by Aimee Friedman – Kasie West – Melissa De La Cruz – Nic Stone
I said I’d never read a Christmas / Hanukkah / Winter themed YA compilation again after Let It Snow. I didn’t like that book at all. However I’m a sucker for sweet holiday themed stories so I knew if I saw there was a new compilation made I’d check it out from the library. I’m so glad I did I really liked these stories, some more than others but they were all great.
SNOW AND MISTLETOE by Kasie West: ( 4 stars ) The first story in the book and the best one! I really loved everything about this story from Amalie and Sawyer secretly crushing on each other to the great road trip that followed. The story was sweet and innocent and a great way to start off this book. This was my favorite of the four.
WORKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND by Aimee Friedman: ( 3 stars ) This story I guess was okay. I was happy to find out the main character Maxine was Jewish. There are so few Hanukkah books out there for teens. So I was excited to dive into it. However it didn’t really even touch Hanukkah this holiday and all the rich traditions that come with it. I guess in a way it did show us what’s it is like to have Christmas everywhere and very little Hanukkah anywhere.
THE MAGI’S GIFTS by Melissa De La Cruz: ( 2 stars ) I just didn’t click with this one. Nothing wrong with the story really just didn’t hook me like the first two. I mean come on you sell a family heirloom to buy a gift for a friend and not get in trouble really!
GROUNDED by Nic Stone: ( 3.75 stars ) I super sweet cute story. I really enjoyed the storyline and characters. This was a first for me to read Nic Stone but I think I need to read more. If Nic Stone can write such a fully developed story in so few pages I really need to read one of their books and ASAP.
Nursery Rhymes for Little Monsters
by Rachel Kolar
illustrated by Roland Garrigue
Borrowed on HooplaDigital
I loved this book and wish it had been around when my kids were little I would have bought this in a heartbeat. I think I still will just for me. I love picture books they are just so magical. The stories or in this case nursery rhymes combined with beautiful illustrations really bring this fun Halloween book to life. The dark deep purples and blacks with pops of color really set the mood for a funny semi spooky book. The nursery rhymes are all funny and while I say semi spooky they are very calm and tame. They include ghost – zombies and graveyards all very much associated with Halloween but the funny nursery rhymes take away the fear factor. Some of my favorite nursery rhymes: Mary Mary Tall and Scary – Twinkle Twinkle Lantern Jack and Wee Willie WereWolf . To be honest I really loved them all but these 3 I can’t get out of my head and loved the rhymes and illustrations so much. If you have little bookworms are home or even at school this would be a cute one to have out for the next few weeks. I would gift this one for moms to be or for a fun themed birthday gift for a fall little bookworms birthday. I am so glad I found this book through Hoopla and was able to read it. On a side note have you checked out Hoopla? It’s a great e-book library that has no waiting list some of the hot new releases that have huge waits on overdrive for me I’ve been able to read right away through Hoopla! It’s free to join and has a pretty good selection, so check them out if you don’t mind e-books (I linked to Hoopla right above the book picture.)
About the Book: From “Mary, Mary, Tall and Scary” to “Wee Willie Werewolf,” this collection of classic nursery rhymes turned on their heads will give readers the chills–and a serious case of belly laughs. With clever rhyme and spooky illustrations, Mother Ghost is perfect for getting in the Halloween spirit. Boo!
in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art
by Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin
A Pile of Leaves is such a cool concept in a picture book. It’s completely wordless with see through pages. As you flip the pages it’s like you are digging through the leaf pile. Most of the art in the books are the fall colors of red – orange – and yellows with some green thrown in for good measure. They also include fallen acorns as well as other surprises throughout the pile. I think it’s fun that they create a realistic leaf pile. Sometimes while flipping through A Pile of Leaves you come across a line of ants, or a grasshopper. While other times you come across a lost forgotten mitten, a key and a worm. Want to know what makes this book even cooler? As you flip through the book and move the see through pages your are recreating a new leaf pile on the left side as you take apart the leaf pile on the right side. The author’s include an answer key of sorts labeling all the different leaves as well as non leaf items included in this fun – colorful and artistic book. This book would be great from infant through preschool. A perfect addition to a sensory table created just for the A Pile of Leaves book including all the items that were in the book as well.
About the Book: Readers explore the concept of layering and collage with this interactive exercise in composition. Each clear acetate page features a single element in the leaf pile, though some are not leaves at all! As readers turn the pages, the leaf pile is deconstructed piece by piece on the right side, and reconstructed on the left. Younger readers will enjoy the seek-and-find aspect of the hidden objects, while older readers might experiment by adding their own images between the pages. A key at the back provides the names of each kind of leaf shown. Inspired by the Whitney Museum’s approach to looking at art, these books provide a new way to look at the world.
