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ARC Book Review: Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown

Thank you to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review.
Save the date!
Mustaches for Maddie is set to be released October 3, 2017.

 

Image via NetGalley | Published by Shadow Mountain Publishing

Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Book Summary (via Goodreads):

Maddie is a normal twelve-year-old girl. Well, except for the fake mustaches she carries in her pocket. She likes to make people laugh and slapping on a mustache, especially a fuzzy pink or neon green one, always gets a smile. Maddie hopes that the class queen, Cassie, will find her mustaches as funny as she does and want to play with her at recess. She’s been self-conscious lately because her right arm only feels normal when it’s curled against her chest and she’s constantly tripping over her feet. But that’s probably just part of growing up and not something weird, right?

When Maddie’s arm continues to bother her, her parents take her to a doctor who gives them a shocking diagnosis: the cause of the abnormal behavior of her limbs is a brain tumor and she must have surgery to remove it. She’s understandably afraid as he describes the procedure, but knows she must find a way to be brave and must face her fears–all of them–at the hospital, at home and at school.

She will need all of her courage not only to face her illness, but also to face Cassie at school. Both Cassie and Maddie are auditioning for the same role in the school play, but when Cassie accuses Maddie of lying about her tumor in order to get attention, Cassie’s bossiness turns into bullying.

And as Maddie’s surgery approaches, she begins to worry more and more about the outcome. What if something goes wrong? What if the doctors don’t get all the tumor out of her brain? What will happen to her family? What will happen to her?

It will take all of Maddie’s vibrant imagination, a lot of kindness-both given and received-and of course, the perfect mustache to overcome the tough stuff ahead of her.

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My Review:
Mustaches for Maddie is everything: charming, imaginative, funny, beautiful, heartwarming. Based on a true story about the authors’ daughter, Maddie, this novel will give you strength in your darkest times and prove that mustaches make everything better and funnier.

I loved this novel from the start. Maddie is innocent, bright, kind, and has a wild imagination. She wants to be friends with everyone and make people happy, even the most popular girl in her grade who’s not exactly the friendliest. When it’s discovered that Maddie has a brain tumor, she struggles to find strength to overcome this scary monster. It may take more than mustaches to pull through.

Maddie’s voice is clear, distinct, and her personality shines through every line. Her active imagination colors every word and phrase, making the reading experience extremely enjoyable. Her perspective on life made me think about my own, especially when I was her age. I felt included in her world. Maddie is a sweet, admirable individual who anyone would feel lucky to have as a friend.

This story is the perfect middle grade novel that should be included in school curriculum. Not to over-analyze but to teach kids how we should treat each other and to understand that everyone has struggles we may be too afraid to face on our own. And, of course, that mustaches are awesome. I like that there are discussion questions included at the end to help extend and guide the important discussions this novel brings up.

Mustaches for Maddie gets a golden mustache from me. Loved it and need to add this to my bookshelf. One of the best books of 2017 so far, one of my favorite books of 2017 and of all time, and my favorite middle grade novel. This novel is a must-read.


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Double Book Release Day!!!

HAPPY BOOK RELEASE DAY! to two wonderful new books:

A Pattern for Pepper by Julie Kraulis and All Things New by Lauren Miller


Thank you again to NetGalley, Tundra Books, and Three Saints Press for providing me with e-ARCs to read and review.

*title/author links lead to my book review of each book*


Image via NetGalley

A Pattern for Pepper by Julie Kraulis

Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Picture Book
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Book Summary (via NetGalley):
Pepper is getting a dress made for a special occasion. It’s the first dress that has ever been made just for her, and she wants it to be perfect. But what pattern is right for her? Pepper is particular, and nothing works at first. Dotted Swiss? Too plain. Houndstooth? Not enough color. Pinstripe? Too glum. As Pepper learns about each fabric, she finds a reason why it’s just not the one. Will Pepper ever be able to find the perfect pattern? 
Julie Kraulis takes readers on a journey through gorgeous patterns and their origins–from the mountains of Switzerland to the green grass of Scotland–in search of Pepper’s ideal pattern. The incredible illustrations make for a dress, a character and a book that are impossible to forget.


Image via NetGalley

All Things New by Lauren Miller

Publisher: Three Saints Press
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Book Summary (via NetGalley):
From the author of Parallel and Free to Fall comes a novel about how it feels to be broken and what it means to be real.

Seventeen-year-old Jessa Gray has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn’t help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and noticeable scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels.

Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, but her anxiety only gets worse in the wake of the accident.  That is, until she meets Marshall, a boy with a heart defect whose kindness and generous spirit slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.

All Things New is a love story about perception and truth, physical and emotional pain, and the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world.


