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Bookish Memes Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – January 26, 2022

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.


It’s my first Waiting On Wednesday post of the new year! Hooray! It’s been many months since my last one, so this is long overdue. This Wednesday I’m spotlighting Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros.

I discovered this book one day long ago while browsing NetGalley. I’m always on the lookout for new MG reads and this one really captured my attention. The idea of the story is interesting and realistic. I like that the two main characters in a way compliment each other in who they are and what they want most. Already, I’m rooting for them to succeed. I think the story will be entertaining and heartfelt.

Falling Short releases March 15, 2022.

Falling Short by Ernesto Cisnero cover
Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: Isaac and Marco already know sixth grade is going to change their lives. But it won’t change things at home–not without each other’s help.

This year, star basketball player Isaac plans on finally keeping up with his schoolwork. Better grades will surely stop Isaac’s parents from arguing all the time. Meanwhile, straight-A Marco vows on finally winning his father’s approval by earning a spot on the school’s basketball team.

But will their friendship and support for each other be enough to keep the two boys from falling short?


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Operation Sisterhood by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich #newbookrelease

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Thank you to Crown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Operation Sisterhood is out now!

Cover of "Operation Sisterhood" by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Fans of the Netflix reboot of The Babysitters Club will delight as four new sisters band together in the heart of New York City. Discover this jubilant novel about the difficulties of change, the loyalty of sisters, and the love of family from a prolific award-winning author.

Bo and her mom always had their own rhythm. But ever since they moved to Harlem, Bo’s world has fallen out of sync. She and Mum are now living with Mum’s boyfriend Bill, his daughter Sunday, the twins, Lili and Lee, the twins’ parents…along with a dog, two cats, a bearded dragon, a turtle, and chickens. All in one brownstone! With so many people squished together, Bo isn’t so sure there is room for her.

Set against the bursting energy of a New York City summer, award-winning author Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich delivers a joyful novel about a new family that hits all the right notes!

 

REVIEW: Operation Sisterhood radiates the joy that can be found between sisters, in family, and in a community. It’s the kind of story I wish I had growing up.

The story takes place primarily in Harlem and the surrounding area. Bo is having a difficult time adjusting to her new family, living situation, and freeschooling without putting a damper on her mother’s happiness about their new life. She worries all these changes will cause her to lose her individuality.

It was interesting following the day-to-day of this new lifestyle Bo is now living in. It’s a warm, loving environment conducive to learning, responsibility, teamwork, self-reflection, and exploration. I love that they live with so many animals too, especially a bearded dragon who seems to enjoy wearing hats.

I love the sisterhood between Bo, Sunday, Lili and Lee. Each sister has a distinct personality and a passion. Bo is a drummer, super organized, and loves to cook. Sunday (Bo’s stepsister) loves to write, is quirky, and plays the keyboard. She tries so hard (sometimes too hard) to make Bo feel welcomed and a part of the family. I forget which twin (Lili and Lee) liked what but one is a huge animal lover while the other is a fashion designer. They also play an instrument (guitar and bass).

These new sisters are expressive, big-hearted, outgoing and enthusiastic. It was great seeing how they worked together to solve problems, make their parents happy, bring the community together, and support one another.

Operation Sisterhood was a good story with a vibrant cast of characters that I think readers will greatly enjoy. I also adore the cover art – I think it sums up the story perfectly.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Books of the Month

[January 2022] Book of the Month: Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

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It’s the first Book of the Month post of 2022! I chose Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston. I chose this first of a series because it was an incredible fantasy story with a likable and relatable main characters, a bunch of supernatural beings, and unique world building. I was so captivated by this story. It was one of my top top favorite reads of 2021. I can’t wait to read what is sure to be a thrilling sequel, Amari and the Great Game.

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston cover
Image via Goodreads

Title: Amari and the Night Brothers
Series: Supernatural Investigations #1
Author: B.B. Alston
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Recommended?: Yes

ABOUT: Quinton Peters was the golden boy of the Rosewood low-income housing projects, receiving full scholarship offers to two different Ivy League schools. When he mysteriously goes missing, his little sister, 13-year-old Amari Peters, can’t understand why it’s not a bigger deal. Why isn’t his story all over the news? And why do the police automatically assume he was into something illegal?

