Lemon

by Melissa Savage

Page total: 308

Suggested Reading Level: Middle Grade (I think upper elementary grade readers would enjoy this as well)

I simply loved this sweet, charming book. Lemonade “Lemon” Liberty Witt has been dealt a big bowl of lemons in life. The whole world has been upended and the rug was pulled out from under her (Trigger: her mom dies, so some kids might find this hard). She has to go live with her grandpa, someone she has never meet before. She has to live her hometown where all her friends live and the memories of just her and her mom are. While there all she can think about is going back.  However Willow Creek California is full of fun quirky characters that you just can’t help but like (well there were a few sour lemons in the bunch). Lemon begins to make friends, has a best friend in Tobin. She starts to enjoy searching for and possibly finding Big Foot. Mostly she is enjoying learning all about her mom when she was Lemons age, talking to friends of her moms and just being with her grandpa. I just loved Lemon and Tobin, they are really sweet middle grade characters. They were well written and realistic. Tobin is dealing with his dad who is MIA after returning the US after fighting in the Vietnam war. This book will be the top suggested book when the 5th graders ask me for book suggestions. I hope many middle grade readers and upper elementary readers read Lemons! Grab a copy and read it aloud, or grab a copy and have family book club this summer.

About the book: After her mother dies in 1975, ten-year-old Lemonade must live with her grandfather in a small town famous for Bigfoot sightings and soon becomes friends with Tobin, a quirky Bigfoot investigator.

Thank you Random House Kids and Crown Books for Young Readers. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

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Comic Squad: Detention!

Edited by Jennifer L Holm and Matthew Holm

I’m new to the middle grade and elementary grade graphic novels. I read a few when I was younger (Bone) and my girls loved BabyMouse. So besides BabyMouse and Bone I haven’t read a bunch of them. However I work with kids and they LOVE graphic novels. So I’m always trying to find new ones to suggest when they are looking for their next read.  Comic Squad Detention is the first of the series for me and I’ll be seeking the other’s out since this one was really entertaining. Each story was written but a different graphic novel writer in children’s/middle grade novels. This is a great way to get a taste of other author’s work and writing style to discover new favorites that you want to read more from. I know I found a few that I’d like to check out more of this own graphic novels to read. I just might be a graphic novel reader after all. 🙂

The Lunch Bunch in…Detention DisasterThis one was cute and all maybe not a favorite of mine but I can see kids really getting a kick out of Hector, Dee and Terrence’s adventures in crime solving.

Cheating Death w/ Sisyphus: This one is my favorite! It is an ode to mythology and perfect for Percy Jackson or any Rick Riordan readers. I loved the mythology and the story was great.

Worse Than DetentionThis one was funny for me. In this graphic novel short story the school made the kids work in the kindergarten room instead of detention. They found it worked like a charm and they didn’t have repeat offenders. 🙂

Milo’s JourneyThis one was another favorite of mine. In this one there was no electronics allowed while serving detention. It also showed what a great imagination you can have when you’re not plugged in and left to your own devices to pass time.

Too NiceThis one was just OK for me. I did like how the boy noticed the girl was really smart.

Cyclopean Kid: Detention is Forever!: This was another mythology story and it was good. It was about a college student in the education program was also student teaching in monstergarten. I did like that it showed by getting detention sometimes you miss out on the fun. For us it would be called time out on the line up line.

Think About What You’ve DoneThis was another great one with an artistic imaginative kid. I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

Squish: Leave No Cell BehindThe science nerd in me really really enjoyed this one and I would love to read more Squish graphic novels. This one was a big hit with my middle grader as well, she loves all things science!

About the graphic novel: Calling all kidz! Do you like comics? Do you like laughing till you get sent to the principal?! Don’t punish yourself! Read the next Comics Squad! Leave your troubles behind with this collection of quick and funny stories about many kids’ biggest fear–detention! Sure, detention can be scary or frustrating or just plain boring, but who knew it could also be an adventure? With a disrespectful Greek god, antimatter ooze, bio engineered rats, and a school full of stampeding bulls, it is definitely full of fun!

Thank you so much Random House Kids for sending us a copy of Comic Squad: Detention!All thoughts and opinions are our own and not influenced by the free book.

Spring books: From Runaway Eggs to Peeps

I have 3 cute spring books I want to share with you. I read these to the kinders (kindergarten students) and they loved them! These are perfect for spring or even Easter read alouds and gifts. These books would be great for toddlers through early elementary. One of the books is even fun for all ages from toddler to adult.

The Runaway Egg by Katy Hudson

 

This was such a fun one to read and was enjoyed by all. They laughed so hard and this was a favorite that has been read over and over. This is a great one to start the conversation about lots of baby farm animals being born in the spring or for a big brother/sister awaiting the arrival of their baby sibling. The story is simple and easy to read, making it good for story/bed time. The illustrations are bright and colorful while also being soft almost colored pencil like. Listener’s and reader’s will enjoy all the fun antics and chaos that ensues while watching the egg that is thought “boring” go on quite an adventure.

