Monday, August 31, 2020

What's Coming in September?

We're finally sliding back toward the cooler fall months—Yippee! I'll be heading outside more often to read in the evenings, too. Luckily, I have a wonderful pile of books to share with you. This month, I'm going to be heavier on the middle grade end of things, which works out great, since school is rolling back into session for quite a few young readers out there. My own MGer will be at home this first semester with virtual schooling, and I know she'll have extra time for a few reads, too. This month is so diverse that I think I have just about something for everyone.



What better way to start September than with a bit of girl-power? This one takes a favorite playground past time, jump roping, to a whole new level and might inspire a few kids to get hopping themselves. I can't wait to learn more about the sport, and this character looks like she'll be tons of fun to meet. I'll be sharing my thoughts on it's release day—September 1st!

Middle Grade Sport Fiction


Not only do I find the cover on this one so cute, but it is based on William Shakespeare's works. I can imagine this is a fun way to introduce young readers to his literature. You can see if it met my expectations or not on the 2nd (although it is already being released on the 1st).

Picture Book


I found this one very fitting for today's society—a world where words hold magic and those who can use them well hold power and influence over many people. Throw in a heroine seeking justice for the death of her parents, romance, and a fantasy world...and well, I'm more than excited to dive in. It's scheduled for release on October 6th, but I'll tell you what I think already on September 8th.

Young Adult Fantasy


Science? Please! Mystery? You bet! And shove all of this into the hands of a group of friends, who are up against an evil billionaire and his terrible plans, and you've got me raising my hand. This is based on an award winning, we'll see what I think on the 9th already. The release date is set for October 6th.

Middle Grade Mystery/Science Fiction


A little early to start getting ready for Halloween? Nope. Not in my world. This picture book dives into fun facts about everything from vampires to mummies to witches. This is a debut for Mr. Guth, and I can't wait to see what goodness lies in store. You can be spooked with me on the 11th.

Picture Book


Babushka dolls have always fascinated me, and my husband even has a set he picked up in Russia years ago. I couldn't say no when I was offered the chance to dive into this one. Not to mention, I have a soft spot for tales from around the world! You can read my thoughts on the 14th.

Middle Grade Folklore


Unicorns and glitter? Yes, please! I'm ready to smirk and giggle while reading this one. It doesn't come out until the 29th, but you can delve into the world of sparkles and unicorns with me already on the 18th. (I wonder if these unicorns farts rainbows. Guess, we'll find out!)

Picture Book


The cover already has me excited to discover more about this one! It rotates around new families, a magical old house, and a mysterious cat. Doesn't that sound like a wonderful combination? It comes out on September 5th, but I won't be taking a look at it until the 19th.

Middle Grade Fantasy


This is the highly anticipated sequel to The Very, Very Far North (which I haven't read yet but am fixing that). I don't receive many animal tales in middle grade. So, this is a treat. It's not everyday that you see a musk ox as the main character, either. Got to love a musk ox! This one is coming out October 6th, but you'll see my thoughts already on September 28th

Middle Grade Fantasy/Animal Fiction


I'd seen this one around and was excited when asked to take a look at it. It promises monsters, fairies and tons of adventure. In other words, everything a good read needs. I'll reveal whether or not this one is as fun as it sounds on the 24th.

Middle Grade Fantasy


This one is for that secret gothic fan in me. It presents characters locked in a mansion, monsters (psychological and the creepy kind) in the shadows, lurking evil, horrible pasts, tons of secrets, a cold, snowy world...and it's been getting tons of good reviews. I'll tell you what I think on the 25th, although you're going to have to wait a LONG time to grab it up yourselves, since it doesn't appear until March 2nd, 2021.

Young Adult Dark Romance/Fantasy

Should I share more with you? You have no idea how much I'd love to list all of them because there are really some intriguing reads coming up this month. Spooky, humor, sweet, science fiction, fantasy...

Oh, I'll just name a few more (yeah, I'm not good at keeping my excitement to myself.)