Then Amari discovers a ticking briefcase in her brother’s old closet. A briefcase meant for her eyes only. There was far more to Quinton, it seems, than she ever knew. He’s left her a nomination for a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is certain the answer to finding out what happened to him lies somewhere inside, if only she can get her head around the idea of mermaids, dwarves, yetis and magicians all being real things, something she has to instantly confront when she is given a weredragon as a roommate.

Amari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids—who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives and are able to easily answer questions like which two Great Beasts reside in the Atlantic Ocean and how old is Merlin? Just getting around the Bureau is a lesson alone for Amari with signs like ‘Department of Hidden Places this way, or is it?’ If that all wasn’t enough, every Bureau trainee has a talent enhanced to supernatural levels to help them do their jobs – but Amari is given an illegal ability. As if she needed something else to make her stand out.

With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Book Reviews

Book Review: Restart by Gordon Korman

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Cover of "Restart" by Gordon Korman
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Chase’s memory just went out the window.

Chase doesn’t remember falling off the roof. He doesn’t remember hitting his head. He doesn’t, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name.

He knows he’s Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return.

Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him.

One girl in particular is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets.

Pretty soon, it’s not only a question of who Chase is–it’s a question of who he was . . . and who he’s going to be.

 

REVIEW: Restart is a remarkable story and another reason why I practically devour and adore anything by Gordon Korman. Every book of his I’ve read has been 5 well-deserved stars and Restart is no exception.

Chase Ambrose is a football star, an all-around athlete, and a huge bully until one fall from a roof gives him amnesia, forgetting everything prior to waking up. Who he is now is a complete 180 on who he was, so it’s difficult for every character (kids and adults) to reconcile with. It’s a precarious fine line Chase walks, which hooked me into the story.

I was as fascinated as I was conflicted by Chase’s story because 1) he has a second chance to be a better person than he was (a precious gift) and 2) at times I wondered if the amnesia was …too convenient? But I think Korman did a great job presenting varying, realistic reactions towards Chase. While I had misgivings and worried about how Chase would cope with this divided, contrary existence, I was rooting for Chase to do better and be better and be happy.

Restart has a lot of exceptional character development and I loved the varying points of view in each chapter. I think that was crucial to the conundrum the story presents because other characters’ thoughts and feelings would provide the reader with necessary insight and influence how the story ended. There were good times, bad times, sad times, and surprisingly funny times that all balanced well together. I also loved the relationships that formed and the satisfying conclusion to the story.

Restart was amazing, thought-provoking, entertaining, and enjoyable.

CW: bullying (see resources below)


24/7 Support That’s Here For You

Stop Bullying
www.stopbullying.gov/

Crisis Text Line
www.crisistextline.org
US and Canada – Text HOME to 741741
United Kingdom – Text HOME to 85258
Ireland – Text HOME to 50808

The Trevor Project
https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
1-866-488-7386
TrevorChat available
Text START to 678678


More by Gordon Korman

Ungifted

The Unteachables

Unplugged

Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: Sunny Makes A Splash by Jennifer Holm & Matthew Holm

25 Days of Book Reviews logo.

DAY 6

Cover of Sunny Makes A Splash by Jennifer Holm & Matthew Holm.
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Series: Sunny #4
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: The latest in the New York Times bestselling Sunny series brings Sunny into a sink-or-swim summer, where she needs to float her first job and dive into her first maybe-flirtation.

It’s summer, and Sunny is BORED. Most of her friends are out of town. Her mom wants her to baby-sit way more than Sunny wants to baby-sit. There’s nothing good on TV.

The only place that’s cool (in a not-boring sense) and cool (in a not-hot sense) is the community pool. Sunny loves going there . . . and loves it even more when she’s offered a job at the snack shack. Soon she’s flinging fries and serving soft ice-cream like a pro . . . with the assistance of the very sweet boy who works with her.

Sunny’s mom isn’t sure Sunny should be quite so independent. But Sunny is definitely sure: Life is best when it’s free swim.

 

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

School is out and Sunny is ready for an epic summer with her friends. Unfortunately, they’re busy or away on vacation, so she’s stuck bored at home babysitting her little brother. Just when Sunny’s summer plans seem lost, she gets her a job helping at the snack bar of a swim club her classmate Tony’s dad owns.

Sunny is growing up so fast! Having her first ever job, starting to really notice romantic relationships around her, and becoming more independent? Sunny has quite the summer ahead of her!

