Middle Grade Mini Book Reviews

Our external reviewer Sara has been busy doing some middle grade reading so that she can be better acquainted to recommend books to the kids at the library she works at! Here are some of her reviews on some of the books she has picked up!

The Monster Sisters and the Mystery of the Unlocked Cave by Gareth Kyle Gaudin

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Synopsis: When a quiet seaside town is suddenly overrun by hundreds of giant monsters, two young sisters are the only ones prepared to handle the situation. Using their keen interest in architecture, local history, folklore and gymnastics, the two girls attempt to not only stop the monsters’ rampage but also figure out why it’s happening. The story is set in Victoria, British Columbia, and the city’s impressive history and creepy folklore add intrigue to the proceedings, as more and more monstrous guests arrive on this unceded Lekwungen Territory.

Review: Unfortunately, though this graphic novel seems to have a pretty entertaining idea, I found it pretty disjointed and difficult to read. The idea of the novel was really neat, and the idea to put little facts about Victoria was fun, but really pulled away from the story. There were also a few times where the story jumped around for no real reason and added in a narrator at the last few pages to tie everything up.  

Admittedly, I’m still working on appreciating the style of the graphic novel, but this one felt particularly difficult to get into the story. 

I wouldn’t recommend this book to the younger readers this book is geared towards. It does seem like it’s leading really heavily into a sequel, and I’m optimistic that perhaps a second novel from this author would be more successful.

Book Rating: 2/5


Shadow Island by Nancy Deas

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Synopsis: With nowhere left to live after losing his parents and working his way through a long list of relatives on the mainland, Ollie finds himself at his grandpa’s house in Sueo Bay, “home of the supernatural.” Miserable and intending to get away from the earthquake-prone, rain-soaked island on the next bus out of town, Ollie’s getaway plans are altered abruptly when he and three classmates discover something they shouldn’t have in a trailer in the woods.

The four unlikely friends come together in a mystery involving supernatural creatures, a ticking clock and one angry gym teacher to save themselves, the creatures and Sueo Bay from a darkness that is infecting the island.

If they succeed, will Ollie finally find a place to call home?

Review: I loved this one graphic novel. I thought the start was a bit abrupt, but I quickly forgot about this as I continued reading. It was a fun story that I think kids in this age group will absolutely love. The images were great, and I even approved of the text style (as a teacher, the all-caps style common in graphic novels does not help emerging readers). I think this could turn into a series most emerging readers would love to get obsessed with!

Book Rating: 4/5


Sid the Kid and the Dryer by Leslie Choyce

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Synopsis: Milton the washing machine and W. P. (Whirlpool) the dryer are being delivered to a new home in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. The pair are excited to start their new jobs in the Crosby home, and are just getting settled in to the basement when “the kid” comes home from school. Sidney straps on a pair of Rollerblades, drags out a beat-up hockey net, and starts to practice. Every now and then a loud carrong echoes off W. P.’s shiny white enamel as the puck misses the net, prompting scolds from Sidney’s mother upstairs.

Eventually, the poor dryer needs to be replaced; it’s missing knobs and covered in dents. W. P. doesn’t want to go, and it’s up to Sidney to convince his dad that sometimes, being reminded of your mistakes is a good thing.

Review: I did not enjoy this book. It felt sort of strange, although I really loved the idea. It almost felt like this book hasn’t been seen by a publisher yet. I believe the illustration style would not be very popular with most of it’s intended readers, either, as the sort of almost-realistic style of illustrating seems to have fallen out of favour in the last decade. I feel like there other sports-adjacent picture books in this genre that readers would enjoy more.

Book Rating: 2/5


A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice by Nadia L. Hohn

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Synopsis: Jamaican poet and entertainer Louise Bennett Coverley, better known as “Miss Lou,” played an instrumental role in popularizing Jamaican patois internationally. Through her art, Miss Lou helped pave the way for other poets and singers, like Bob Marley, to use patois in their work.

This picture book biography tells the story of Miss Lou’s early years, when she was a young girl who loved poetry but felt caught between writing “lines of words like tight cornrows” or words that beat “in time with her heart.” Despite criticism from one teacher, Louise finds a way to weave the influence of the music, voices, and rhythms of her surroundings into her poems.

