Friday, May 27, 2022

Review: The Girl and the Glim by India Swift

It's graphic novel time! I haven't been doing as many as these lately as I'd hoped to...too many other good reads to tackle...but when I saw the cover and read the title, I knew this one had to be squeezed in. The surmise rounds it off with a touch of eerie dark vibes, and I wondered if it might slide a bit into the Japanese direction with myths tying into yokai demons.  Add that it's for the middle grade audience, and...well... aren't you curious, too?

This one comes out in just over a week, so you can pick it up yourself soon.



THE GIRL AND THE GLIM
by India Swift
Illustrated by Michael Doig
IDW Publishing
Middle Grade Fantasy / Graphic Novel
128 pages
ages 8 to 12


COMING...
JUNE 7th!!!




An original graphic novel about being the new kid in a different school, getting picked on by the class bullies, and what happens when a magical presence takes notice. Like, can things get any worse?

Starting out at a new school is tough, and Bridgette isn't having much luck, seeing as, well, she's not great at making a first impression. Or, maybe, any impression. Ugh, all these nervous feelings!

Will she fit in? Will she make new friends? Will they still like her once they get to know her better?

Nope. For now the best she can manage is... awkward. This is not going great.

That's when she sees it. Something dark and scary... something only she can see. And she should be scared. But she isn't. Maybe scary things just need friends, too. Maybe The Glim isn't so bad after all.

The Girl and The Glim is about accepting the fact that fear is okay, and that while letting other people see your vulnerabilities can be scary, it can also lead to closer friendships in the end.


GOODREADS  /  AMAZON  /   B&N   /   BOOK DEPOSITORY


MY TIDBITS

The problem of fitting in jolts into high-gear and takes an unexpected twist, sending the tale into fast-paced action and high-tension, which leaves the usual emotional direction twirling in surprise.

Bridgette is extremely nervous about her family's move, since she had to leave her super-close friends behind. She's a bit short for her age and knows that she might have some issues when heading to the new school. An accidental meeting with a guy, who attends the school as well, offers a bit of hope, but this goes down the drain as her fears come true already on the first day of classes. But that suddenly slides into the background when strange creatures pop-up. The first seems kind, but the rest are throwing her into a dangerous world, which only she can see and fight.

I had high expectations, when picking this one up, and with the first pages, I wondered if I'd ruined an otherwise good read by doing that. It does start a bit slow as Bridgette and her parents settle a bit into the house, and the reader learns about her hesitation to go to school. The guy she meets passes by without too much adieu and the first day or so of school also runs with the usual bullying scenes. So, the reader gets a 'normal' grip on Bridgette's life, which felt cliche...but it had to because it created the perfect base to contrast with the rest.

It was a tiny bit confusing when Bridgette suddenly saw dark creatures. I wasn't sure if they were really there or in her scared imagination, but even this fit wonderfully, since her nerves were a flurry from escaping an extreme bullying situation in a neighborhood she didn't know. So, the reader molds right with her confusion, since she can't be sure herself. When she gets home and meets the first little creature, all the rest becomes more clear. There's a sense of cuteness mixed with uncertainty to draw in (who doesn't want a cute little creature with them?) before the dark and high-tension completely takes over.

The illustrations are very well done and accompany the moods of the first scenes with the same sense of normal before going full swing into action pure. When that starts (about 1/3 to 1/2 through book), each and every moment holds the tension high with adventure, one boom to the next. And it manages it without growing redundant or confusing...and even works in more plot, character understanding and message with it.

While all of the battles are going on...and all of it appropriate for the age group, btw...the author and illustrator still inject heart and show how Bridgette protects others without a moments pause for her own safety, and that despite their cruelty. It's a heroine attitude to inspire. Add a last twist at the end to guarantee much more to come, and I'm excited to see where this series goes because it promises to be tons of fun for action and fantasy fans.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Review: Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday by Alysson Foti Bourque with Giveaway!

 Today's read comes from an author I've been following for a few years now from her very first Alycat book onwards. It's exciting to watch a fellow author work their way up with so much success...plus, her character and tales are adorable. She's won more than a few prizes and is extremely hard working. So, when the next book came out, there was no way I was going to pass up on the chance to take a peek.



Join us for this tour from May 23  to June 17, 2022!

ALYCAT AND THE CATTYWAMPUS WEDNESDAY 
by Alysson Foti Bourque
Pelican Publishing
Picture Book
ages 3 to 7






Alycat wakes up to seafood gumbo for breakfast, and even though her house is the first stop for the school bus, the bus is already full when she boards. Alycat’s whole day is turning topsy-turvy. What is happening? Young readers will tag along on Alycat’s adventures during her very “cattywampus” Wednesday and learn that a little help from some friends and a good attitude can make your day!