The story takes place in the 70s and I loved all the 70s references. Though the text is minimal, the story is elevated by the fantastic, expressive illustrations. I liked the amicable relationships she forms with Tony and her co-workers. I liked the ending and what it may have implied for future books that I hope there will be more of.

Sunny grew so much in one summer as she took on more responsibilities. Before I knew it, the story was over and far too soon because I was really enjoying it. This was an endearing story I couldn’t put down and read in one sitting.


More by Jennifer Holm & Matthew Holm

Sunny
Sunny Side Up (#1)
Swing It, Sunny (#2)
Sunny Rolls the Dice (#3)

Categories
Bookish Memes Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read If You Love Middle Grade

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but is now run by That Artsy Reader Girl.


Happy Tuesday!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday. I like that we could customize today’s prompt – Books to Read If You Love/Loved X. I chose middle grade because it’s a genre I enjoy reading and one I want to make more time for. There’s always something fun to read.

So if you love Middle Grade or have been looking to venture within, maybe check out some these great titles:

Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston
Ana on the Edge by A. J. Sass
Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron
Muffled by Jennifer Gennari

♦          ♦          ♦

Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, Illustrated by Patricia Castelao
Positively Izzy by Terri Libenson
Thanks A Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas
Unplugged by Gordon Korman

What are some of your favorite middle grade books?


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Bookish Lists Wednesday Wish List

Wednesday Wish List [Middle Grade Edition]

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Happy Wednesday!

For this Wednesday Wish List, I wanted the list to have a theme: middle grade. I love reading middle grade and try to read it as much as I do any other genre. They’re always so fun, wholesome, heartfelt, and real.

So this Wednesday, I’m wishing for:

Starfish by Lisa Fipps

Image via Goodreads

Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules–like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.” And she’s found her safe space–her swimming pool–where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life–by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.

 

Maya and the Return of the Godlings by Rena Barron

Image via Goodreads

*minor book 1 spoilers*

The threat from The Dark is far from over. Twelve-year-old Maya knows this. After crossing the veil between the two worlds, saving her father, and narrowly escaping the sinister clutches of the Lord of Shadows, tensions between the human world and The Dark are higher than ever. And even worse, Maya’s orisha powers as a godling are out of control.

Now a guardian in training, Maya spends her days patching up veils with her father and cleaning up near-disasters like baby wormholes that her erratic powers create. But when Maya and her friends discover that something went terribly wrong during their journey to bring her father back to the human world, they are forced to return to The Dark and restore what they left behind, the one thing keeping the veil from falling: her father’s soul.

The Lord of Shadows is mobilizing his forces for an all-out war against the human world. And this time, Maya and her friends will need all the help they can get. Even if that means teaming up with their greatest enemies, the darkbringers.

 

Unsettled by Reem Faruqi

Image via Goodreads

From Pakistan to Peachtree City—Nurah’s stirring story of finding your place.

When Nurah’s family moves from Karachi, Pakistan, to Peachtree City, Georgia, all she really wants is to blend in, but she stands out for all the wrong reasons. Nurah’s accent, floral-print kurtas, and tea-colored skin make her feel excluded, and she’s left to eat lunch alone under the stairwell, until she meets Stahr at swimming tryouts. Stahr covers her body when in the water, just like Nurah, but for very different reasons.

But in the water Nurah doesn’t want to blend in: She wants to stand out. She wants to win medals like her star athlete brother, Owais—who is going through struggles of his own in America—yet when sibling rivalry gets in the way, she makes a split-second decision of betrayal that changes their fates.

As Nurah slowly begins to sprout wings in the form of strong swimming arms, she gradually gains the courage to stand up to bullies, fight for what she believes in, and find her place.

 

The Elephant in the Room by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Image via Goodreads

It’s been almost a year since Sila’s mother traveled halfway around the world to Turkey, hoping to secure the immigration paperwork that would allow her to return to her family in the United States.

The long separation is almost impossible for Sila to withstand. But things change when Sila accompanies her father (who is a mechanic) outside their Oregon town to fix a truck. There, behind an enormous stone wall, she meets a grandfatherly man who only months before won the state lottery. Their new alliance leads to the rescue of a circus elephant named Veda, and then to a friendship with an unusual boy named Mateo, proving that comfort and hope come in the most unlikely of places.

 

The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag

Image via Goodreads

In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.

When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help — as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.


Do you read middle grade? Do you have a favorite middle grade book or is there one you really want to read?