Ignite the Sun by Hanna Howard (YA Sci-Fi)
1,001 Creatures by Laura Merz and Aino Jarvinen (a beautiful picture book)
Afterlife of the Party by Marlene Perez (YA Paranormal...great for Halloween!)
Sacred Song of Hermit Thrush: A Native American Legend by Tehanetorens (picture book)

And the list still isn't done!

There will be 27 reviews in total. (Whew!)

Now, that I have given everyone a huge glimpse into this month's upcoming reviews, I hope your reader hearts are pounding as fast as mine. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Happy Sunday! It's not often that I post something on a Sunday on Bookworm for Kids. And it's rare that I have a chance to read something, which isn't a new release, re-release, or something that was, at least, published in the last year. I discovered this book thanks to a super, amazing system our library has joined, which allows me to loan ebooks and audio books from a huge, state-wide system. It is so neat!!! I highly, highly recommend that you check out to see if your library has something similar because it really is a wonderful thing.
Anyway, here's what I grabbed up and really enjoyed reading.

The 5th Wave, Book One
 by Rick Yancey
G.P. Putnam
May 2013
YA Science Fiction
457 pages

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.



Humans face the darkest moment imaginable in this action packed novel, which dives deep into a girl's head as she does everything she can to survive.

The aliens arrived. First, they wiped out all electronics. Then, they caused the Earth's own surface to turn against humans. The third wave brought a deadly disease. The fourth turned trust into a fantasy. Now, after over 7 billion have died, the fifth wave is about to hit, and sixteen-year-old Cassie does not only pray she finds a way to survive whatever disaster the aliens have planned next, she's also determined to keep her promise and find her younger brother. Even if she knows the chances are that he's no longer alive.

This book is dark, it's tense, and it kept me up until late in the night because I couldn't put it down. The first scene sets a terrifying tone as Cassie fumbles through the forest, alone, hunted, and aware that she's facing the impossible goal of surviving. Every page dives deep into her psyche as her situation and that of the world grows darker by the moment. Through her thoughts, the author allows her family and the past events to unfold, keeping the tension high while also allowing the reader to get to know her very well. By the time she finally runs into another character, I was already rooting for her and sitting on the edge of my seat.

I love the way Cassie comes across. She's a teenager with the insecurities of high school still impacting her a bit, but left more as memories, too, thanks to catastrophe after catastrophe. She's a fighter and has a good head on her shoulders as to the basics of survival...although she's not 'kick-butt' by any stretch of the imagination. She simply has developed a clever gut, is practical in her thinking, and determined. But she still keeps her younger brother's teddy bear held against her side, shakes when she holds her gun, and has no clue what her next steps should be. In other words, she's well rounded, easy to root for, and even more easy to sympathize with.

Hope is a flickering light in these pages, which may or may not still be burning at the end of the tunnel. There's the strong sense of family, sibling love, friendship, trust, learning to see beyond the surface, and even a dash of romance. And this is woven into action, secrets, sheer survival, and dark uncertainty. It's a powerful mix, which hits not only action fans but also those who love character depth. The science fiction end isn't over-the-top, but deadly and dangerous. Add some alien-tech, extreme explosions, deadly hand-to-hand fight scenes, brain-washing, traitors, lies....  and that's only the beginning.

I enjoyed almost every moment, and now, am hoping to find time soon to dive into book two. So, do I recommend this one? Young adult science fiction fans, who enjoy a character who would have been perfect in a high school drama...if she hadn't watched the world around her blown away by aliens and her parents murdered in front of her eyes...should pick this one up.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Review: This is the Path the Wolf Took by Laura Farina

by Laura Farina 
Illustrated by Elina Ellis
Kids Can Press
Picture Book
42 pages
ages 4 to 8


A boy's little sister doesn't like the way he improvises when he tells tales, in this funny and bighearted tale about what makes a story good.

