Thursday, June 30, 2022

What's Coming in August?

Ah, it's already August! School starts up again this month, which means getting up early. Oh well. I do enjoy all times of year, so I'm not really complaining.

When I set up this post, I was surprised at what the month will hold. I'm usually pretty busy and don't necessarily pay a ton of attention to which books I'm building up on my TBR list. Oh, I do only accept the ones I think I'll enjoy reading, but I tend to have the memory of a sieve. It appears I have tons of girl-power, especially during the first half of the month. I also have more non-fiction for ages 4 to 12 than usual...which is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. I know SO many kids who prefer non-fiction over fiction.

Anyway, take a peek and remember, this is only a glimpse at the goodness to come. I don't even have all of my 'most anticipated' on here, since I try to keep a pretty even balance of genres and audience levels. Nothing better than a huge range of possibilities!

So, off we go! 


EPIC MYTHS FOR FEARLESS GIRLS

Revisiting fifteen myths from around the world, this one promises inspiration for young girls. Plus, the illustrations are suppose to be amazing! I can't wait to take a peek into this one and, hopefully, even learn about a few myths I hadn't heard before. Check it out with me on the 2nd.

Middle Grade Myths and Fairytales

DANCE STANCE

With advice from a professional ballerina, young readers can learn the basics of ballet. Not only does it promise lots of fun with a pinch of humor and insight, but there's a cute kitty accompanying every step, too. I was curious to see how this one is done...and I know so many little girls, who would love to learn ballet. Find out more with me on the 3rd.

Children's Non-Fiction



1-2-3-4 I DECLARE A THUMB WAR

This is the first in a brand new, five-book series. Yep, I'm actually starting a series at the beginning! This one promises chills, thrills, haunting tales, school drama and tons of fun with five characters. I'm thinking it'd be the perfect read for Halloween (a wee-bit early, but that's fine). Check it out with me on the 8th.

Middle Grade Paranormal




AT MIDNIGHT: 15 BELOVED FAIRY TALES REIMAGINED

Since I have fifteen myths above, why not grab fifteen fairytales, too? I believe these hang closer to the original ones and aren't really retellings but simply revisited with a more modern audience in mind...and a slightly older one, too. There should be lovely illustrations in this one...maybe? I won't know until the 14th.

Young Adult Myths and Fairytales
ANTOINETTE AND THE STORY OF THE INVISIBLE GIRAFFES

The youngest readers should never be forgotten, and this book is for them. Who wouldn't love an invisible giraffe following them around? I have a feeling this one is going to pack more than a couple smiles, but find out with me on the 16th.

Board Book 
SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL

Friendship and cute animals come together in these pages, and that is sure to guarantee cuteness over-flow. The illustrator has already produced a few lovely reads, so I'm thinking that this one will be a treat as well. Find out with me on the 18th.

Picture Book

THE KITCHEN PANTRY SCIENTIST MATH FOR KIDS

Since COVID, I've become a thrilled-homeschooling mom. So, books like these definitely catch my interest...even though mine is past this stage. With games and activities, this one also dives into a bit of the history of great mathematicians. I'm looking forward to seeing the fun in this one. Join me on the 21st to find out more.

Children's Non-Fiction
BEWARE THE BURMESE PYTHONS

I know so many kids, who love learning about the darker side of the animal kingdom, and this one takes a look at some of the biggest pests—dangerous and not. Concentrating on the problem of invasive species, this book takes a look at the problems caused as well. I'm hoping it's well done because it could be a gem in the homeschooling realm then, too. I'm diving in on the 24th.

Children's Non-Fiction


MONEYLAND

It's science fiction time! I found this one a bit original—twelve teens are given $12 million each, and sent to live in a biodome built over an abandoned suburb for 12 months with only starting snacks and their cash (which is useless until they leave). I'm expecting a bit of the Hunger Games vibe. Kind of? We'll find out on the 27th.

Young Adult Science Fiction


























What's Coming in July?

 Enjoying the sun and having fun? We're definitely keeping busy here. I have all sorts of goodness on the reading end the next weeks, including Young Explorers Natural Journal, which inspires all sorts of outdoor adventures for kids, but the cover is quite available yet, so although I wanted to include it below, I couldn't (told you the publishing world is tricky). 