 

 

summary: Chick is getting a new baby brother . . . and he does NOT understand what all the fuss is about. What is so exciting about an egg that just sits there? Well, it turns out this egg doesn’t “just sit there”–it cracks, two little legs pop out, and it sprints away! Oh, brother! Chick immediately finds himself on a madcap chase through the barnyard as he attempts to protect the legged egg from danger. 

Little Golden Books: Peeps in Pajamas by Golden Books – illustrated by Ron Cohee

 

This cute little golden book is perfect for some bedtime reading. You can never go wrong with Little Golden Books and this one stars Peeps the food that while some might dislike them they still find themselves eating them each Easter season.  This little book is geared more for the younger book-worm and I think it’s perfect for toddler through Kindergarten. However the easy short sentences also make this a good beginning reader for those who are learning or have just learned to read.

 

 

summary: PEEPS Bunnies and Chicks are starring in their first Little Golden Book! This funny, illustrated storybook tells what the PEEPS do to help themselves fall asleep. 

 

 

Peeps Guide to Life by Andrea Posner- Sanchez – illustrations by Random House

 

 

Peeps Guide to Life is the book I mentioned was perfect for all ages. Gift this to your bookworms from toddler to adult. This would be a cute book for the Easter basket of a high school or college student as well as a preschool aged reader. The guide to life was fun to read and the Peeps make it such a cute book. I really enjoyed this as well as my neighbors toddler and preschool aged kids. Throw in some Peeps and you have a cute gift that will be loved by all.

 

 

summary: Let your PEEPSonality shine through with advice from PEEPS! The iconic PEEPS Chick and Bunny share uplifting words of wisdom in this fun hardcover book. There are also awesome facts and trivia about PEEPS. It s a great gift for PEEPS fans of all ages! Perfect for Easter or anytime. PEEPS(r) is an iconic brand found in Easter baskets everywhere with a heritage spanning over 60 years

Thank you so much Random House for sending me these great books. All thoughts and opinions are my own and the wonderful kindergarten listeners. No opinions were influenced by the free books.

Curse of the Boggin and Dr Fell and the Playground of Doom

I have 2 great little books perfect for the upper elementary through middle grade reading crowd. If you are looking for some somewhat spooky but not scary books for your kids who have already read every and all GooseBumps books than look no further.  Curse of the Boggin and Dr Fell and the Playground of Doom just might be what they are looking for.

First up or hands down favorite of the 2:

Curse of the Boggin (The Library #1) by D.J. McHale

curse-of-the-boggin-the-library-1-by-d-j-machale

 

This one was our favorite of the 2 books and we can’t wait for book 2. The book is perfect and we loved every creepy moment of it. The cover will have every kid that loves a good spooky book grabbing it off the shelves, it is perfect and really sums up the book. Curse of the Boggin has 2 stories with in this one. There is of course the main story that the book is based on but the back story as to why the Boggin wants the key so badly. This book is a bit more creepy and scary so not for the easily scared readers. Upper elementary through middle grade will devour this book and series – I even think some YA readers would enjoy this one. The kids are great and read like real kids. They are sarcastic – stick together – and jump feet first into the unknown world to save not only their families but their best friend. Marcus learns a lot in a very short time. First he learns that he is gifted or cursed depending on how you want to look at it with a gift. He learns he is adopted and that his parents didn’t pass away like he thought they did. Than he learns he is the keeper of this very special key and it can not – I repeat can not fall into the hands of the boggin or we are all doomed. Curse of the Boggin is a grand slam and sure to delight readers with the creepy supernatural elements,  friendships and both strong boy and girl main characters. Grab a copy of this one and add it to your middle grade spooktober reading list.

summary: There’s a place beyond this world, beyond the land of the living, where ghosts go to write their unfinished stories—stories that ended too soon. It’s a place for unexplained phenomena: mysteries that have never been solved, spirits that have never been laid to rest. And there’s only one way in or out.

It’s called the Library, and you can get there with a special key. But beware! Don’t start a story you can’t finish. Because in this library, the stories you can’t finish just might finish you.

Marcus O’Mara is a 13 year old guy at a crossroads. He constantly finds himself in trouble at school, with his friends, and with his adoptive parents. Marcus doesn’t believe things can get any worse for him…until they get worse.

Much worse.

He begins seeing strange and impossible visions; gets thrown into paranormal danger and is haunted by a mysterious ghost with a singular goal: to give him a key.