The stories Gabe ?reads? to his little sister start out sounding familiar --- a red-caped girl on her way to Grandma's house meets a wolf in the woods --- but then, just in the nick of time, Sir Gabriel swoops in to save the day. His sister points out that's not how the story is supposed to go. The boy says his way is better: ?Nothing bad happens in my story.? But when his sister stops listening, the boy realizes he needs to reconsider. Are his stories boring? Why does it seem like there's always something missing?

Laura Farina's funny and empathetic tale explores why a good story is never made up of only good things. Many young children want a story to be exciting, but they don't want anything scary or bad to happen. This picture book shows how a brief period of being afraid or sad is necessary to make a story worth hearing. It makes for a great discussion starter and works well for loads of language arts applications, including writing skills, elements of a story, and fairy tales or other literary genres. With its playful humor, endearing sibling relationship and high-energy illustrations by Elina Ellis, this book also makes an entertaining read-aloud.



With a nod toward The Tale of the Three Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood, this book heads into the tug-a-war of sibling relationships and a love for ice cream.

This book was not what I expected. After reading the blurb, I was pretty sure this one would be about a brother, who takes the wolf of the three pigs and Riding Hood and turns him into a pretty vicious beast. I mean, that's what my boys would have done to irritate their sisters. But this book surprises and lets the older brother head in a unique direction, which lies in imaginative role play and somewhat, heroic moments. Kind of. (I don't want to give the story away, though)

I'll start with the good end of this tale and hit right into the illustrations. These are very well done, draw young listeners in, and keep them there. The imagination comes to life as much as the personalities of the brother and sister. It was simply fun to flip through the book just to take the adventure the picture provide. It's humorous and will even be familiar to those who have siblings.

The story itself was more difficult. Firstly, listeners will have to have a pretty good handle on both of the fairy tales I mentioned above to even have a chance to keep up with what goes on. But this much only hits maybe half of the book. After that, things get confusing, especially in the sense of why they happen. I was lost, and my kids were lost. But it did have dragons and ice cream and a few funny scenes. But on this last half, it was the illustrations which kept us from putting it down.

I think the message centered around sibling relationships and a brother realizing that his way of doing things might not be best. So, he tries to compromise in his own way and learns to veer more toward his sister's interests(?). Maybe?

But this is still a book I could see kids finding interesting....mostly thanks to the illustrations. Especially as a read-aloud.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Review: Love Her Well by Kari Kampakis

10 Ways to Find Joy and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter
by Kari Kampakis
Thomas Nelson
August 18

Moms are eager for tips and wisdom to help them build strong relationships with their daughters, and Kari Kampakis’s Love Her Well gives them ten practical ways to do so, not by changing their daughters but by changing their own thoughts, actions, and mind-set.
For many women, having a baby girl is a dream come true. Yet as girls grow up, the narrative of innocence and joy changes to gloom and doom as moms are told, “Just wait until she’s a teenager!” and handed a disheartening script that treats a teenage girl’s final years at home as solely a season to survive.
Author and blogger Kari Kampakis suggests it’s time to change the narrative and mind-set that lead moms to parent teen girls with a spirit of defeat, not strength. By improving the foundation, habits, and dynamics of the relationship, mothers can connect with their teen daughters and earn a voice in their lives that allows moms to offer guidance, love, wisdom, and emotional support.
As a mom of four daughters (three of whom are teenagers), Kari has learned the hard way that as girls grow up, mothers must grow up too. In Love Her Well, Kari shares ten ways that moms can better connect with their daughters in a challenging season, including:
  • choosing their words and timing carefully,
  • listening and empathizing with her teen’s world,
  • seeing the good and loving her for who she is,
  • taking care of themselves and having a support system, and more.
This book isn’t a guide to help mothers “fix” their daughters or make them behave. Rather, it’s about a mom’s journey, doing the heart work and legwork necessary to love a teenager while still being a strong, steady parent. Kari explores how every relationship consists of two imperfect sinners, and teenagers gain more respect for their parents when they admit (and learn from) their mistakes, apologize, listen, give grace, and try to understand their teens’ point of view. Yes, teenagers need rules and consequences, but without a connected relationship, parents may never gain a significant voice in their lives or be a safe place they long to return to.
By admitting her personal failures and prideful mistakes that have hurt her relationships with her teenage daughters, Kari gives mothers hope and reminds them all things are possible through God. By leaning on him, mothers gain the wisdom, guidance, protection, and clarity they need to grow strong.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