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ARC Book Review: All Things New by Lauren Miller

Thank you to NetGalley and Three Saints Press for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review. All Things New is set to be released August 1, 2017.

Image via NetGalley | Published by Three Saints Press

Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Book Summary (via NetGalley):
From the author of Parallel and Free to Fall comes a novel about how it feels to be broken and what it means to be real.

Seventeen-year-old Jessa Gray has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn’t help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and noticeable scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels.

Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, but her anxiety only gets worse in the wake of the accident.  That is, until she meets Marshall, a boy with a heart defect whose kindness and generous spirit slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.

All Things New is a love story about perception and truth, physical and emotional pain, and the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
Beautiful, poignant, and honestly portrayed, All Things New is an enchanting story that gives hope for a brighter today and an even brighter tomorrow.

I underestimated how good All Things New would be – it was unbelievably fantastic!

The part before Jessa’s accident was annoying and I’m glad the author left that behind and didn’t physically drag it into the rest of the story. Jessa’s accident was heart-stopping and gave me pause. Afterwards, the story picks up and from then on it’s really difficult to stop reading (but why would you? it’s such a great book!).

What Jessa is going through is unfortunately more common than not. How she thinks, feels, behaves, and perceives things is exactly what someone with panic attacks and anxiety experiences. It’s an honest and raw portrayal of teenage mental health issues and mental health in general. She is a very relatable character even if you haven’t fully experienced all that she has.

I love Marshall – he is the bright spot in Jessa’s darkness, a bright spot we sometimes forget we have or feel we don’t have in our lives. Usually, someone with such a sunny disposition is a little off-putting for me in stories. But not Marshall. I think his heart condition, once he began to understand what it really meant, made him have a different, more positive outlook on life – sort of like Chris from the television show Parks and Recreation. Marshall is a great character. Silly, funny, kind. I’m glad that – although this is a love story – the focus wasn’t squarely on him; that he would be the end-all-fix-all – but on Jessa. And yet, I wish there was more development between Marshall and Jessa.

I am so thankful Lauren Miller wrote this story and that it will be shared with the world as it shares an important message. The story and writing is beautiful. The characters are raw and real. You will feel all the feels. 2017 has been a great year for new books so far and All Things New just made it better!


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2017 Summer Reading List

Currently Reading: Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan (Brotherband Chronicles, book 4)

Currently Reading: Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

(ARC) Blood Guard by Megan Erickson (Mission, book 1)

River of Dreams by Lynn Kurland (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms, book 8)

Dreamer’s Daughter by Lynn Kurland (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms, book 9)

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen, book 2)

Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce (The Circle Reforged, book 3)

(2nd Read) Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (Beka Cooper, book 3)

Scorpion Mountain by John Flanagan (Brotherband Chronicles, book 5)

The Ghostfaces by John Flanagan (Brotherband Chronicles, book 6)

 

♦ Happy First Day of Summer! I hope everyone has a great summer season! ♦

♦ What’s on your summer TBR list? ♦

♦ As always, happy reading and happy writing! ♦


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(NetGalley) Book Review: Waiting for Sophie by Sarah Ellis, Illustrated Carmen Mok

Thank you to NetGalley, Pajama Press, and Myrick Marketing & Media for providing me with an e-copy (of the ARC galley) to read and review.
Waiting for Sophie was recently released April 3, 2017.
I received an e-copy of this book after its initial publication.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Picture Book
Rating: 4/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Quote: “I want to smash it to smithereens and flush it down the toilet.”

 

My Summary:
Liam has been waiting a long time for his baby sister, Sophie, to arrive. He couldn’t be happier when she finally comes home. But in no time he starts to become impatient and wishes she would grow up faster so they can play and do more things together. Can Liam learn the virtue of patience?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
A cute story that teaches children about patience. It’s especially perfect for parents to read to their small (only) child when there’s another on the way.

Carmen Mok does a wonderful job with the illustrations and I love the color palette she chose.

I found myself invested in the story, anticipating how Liam would deal with his disappointment about all the things Sophie can’t do. He has a typical reaction to Sophie and I was pleasantly surprised at how adorably proactive he became.

I think my favorite thing about this book was whenever the word “smithereens” was used – it’s such a quirky, funny-sounding word to include in a children’s book. However, I’m really confused about why the grandmother is called “Nana-Downstairs.” Is it that she lives downstairs in the house? I had a hard time getting past the oddity of her name which felt so out-of-place.

Sarah Ellis has a way with words; I would read more books by her.


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Library Mini Haul! & Slight Change To TBR List

An unexpected thing happened. My local library recently acquired Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley and Once and for All by Sarah Dessen!