Review: I really loved the idea of this book. Being able to connect important historical figures with the reader in a natural way is something I really admire in children’s books. I think that the average child will love reading a story, only to discover that it’s about a real person. Unfortunately, I wished for more! I wanted more of what was in the author’s note at the end to be told in the story, where it will really engage the reader. I’d love to read more by this author.

Book Rating: 4/5



Wolverine and Little Thunder | Ki’kaw’ju Kaqtukowjik 
by Alan Syliboy

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Synopsis: From the bestselling creator of The Thundermaker comes another adventure featuring Little Thunder and Wolverine—a trickster, who is strong and fierce and loyal. The two are best of friends, even though Wolverine can sometimes get them into trouble. Their favourite pastime is eel fishing, whether it’s cutting through winter ice with a stone axe or catching eels in traditional stone weirs in the summer. But that all changes one night, when they encounter the giant river eel—the eel that is too big to catch. The eel that hunts people!

Book Review: I loved the illustrations and the idea of the book telling an indigenous tale for the readers. Unfortunately, the writing was a bit lacking. The story didn’t have much flow to it, and it kind of felt like nothing really happened. The excerpt of the book used on the inside cover almost told more of the story than the actual book! I wished for more connection to the reader, and a better development of the plot of the book. I just didn’t feel like this book lives up to some of its competitors in the genre.

Book Rating: 3/5


Olga: Out of Control! by Elise Gravel

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Synopsis: In this third installment of the series, Olga’s beloved companion, Meh, is now a mom! She has a litter of adorable babies that look like spring rolls. But the babies aren’t just adorable—they’re a handful! How can Olga stop them from covering her house in rainbow poop if she’s busy making sure they’re fed?

Can Olga keep it all under control?

Book Review: I’m not sure I really enjoyed this book. It felt a little bit too contrived. While I was reading, it felt like it was just a thinly veiled attempt to teach kids about the challenges of parenting and owning pets. This author writes as if they only think they know how to write for children, which is odd, as I’ve read other books by this author that are much better!

Book Rating: 2.5/5


Dragon Thief by Zetta Elliot

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Synopsis: Jaxon had just one job–to return three baby dragons to the realm of magic. But when he got there, only two dragons were left in the bag. His best friend’s sister, Kavita, is a dragon thief!

Kavita only wanted what was best for the baby dragon. But now every time she feeds it, the dragon grows and grows! How can she possibly keep it secret? Even worse, stealing it has upset the balance between the worlds. The gates to the other realm have shut tight! Jaxon needs all the help he can get to find Kavita, outsmart a trickster named Blue, and return the baby dragon to its true home.

Book Review: I loved this one book! I was a little worried about it being a sequel, as I haven’t read the first one, but it was still a great read, and I didn’t feel lost. I found the story engaging, and at the perfect level for the age group. There was action and a bit of magic, but mostly they’re was great relationships between the characters. I would recommend this one to any early reader!

Book Rating: 5/5



Thank you to our Patreon Supporters:

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If you are interested, I have this video detailing my opinions on the books that I read in February. Check it out if you want to see me talk about the books rather than read a review.

Bookworms : Bookmarks? — celinelingg

Hey bookworms! Check out this great post by Celine about bookmarks and all the uses we have for them and the types that we use 🙂

As a reader, there’s only one thing I need to emphasize right here and right now. Bookmark is a lifesaver. Who can relate? I can’t read without a bookmark. Before, I literally use anything to mark my reads. Guess what they are. Trust me, you don’t even want to know. Let’s see what type of […]

via Bookworms : Bookmarks? — celinelingg

And don’t forget about our current giveaway that is happening:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5760930a6/?

We are busy over here reading a middle grade trilogy and will have a review of the first one for you tomorrow!

Are you dreaming of a candlelit, nature inspired wedding with a touch of glam? Fitting virtually any budget, My Wedding Favors offers a wonderful selection of rustic and chic wedding decorations and wedding favors for you to choose from.

Why I Buy So Many Books — Adventures of a Bibliophile

Hey bookworms. I read this post about buying lots of books and I completely relate to everything she says. It is my dream to own a room in my house (when I own a house as well) that is just covered wall to wall with books. It would be my own little personal library.

Check out her post to see why she keeps buying lots and lots of books.