As usual, I try to keep a pretty broad spectrum of reads and have everything from paranormal to science fiction to contemporary to humor as well as nonfiction and more scheduled. It's going to be a pretty even balance between the age groups, too. So, keep an eye out and see if any of these might hit the summer reading list in your household, too.


GROUNDED FOR ALL ETERNITY

The title made me smile, but I didn't realize how literal it is until I read the blurb. This one hits a group of teens from Underworld, who venture out and make their way through 'our' world. I'm thinking it will have some humor, hit upon friendship, and...well, who knows what else. Anyway, I'm taking a peek at this one on the 1st.

Middle Grade Paranormal


PROJECT A.I.D.E.N.

A girl accidentally runs over someone to find him uninjured and begging for help because he's being hunted. That sounds like the beginning of a thriller to me, one with chase scenes, and according to the blurb, romance. There's more than a few hints of sci-fi making me wonder if gene-editing, cloning or something similar is involved. Or maybe aliens? Find out on the 4th.

Young Adult Science Fiction

THE ZEE FILES

This is the first in a spin-off series from the best-selling Mackenzie Blue books...which I've never read, so I'm pretty free-minded on hitting this one. It's about a girl, who heads to London for the first time and all the adventures she experiences. I'm thinking there will be some humor, some heart, and tons of quirky moments. Let's travel together on the 9th.

Middle Grade Contemporary


A PERFECT MISTAKE

This one comes from an earlier critique partner of mine, who has definitely found her voice and brought out several wonderful titles. It promises mystery, a few dark secrets, friendship, and finding courage. I'll be looking at the one on the 12th.

Middle Grade Mystery





DEFENDING OCRAS: NO MORE CAPTIVITY

I've always been fascinated by sea life and have a weak spot for non-fiction. So, it was a given that I wanted to take a peek into this one. It's the third in a series of books (Planetary Solutions) and should hold all sorts of information about Ocras, including facts, history, tales, and problems. I'm looking forward to seeing what this one holds, so join me on the 11th to learn more!

Children's Non-Fiction 
BURYING EVA FLORES

I was hooked the moment I read the blurb on this one. It includes TikTok, two very different girls, murder, accusations, and a hunt for the truth. I'm expecting chills, thrills, tons of mystery, and who knows what else, but I'm hoping it's good. Find out with me on the 20th.

Young Adult Mystery/Thriller




MONSTERS BORN AND MADE

Sold as a mixture between Hunger Games and Fable, this was swims around deadly, ocean beasts. A poor family...or rather, a girl and her brother, must catch them in order to keep their family from starving to death. It sounds dark and promises tons of action, and finds its roots in South-Asian myths. Find out more with me on the 18th.

Young Adult Fantasy



WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE COLLECTION

When I was asked if I was interested in taking a peek at this collection (coming in October) of Shakespeare's works adapted for younger readers, I wasn't about to turn it down. My own daughter will be taking her 1st glance in this direction this coming school year, so I'm definitely curious what this collection does. Explore it with me on the 22nd.

Middle Grade Fiction


THE REALLY ROTTEN PRINCESS

A princess, who acts like anything but? And that as a chapter book! Yep, I wanted to get my hands on this one and take a peek. This princess isn't only not frilly but packs tons of trouble and not-so-nice intentions. I'm expecting laughs and giggles, and a perfect mix for those beginning readers out there. Let's jump into royalty on the 28th!

Chapter Book Fantasy

ON MY PAPA'S SHOULDERS

This one greets from an author in South Africa and embraces the love between a child and their father. I'm looking forward to the scenes and atmosphere. Find out more on the 30th.


Picture Book


Every month, my reading list stands higher than I can reach (okay, maybe not quite). There's definitely more reads than I have time for, which means that I always have a few on the bench just waiting to join in. The book I will find time to squeeze in somehow...somewhere...no matter what is:


THE ELEPHANT GIRL

This one is co-authored by the very-well-known James Patterson, but that's not why I'm excited about it (although it does catch attention because of that). This tale centers around a girl and her relationship to an elephant. It's supposed to hold tons and tons of heart as well as take a peek at Africa. But when will I get to it? We'll find out! (Shh...but I am hoping for the 25th, since it's release day) 

Tween Fiction


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Happy Book Birthday, Stealing Infinity by Alyson Noel!