With lots of heart and from the Christian viewpoint, this book swirls through the unpredictable sea of the mother-daughter relationship.

The author has four daughters herself and uses her own experiences to discuss and give a glimpse into various aspects of the mother-daughter relationship. While advice is offered, the author makes it clear that she does make mistakes and what she now believes to be wisdom might not be that after all. It's a honest and candid look at how to get along with teenage girls from her point of view.

The book starts out with a note from the author before diving into ten chapters. Each chapter covers a topic ranging from 'Choose your words carefully' to 'help her find good friends' and other basic themes. Each of these chapters is then further divided into more direct themes of a couple pages each. A Bible verse closes each of these. At the end of every one of the 10 themes, there are questions, which assist with self-reflection and thought about what was discussed.

As a mother of one teen girl and one already in her twenties, the advice is solid and pretty much, common sense. The Christian viewpoint resonates with me, but that will vary from one person to the next. This isn't a book, which has all of the answers, but rather helps with self-reflection and simply shows how the author handles situations or explores the mistakes she herself has made.

Parents, who would like to hear and learn about how another mother deals with her teen daughters, will find some food for thought in these pages and never feel as if they are in a classroom. The entire book feels more like the heart-to-heart with a good friend. And sometimes, that's all it takes.

Connect with Kari

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Monday, August 10th: @lyon.brit.andthebookshelf
Tuesday, August 11th: @theocbookgirl
Thursday, August 13th: @meetmeinthestacks
Thursday, August 13th: @thepagesinbetween
Friday, August 14th: @thereadingroom444
Monday, August 17th: @mom_loves_reading
Wednesday, August 19th: @wellreadtraveler
Thursday, August 20th: @bluntscissorsbookreviews


Tuesday, August 11th: The OC Book Girl
Thursday, August 13th: The Pages In-Between
Monday, August 17th: Mom Loves Reading
Monday, August 17th: @coffeekidslife
Tuesday, August 18th: Stranded in Chaos
Wednesday, August 19th: Well Read Traveler
Thursday, August 20th: Blunt Scissors Book Reviews
Monday, August 24th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, August 25th: @sjthroughthelookingglass
Wednesday, August 26th: Seaside Book Nook
Thursday, August 27th: @so_chaotic
Friday, August 28th: Bookworm for Kids
Monday, August 31st: Openly Bookish
Tuesday, September 1st: @basicbookmomma
Wednesday, September 2nd: Nurse Bookie and @nurse_bookie
Thursday, September 3rd: The Bookish Ramblings of Bookmama789! and @bookmama789!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Review: The Warden and The Wolf King by Andrew Peterson

The book I have today is a re-release of what many have claimed is an amazing fantasy series for middle graders. While I didn't pick up on this one until now and am starting with book 4, I figure 'better late than never'! Especially since it has an amazing cover and even more amazing illustrations throughout the pages.

The Wingfeather Saga #4
by Andrew Peterson
Middle Grade Fantasy
519 pages
ages 7 to 12


All winter long, people in the Green Hollows have prepared for a final battle with Gnag the Nameless and the Fangs of Dang. Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli—Throne Warden, Wolf King, and Song Maiden of Anniera—are ready and willing to fight alongside the Hollowsfolk, but when the Fangs make the first move and invade Ban Rona, the children are separated. Janner is alone and lost in the hills; Leeli is fighting the Fangs from the rooftops of the city; and Kalmar, who carries a terrible secret, is on a course for the Deeps of Throg. Meanwhile in Skree, Sara Cobbler and Maraly Weaver care for the broken Artham Wingfeather as Fangs muster for battle across the MightyRiver Blapp.