Every time I post a book haul, I inevitably get a comment along the lines of “WOW! That’s a lot of books!” Yeah, I know. I buy A LOT of books. More than any person in their right mind would buy. Clearly, I have an addiction. But if I have to be addicted to something, […]

via Why I Buy So Many Books — Adventures of a Bibliophile


Deals of the Week: New deals every week, online only!

Book Review: Critical Critters

I was recently sent a copy of Critical Critters by Ralph Steadman and Ceri Levy from @Storgy and Bloomsbury Books. The book is about the animals all over the world that are on the endangered species list and are in need of saving.

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Ralph brings the animals to life through his intricate watercolour artwork and Ceri brings all the facts to the table that are justified with thorough research and a genuine exploration of the species.  The way these two can tell a story about each specific species and makes it interesting to read is amazing. I will admit that when I first looked at this book proof, I thought “Oh no, not another textbook”. But after I started to read, I found myself wanting to know each and every thing about all the different species in danger and how I could get involved to help.

I also enjoyed how they had a little side narrative going throughout the entire book. Ralph and Ceri would banter back and forth while they were in the process of creating the book and it gave the reader insight into how some of their ideas took shape.

There are so many species in this world and every single one has a different way of life. One quote really stuck out to me because it shows that we do take the natural world for granted.

Perhaps we refuse to accept their intelligence because we would then feel guilt for everything we have done to them.

 

The book did take a little while to get through but that only goes to show how many species are in danger and that the ecosystem needs our help to maintain the peace so to speak. We are the main reason a lot of these species are in danger in the first place. All the resources and websites that can help with protecting the ecosystem and different habitats are posted in the back of the book.

Overall, it was a very informative book with a comedic twist on the scientific side. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about endangered species and why they are on the endangered list.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can also see the post on the STORGY website!

I have been nominated for an award!

Hey book bloggers, guess what!?!? I have been nominated by Ari Augustine from Ravenous for Reads to win the 2017 Liebster award! If you get a chance, go check out her blog. She is an avid book blogger and does fantastic reviews along with interviews and content for writers. She has a book tube channel which is also really cool and something I hope to get to myself someday.

Now you may say, what is a Liebster? I am not too sure either but it sounds cool right? I checked it out and here is more info on the 2017 Liebster Award. I also grabbed the image from Ari’s blog because I didn’t know where else to find it but this is the official badge for the award.

Liebster

So in the rules, it tells me that I should write about my favourite blog/blogger. That would have to be Kathy @ Books & Munches because she basically started talking to me when I started blogging (which was only a month ago) and has made me laugh with her hilarious comments. She also takes the time to comment on almost all of my posts which was the whole reason I started blogging; to be able to talk to others about books and overall just geek out (plus review books for authors). She is a great book blogger and shares a lot about her reading lists, hosts contests and brings the book community together through conversations and even card exchanges 🙂

Alright so Ari left some questions for her nominees (the questions are in bold and my answers are italic):

  1. Do you judge a book by its cover or give the blurb the benefit of doubt? I tend to give the blurb the benefit of the doubt as I have read so many books that turned out to be fantastic even if they had a crappy cover. I do really enjoy a beautifully laid out book cover though 😛
  2. What are you reading at the moment? Right now, I am currently reading the last book in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series. It is called the Library of Souls.
  3. If you could only take one book with you, what would it be? Hmmm this is a tough one. If I had to choose one, it would be The Glass Castle as it shows and teaches you that no matter where you come from or what happens to you, you can always move forward and live a happy life if you make it for yourself. Pretty much look after yourself because you are who you live with for your whole life (if that doesn’t make sense then we have reached the inner workings of my mind and I have started to babble).
  4. This one is a two-part question: Favorite villain? Favorite hero?My favourite villain would have to be the Jackal from the red rising series and my favourite hero would have to be Daredevil (no making fun….unless you want to, I won’t be offended)
  5. What do you enjoy most about blogging? The part I enjoy most about blogging is the different conversations I get to have with likeminded people about books that we have read. Talking about books and their fictional worlds is so fun and you get to see how others interpreted something in a novel that you may have seen differently in your imagination.
  6. What’s your blogging routine like? My blogging routine is generally done at night as I work 9 to 5 as a web developer. I will write my posts between 10pm and 11:30pm to be published next day around 10am.
  7. When did you begin your blog and where do you hope to take it? I began my blog about a month ago and I plan to eventually get to a point where I am following a lot of book bloggers and have attained a following so that my reviews will be seen by many and maybe companies will approach me to represent them in the book blogging community.
  8. Tea, coffee, or cocoa? Coffee all the way but mix some cocoa in and you have yourself a Mocha.
  9. Hardback or paperback? Paperback (not as heavy and easier to read with one hand while brushing your teeth or cooking or whatnot)
  10. If you could visit anywhere in the universe, in or out of time, parallel or present, where would it be? This is going to sound lame but I would just go to Australia. It has been my dream to go there ever since I wrote a speech about the country in grade 4.
  11. You’re going on an epic adventure to save the world. Name two characters who would help you succeed. Katniss Everdeen because she is badass at rebellions and Gandalf because he proves his loyalty and is an excellent mentor/friend.
  12. What’s your favorite word? Potential.