Today's read actually had it's book birthday yesterday...but I'm all for celebrating as long as possible! The moment I saw the cover, I had to get my hands on this book. Plus, time travel can be intriguing if well done. The main character also promises tons of spunk...if she can keep a logical thinking process, that is. Yep, I do have high expectations with this one. So, let's take a peek and see if it's worth the hype.


STEALING INFINITY
Stolen Beauty, #1
by Alyson Noel
Entangled Teen Publishing
YA Time Travel / Fantasy
400 pages














These days, I’ve been killing it when it comes to letting people down. Now I’ve been kicked out of high school, arrested, and accepted into a remote, off-the-grid school owned and operated by an inscrutable billionaire tech guru.

Gray Wolf Academy is looking for a certain kind of student. Ones that no one will miss. Like me.

Then there’s Braxton. The beautiful, oddly anachronistic guy who showed up right when the trouble started. And he’s a total enigma—which means that I definitely can’t trust him, even if there’s something about him that makes me want to.
They all tell me I have a gift. A very rare gift. And Gray Wolf Academy wants me to learn it. To use it. Because if what they say is true, I have all the time in the world.
And that makes me the most dangerous high school student you’ll never know…


GOODREADS   /    AMAZON   /   B&N    /    BOOK DEPOSITORY


MY TIDBITS

Action, intrigue and a touch of romance intermingle with time travel to make an exciting read, which is hard to put down.

Nat's got a tough life, trying to help her mother pay bills while attending school. When a friend convinces her to skip class and go to a club, things race out of control. Convicted of a crime she didn't commit, Nat finds herself at the Gray Wolf Academy, where secrets flood every hallway. She's unable to make friends except with one guy, who's not telling more than he wants to. She knows something's up but has larger problems to deal with as she suspects that there's more to the school than meets the eye.

If you're a fan of academy settings (especially mysterious, secretive ones), time travel, tough girls, and dangerous plots, this will be right down your lane. It starts out with a thrust into Nat's life, who gains sympathy as she does her best to make everything work. Her bad decision is irritating, but everything else about her makes her hard not to root for as she struggles against so much garbage. When the book swings into the academy, there's an interesting twist, which keeps it from growing cliche. Also, Nat has a head and tries to use it as she's navigating the academy and tries to figure out what's going on. There's a quick pace the entire way through and unexpected moments to keep those pages turning.

Then, there's the relationships and characters. Nat is interesting and while she stumbles here and there, she remains a gripping character until the end. The others are touch and go. Some have a bit of depth but others don't. So, if you're into character driven reads, this has some of that but leans much more toward the action.

Even the romance isn't smooth...but it just might be that way intentionally. The love interest keeps a lot of his intentions and goals hidden, and the chemistry suffers because of that. But there are other possibilities in the starting lines on that front. It just depends on where this series goes.

This is an exciting read with tons of mystery and interesting directions. It definitely entertains and does set things up nicely for the rest of the series.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Happy Book Birthday, The Little Bear by Nicola Killen!

It's time to celebrate a new release! Today's read is a picture book, which is part of a series written by Nicola Killen. I remember receiving her first picture book about this little girl, Ollie, several years ago and immediately being hooked. Her books haven't disappointed me yet, since I'm a fan not only of Ollie's love for dressing up but also love the art style with its carefully added colors.

So, happy book birthday, The Little Bear!!!



THE LITTLE BEAR
by Nicola Killen
Paula Wiseman Books
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8





From beloved author-illustrator Nicola Killen comes an adorable back to school story about a bear cub soothing a little girl’s fears, tenderly told and illustrated in limited color with lovely foil and interactive die cut pages.

The end of summer can be a bittersweet time, and Ollie isn’t sure if she’s ready to go back to school. But the night before her first day back, Ollie dreams about a magical schoolhouse in the woods full of friendly little animals who make learning an adventure. When Ollie wakes up, she can’t wait to go to school!


GOODREADS    /   B&N    /    AMAZON 


MY TIDBITS

Gentle illustrations with a touch of shine add magic to the tale of a little girl and her nervousness for the first day of school.

Ollie has her first day of school the next day. She's packed her backpack and, by bedtime, is as ready as ready can be. After falling asleep, she's awaken by the sound of an owl. She decides to follow it and heads outside and into the forest, where she realizes that some of the animals are following the owl, too. When a little school house appears between the trees and a small, hesitant bear waits off to the side, her adventure begins.

