rowe

How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps 
by Andrew Rowe 
Narrated by Suzy Jackson & Steve West 

Publisher: Audible Original
Publication Date:  April 30, 2020

Format: Audible Audiobook
Source: From Audible Monthly Freebies before they changed the system.


Goodreads Synopsis: 
For thousands of years, there has been a cycle: a Demon King rises and conquers, and a Hero is reborn a hundred years later to defeat him. Each time, civilizations are ground to dust beneath the Demon King's hordes, but humanity has remained secure in the belief that a Hero of legend will always save them. There's just one slight problem. It's only been 23 years since the Demon King's latest rise, and this time, he's already conquered more than half the world. If humanity simply waits for the Hero's return, there may be no world left for him to save.

And so, Yui Shaw sets out with an ambitious plan. A 10-step plan.

She'll find a way to obtain the Hero's legendary sword. She'll earn obscure classes, gain levels, and increase her skills. She'll travel to the meticulously-crafted dungeons that seem designed for one specific Hero to complete. And, if she's truly (un)fortunate, she might even find a fairy.

She might not be a Hero—but if she can fake it long enough, she might still be able to save the world.


This book is an affectionate parody of classic Japanese games like The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Dragon Quest. It's also a work in the LitRPG/GameLit subgenres. Game mechanics exist in the world of the story and characters are aware of their existence. 
This was such a weird and fun book and I liked it a lot. It is, as the synopsis notes, a parody of classing role playing games (RPG), so instead of just characters fighting to get to the boss or villain of a story, they have to level up in order to do so and they have abilities they can level up. 

A few reasons I liked this - I play video games (ahem World of Warcraft) and this is a hilarious rendition of that process and the need to go through the steps required to get to the boss... levels, skills, achievements... it is a grind and this book very entertainingly encompassed that grind. 

The story follows Yui who is off to find her place in this RPG world by defeating the legendary Demon King. She must level up her skills and build a team through adventure and trial and error to get to that point. 

This is such a creative and fun story, it is like traveling through a story with your character in a video game, the best of two worlds. If you like RPGs and reading/ listening this is a fun one to pick up. 

Apr 18, 2021

Building the Book Pile #343

Welcome to Building the Book Pile!  A Weekly meme inspired by Stacking the Shelves

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Happy Sunday Everyone! 
Another long paper was due today... so burnt out from these things. I know I keep saying it but I feel it every week now. Just gotta push through - right?! How do you motivate yourself? I need all the help I can get.

This week was an otherwise good week. I had a virtual conference that I attended and made some good connections and learned a lot of interesting things. I also am having a great BIRTHDAY month thus far - the hubs got me a really nice digital camera so I am hoping to get back into my photography hobby soon. Our 11 year anniversary is tomorrow (I cant even believe it has been that long!).

In other news, Cooper cat got a tower... he isn't sure about it. Here are some photos of him attempting to try it out. My favorite is him in the box... like 'UMMMM wats that! I have a box!'

If you enjoy the blog and want to share some love and caffeine,
you can buy me a coffee via Ko-fi

Coming up on the Blog

Recent Reads: How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps by Andrew Rowe (Audio, YA) 

Recent Reads: Guards! Guards! (Discworld #8) by Terry Pratchett (Adult)

Books Received Recently...

Have you missed anything lately?

Comment or leave me a link and I will see you online again soon.
Happy Reading!

Apr 17, 2021

Recent Reads: Fangirl, Vol. 1: The Manga by Sam Maggs & Rainbow Rowell

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

Fangirl, Vol. 1: The Manga by Sam Maggs, Rainbow Rowell, Illustrated by Gabi Nam 

Series: Fangirl: The Manga #1
Publisher:  VIZ Media LLC
Publication Date: October 13, 2020

Format: Ebook


Goodreads Synopsis: 
The manga adaptation of the beloved novel by #1 Bestselling author Rainbow Rowell!
New York Journal of Books

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, everybody is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life. Cath's sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath just can't let go. Now that they’re in college, Cath must decide if she’s ready to start living her own life. But does she even want to if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Cath doesn’t need friends IRL. She has her twin sister, Wren, and she’s a popular fanfic writer in the Simon Snow community with thousands of fans online.  But now that she’s in college, Cath is completely outside of her comfort zone. There are suddenly all these new people in her life. She's got a surly roommate with a charming boyfriend, a writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome new writing partner ... And she's barely heard from Wren all semester! 
Excited to finally get the opportunity to read this Manga adaptation of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I loved this novel and the Manga does not disappoint. In this first volume we get a good way through the story with visuals that wonderfully matched with the visuals that were in my head when I read it the first time. 