Sea dragons lurk in the waters. Wicked Stranders crawl through the burrows. Ridgerunners and trolls prowl the land. Cloven haunt the forest. Monsters and Fangs and villains lie between the children and their only hope of victory—in the epic conclusion of The Wingfeather Saga.



Fantasy friends be prepared because this book takes you on an adventure not easy to forget.

Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli might be young, but they are more the ready to take up their roles and fight to save Fang of Dang. Not only is it difficult to keep the various groups united, but they face untold danger themselves. Especially when they get separated and need to fight as well as they can. But the monsters are fierce and the battle seemingly impossible.

I did not read the first books in this series, which was a mistake. While it wasn't too much of a problem to get into this book, the background information definitely would have helped. Plus, this book was so amazing that I'm not sad I didn't start with book one.

This is a pure fantasy world, chucked full of imagination. In other words, the world building is very well done and packs tons of surprises along with unique characters and settings. The author lets his fantasy take flight and takes the reader with him. It was a delight to experience all the monsters, magic, warriors, and even the smaller things like food and landscape. And with all this, the story never slows down.

Adventure ranks high as does the danger. This tale twists and turns and squirms, making sure it's a read that's hard to put down. When I saw the word count on this one, I did swallow, since it's quite a chunk for many young readers. But this tale doesn't squander the page space. To break things up, there are illustrations scattered through-out. But even then, this tale is grabbing and holds tons of surprises along the way.

My favorite aspect of this book is how it's written. While the world building is rich and then plotting sits tight and well-woven, it's the characters that make this shine. These are kids, and the author doesn't forget that. Even if they are thrown into adventures, which most adults would edge away from, they still act like kids. And speak like kids. And think like kids. They also have a wonderful bond of friendship and sibling loyalty.

This is not only a fun read and one that keeps the reader at the edge of their seat, but it also has heart. And the ending...well, it really hits home. I'm planning on gifting this series to a fantasy lover because I'm sure they'll enjoy it quite a bit.

Sneak Peek: To The Bone by J.R. Johansson with Giveaway!

To The Bone

by J.R. Johansson
August 25th 2020
YA./NA Thriller

Seventeen-year-old Harley Martin has been obsessed with Paris for years. Between her passion for studying architecture and wanting to spend time with her cousin, Gretchen, there’s nowhere on Earth that she’d rather go. So when Harley’s parents feel guilty enough about their constant fighting to offer to send Harley to visit her cousin, Gretchen, she doesn’t hesitate.
But Gretchen and Harley have both changed in the years they’ve been apart. In an effort to rekindle their friendship, Harley agrees to Gretchen’s suggested activity, even though it’s outside her comfort zone: a tour with Gretchen and her friends through the off-limits section of the Paris Catacombs. Miles and miles of tunnels deep under the city, filled with the remains of more than six million people.
When a cave-in kills their guide and leaves the group injured, terrified, and lost with limited supplies, they must search for a way out from the endless maze beneath the city of light. But surrounded by shadows, it’s hard to tell friends from enemies. Harley doesn’t know if she can trust anyone, including her own cousin. If they ever want to get back to the surface, they’ll have to fight for everything they hold dear–for their sanity, their humanity, their very lives–in a place that only embraces death.


