The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole

by Michelle Cuevas

A pet black hole can be your light in the darkest dark” {back cover}

This book was not like anything I was expecting it to be. I thought it would be a fun care free book about space and a pet black hole. However once I got into it I realized that it was actually a sad story about a little girl who was healing from her father’s unexpected and sudden death. They loved space and the launch of the Voyager in 1977. This is the second book I’ve read that has taken place in this time era this summer. I like that middle grade books are exploring this time. Stella has always wanted a dog so a pet black hole might not be so bad. However she very quickly learns they are bad they eat everything in sight and really love furry things. Stella takes the time to train Larry the black hole and it helps her get her mind of the painful memories of her dad. My middle grade reader and I decided that Stella had her own black hole and it was full of memories, pain and grief of losing her dad. She devises a sure-fire way to get over the pain and grief is to feed everything that was her dad’s to Larry the black hole. By doing so she erases those memories and she wants them back they are all she has left. Her and her little brother go on an amazing trip into the black hole. They go on this journey and are able to confront their fears, pain and heal in the process.

This book was such a great one even though it through me for a loop and was such a sad touching novel. Don’t let the cute little cover fool you though I would suggest this for 5th grade and up. Some younger elementary kids might be good with it however it does tackle some sad times. I just think the older reader would get more out of it and understand the physics and astronomy facts better. Overall this is a 5 star book and one I would suggest to readers looking for a book that will stay with them after they are done reading.

We decide this one needed a bit of a display for our bookshelves. So we created a cute Larry the pet black hole. Picture was taken outside since the lighting wasn’t good in room that has all our bookcases at the time. It was super easy to make just take a black bath poof and add google eyes or foam eyes and your done.

About the book: When eleven-year-old Stella Rodriguez shows up at NASA to request that her recording be included in Carl Sagan’s Golden Record, something unexpected happens: A black hole follows her home, and sets out to live in her house as a pet. The black hole swallows everything he touches, which is challenging to say the least—but also turns out to be a convenient way to get rid of those items that Stella doesn’t want around. Soon the ugly sweaters her aunt has made for her all disappear within the black hole, as does the smelly class hamster she’s taking care of, and most important, all the reminders of her dead father that are just too painful to have around.

It’s not until Stella, her younger brother, Cosmo, the family puppy, and even the bathroom tub all get swallowed up by the black hole that Stella comes to realize she has been letting her own grief consume her. And that’s not the only thing she realizes as she attempts to get back home. This is an astonishingly original and funny adventure with a great big heart.

Thank you so much Penguin Random House for sending us a copy of The Care and Feeding A Pet Black Hole. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

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Thirteen Rising

by Romina Russell

Zodiac Series book 4

Thirteen Rising is the final installment in the wonderfully entertaining Zodiac series. I have loved this series and it is a series I will re-read now and again. The stories capture you and take you to a whole new world and the covers are so beautiful. This summer was a lot of fun doing the Zodiac Summer Read A Thon with my girls leading up to Thirteen Rising. If you haven’t read this series yet now is your chance. All four books are out as of today so grab them and binge read them this fall. They would also make a wonderful holiday gift for any middle grade or YA reading teen. Today I’m diving into the Zodiac world and can’t wait to see what is in store.

About the Book: Romina Russell’s epic sci-fi fantasy series reaches its breathtaking conclusion with this fourth and final novel.

The master has been unmasked. Rho’s world has been turned upside down. With her loved ones in peril and all the stars set against her, can the young Guardian from House Cancer muster the strength to keep fighting? Or has she finally found her match in a master whose ambition to rule knows no limits?

Thank you Penguin Young Readers for sending us the Zodiac Series. We have loved and enjoyed the Summer 2017 Read A Thon so much. All thoughts and opinions are our own and are not influenced by the free books.