​The themes of the books in the Alycat Series all reflect a reliance on friendships, imagination, and creativity towards problem solving. The character traits of Alycat and her friends inspire and encourage young readers to find their own special gifts. After enduring a cattywampus world pursuant to an unexpected pandemic, this book will resonate with readers to persevere through the wackiest and toughest of times.


Alycat website
Amazon ~ B&N

Walmart ~ Bookshop

 

MY TIDBITS

Strange events meet with a touch of humor and a cute character's attempt to adapt in a tale, which leaves a smile on the face.

Alycat isn't sure why her mom serves her dinner food for breakfast, but she doesn't have too much time to ask since the school bus is already there and the strangeness continues. Nothing is happening like it should, but rather, everything seems a bit flip-flopped. Alycat has no idea what's happening but decides to go with the flow as best she can until she can figure things out.

These pages twirl a little confusion fun as a usual day's events take odd twists. This alone will have listeners/readers smirking and smiling as well as forming their own opinions as to what might really be going on. It's a usual day in the sense that many listeners/readers with be familiar with the situations...or at least, until these are turned on their head.

Alycat is as energetic and positive as ever. While she is curious and wonders about the situations, there's never a glimpse of negative thoughts or emotions. A bit of hesitation and uncomfortableness is there, but she manages to find her way through. 

While the main flow does stay with the humor and fun at facing the odd situations, there is a gentle, underlying message of staying calm even when things aren't what is to be expected. Alycat never stops wondering at the cause but doesn't act-out, either, until she figures things out. The solution does come and it's simple as well as sweet.

At the end of the book, there's a suggestion for fitting activities as well as a definition of cattywampus. These help to lead to discussions and do make it appropriate in group settings. It works very well as a read-aloud and can be used by more beginning readers, who are pretty sure of their words. 


Meet the Author:

Alysson Foti Bourque is the author of the award-winning Alycat series. Alysson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Juris Doctor degree from the Southern University Law Center.

After practicing law for six years, she traded in writing trial briefs for writing children’s books. Alysson enjoys public speaking opportunities at schools, conferences, and festivals nationwide. She hopes to inspire people of all ages to follow their dreams and believe in themselves wholeheartedly.

AWARDS & HONORS

The Alycat Series has won several prestigious awards including:
Three Mom’s Choice Awards®
Benjamin Franklin Digital Award, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
Best Book Award Finalist
NY Big Book Award
Reviewed by Midwest Book Review
Southern Festival of Books Panelist
Louisiana Book Festival Featured Author

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter   Facebook  ~  Instagram ~ Pinterest
 
Tour Schedule: 
 
May 23 – Working Mommy Journal – book review / giveaway
May 23 - Cover Lover Book Review – book review / giveaway
May 24 - Rockin' Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
May 24 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / guest post / giveaway
May 25 – Chit Chat with Charity – book review / author interview / giveaway
May 25 - Bound 4 Escape – book review / giveaway
May 26 – Bookworm for Kid – book review / giveaway
May 26 - Library Lady's Kid Lit – book review / giveaway
May 27 – A Mama's Corner Of the World – book review / giveaway
May 31 – Baroness' Book Trove – book spotlight / giveaway
May 31 - Splashes of Joy - book review / giveaway
June 1 – Sandra's Book Club – book review / giveaway
June 2 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 3 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
June 6 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
June 7 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
June 7 - The Phantom Paragrapher – book review / giveaway
June 8 – Pause for Tales – book review / giveaway
June 8 - Older & Smarter? – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 9 – Bigreadersite – book review / giveaway
June 9 - Ravenz Reviewz – book review / giveaway
June 10 – Leels Loves Books – book review / giveaway
June 13 – Westveil Publishing – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 14 – 100 Pages A Day – book review / giveaway
June 14 - @twilight_reader – book review / giveaway
June 15 – Fur Everywhere – book review / giveaway
June 15 - Lisa's Reading – book review / giveaway
June 16 – My Reading Getaway – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 17 – Amy's Bookshelf Reviews – book review / giveaway
June 17 - Faith And Books - book review / giveaway
 

Giveaway!!!

Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday Book Tour Giveaway

 


 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Sneak Peek: All-Star Love by Stephanie J. Scott with Giveaway!


ALL-STAR LOVE
by Stephanie J. Scott
A Six Lakes Tennis Academy Novel
YA Contemporary, Romance, Sports








An enemies-to-more fake dating romance set in the world of competitive tennis
Maisie Maxwell planned for a senior year of dazzling college scouts by playing her best tennis. Instead, her beloved tennis training academy is thrown into scandal when the academy founder and head coach, who happens to be her uncle, takes off to Tahiti with the school’s tuition money. Her classmates label her a traitor, but she commits to graduate from the school she loves.