I'm already a fan of this illustrator's works, so I was thrilled to get my hands on an ARC. It did not disappoint. Not only is Ollie as cute as always, but she's in another animal costume and ready to go. This always makes me smile since I know so many kids of that age, who would have worn their 'animal-self' to school if they could have (a couple of my own kids included). 

This tale dances perfectly on the edge of dreams and reality, making sure that the reader is left to guess, which side it is. The text flows very smoothly and makes a lovely read-aloud, which is very appropriate for the age group. 

Ollie's nervousness for the first day of school is subtle and underlays her sense of excitement. Unlike many tales, which deal with this theme, the nervousness is indirect. Instead of dealing with it herself directly, the theme switches over to a small bear and allows her to help him. It was a kind approach, which leaves a sense of happiness.

And I'm not going to forget the illustrations because those were more than lovely. The characters stay in shades of white, gray, and with a hint of black, while the surroundings gain a touch of dark blues and yellows...only Ollie's cheeks get an extra dab of pink. The result is a dreamlike setting, which invites in. As if adding a sprinkle of magic, gold, shiny details are dabbled in here and there. 

This is a wonderful read to help with those first-day-of-school nerves, but also works great as a bedtime read.


And here she is...

Nicola Killen has always loved drawing and still likes nothing better than taking her sketchbook to the zoo to draw her favorite animals: rhinos and penguins. She designed cards before starting an MA in children’s book illustration at Cambridge School of Art, and since then she has been working on her own books, including The Little Reindeer, which was called “an original and entertaining Christmas story with its own understated charm” in a starred review by Kirkus Reviews and “magical” by Publishers WeeklyThe Little Reindeer was named a Horn Book Holiday High Note. Nicola Killen lives and works in Cambridge, England.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Review: Fly High, Lolo by Niki Daly

I decided to take this last weekend off from reviews (even I need a breather every now and then). So, I was able to hit today's read with a small gust of new-found energy...which is great since it's about an eagle flying! Well, a type of eagle. 

Today's read greets from South Africa and is one in a series of chapter books, which centers around a little girl named Lolo and her daily life adventures. The author has won a prize or two for the series, and since it promises to be a cute read, I wanted to take a peek.

Ready to flap into adventure with me?


FLY HIGH, LOLO
by Niki Daly
Chapter Book / Contemporary
96 pages
ages 5 to 9














Four new easy to read stories about the delightful and irrepressible Lolo and her daily life in a South African township, perfect for early readers.

In Fly High, Lolo, Lolo dreams of being an eagle in the school play; meets Miss Teen the Beauty Queen; goes on a beach clean-up with Mama and her new friend; and makes beautiful, recycled Christmas decorations.

These tales of school life, home life, and street life in today's South Africa are perfect offerings for a diverse society. The Lolo series are pitched first readers for children who are moving from picture books to chapter books, and are illustrated with delightful black and white drawings by the author.


GOODREADS   /    AMAZON 


MY TIDBITS

Accompanied with capturing illustrations the entire way through, this collection of short stories presents an energetic girl from one cute, experience to the next.

Four stories make up, and the reader accompanies Lolo through each one. From wishing to have a certain role in a class play to making Christmas decorations by recycling unwanted objects, readers will sink into the familiar situations, while learning a little about Lolo's life in South Africa. The tales are written for those, who are sure of their words but aren't quite ready, yet, for middle grade novel. 

The situations Lolo faces are those, which many kids come across, and that makes each one very relatable. Her attitude remains on the positive side and she's always kind, while trying to figure things out. There are heavier messages, at times, but Lolo still shines at the center, so they don't steal her show.

Black and white illustrations accompany every page and let Lolo come to life in a way, which will have readers wanting to play with her. This is also where the cultural end comes through, and the reader gets a glimpse into what her life is like in South Africa.

This is an enjoyable, chapter book read, which adds a nice mix of fun, positivity, and hint of cultural knowledge...and is very accessible to the intended age group.



And here he is...


Niki Daly’s groundbreaking Not So Fast Songololo, winner of a US Parent’s Choice Award, paved the way for post-apartheid South African children’s books. Among his many books, Niki Daly’s Jamela’s Dress was chosen by the ALA as a Notable Children’s Book and by Booklist as one of the Top 10 African American Picture Books of 2000. It also won both the Children’s Literature Choice Award and the Parents’ Choice Silver Award. Niki lives with his wife, the author and illustrator Jude Daly, in South Africa.