Review: Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz

isle-of-the-lostIsle of the Lost
Melissa de la Cruz
Disney-Hyperion
Available May 5, 2015

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Mal, the daughter of Maleficent, and her best friend Jay, the son of Jafar, live on the Isle of the Lost, where their villainous parents were banished from the fairytale kingdom of Auradon twenty years ago. Surviving on leftovers shipped in from Auradon and prevented access to magic, the villains scrape by. But all long for the day when the magic returns and they can take revenge on those who imprisoned them. For Mal, that day comes when Carlos, Cruela de Vil’s son, creates an invention that sparks changes in the Isle, and the possibility of escape seems just within reach. Oh, also the … Continue reading

Monthly Wrap-Up: October 2016

oct16monthly-wrapupFall is flying by! In Central FL, it’s finally cool enough to walk to your car without breaking a sweat. I’m gearing up to go to YALLFEST in Charleston next month, so I’m super excited about that. I’m sure I’ll be tweeting and will write up a post about my experience there afterward. If you’re going to be there, leave me a comment! I’d love to meet up.

This month, I received a few more books in the mail. Actually, I’m kind of cheating here, because I received Every Exquisite Thing and The Secret of Goldenrod a couple of months ago and somehow they never made it into my calendar of books for review. So I’m including them here. The other two I … Continue reading

Review: The Friendship Experiment by Erin Teagan

friendship-experimentThe Friendship Experiment
Erin Teagan
HMH Books for Young Readers
Available November 1, 2016

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Middle school isn’t at all what Maddie hoped it would be. Not when her best friend has changed schools. Not without the calm, sure presence of her grandfather. If only friendships were as simple, as reliable as science. Though she finds herself surrounded by new potential friends, Maddie can’t help but think about all the reasons those students are wrong or annoying. To cope with her losses, she writes Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in her journal. When Maddie’s new would-be friends read some of the SOPs that features how to escape them, they feel hurt and betrayed. Maddie realizes that pushing people … Continue reading

Review: The Goblin Crown by Robert Hewitt Wolfe

goblin-crownThe Goblin Crown
Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Turner Publishing
Available November 15, 2016

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A strange force drags Billy, Lexi and Kurt to the land of goblins, where prophecy claims a goblin king will come in the hour of goblins’ greatest need. Hop, a timid soldier in the goblin army, knows there can be no greater hour of need than right now. The ruthless General Sawtooth plans to lead what remains of the goblin army into battle against a foe that cannot be defeated. He will only bring them death. So when the goblin crown pulses with the glow that announces the king’s arrival, Hop is determined to find him and see him crowned, even if he has … Continue reading

Review: Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamilloFlora and Ulysses
Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press

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When Flora saves a squirrel from a powerful vacuum cleaner, she discovers that he has super powers. She names him Ulysses and brings him home to teach him what it means to be a hero, and she watches and waits for his true superpowers to emerge. Ulysses’ powers do emerge: a deep love for Flora and the gift of poetry. Her desire to protect him and his power to communicate changes Flora’s life in unexpected ways.

My family and I listened to this as an audiobook on our vacation. I loved the comics that Flora reads and how they were a bond between her and her dad. Ulysses … Continue reading

Review: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

one-and-only-ivanThe One and Only Ivan
Katherine Applegate
HarperCollins

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Ivan has a small life within the glass walls of his domain in the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. He watches TV and spends time with Bob, a stray dog, and Stella, an elephant. He makes art using crayons and paper given to him by his owner, Mack. He doesn’t think of his early life or his far away home in the jungle. And then Ruby, a baby elephant comes to the Big Top Mall, and everything changes. The mall is the wrong place for Ruby, and it’s up to Ivan to make everyone see that. He must find a way to show the humans where he and Ruby … Continue reading

Review: Irena’s Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo

Irena's Children by Tilar J. MazzeoIrena’s Children: Young Readers Edition
Tilar J Mazzeo
Translated by Mary Cronk Farrell
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Available September 27, 2016

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During World War II, Irena Sendler worked with an underground network to rescue 2,500 Jewish children from Nazi occupied Poland. Her unwavering commitment to human rights began long before the war, and endured through her own incarceration and torture. She worked tirelessly to save as many as she could, and through it all insisted that she was not a hero. She’d only done what any ordinary human would do.

Though it’s nonfiction, I could not put this book down. I was so captured by the life of this incredible woman … Continue reading

Review: The Doorway and the Deep by K E Ormsbee

The Doorway and the Deep by K E OrmsbeeThe Doorway and the Deep
K. E. Ormsbee
Chronicle Books
Available October 4, 2016

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Lottie struggles to learn how to use her gift of healing so she can save her best friend Eliot. She must hurry, because the longer Eliot stays in the land of Limn, the sicker he’ll become. When her hosts in the South make a bargain with the elusive Rebel Gem of the Northerly Kingdom, Lottie and her friends must travel north instead of returning Eliot home. A treacherous king’s servant, a powerful shape-shifter named Iolanthe pursues them, sending assassins after Lottie. To protect her, Lottie’s companions must make a dangerous journey to find the … Continue reading

Review: Pax by Sarah Pennypacker

Pax by Sarah PennypackerPax
Sara Pennypacker
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Balzer + Bray

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From Goodreads

Pax was only a kit when his family was killed, and “his boy” Peter rescued him from abandonment and certain death. Now the war front approaches, and when Peter’s father enlists, Peter has to move in with his grandpa. Far worse than being forced to leave home is the fact that Pax can’t go. Peter listens to his stern father—as he usually does—and throws Pax’s favorite toy soldier into the woods. When the fox runs to retrieve it, Peter and his dad get back in the car and leave him there—alone. But before Peter makes it through even … Continue reading

Review: Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder

Be Light Like a Bird by Monika SchröderBe Light Like a Bird
Monika Schröder
Capstone Young Readers

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After Wren’s father unexpectedly dies, her mother rips her away from her only home. Move after move takes Wren further and further across the country, and Wren can’t help but wonder what her mom is running from. Then Wren finds a beautiful pond to secret herself away to watch birds the way she and her father used to do. When Wren discovers the local landfill owner plans to demolish her sacred place, Wren vows to stop him.

The birdwatching elements felt very natural to me. I’m not an experienced birdwatcher by any means, but my daughter and I kept a journal … Continue reading

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