Wild Bird

by Wendelin Van Draanen

This book jumped right into it never stopped till the last page. This book is about a 14-year-old addict that her family has no other choice but to place their daughter in a desert rehab where it is sink or swim. I can’t even imagine what that family had to go to that made them feel like this was their only choice. I also was so sad to see Wren’s age was 14.  I like that she had her being young because it happens and even young teen middle school aged kids can get hooked on drugs and alcohol. Wren was the main focus of the book and while Wild was about finding ones self after the death of a loved one. Wild Bird wasn’t much different in the fact that Wren had to find herself again. She was lost and in a way her old self was no longer. She had to rediscover what made her happy and the old Wren. The program was a tough love military like program but for many this is just what they need to get clean. You will laugh, cry, cheer and shake your head at times throughout this book. The author really lets your inside Wren’s head and her thinking process. In all honesty I think Wren really handled being thrown into this very well. Many of the day to day staples in the old life she took for granted threw away were things she had to fight for to gain back. This book shows what it is like to bottom out and having to realize that sometimes the hardest thing is asking for help, rediscovering yourself and being brutally honest with yourself. Wild Bird should be a book all parents read. I know it’s geared towards teens but I really think parents need to read this as well. I was totally 100% invested in Wren and her story, I’m so happy I got to read this book and know it will be a re-read as well as one I recommend to all looking for a heartwarming and heartbreaking book.

About the Book: 3:47 a.m. That’s when they come for Wren Clemmens. She’s hustled out of her house and into a waiting car, then a plane, and then taken on a forced march into the desert. This is what happens to kids who’ve gone so far off the rails, their parents don’t know what to do with them anymore. This is wilderness therapy camp. Eight weeks of survivalist camping in the desert. Eight weeks to turn your life around. Yeah, right.

The Wren who arrives in the Utah desert is angry and bitter, and blaming everyone but herself. But angry can’t put up a tent. And bitter won’t start a fire. Wren’s going to have to admit she needs help if she’s going to survive.

Thank you Knopf Books for Young Readers for allowing me to read Wild Bird. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Lucy and Andy Neanderthal

The Stone Cold Age

by Jeffery Brown

I know I said I wasn’t really into graphic novels, however I can now say I’m a fan. I’ve read several over the summer and you know what they are great! I can see why kids and adults love them. I know they are a big hit in the elementary school I work at. Jeffery Brown is best known for the Darth Vader and Kids as well as Jedi Academy books but I really think Lucy and Andy Neanderthal will become just as popular.

Lucy and Andy Neanderthal is a mix of fiction and non fiction. The author sprinkles in scientist throughout the graphic novel to discuss scientific facts about caves, finding fossils from that era and human remains. Glacier formation and more is discussed as well. I think he does a good job at separating the fact and fiction for the reader.  He also presents the readers with a family from the stone cold age. They have a saber tooth for a pet, I mean hey maybe they did back then. The family and characters are likable and I enjoyed the graphic novel. The illustrations are done in black and white and simple but pleasing to the eye. My middle grade reader liked that they were in black and white and they weren’t real involved with tons of detail. If you wanted to read this as a read aloud with your younger reader/listener then you could read 1 story a night. There are a total of 10 stories with the last part of the book for more facts and explanations and a timeline. Overall I’m very pleased with this series Stone Cold Age is book 2. You can start off with book 1 Lucy and Andy Neanderthal, or just jump right in with Stone Cold Age.

About the Book: Neanderthal siblings Lucy and Andy are back to their paleo pranks. This time, they have to put up with more than just each other the cave is feeling awfully cramped since the humans moved in. They’re in the Ice Age, and legroom comes at a real premium!  Jeffrey Brown skillfully blends humor and history with paleontologist sections: Timeline of Key Discoveries, Ice Age Fact vs. Fiction, Silly Cavemen Myths, and more.

Thank you Crown Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Lucy and Andy Neanderthal The Stone Cold Age. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free graphic novel.

ReWordAble card game

The Uniquely Fragmented Word Game

by Team Rewordable

 

This is a different review today, my middle grader and I love to play games. From board games to card games we can play for hours. Some of our favorites is Life, One Night Werewolf is So. Much. Fun. but today we played a new one and we love it. Re*W*or*d*A*ble and it is so much fun~

Rewordable is faster than scrabble and a lot more fun. My middle grader said she was done with Scrabble, Rewordable more fun!  It is fast paced and can be as competitive as you want. For our first few games since we were learning how to play we weren’t as competitive. However after we had the rules down pat we got very competitive. I have never played a word game that went as fast as this one. The rules say that if your playing 2-4 players only use half the deck. Well we were having so much fun we played the whole deck. The tokens were an added fun bonus to see who could get the most. We had a lot of fun stealing each others words to make longer ones. This card game is easy to follow and I think it would be a fun one to play in the school setting as well as home. I think from 4th through adults would enjoy it. I can’t wait to play this with my extended family on my birthday when we all get together. I will be adding this to Christmas list to a few of my friends and family that love to play games as much as we do.