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Bookish Memes Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – August 25, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.


Happy Wednesday!

Today, I’m spotlighting a 2022 book release and debut author, Just Right Jillian by Nicole D. Collier.

I already feel connected to the story and the main character, so this is a must-read, anticipated book for me.

Image via Goodreads

Just Right Jillian is set to be published February 2, 2022.

ABOUT: Fifth-grader Jillian will do just about anything to blend in, including staying quiet even when she has the right answer. After she loses a classroom competition because she won’t speak up, she sets her mind on winning her school’s biggest competition. But breaking out of her shell is easier said than done, and Jillian has only a month to keep her promise to her grandmother and prove to herself that she can speak up and show everyone her true self.

A warm and relatable middle-grade debut novel about family, friendship, and finding the confidence to break free from the crowd and be who you truly are.


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Bookish Memes Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – August 4, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.


Happy Wednesday, Bookworms!

I need more Narwhal and Jelly in my life! I can’t wait to be reunited with them in Narwhal’s School of Awesome by Ben Clanton.

Look how awesome the cover is for book 6! This is definitely my favorite of the series. As always, the premise is super cute and I’m eager to read what awesome knowledge Narwhal has to share with the world. He is such an adorable character and incredibly sweet. Jelly is very pragmatic and a good friend, and I love him to bits. I’m sure they both will make great teachers!

Narwhal’s School of Awesome is set to be published September 7, 2021.

Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: Narwhal and Jelly become the coolest teachers in the world wide waters in the hilarious sixth book of this blockbuster graphic novel series!

Dive into four new stories about Narwhal and Jelly becoming substitute teachers! The two best friends come across an enthusiastic school of fish one morning. Unfortunately, Mr. Blowfish, their teacher, has come down with a cold, and class will have to be cancelled . . . until Professor Knowell (Narwhal) and Super Teacher (Jelly) volunteer to help out! The first subject is Wafflematics, in which Narwhal and Jelly calculate the number of waffles needed to feed the class. That’s what we’re chalking about! Next up is a super-fun science scavenger hunt, followed by a game of Tag! You’re Awesome! at recess. Narwhal’s teaching methods may be unconventional, but with Jelly’s help, the two teach (and learn) with their trademark positivity and humor. Before they know it, the day is over . . . but what grade will Narwhal receive from Jelly?


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Truly Tyler by Terri Libenson

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Series: Emmie & Friends #5
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Cliques. Crushes. Comics. Middle school.

Ever since Tyler started getting into art and hanging out with Emmie, his friends and teammates have been giving him a hard time. He wonders why can’t he nerd out on drawing and play ball?

Emmie is psyched that she gets to work on a comics project with her crush, Tyler. But she gets the feeling that his friends don’t think she’s cool enough. Maybe it’s time for a total reinvention. . . .

 

My Review: Truly Tyler was everything I hoped it would be. One of my most anticipated 2021 releases, I was very excited to read this next installment in the Emmie & Friends series. Tyler’s book was an absolute joy to read!

Truly Tyler continues the storylines from book 1, Invisible Emmie, and the new social dynamics Emmie and Tyler now find themselves in. Tyler is torn between his two passions, art and basketball. Meanwhile, the teasing both he and Emmie have been getting causes Emmie to not feel popular/cool enough and way out of Tyler’s league. The two then struggle with working together on their comic book project as well as the straining relationships with their friend groups.

This story was really absorbing. It’s way longer than all the other books but Libenson makes every page count with her engaging art style. She always creates a fun atmosphere to enjoy her stories within. The straightforward plot is woven together with timeless, relatable themes that throw you back to those awkward middle school days. Wanting to be yourself but at the same time fit in and be liked.

Tyler is a great main character. I liked learning about him as more than Emmie’s secret crush. I connected with Tyler feeling divided over having multiple interests and feeling pressed to decide on one thing to define who you are. Although Emmie is still that same insecure, awkward turtle from book 1, she grows even more so in this book. I liked how she comes into her own as a much stronger version of herself.

Truly Tyler was another excellent addition to the Emmie & Friends series. It was honest, delightful, and very entertaining. Libenson is a talented storyteller and illustrated. I hope there will be more books in the future!


More by Terri Libenson

Emmie & Friends
Invisible Emmie (#1)
Positively Izzy (#2)
Just Jaime (#3)
Becoming Brianna (#4)