It’s a key that opens the door to a mysterious library. When that door opens, the incredible adventure for Marcus and his friends begins as they learn the truth about Marcus’ past and uncover the strange world of unfinished stories that are found on the shelves of the Library.

Dr Fell and the Playground of Doom by David Neilsen

dr-fell-and-the-playground-of-doom-by-david-neilsen

 

This book was a small book and a quick read but not lacking it is a story that is packed full of mystery, fantasy and tween heroes. The tween kids are funny, sarcastic and not afraid of Dr Fell. They want to know what is up with him since something doesn’t seem right. This is a first book for my by David Neilsen and it was a delight to read his writing. He creates such a great enchanting book. I instantly fell into the book and didn’t want it to end. While it was a spooky book perfect for tween spooktober reading, it wasn’t I can’t sleep it was so scary. However if your child does scare easy than you might want to read it first just to make sure it would be OK. My tween reader has been reading spooky books for quite a while now and for her she said it wasn’t spooky enough – so definitely mildly spooky. The plot of the book is fast paced and will have your child reading all day long so they can find out how this book is going to end. Sadly the ending comes fast but is the perfect ending. Overall I really enjoyed this one and so did my middle grade reader (5th grader). The only thing she said she didn’t like was the cover. She said the cover would have her reaching for the book at the store or school library.

summary: When the mysterious Dr. Fell moves into the abandoned house that had once been the neighborhood kids’ hangout, he immediately builds a playground to win them over. But as the ever-changing play space becomes bigger and more elaborate, the children and their parents fall deeper under the doctor’s spell.

Only Jerry, Nancy, and Gail are immune to the lure of his extravagant wonderland. And they alone notice that when the injuries begin to pile up on the jungle gym, somehow Dr. Fell is able to heal each one with miraculous speed. Now the three children must find a way to uncover the doctor’s secret power without being captivated by his trickery.

Thank you so much Random House Books for Young Readers and Crown Books for Young Readers. We enjoyed Curse of the Boggin and Dr Fell and the Playground of Doom. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free books.

Autumn Wish

Autumn Falls trilogy book 3

by Bella Thorne

Autumn Wish by Bella Thorne

 

Autumn Falls trilogy  has been a yearly event in this house. My middle grade reader has enjoyed them and is a big Bella Thorne fan. This one is a bit different from the other two books since this involves a special gift from her dad.  I know your thinking but each book is about a special gift from her dad. Yes that is true but I have to agree with my middle grade reader in the fact that this is best one by far. Are you ready for it, Time Travel! I mean you have a YA book that has time travel and you will hook the reader. I know these books are geared more towards the YA genre but many of her fans are middle grade and read these books as well. Bella Thorne did a great job with the final book. She keeps the reader flipping the pages and fans of the books will love reading all about their senior year. The ending was a solid ending that was realistic and while we are sad to see this series end we are hoping she continues her writing and publishes more books.

summary: Senior year is here, and everyone has a plan—except Autumn Falls. So many crazy-important decisions lie ahead, and she’s scared to make the wrong one. So when she receives a magical locket that enables her to travel through time (!!!), Autumn hopes she can correct all her past mistakes—with her friends, with boys—and maybe even prevent her dad from dying. But the locket doesn’t work that way. Instead, Autumn discovers that she’s only able to visit the future—and she doesn’t like what she sees. Autumn can change her destiny . . . but what does she really want?

thank you Delcorte Books for Young Readers, Random House and Bella Thorne for allowing us to read and review Autumn Wishes. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.

The rest in the series:

Autumn Falls (our review)

Autumn Falls by Bella Thorne

 

 

summary: With her fiery red hair, new-girl outsider status, and tendency to be a total klutz, Autumn Falls definitely isn’t flying below the radar at Aventura High. Luckily, she makes some genuine friends who take her under their wing. But she also manages to get on the wrong side of the school’s queen bee, and then finds out the guy she’s started to like, funny and sweet Sean, hangs with the mean crowd. Now her rep and her potential love life are at stake.

When Autumn vents her feelings in a journal that belonged to her late father, suddenly her wildest wishes start coming true. Is it coincidence? Or can writing in the journal solve all her problems? And if the journal doesn’t work that way,  is there a bigger purpose for it—and for her?

Autumn’s Kiss (our review)

Autumn's Kiss by Bella Thorne

 

 

summary: Everyone knows how crazy junior year is, but Autumn Falls never imagined it would be so flirty. The wish-granting diary her father left her stopped working, leaving Autumn to decode what’s going on with her and Sean on her own. He seems into her…and he also seems into Reenzie. But when J.J. steps up and tells Autumn he’s the one she should be with if she wants someone who really cares about her, and a pop star makes a major play for her, Autumn is totally confused. Her friends have Big Drama issues going on, too, and Autumn wants to be there for them. Then something mind-blowing happens. She’s suddenly given an incredible, crazy-fun opportunity: a map that takes her anyplace she wants to go. At first it seems like an amazing gift. But showing up IRL where you’re least expected has life-changing consequences. Is Autumn ready to handle the fallout?

thank you Delacorte Books for Young Readers, Random House and Bella Thorne for allowing us to read and review The Autumn Falls trilogy as the books were published. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free books.