Only her aim to lay low is thwarted by the school’s last-ditch hope to stay open, a new partnership with reality show The Academy.

Also not helping her stay-under-the-radar plan? A wayward forehand shot that nails transfer student Shane Wagner in the face on day one. Shane, obnoxiously gorgeous for starters, is the current number one nationally seeded player in junior boys’ tennis. Oops.

Everyone at school sees Shane as an outsider and fame-seeker. He’s just as much an outcast as Maisie. While reality show producers push for chaos, Shane and Maisie band together with their own idea: pretend to be together and control the narrative.

But the savvy head producer has her own agenda, and it’s not collegiate tennis scholarships. Shane and Maisie need to play hard to save the school before they’re outmatched.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play


SNEAK PEEK

I put all my strength into my next forehand. The ball torpedoed over the net, not even bothering to bounce within the court. Nope, that sucker was headed for the fences. If this was baseball, it’d be time to break out the peanuts and Cracker Jack.

Too bad this wasn’t baseball.

“Ahh!”

A figure in the distance went down, knees to the court. A crowd of students suddenly appeared, gasping and rushing over.

“You hit him!” someone shrieked.

My breath lodged in my throat. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I jogged over, terrified to breathe until I knew my accidental victim was okay.

Caleb directed a dirty scowl at me. “You really are the worst, Maxwell.”

I angled to see the fallen student. “I’m so sorry!”

“Oh, Maisie.” Nia mumbled, now beside me.

“I’m okay,” the guy on the ground said, attempting to stand despite the crowd. His head emerged, sun-bleached brown hair unkempt and curling over a tanned forehead. That perfectly shaggy hair some guys could get away with. He wasn’t a returning student. The face turning toward me could easily belong on a clothing website, the kind with ninety-dollar T-shirts with holes in them for a distressed look. Basically, he was very attractive.

A swath of blood streaked across that very attractive face.

That part was definitely my fault.

Sorry floated across my tongue, but my lips couldn’t form the word under the pressure of so many glaring classmates. Any hope of being an admired senior this year shriveled and burned like a tissue set aflame.

He accepted a clean towel and pressed it to his nose. “I expected I might not be welcome here, but your forehand really confirmed it.”

“Way to go, Maxwell,” Caleb said with a sneer. “You just nailed Shane Wagner in the face.”

Oh. Wait, what? “You’re … you’re—”

“Shane Wagner,” the bloody-faced model boy said through the towel.

Shane Wagner. The Shane Wagner. I just nailed the face of the number one-seeded player in junior boys’ tennis.

And here she is...

Stephanie J. Scott writes young adult and romance about characters who put their passions first. Her debut ALTERATIONS about a fashion-obsessed loner who reinvents herself was a Romance Writers of America RITA® award finalist. She enjoys dance fitness, everything cats, and has a slight obsession with Instagram. A Midwest girl at heart, she resides outside of Chicago with her tech-of-all-trades husband and fuzzy furbabies.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter / Instagram / TikTok / Bookbub


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Happy Book Birthday, Spark of Ash by Molly Lee!

Today's read gives way to a strong heroine and a mission to save life. I did read the first book in the series but skipped over the second, which probably means I'm going to have a few holes when tackling this last book in the series. It should hold quite a bit of action, tons of snark, demons, angels, magic, and...well, romance, I guess. It definitely should be a lot of fun if it's anything like book one was.
 


SPARK OF ASH
Ember of Night, #3
by Molly Lee
Entangled Teen
Young Adult Fantasy
400 pages













The Seven―the Divine beings meant to protect the world―just declared war. On me. They took Ray, my baby sister, and now they’re using my boyfriend to do their dirty work.

Well, screw that.

I may not be able to wipe them off the face of the earth now, but I know what can.

Thanks to an Ather connection, I know about the Seven Scrolls. An ancient incantation made by the Creator to counteract the Seven’s great power, scattered into pieces across the world.

With the help of my new crew, we’re on the hunt. And with each located scroll, I face new battles, bloodier and harder than I’ve ever known before. But now the stakes are even higher, because Ray has always been my bright light in the darkness, and Draven is my hope when all seems lost, and if I don’t get them back?

Well, then I might just become the scariest legend the world has ever known.


GOODREADS  /   AMAZON   /   BOOK DEPOSITORY    /   B&N


MY TIDBITS

This book takes off where book two left off. While I did read book one of the series, I didn't read the second one, and that did cause more than a few holes when I picked up book three. So, these do need to be read in order.

