Book Reviews

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

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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.


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

Book/Library Hauls

October Book Haul!

Different colored, illustrated pumpkins outline the image that says October Book Haul.
October Book Haul!

Happy Sunday!

Have you bought or received any new books recently?

October was a good bookish month for me. I found several free kindle ebooks on Amazon, I was pleasantly surprised to have won two giveaways, and I attended a book fair. What’s also exciting about this haul is that all of the books are by new-to-me authors.

The books I’m most looking forward to reading are Class Act, Turning, and Wildfire Griffin. Probably not this year but hopefully next year I can set aside a month to binge read some of the unread books on my Kindle because I have WAY too many and it’s easy for me to forget them. That’s the bookish life!

Here are the new additions to my bookshelves:

IG @thebookshelfcorner


Scholastic Book Fair

Class Act by Jerry Craft

Love Like Sky by Leslie C. Youngblood

Sunny Makes A Splash by Jennifer L. Holm


Goodreads Giveaway Wins

The Girl of Magic and Dreams by Charity Tober

Turning by Joy L. Smith


Image via Goodreads

Free Kindle Reads

Alien Lord’s Captive by Mina Carter

Before Dawn by Suzanne Halliday

Falling for Zeke by Sara Blackard

Meant to Be by Melody Grace

Seaside Summers Box Set (books 1-3) by Melissa Foster

Wait for Me by J.H. Croix

Wildfire Griffin by Zoe Chant

As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Book Reviews

Book Review: “Sunny Rolls The Dice” by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm, Watercolor by Lark Pien

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Series: Sunny #3
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


ABOUT: Too cool for school . . . or the least groovy girl in the grade?

Sunny’s just made it to middle school . . . and it’s making her life very confusing. All her best friend Deb wants to talk about is fashion, boys, makeup, boys, and being cool. Sunny’s not against any of these things, but she also doesn’t understand why suddenly everything revolves around them. She’s much more comfortable when she’s in her basement, playing Dungeons & Dragons with a bunch of new friends. Because when you’re sword fighting and spider-slaying, it’s hard to worry about whether you look cool or not. Especially when it’s your turn to roll the 20-sided die.

Trying hard to be cool can make you feel really uncool . . .


My Review:
Now this is what I have been waiting to read in this series: the middle school / middle grade aspect of Sunny’s life. She’s such a cute character that I really wanted to know more about her life in late 70s Pennsylvania. You definitely get a better sense of the kind of person Sunny is – she’s a pretty cool person.

Sunny faces two conflicts: growing up and staying true to herself. Sunny is who she is but she’s concerned that who she is and what she likes is not the way to go. Everyone young and old can relate to this universal internal conflict and peer pressure.

I liked seeing Sunny play Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve never played the game but learning about it was fun. It seems like a fun game to play.

Again I’m in love with the art and the cultural references. Sunny Rolls The Dice was definitely a step in the right direction. I hope there are more books about Sunny in the future.This is a great middle grade series and graphic novel.


More Sunny series:
Sunny Side Up – book 1
Swing It, Sunny – book 2

Book Reviews

Book Review: “Swing It, Sunny” by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm, Watercolor by Lark Pien

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Series: Sunny #2
Rating: 3 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


ABOUT: Summer’s over and it’s time for Sunny Lewin to enter the strange and unfriendly hallways of . . . middle school. When her Gramps calls her from Florida to ask how she’s doing, she always tells him she’s fine. But the truth? Sunny is NOT having the best time.

Not only is the whole middle school thing confusing . . . but life at home is confusing, too. Sunny misses her brother Dale, who’s been sent to boarding school. But when Dale comes back, she STILL misses him . . . because he’s changed.

Luckily Sunny’s got her best friend and a mysterious new neighbor on her side . . . because she is NOT going let all this confusion get her down. Instead, she’s going to remain Sunny-side up!


My Review:
Book 2 felt more like an impasse. Not much happened, very little action. You basically follow Sunny’s emotional journey as she tries to understand her brother’s drug problem and how it’s changed him. There’s little within the story that has to do with Sunny’s first year of middle school, which I was interested in also seeing more of.

As before, I liked the art and how certain scenes were conveyed. I think book 2 is meant to set up something bigger to happen in book 3. While I didn’t like this book as much as I did the first book I do plan to read book 3.

Books of the Month

[September 2019] Book of the Month: “The Will of the Empress” by Tamora Pierce

Image via Goodreads

Title: The Will of the Empress
Author: Tamora Pierce
Series: The Circle Reforged, book 1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic
Recommended?: Yes

Goodreads Summary: For years the Empress of Namorn has pressed her young cousin, Lady Sandrilene fa Toren, to visit her vast lands within the Empire’s borders. Sandry has avoided the invitation for as long as it was possible. Now, listening to her guilty conscience, Sandry has agreed to pay that overdue visit.

Sandry’s uncle promises guards to accompany her. But they’re hardly a group of warriors! They’re her old friends from Winding Circle: Daja, Tris, and Briar. Sandry hardly knows them now. They’ve grown up and grown apart. Sandry isn’t sure they’ll ever find their old connection again – or if she even wants them to.

When they arrive at the palace, it slowly dawns on Sandry why the Empress has really brought her to Namorn. She’s set a cunning trap to keep Sandry in the brutal Empire forever, a simpering lady in her cousin’s court and the miserable wife of a noble.

The Empress has wily and powerful mages on her side. But so, of course, does Sandry…if she can get them to work together.

Book/Library Hauls

Scholastic Book Fair Mini Haul

I attended a Scholastic Book Fair and brought home a few goodies. There were so many fantastic things that it was difficult not to buy more. I haven’t been to a book fair in a very long time so this was one of the biggest things that I was looking forward to this month.

Here’s what I got:


Crock Pot recipe book for my Mom (which I don’t have a picture of)

Two very adorable bookmarks


A Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4 Journal


Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

Summary (via Goodreads): Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.


and…..Positively Izzy by Terri Libenson

Summary (via Goodreads): . . . Middle school is all about labels.

Izzy is the dreamer. There’s nothing Izzy loves more than acting in skits and making up funny stories. The downside? She can never quite focus enough to get her schoolwork done.

Bri is the brain. But she wants people to see there’s more to her than just a report card full of As. At the same time, she wishes her mom would accept her the way she is and stop bugging her to “break out of her shell” and join drama club.

The girls’ lives converge in unexpected ways on the day of a school talent show, which turns out to be even more dramatic than either Bri or Izzy could have imagined.