The Darkest Corners

by Kara Thomas

“Everyone has something to hide”

First Line: Hell is a two hour layover in Atlanta

The Dark Corners by Kara Thomas

 

The Darkest Corners is a great thrilling roller coaster ride. You have no clue where this book is going and what is going to happen next. The only thing you do know is The Monster is back and the police are not looking for him. It is up to Tessa, Callie and a small group of friends to solve this mystery. The will be putting themselves out there and in danger but that isn’t the only mystery to solve. Tessa finds out her family has a few skeletons in the closet that some will do anything to make sure they stay there. The Darkest Corners was so good I flew through this book and while I figured out part of 1 mystery the others I didn’t figure out till they were revealed to the reader. I loved that about this book, I usually figure this stuff out. The characters were all very well developed and likable. Tessa and Callie are two girls who use to be best friends till they had an event happen that shattered the innocence of childhood and they each dealt with it in different way. However when they are thrown together again the bonds of their friendship and the event prove that it was unbreakable and they are in this thing together. The plot was so good and I loved that there was mysteries within The Monster mystery. I could really see this being a movie and man would it be good. Add The Darkest Corners to your summer reading list and your teen’s summer reading list. I really hope Kara Thomas writes more thrilling mysteries like this one. I enjoyed this one and will be checking out her Prep School Confidential Series. Callie and a small group of friends to figure out who he is before one of them is the next target.

summary: There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.


Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.


Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.


But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.


Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

thank you so much Random House Children’s, and Kara Thomas for allowing us to read The Darkest Corners. All thoughts and opinions are our own and were not influenced by the free book.

 

Summerlost

by Ally Condie

Read an 32 page excerpt

Giveaway: Ally Condie Prize Pack: 5 finished copies of SUMMERLOST, paperback copy of ATLANTIA, copy of book one of MATCHED

Add to your Goodreads shelf

Buy: Penguin Random House AmazonBarnes and NobleIndieBound

Summerlost by Ally Condie

 

 

A Spring 2016 Kids’ Indie Next List Top 10 Pick!

Named one of Publishers Weekly’s Most Anticipated Children’s and YA Books of Spring 2016

 

 

 

 

Praise:

“Condie (Matched) strikes a deep emotional chord with this coming-of-age story.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Multiple, seemingly random details, including a family of turkey vultures that now roost outside Cedar’s window, an absurd soap opera narrative of a woman buried alive, and Leo’s quest for a trip with his father, coalesce into metaphors that help Cedar make sense of her grief and the life she now has to look forward to. Thoughtful, poetic chapter endings guide readers new to psychological depth toward meaningful connections between plot events and thematic reflections.” – BCCB

“A moving tale of friendship and loss. I loved these characters—I wish we could have been friends when I was a kid.” –Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fablehaven and Five Kingdoms series

“Ally Condie’s first middle grade book might also be my favorite out of ALL her books to date. Summerlost is a story packed with nostalgia, heart, and gorgeous prose.” – The Novel Novice

“A nuanced portrait of grief deeply grounded in the middle-school mind-set.” – Booklist

“Honest, lovely, and sad.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A sweet, heartfelt story.” – School Library Journal

“Achingly good.” – Summer Laurie, Books Inc.

Letter from Ally:

Dear Readers,

I think most of us have had our hearts broken. Sometimes we can see it coming, and sometimes it comes down with the unexpected force of a sudden gale of wind or a rising of waters that we thought were still and safe. Loss is universal to human experience, but the way we each feel and recover is one of the most personal things we do.

In Summerlost, Cedar is dealing with the loss of her father and younger brother. And my intent was to show how hard their deaths are for her. But this is also a book about the healing power of friendship. Most of us have been broken-hearted; I hope that most of us have also discovered the miracle of friendships that were just what we needed. Cedar and Leo’s friendship is based on someone I met when I was twelve. Like Leo, my friend was fun and liked to enlist me in crazy adventures (although we never gave a secret guided tour of our town the way they do in Summerlost). And, like Leo, he thought I was wonderful and of worth at a time when I needed it most.

SUMMERLOST is my attempt to pay tribute both to the pain we feel and the friendships that save us. Thank you so much for supporting this book, and for your willingness to give Cedar’s story a try. I hope it makes you think of a wonderful friend of your own, whether that is someone you met in the pages of a favorite book or outside, in the world where it is often hard and beautiful to live.

Best wishes and happy reading always,

Ally Condie