If you don't already know this book, it follows a very introverted girl named Cath, who is starting college and going through too many changes at once for her liking. She has a twin that wants to branch out, a dad that is on his own, and she doesn't do well in social situations, so college is a hard process thus far. Her only solace is to writer her beloved fan fiction following the lead characters of a popular middle grade fantasy called Simon Snow. 

Cath is trying to adapt and not doing well. She is reserved and finding it hard to make friends and step anywhere outside of her comfort zone. This really resonates with me, and it a very similar experience to what I had in my first year of college. Cath is introverted, nerdy, and strong willed in her own way and so the story is very character-driven and I liked that. 

If you enjoyed the novel, you will also enjoy the Manga. Sam Maggs is wonderful and the adaptation does this book justice. The illustrations are fun and full of movement and emotion and there is the perfect amount of dialogue and thought throughout to keep with the storyline. 

I really enjoyed this one and hope that you will too! If you aren't a 'reader' but like Manga and Graphic Novels this would be a great way to read this book, it is adapted so well!

Apr 13, 2021

Early Reader Review: The Medusa Quest by Alane Adams

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

The Medusa Quest by Alane Adams 
Series: The Legends of Olympus Book 2
Publisher: Spark Press
Publication Date:  TODAY, April 13, 2021

Format: Paperback


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Phoebe Katz is back on a new mission to save Olympus and undo the fallout from her first visit. Damian has troubling news—the epic mythology stories in the books are changing. Instead of Perseus slaying Medusa and becoming a hero, the books now say he’s turned to stone. Worse, thanks to Phoebe slaying the Nemean lion and the Lernean hydra to complete the Eye of Zeus, Hercules failed his first two trials—which means he’s not the immortal hero he’s supposed to be.

After speaking with the oracle who brought her to New York, Phoebe learns that without great heroes, the entire fabric of Greek mythology is in peril. She must go back to Olympus and right the history she wrecked. To do that, she must embark on a quest to collect the items she will need to help Perseus defeat Medusa, including the curved blade the Argus Slayer, the winged shoes of Hermes, and Hades’s Helmet of Invisibility, and convince Hercules to complete his new trials without giving up—despite the efforts of a powerful force that will stop at nothing to see the demi-god children of Zeus destroyed. Can Phoebe collect the items she needs and save Olympus once again?

Phoebe must return to Olympus in this second installment of the Legends of Olympus in order to rescue her brother and also to fix some of the things she messed up her first time there. 

Phoebe is still strong, brave, and stubborn, but she knows that she has a job to do and will do anything in order to finish it and make sure things are right again in Olympus... at least enough for how the tales are told in her world to be correct and back to normal-ish. 

The action in this book starts right off and I think middle grade readers will enjoy that. This book still has the Percy Jackson feel of the first book, but it is a creative retelling of the legends of the heroes of Olympus and it shows their personalities in a fun way. In a way it kind of teaches the reader a bit about the mythology while also changing it for the premise or the book - that is where Damian's character comes in, he is a wealth of knowledge. 

I liked that in this book, the author tried to give us more about the companion characters, tried to grow them into more fully fleshed out people versus just bait like the last book.

I really enjoy mythology so this was a fun read for me and I enjoyed following Phoebe and her friends again as they navigated their way through the world of these legends. I think that Phoebe still has a lot of room for growth and needs to be a bit less impulsive, but she is entertaining and her friends are what are holding her together but also cleaning up after her. 

I think overall there needs to be more character growth, but for a middle grade reader I think that this will be a fun and fast book that will keep them on their toes and have them wanting more of Phoebe and her friends. 

Other books by Alane Adams