Review: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

magic-bitterMagic Bitter, Magic Sweet
Charlie N. Holmberg
47 North

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Maire arrives in Carmine without any memory of how she got there. A kind couple take her in and she spends her days baking sweets infused with love, hope, or strength. That is Maire’s gift: she can impart these things through her cakes. She has a good life, one which she may yet share with Cleric Tuck. But before she can find out what an ordinary life in Carmine might hold for her, she meets a ghostly form from her past, a winged man named Fyel, who desperately wants her to remember who she is.

Before she can pursue her lost memories, marauders tear through her home, capturing … Continue reading

Review: The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng

year of the bookThe Year of the Book
Andrea Cheng
HMH Books for Young Readers

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When a social shift at school leaves Anna without her best friend, she turns to books for companionship. When she feels pressure in Chinese class because she doesn’t know as much as the other kids, books are her refuge. But as the people in Anna’s life begin to experience troubles of their own, she learns that sometimes, just like the heroes in her stories, she must step out into the unknown and offer help. Sometimes, Anna learns, this is precisely what makes for the best friendships.

Anna charmed me from the first page. I loved the descriptions of the stories she read, and though … Continue reading

Review: Gifted by H A Swain

Gifted BannerGifted CoverGifted
H. A. Swain
Feiwel & Friends

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Summary From Goodreads

In Orpheus Chanson’s world, geniuses and prodigies are no longer born or honed through hard work. Instead, procedures to induce Acquired Savant Abilities (ASAs) are now purchased by the privileged. And Orpheus’s father holds the copyright to the ASA procedure.

Zimri Robinson, a natural musical prodigy, is a “plebe”–a worker at the enormous warehouse that supplies an on-line marketplace that has supplanted all commerce. Her grueling schedule and her grandmother’s illness can’t keep her from making music–even if it is illegal.

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Review: A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund

A Daring Sacrifice by Jody HedlundA Daring Sacrifice
Jody Hedlund
Zondervan

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The mysterious Cloaked Bandit lives in the forest of Wessex, robbing its nobility to feed peasants displaced when the current Lord usurped the lands. Now he combs the forest seeking the identity of the Bandit, unaware that in fact, she is the rightful heir to Wessex.

When the Cloaked Bandit robs a neighboring noble, Lord Collin recognizes the girl as his childhood friend. Concerned for her safety, he convinces her to stay a week in his home, far away from Lord Wessex’s soldiers. As he learns the terrible truths that led to Juliana’s impoverished circumstances, he vows to do something to help her. Her compassion for … Continue reading

Review: There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane

There Once Were Stars CoverThere Once Were Stars
Melanie McFarlane
Month 9 Books

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Peace. Love. Order. Dome.

Those are the rules Natalia must live by under the protective dome. Radiation and violent infected will kill anyone who ventures outside. Then Nat spots the impossible through the curved surface of the dome: survivors on the outside. When soldiers seize one of the men, Nat wrestles with conflicting desires. Should she find him and learn more about the world outside or keep her head down as her grandmother always admonishes her? When the outsider shares an impossible gift with Nat—a picture of her that her parents carried on their last mission outside the dome—she begins … Continue reading

Review: The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker

the-choosingThe Choosing
Rachelle Dekker
Tyndale

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Seventeen year-old Carrington Hale is at the top of her class, a sure pick for some lucky man on her day of Choosing. Only, no one chooses her. Devastated and forced to leave her family behind, Carrington joins the masses of other unworthy, unchosen girls to serve as Lints, laborers whose only value lies in completing the menial tasks assigned to them.

Authorities are troubled by the murder of several Lint workers. The brutal killer must be stopped before he undermines the Authority of the Law and upsets the people. To reassure the people, when widowed leader Isaac makes the unorthodox request to choose a second bride, the ruling leaders ask him to choose … Continue reading

Review: Machinations by Hayley Stone

machinationsMachinations
Hayley Stone
Hydra/Random House

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Rhona remembers dying on the battlefield as Camus held her. When she wakes in a chamber, far from the battlefield, she learns a startling truth: she’s not the original Rhona. She’s a clone.

She races home to a hidden military base where her team of resistance fighters waits for her to lead them against the Machines who’ve chosen to end humanity as a logical solution to establishing world peace. There, she must convince her former allies and the man who first loved Rhona that she’s capable of leading them in a war for humanity’s survival.

I liked that this book paired the elements of a robot/artificial intelligence uprising and the morality/personhood of … Continue reading

Spotlight: Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

The Wolf Road by Beth LewisThe Wolf Road
Beth Lewis
Crown Publishers
Available July 5, 2016

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

One of the books I’m really anticipating this summer is a debut novel called Wolf Road by Beth Lewis. I love books where the protagonist is forced to reevaluate things he or she took for granted as absolute truth. Something about this book reminds me of All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry, which I LOVED. So today, I wanted to share a bit more about this great book as a part of an Irish Banana Blog Tour.

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Review: That’s Not Hay in My Hair by Juliette Turner

thats-not-hayThat’s Not Hay in My Hair
Juliette Turner
Zonderkidz

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Jules finishes fifth grade just in time to move from her tiny New York apartment to a 300 acre ranch in Texas. While her mom overflows with confidence that she and Jules can care for the longhorn cattle, horses, dogs and cats on their own, Jules carries some doubts. Sure enough, zany adventures abound as she and her mom struggle to find their inner cowgirls. Through it all, Jules determines to remain positive. When tragedy strikes, though, she’ll have to reevaluate her feelings for her new Texas life.

Turner really hits her stride in the scenes in which one wacky event follows another. In one, Jules struggles to … Continue reading

Review: I Wish My Teacher Knew by Kyle Schwartz

I Wish My Teacher Knew by Kyle SchwartzI Wish My Teacher Knew
Kyle Schwartz
De Capo Lifelong Books
Available July 12, 2016

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When her Twitter post became a social media sensation, Kyle Schwartz realized that her classroom exercise asking students what they wished she, their teacher, knew about them was something other teachers and students needed in their classrooms. In her book, Schwartz explores what led her to performing the exercise with her class. She explains how it has changed her experience as a teacher. She breaks down her approach to building a community within her classroom and how important that is to supporting a successful learning environment.

The chapters also connect current research about trauma, … Continue reading

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