“Harley has skills.” Gretchen finally gives up on her phone and puts it on the table. “She can look at any building and tell you what period of style influenced it. Tell me when that wouldn’t come in handy.”
I shoot her a mock glare. “I can also tell which beam I should knock down to collapse a building on top of you.”
“Ooh, à la Wicked Witch of the West?” Henri laughs at the dismay on Gretchen’s face.
“East, dummy,” Liv says. “West is her sister that goes after Dorothy.”
I check my watch and realize it’s already past nine o’clock. It takes me almost thirty seconds to do the same math as yesterday to figure out what time it is back home.
Jet lag might not have hit me as hard as I expected, but my brain is definitely dragging a bit today.
Gretchen interrupts my thoughts. “You hear that, Harley?”
I turn to look at her, realizing I missed a significant chunk of conversation in that thirty seconds.
“Sorry.” I shake my head.
“Paolo set us up with Roland Lambert, one of the most prominent local cataphiles, to give us our tour tonight.”
“What’s a cataphile?” I ask.
Anders is the one who answers me. His Finnish accent is strong and I have to listen close to understand. “It’s what they call the people who are obsessed with the Catacombs. They like to go down and explore them.”
“Oh, cool. He sounds like he’ll be perfect.” A thrill of fear and excitement shoots through me. Now that I think about it, I remember cataphiles being mentioned a few times in that Catacombs documentary.
“I heard this creepy story once.” Paolo leans across the table like he’s telling us the most important thing ever. “The guy who was in charge of finding a way to get all the bones into the Catacombs, they say his spirit is still down there, that the owners of the bones he moved won’t let him leave.”
James groans. “Of course he is.”
Maud releases an uncomfortable giggle and swats Paolo on the shoulder. “Come on, ghosts?”
“There are a million stories like that.” Henri leans back, putting his hands behind his head. “I saw this video online from a university student who was recording down there. It’s super creepy. It doesn’t show what he saw, but he looks terrified and drops the camera. The last thing it recorded was his feet running away from whatever he saw. I guess someone found his camera later, but he never came out.”
An involuntary shiver slides down my spine, but when Gretchen starts laughing it fades away.
She holds her fork in front of her, pretending it’s a microphone, and does her best announcer voice. “No idiots were harmed in the making of this film.”

And here she is...
J.R. JOHANSSON is the author of the Night Walkers Series (INSOMNIA, PARANOIA and MANIA) as well as standalone novels, CUT ME FREE and THE ROW. Her books have been published in over a dozen languages and more than twenty countries worldwide. She is the creator and host of the Riveting Reads podcast and the AuthorGamerGirl channel on Twitch. She has a B.S. degree in public relations and a background in marketing. She credits her abnormal psychology minor with inspiring many of her characters. She lives in a valley where the sun shines 300+ days per year with her hot tub named Valentino. Visit her online at


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Review: The First Fire by Brad Wagnon

A Cherokee Story
by Brad Wagnon and 
Alex Stephenson
7th Generation
Picture Book
40 pages

AUGUST 27th!!!

The First Fire, A Cherokee Story takes place in a time when animals could do many of the things that people do. The Creator gave the animals the world to live on, but they were without a source for heat at night. Great Thunder and his sons saw the plight of the animals so he sent lightning down to strike a tree. The tree burst into flames but the tree was on an island. Many animals tried to bring the fire over the water to the shore, but they were all unsuccessful. Then one small creature, Water Spider, volunteered. Curious, the animals said to her "We know you could get there safely, but how would you bring the fire back without getting burned?"
Water Spider was successful and to this day the water spider is revered in Cherokee culture.



Folklore comes to life in this lovely picture book, where even the smallest can make a difference.

This book is based on a tale from the Cherokee culture, which for me already is an interest grabber. And this one is well done, too. The story is written in a very natural style with only a few lines of text on each page. Young listeners will have no trouble connecting with the story and understand the animals's troubles. I love the way it keeps the folklore alive without hitting upon heavy language or dragging story-telling. It simply makes a lovely read-aloud, and allows the tale to come to life.

The illustrations show the animals in a way listeners will easily recgonize, while still giving them a touch of 'human' personality. The mannerisms are subtle but still hold a few quirks that are sure to bring a smile or two. Young listeners will be able to flip through the tale on their own, too, and enjoy the animals' adventures after the tale has been read.

It's a great way to introduce Cherokee folklore and open the door to discussions. In other words, this one gets a nice thumbs up from me!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Review:Girl With Three Eyes by Priya Ardis with Giveaway!