Rewordable

The Uniquely Fragmented Word Game

·    The Kickstarter-funded, uniquely fragmented word game
·    Carefully crafted to make it easy to form longer, more common words
·    Intuitive and fun for 2-8 players of all skill levels (ages 8 and up)
·    Includes 120 cards, 16 tokens, and nifty fold-out rules and poster
·    Variable deck with a fresh linguistic experience every game

Every letter counts in a game of Rewordable. Each of the 120 cards has been selected for optimal word crafting. Build a new word and be rewarded. Or add to other players’ words to steal their points. Create the largest lexicon of words by the end of the game to become the Rewordable champion.

 Includes:
·    120 cards with one-, two-, and three-letter sequences, selected through linguistic research, computational analysis, and extensive playtesting
·    16 tokens add different goals, strategies, and rewards to every game
·    Nifty fold-out rules with easy to follow how-to-play diagrams

Thank you so very much Blogging for Books and Team Rewordable for allowing us to play and review this game. All thoughts and opinions are ours and not influenced by the free game.

Black Moon

Zodiac Series book 3

by Romina Russell

First off I have to say this series has the most beautiful covers ever! I mean look at them, they are works of art and the designer Vanessa Han is seriously talented. If you want to see more of her work check out her site. I mean I might the books she designed covers for just because they are so pretty. 🙂

 

OK now on to book 3 of this amazing series. I mean this series just keeps getting better and better with each book. The world building and characters are so well developed and nothing is forgotten from other books. The series is consistent and keeps building from one book to another. The series I really can’t wait to see how this series ends. Lots of big events happen in Black Moon, all leading up to the final book Thirteen Rising. A lot goes on in this book. Rho really shows all of herself in Black Moon she matures and really grows as a character. So much is exposed in this book and so much comes to the surface. If you are looking for a series to gift to an upper middle school and YA reader than I would seriously suggest giving the Zodiac series a try. This is a science fiction – fantasy series that somewhat parallels stuff that is happening right now in the world right now. Thirteen Rising comes out 2.5 weeks on August 29th. So if you or your YA reader like to wait for the whole series to be out before you start than your wait is almost over.

Thank you Penguin for sending me a copy of Black Moon. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Amanda Panda Quits Kindergarten

by Candice Ransom

illustrated by Christine Grove

Sometimes we have in our head how we see something playing out. It may be a project your working on, a conversation or the first day of school. This book shows that things don’t always go as planned. Amanda Panda has it all figured out and knows exactly how the first day of kindergarten is going to go. However what she didn’t consider was that a: things don’t always go exactly as planned b: there are other kids in her kindergarten class  and c: sometimes changes are hard but every now and then good things come from them. Over the course of the first day of kindergarten a certain little head to toe pink girl really wants to be Amanda’s friend. Bitsy is just everywhere and doing everything before Amanda can this makes Amanda very upset. So upset she decides to skip kindergarten all together and hang out with her big brother in 2nd grade. Bitsy goes on a mission to find her best friend Amanda and get her back to class. Amanda soon realizes that Bitsy might just make kindergarten fun and it’s always a great day when you make a new best friend. This one is cute and while Amanda does sneak off to a different classroom which is a big no-no the outcome is good. I do wish the author would have had a little part where the teacher talks to Bitsy and Amanda about how they can’t do that. Instead she just had it that the students and teacher didn’t even know they were late getting back to class. Besides that little part that I would have liked to be different it is a cute story.  I think this would be a cute addition to any back to school reading list for your and your little bookworms or in the classroom setting. Just be sure to let them know don’t leave your classroom or class and wonder off around the school. 🙂

About the book: Amanda Panda has BIG ideas for her first day of school. But when things don’t go according to plan, and when a pesky girl in a pink bow decides to be her best friend, she walks out on kindergarten and joins her brother in second grade. It takes an unlikely partner to fix Amanda’s terrible day—and to teach her about friendship, tolerance, and how to cope with life’s ups and downs.