Thank you so much Phaidon Press for sending me a copy of A Pile of Leaves. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.
by Sharon Creech
Have you heard about this cute book Saving Winslow? It’s been on my radar for some time and today I finally was able to sit down and read it. If you have a reluctant reader this might be a good pick since it is a short book coming in at 165 pages. Sometimes short books feel like they are missing some of the storyline, but not Saving Winslow. The characters and storyline are fully developed and it really grabbed me from the first page. I think the fact that Louie was determined to save the little sick baby donkey came from the fact that his brother Gus was not home anymore because he had enlisted in the army. I think Louie felt that he couldn’t control Gus leaving but could control little Winslow. He could do everything in his power to save the sweet little donkey and it would get his mind off the hole he felt without his best friend and big brother Gus. Winslow gave hope to so many on Louie’s street as well as some headaches from a donkey braying day and night. I really enjoyed the can do positive attitude that Louie had on whether or not Winslow was going to make it. It was an uplifting story and had a very happy ending. It is recommended to middle grade readers. I’m not sure if many middle grade (6,7 and 8th) grade would pick this up. While I think once they did and start reading it they would fall for it as much as I did. I think it’s really more appealing to elementary aged kids from 3rd grade and up. It would even be a great read aloud for class reading time. It is IndieNext Fall Kids pick for ages 9-12 and I can see why. It was a solid 4 star read for me and I really was happy Winslow and gang got their happy ending!
About the book: Louie doesn’t have the best luck when it comes to nurturing small creatures. So when his father brings home a sickly newborn mini donkey, he’s determined to save him. He names him Winslow. Taking care of him helps Louie feel closer to his brother, Gus, who is far, far away in the army.
Everyone worries that Winslow won’t survive, especially Louie’s quirky new friend, Nora, who has experienced loss of her own. But as Louie’s bond with Winslow grows, surprising and life-altering events prove that this fragile donkey is stronger than anyone could have imagined
by Laura J Burns and Melinda Metz
First off can we talk about the beautiful cover! I love its bold reds on the dark background! It is really eye catching and what made me stop and read more about this book.
I Do Not Trust You is the first book I’ve read from this author duo and hopefully I can find the other book or books they have written. I really enjoyed this book and would love to read their other stuff. I’m always up for a good mythological adventure and this one did not disappoint! I loved all archeology and mythology the book had in it. There was even some suspense with hoping and wondering if they were going to be okay. The characters were well developed and diverse. Memphis is a kick butt girl many have compared to a teenage Laura Croft. I haven’t seen those movies but I do know a little and yes I see it. Ash was a good character as well and they really bounced off of each other making the reader feel like they good for each other even if they didn’t know that yet. The main aspect that hooked me and kept me reading was the myth and world building. The authors did such a great job and I’d love to read more mythological – archeological stories by these two fine authors.
About the book: Memphis “M” Engle is stubborn to a fault, graced with an almost absurd knowledge of long lost languages and cultures, and a heck of an opponent in a fight. In short: she’s awesome. Ashwin Sood is a little too posh for her tastes, a member of an ancient cult (which she’s pretty sure counts for more than one strike against him), and has just informed Memphis that her father who she thought was dead isn’t and needs her help.
From the catacombs of Paris to lost temples in the sacred forests, together they crisscross the globe, searching for the pieces of the one thing that might save her father. But the closer they come to saving him—and the more they fall for one another—the closer they get to destroying the world.
Thank you so much Algonquin and Netgalley for allowing me to read I Do Not Trust You. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.
by Raina Telgemeier
Ghosts is my first graphic novel that I can think of that I’ve read in its entirety without putting it aside. I didn’t want the story to end and was so bummed when I finished it. The kids at the school I work at have been begging me to read this one and I’m so glad I did! I loved the story line how it really dives into the day to day life with cystic fibrosis as a kid and how it affects not only the child that has it but the siblings and parents. I won’t go to in-depth on the description of the book since I’m sure I’m one of the last people to read it. 🙂 Catrina and her family move to upper California for her dad’s new job and they are hoping the change in climate helps her sister Maya have more good days with her cystic fibrosis. The town the move to Bahia De La Luna is rich is culture and tradition and has a huge festival every year for Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)! I have always loved all the culture – traditions – and decorations for Dia De Los Muertos. I would take that over Halloween any day. So I think between finding one of the rare few elementary and middle grade books that tackles cystic fibrosis and then includes Dia De Los Muertos I was sold one page one. The illustrations with bold and set the mood with each frame. They story line was well developed and hooked me instantly. I will be checking out her other books and might even dive into more graphic novels. Ghosts is a perfect book to read anytime of the year but would be great for a Spooktober book to read, it’s not scary but it is set in Spooktober season.
About the Book: Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.
By Kerry Wilkinson
Upon reading the The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker I thought it sounded a lot like 13 Minutes. I liked that one okay but it didn’t really hold my interest. This one sounded like it might be one I liked more and I was right. My YA reader and I really enjoyed how this story unfolded. The story was well written, fully developed and had many moments where the reader’s imagination was really stretched to think beyond the normal mystery. It has some supernatural feels and that is what made us like it. The characters seemed realistic and ones you had to keep reading about. You had to know what was going to happen next. The author is new to us and we will have to check out her other books to see if they are just as good. I really enjoyed this mystery – coming of age book. My YA reader and I thought this would be a good movie or mini series on Netflix. Overall we thought this was a perfect Spooktober book to read if you can wait that long.
About the book: A village with something to hide. Seventeen-year-old Eleanor Parker wakes up cold and alone in the river that twists through her quiet village. She has no memory of how she got there. But she does know that another girl was drowned in the same river the summer before, held under the water by an unknown killer…
A community torn apart. Eleanor is a normal, every day teenager. She argues with her mum, spends her days with her best friend, and is looking forward to a carefree summer of sunshine and music. Who would want to hurt her?
A shocking secret. Determined to unlock the mystery of what really happened to her, Eleanor can’t escape the feeling that something awful links her to the previous summer’s murder. But will she find out the truth before it’s too late?
Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.