Harley is just enjoying a few days calm with her soul mate, when he's suddenly pulled away by the Seven. With his memories removed, he kidnaps her younger sister to train her as a seer to serve the most powerful of the Seven. Harley is given a chance to save her sister, but must find the seven scrolls and give them to head of the Seven. But Harley has already accepted her destiny, unleashing not only her own unknown powers, but reviving her father's, the Devil's as well. Together with her friends, she mush find a way to stop the Seven, figure out if she can trust her father, and discover what her place in destiny truly is.

This is a quick-paced and easy read, which has something happening on every page. There is action, fight scenes, secrets, betrayal, family issues, romance, and much more. Harley is a no-nonsense character with amazing powers, who has grown into her position and is ready to take anyone on...even if it means she'll die trying. She protects those she loves fiercely and is holds life of anyone and anything dearly. She's a character to root for...may not have tons of depth, but she doesn't need it.

Romance is present but only in the beginning and grows again toward the end. This leaves Harley more than enough space to tackle the evil and learn to find her own place in things. So, action fans will enjoy this one as well as those who like a golden-romance, which by no means overpowers the tale. 

Friendship is golden as is family. Despite Harley's immense powers, she can't go it alone and does incorporate the help of those around her. The relationships are inspiring and make the entire time fun to follow. But then, there is always a wonderful back and forth in the dialogue to keep humor and snark as high as the action and tension. Even when a couple holes appear in the plot or something comes across as a bit to easily solved, the read is simply enjoyable and entertaining. And that's more than enough.


Monday, May 23, 2022

Review: The Adventures of Rumi and Bixby Bear by J.R. Rothstein

Today's read isn't a new or up-coming release, but rather one which has already been enjoyed by many a reader. Circling around friendship, this is the imaginative tale of a girl and her teddy bear as she travels to amazing places and the things she discovers. Doesn't that sound promising? (I thought so.) Plus, the artwork on the front cover drew me in with its sense of dreams and artistic flair. 

In other words, it's time to head off into adventure! 


THE ADVENTURES OF RUMI AND BIXBY BEAR
by J.R. Rothstein
Illustrated by Nasim Jenabi
Redstone Publishing 
Picture Book
ages 4 to 8


The Adventures of Rumi and Bixby Bear is a fun and contemplative story about a child in search of friendship. With her friend, Bixby Bear, at her side, Rumi undertakes a great journey and discovers depth and wisdom within herself.

GOODREADS    /     AMAZON    /   BOOK DEPOSITORY    /   B&N


MY TIDBITS

With a heart-felt tone and the longing of a child to understand more, these pages glide on a deeper discovery of friendship, the world around us, and the direction of life.

Rumi is hesitant to go to school, afraid that the other children might tease her, but when she gets there, she opens up with questions for her teacher, ones he can't completely answer. At home, her grandfather  gives her words of advice, and although loving, she's not sure she understands them, either. So, with her imaginative friend, she goes on a dreamful journey to discover what answers she can find.

This book is based on the poetry of the famous Persian poet, Rumi, and weaves into a tale about a young girl. That said, this tale follows along a deeper type of journey and incorporates more than a little food for thought. Younger audiences will have difficulty grasping what's going on, but slightly more mature readers (6+) will be able to pick up some of the meanings, and if nothing else, find a string to lead into discussions. The text is also more geared to this age group, due not only to the larger amount of words on each page (which do work well as a read-aloud) but the vocabulary also leans in this direction.

Bright illustrations break up the deeper flow of the words and help sink into the situations. When Rumi's imaginative journey begins later on, these balance with the text to create the experiences and moments, which broaden Rumi's horizons. It makes it clear what is happening and gives the listeners focus while the words flow by.

Love, warmth, hope, and exploration ring high on every page. While there are whimsical tones, these are light, but they are enough to keep the meaningful words from weighing down too much. I believe that the adults reading this one to the kids will have even more to think about than the listeners and, obviously, have a better grasp as to what's going on. But this is definitely a lovely way to introduce young listeners to this more poetic and meaning-of-life thought process and words. 



More about the book...

The Adventures of Rumi and Bixby Bear is a contemplative and educational picture book that takes the poetry of Rumi, the famous Persian poet, and turns it into a book on friendship and self-development that children and parents can understand. The story is a journey of discovering wisdom and depth within oneself that even adult readers would love. I have also developed a curriculum for teachers and parents to encourage conversations and discussions with children about the book (which includes games and coloring books). More details can be found on our website: http://www.rumiandbixbybear.com/

Here are also some thoughts from the Huffington Post:  https://thriveglobal.com/stories/1940902/