 

My nominees for the award are as follows and you guys can answer the same questions that I did because I really liked them:

I hope you guys can participate by writing your own posts to keep the love going and I look forward to reading all of your posts!

To finish it off, it says to write 10 random facts about yourself so here you go:

  1. Chocolate Oranges are life in my eyes.
  2. I like music better on vinyl (nothing like that scratchy sound).
  3. People say my spirit animal is a giraffe (it’s because I slap people with my neck lol jk)
  4. I play a lot of League of Legends (if you play, my summoner name is Krundor so add me up)
  5. I eventually want to have a Golden Retriever and a Border Collie.
  6. My preferred beer of choice is Pabst Blue Ribbon.
  7. Scary movies and awesome.
  8. I am a huge comic book fanatic (ask me about my collection, I dare you)
  9. Arkells are a great band (take a listen, you will like them)
  10. My favourite movie of all time is Its A Wonderful Life.

And that’s all for now! Talk to you later book worms and I will be resuming with the book challenge tomorrow!

 

Book Review: Bag Exchange

I have a new book review for you bookworms! This one is called Bag Exchange by Trishna Damodar.

Pages: 155

Here is the short synopsis:

“Tia had her whole life ahead of her, yet she felt lost. She was surrounded by people who loved her but she was still struggling with the aspect of loving herself. As she got ready to leave for Delhi, her body shivered. Would she collapse? Would she reach Delhi safely? How would she manage without her mother, Anita? The stream of questions kept flooding her brain.
Sameer loved the chat he had had with dreamy girl. He felt light after their interaction and even though he did not know exactly who she was, he was pleasantly surprised at how a stranger could make such a powerful impact on him. He brushed thoughts of her aside, reminding himself that he was wasting time thinking about a woman, and these kinds of emotions would just make him weak.
Will the paths of these two strangers intertwine? Will Tia be able to find herself again? And will Sameer ever realise how truly beautiful women are?”

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My review: This book was not exactly my cup of tea. It is a romance novel about two strangers that start talking online and then accidentally meet in an airport and take each other’s bags by mistake. They fall for each other and the story follows their relationship. The thing about this book is that it is so predictable. I called everything before it happened and didn’t feel the need to know more. There was very little description when it came to anything and it would jump to another character without any indication it was going to do so. I have read Nicholas Sparks books before and they were ok but I couldn’t seem to feel much for this one. I think it just needed a little bit more substance to keep me in it.

If you are looking for a predictable love story, then here it is. That being said, it is a feel good book that makes you want to believe in simple, easy relationships. I mean we all know that those aren’t very realistic, but that’s why its fiction right?

Book Rating: 2.5/5

This book can be found on Amazon and Goodreads and you can follow the author on Twitter!

Disclaimer: I was given this book for free to read and give and honest review.

 

 

What book have you read more than 3 times?

So first off, I know I missed a day but that was because I had friends staying with me from out of town for a night and I had no time to write while they were here. But I am back at it now so lets have a go with day 2 of  the book challenge.

I read a lot of books and most of them I have read only once but there are a select few I have read multiple times. One book that captured me from the first sentence and is one that I can go back to time and time again is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The_Hunger_Games

There isn’t one chapter of this book that I don’t like. Even when they are describing their surroundings or it is just a dull moment where they are talking, I am drawn in for every part of it. The first time that I read this book, it took me 3 hours and as soon as I was done, I went to the bookstore and bought the 2nd one. I thoroughly enjoy this entire series but this book is the one I could read over and over again.