I first found these books on NetGalley but one wasn’t available for request and the other I didn’t feel I met the publisher’s approval requirements. Later I saw that my library was ordering a copy of both titles, which made me so so happy that I immediately placed a hold on them. I was thoroughly surprised and didn’t expect them to become available so soon but I’m happy they did. However, this means I’m going to have to adjust my TBR list for the next couple of weeks.

Below lists what I’m currently (still) reading, what I plan to read next, and then what I’ll be reading afterwards.

CURRENTLY READING:

Image via Goodreads

Image via NetGalley | ARC copy

READING NEXT:

Image via NetGalley | ARC copy

Image via Goodreads

READING AFTERWARDS:

Image via Goodreads

Image via Goodreads

Reading 2 books at once is always challenging but reading 6 total in two weeks is certainly bananas! But I’m really excited to read all these books and can’t wait to write reviews for them. My Summer Reading List will be up June 21 – the first day of summer!

To stay up-to-date on all the books I’m reading, you can follow my Goodreads page.

To stay up-to-date on the blog, you can follow me on Twitter @bookshelfcorner.

Have a great day, everyone! And happy reading!

 


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(NetGalley) Book Review: Prophecy Awakened by Tamar Sloan

Thank you to NetGalley, Clean Reads, and Xpresso Book Tours for providing me with an e-copy to read and review.

Prophecy Awakened is a new book recently released April 25, 2017 and is now available in e-book format.

I received an e-copy after its initial publication.

 

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Paranormal Romance
Series: Prime Prophecy Series, book 1
Rating: 4.5/5 (Note: I gave this book 5 stars on NetGalley and Goodreads, which don’t have half rating)
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Passage: “Downstairs the front door opens and closes, and Mitch’s voice skips up the stairs. Stash lets out an excited bark and launches off the bed in a single leap. His jet-propelled body vaults through Noah as if he doesn’t pose a barrier. And he doesn’t, he’s unceremoniously bowled backwards from the bed. Stash streaks from the room without a second glance. Noah is nowhere to be seen.”

 

My Summary:
Eden St. James has never been able to fit in. Anywhere. Shy and self-conscious, and an uncanny ability with animals, she doesn’t expect her life at her new school to be any different. That is, until she makes eye contact with Noah Phelan.

Noah has felt lost for the past two years after his intended path in life mysteriously halts. It seems he can do nothing but continue on toward a partly uncertain future. But what he is sure about is the instant attraction he feels when he meets Eden, diverting his path toward something possibly truly wonderful.

Noah wants to see where this connection leads but Eden is hesitant to take a leap of faith. Can they solve the mystery of their unexpected connection?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
This book was everything and then some – perfect for a paranormal romance-loving, wolf-obsessed, hopeless romantic like myself! One of my new favorite books ever and of 2017.

Tamar Sloan is a talented writer. Her writing is so wonderful, modern, lyrical, flowing and youthful. She puts together interesting and engaging details and descriptions that I can only hope to achieve with my own writings.

Prophecy Awakened has likable characters readers will love getting to know and just the right amount of romance. This story earned extra brownie points before it even began as it involves wolves (my spirit animal). Not to mention the cover is so pretty.

Eden was my favorite character as I could see much of myself in her. She’s brave and smart and quick-witted. But overall, she is a perfect protagonist to help tell this story. I loved the two dogs, Stash and Caesar – they’re so cute and playful and loyal and everything I love about dogs in general. I also liked that though you only get Eden’s and Noah’s POV, Mitch (Noah’s younger twin brother) and Tara (Mitch’s girlfriend) aren’t pushed to the background. You get to know and love them just as much as Eden and Noah.

As much as I loved this story there were still a few things that rankled me a little. There were one too many repeated phrases or similar descriptions of the same thing, most notably the word “heat” and its variant tense-spellings. Also, certain things happened in the story that would warrant an immediate investigation due to the significance, but it seemed like none of the immediate characters wanted to try to find the truth of the matter. It’s almost like they forgot about it or wanted to forget about it entirely. Why? I have no idea.

I like the things the author has done to differentiate her wolves from other books with wolves – for example, the shifting process, the size of the wolves. But it felt like there was some lack of strength of presence, something missing I can’t quite pinpoint. Perhaps it’s just a part of them blending in with the human populace? Perhaps I’m just used to the wild strength I’ve seen in other books involving wolves? But what is undeniable is the lovely sense of community and family you get from them.

Whatever issues I had with the story were far outweighed by my enjoyment of it. I was so engrossed in the story that I was reluctant (and sad) each time I had to put it down to go do something else. I can’t wait for the next book to come out. Prophecy Awakened was awesome to read and is a great YA novel to have on your bookshelf and TBR list.