Girl With Three Eyes
Priya Ardis
August 11th 2020
YA Fantasy

She would hate her third eye less if it actually gave her special powers. When her secret is threatened, she may be the only one who can save the kingdom. 
Sixteen-year-old Kira puts on a show about having empathic abilities, but she miraculously wakes a highborn boy from a coma after a near-fatal accident on mountainous slopes. When his father threatens to expose her “magic” to the queen unless she attends the kingdom’s most elite academy as a bodyguard.
Soon, she’s immersed in a strange new life—one of being a simple student trying out for the school’s skyboarding team. Her fake life becomes the life she’s always wanted, but Kira cannot escape who she truly is. And as a sinister foe lurks closer than she suspects…
Will she risk her freedom to develop the vision to unmask a killer before the crown falls?
Girl with Three Eyes is a young adult fantasy series. If you like strong female protagonists, futuristic fairy tales, and epic tournaments, then you’ll love Priya Ardis’s heart-racing adventure.


With more than a couple refreshing twists, this is a grabbing start to what promises to be a delightful series.

Sixteen-year-old Kira is the outcast of her village. Not only is her father a drunkard and her mother deceased, but she's known to be a bit different...although no one really knows how. Kira hides a third eye on her forehead underneath a head band and wishes she'd never been born with such a curse. While skyboarding, she saves a boy from sure death, but soon finds him in coma back at her home. His father begs for her to save him, after hearing about her strange capabilities. To her surprise, it works. And that is her doom. With her father being held, she agrees to become a body guard for the boy, but little does she know the true plot she's about to stumble upon.

There are so many original and unique aspects of this tale, and yet, there are many familiar things as well. The idea of Kira having a third eye gives her a character with an intriguing twist. Not only did I love the tap at the beliefs of a different culture, but it made her interesting to get to know. It was easy to understand why she'd dislike her gift and also simple to see why she wouldn't necessarily fit in. Then there was skyboarding. Kira's hobby reminds a bit of snowboarding, but with a few different twists. I can't remember reading anything like this in a fantasy novel before and really enjoyed it. It also fit well with Kira's personality and kept the entire 'school' theme from going overboard.

While the tale starts out in a small cabin in a forest (a wonderful dive into a rich fantasy), it soon spins into a more cliche situation as she heads off to an elite school with the saved boy to protect him. There's also a bit of a rag to riches theme, but only a hint. This scene change took a little longer for me to warm up to, since it entailed the usual bullying, mean girls, and such. But then, the story saves itself by adding other new aspects like skyboarding competitions and spies with secret plots of treason. It's a mix full of tension and definitely keeps the pages turning until the end.

There's also friendship and romance and family. Kira might be discovering her powers, but she doesn't really have to do anything completely on her own as her newfound friends are right at her side. She also has a couple possible romance interests going on, each bordering on friendship more than anything sure (which I appreciate). 

This is an exciting begin to what promises to be an even more intriguing series. It does seem to lean toward the younger side of YA and I think tweens would really enjoy this one, too. At times, I did find myself skipping a few paragraphs and a few 'surprises' were a little predictable, but I still enjoyed the tale quite a bit and am definitely looking forward to seeing where book two will take Kira. Because there is the promise of so much more to come!

And here she is...

Priya Ardis writes Blood&Treasure fantasy romances which include coming of age, bad boys, globe-trotting, and a spoonful of sassy banter.
She loves books of all kinds–but especially the ones that ensnare you and let your chai go cold. Her novels come from a childhood of playing too much She-Ra and watching too much Spock. She started her first book at sixteen, writing in notebooks on long train rides during a hot summer vacation. Her favorite Arthurian is the Lady of Shalott by Lord Tennyson.
What does she like to read? Books with fantasy and magic with a cool heroine that’s really just the girl/boy next door. Books with all the feels. And, hello, Mr. Darcy anyone?