Let me know what you guys have read more than 3 times in the comments! Lets connect as well, I will follow each and every person that follows my blog and then stay connected through love of literature. Happy reading 🙂

30 Day Book Challenge

I have decided to do a 30 Day Book Challenge where I will post consistently for the next 30 days about different book topics. I came upon the idea from Pinterest and have posted an image of the list here so you can try it out if you want.

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There are so many books that come to mind when looking through this list and I think it will be fun to talk about them and interact with others to see if we have similar opinions. Even so I would love to know what everyone thinks on each days subject so make sure to follow and comment so we can chat about books 🙂

Also, I thought I would do a shoutout to Wine & Misadventures for being awesome and giving me tips on blogging since I am rather new to this. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should check out her website. It has a lot of cool products you can buy and her blog posts are just written from the heart, she is very relatable and has a great attitude about everything while keeping it real.

Alright, talk to you later bookworms.

WWW Wednesday (Oct. 11th / 2017)

So I am trying out this new thing called WWW Wednesday. It is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and all you have to do is answers the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

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So far this book is pretty good. It was sent to me by the author to read and review and it is my first romance novel unless you count twilight from when I was in high school. Not sure if this genre is my thing but I am giving it a shot. Synopsis below:

Tia had her whole life ahead of her, yet she felt lost. She was surrounded by people who loved her but she was still struggling with the aspect of loving herself. As she got ready to leave for Delhi, her body shivered. Would she collapse? Would she reach Delhi safely? How would she manage without her mother, Anita? The stream of questions kept flooding her brain.
Sameer loved the chat he had had with dreamy girl. He felt light after their interaction and even though he did not know exactly who she was, he was pleasantly surprised at how a stranger could make such a powerful impact on him. He brushed thoughts of her aside, reminding himself that he was wasting time thinking about a woman, and these kinds of emotions would just make him weak.
Will the paths of these two strangers intertwine? Will Tia be able to find herself again? And will Sameer ever realise how truly beautiful women are?

Recently finished reading:

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This was a great read for teenagers. It was exploration into another magical world with likeable characters and a basic good versus evil storyline. You can connect with the author on their twitter @SUZANNIO . Synopsis below:

Set in both the future and present day, Spellbound Chronicles is a fast-paced children’s story with twists and turns, good versus evil, set above and below ground. Spellbound Chronicles tells the story of Larna and Aron who, while geocaching in the ancient Sherwood Forest, find themselves reluctantly pulled through time into a Sherwood of the future. Faced with the task of fighting to save an enslaved and fast-mutating race from extinction, they set out with the formidable wizard, Balgaire, and his friends to take on the might of the fearsome warlock, Mordrog. A battle for wands, destruction and kidnapping ensues, with a hint of romance thrown in, in the form of underground shape shifter Cai. As the final epic battle takes place, will Larna and Aron survive the fight long enough to return unscathed to their own time and their own Sherwood..?

What I will read next:

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This is another book that has been sent to me by the author to review. It is classified as a thriller so I am really looking forward to this one as I am a huge fan of horror and thriller movies. I have only read one thriller novel before and it had me on my toes the whole time. Synopsis Below:

One of their number carries a dark and deadly secret from their past, and has murderous plans for a fellow ex-pat. Can any of the close- knit community discover the brutal plans before they are all put in mortal danger?


 

That’s my first WWW!! Let me know what you think in the comments below! I look forward to chatting with you fellow bookworms 🙂

Spellbound Chronicles: Bloodline

New review alert everyone!!

I was sent the book Spellbound Chronicles: Bloodline by Suzanne and Eve Maguire to read and review. The book is about two children named Larna and Aron that have a fond enjoyment for geocaching. They visit their grandmother for a portion of the summer and get teleported into the future through a magical doorway in the forest. The children go through a number of trials as they fight to help their new found friends in a battle against an evil warlock.

The book has very likeable characters (my favourite character is Uncle Roger as he puts the wellbeing of others before himself) and an interesting story arc that never lets up. You are constantly moving from one part to the next and the characters are never in one spot for very long (the book can be hard to follow at times because of this).

This book is definitely for a younger audience so I would recommend this book for children up to the age of 13.  A percentage of the profits from this novel get donated to research for Motor Neurone Disease so if you want a good read for your kids and to donate to charity, this is the book for you.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can also find the review on Amazon and Goodreads.