Monday, August 24, 2020

Review: Kenny and the Book of Beasts by Tony DiTerlizzi

by Tony DiTerlizzi
Kenny & the Dragon, Book Two
Simon & Schuster
Middle Grade Fantasy
224 pages


In this highly anticipated sequel to New York Times bestselling and Caldecott Honor–winning author Tony DiTerlizzi’s Kenny and the Dragon, Kenny must cope with many changes in his life—including the fear that he’s losing his best friend.

What can come between two best friends?

Time has passed since Kenny Rabbit’s last adventure with his best friend, the legendary dragon Grahame, and a lot has changed in the sleepy village of Roundbrook.

For starters, Kenny has a whole litter of baby sisters. His friends are at different schools and Sir George is off adventuring.

At least Kenny still has his very best friend, Grahame. That’s before Dante arrives. Dante is a legendary manticore and an old friend of Grahame’s. Old friends spend a lot of time catching up. And that catching up does not involve Kenny.

But there’s a Witch to defeat, a pal to rescue, and a mysterious book to unlock. And those are quests for best friends, not old friends. Right?



This is the 2nd book in a series, but it can be read as a stand alone, which I did since I haven't yet quite had the time to read book one. I will be, however, since I really enjoyed this read!

Kenny is a rabbit, who's ending his school years and has 12 younger sisters. He's already thought of as something special, since he met his best friend, a dragon, and managed to prove that dragons won't eat everyone they see. Now, that life has settled down, he's off to the fair with his family and dragon friend. There he's lucky enough to become the owner of a fix-it-upper automobile...but he has no idea how good it is that he acquires a car, since a new adventure is about to begin.

This book is so cute and fun and adventurous and simply a lovely read! Kenny and his friends are a wonderful bunch, full of warmth and a bit of humor. His mother is careful. His father warns. And his dragon friend speaks so properly and yet, has a lot to learn. Kenny is the perfect rabbit for an adventure.

This book runs at a nice pace, starting out with a few scenes to let the reader sink into the life and characters before taking off in adventure. Its a bit slower than some novels, but still is never boring and definitely holds in the pages. When the adventure starts, there's a bit of tension, a bit of gruffness and a wonderful dab of humor filtered in. It's hard to put the book down, and even harder not to love these characters.

As an extra bonus, illustrations are heavily spread through the pages. These black and white sketches add so much to the fun and life. But then, I'm a huge fan of illustrations in books...and these really are very well done.

Summed up, this is a book I can highly recommend and believe it is a series, which many readers will love.

Cover Reveal: The Fate of Crowns by Rebecca L. Garcia with Giveaway!

The Fate of Crowns
by Rebecca L. Garcia
YA Fantasy
Editor: Novel Nurse Editing
Cover Designer: Dark Wish Designs

January 5th, 2021!

Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

with my brother’s death came the crown and all the trappings that accompany it. Now, my father—the most dangerous man in Magaelor—seeks to control my future.
But fate has other plans.
Thrown into mer-filled waters, I’m dragged into the rival kingdom of Berovia. Surrounded by those who murdered my brother and wished my entire family dead, I must battle my way back to my kingdom. There, a century’s old division between the fae and sorcerers is breaking down with threats of war.
A marriage between myself and the dark fae prince could bring peace to the realm. But it would mean turning my back on my magic. The choice is mine. Will I allow myself to become the exalted Queen of everything? Or be reduced to a cautionary tale as the shattered princess of nothing?

Rebecca lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband and son. Originally from England, you can find her drinking tea, writing new worlds, and designing covers.  She writes young adult fantasy. She devoured every book she was given, with the first being Harry Potter. She fell in love with magical worlds, and when she got older, her imagination grew with her. She implements royalty into her books because she adores historical monarchies. Her favorite TV shows are Reign and The Tudors.
When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, you can find her traveling, and hosting book signings with Spellbinding Events.
Each event supports a different charity where a portion of the profits go, as well as bringing together authors and readers from different states. Check out more here:

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