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17 October, 2017

[Review] The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies

Watch the Trailer →

Series: Lemonade War #1
Release Date: 23 April, 2007
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Middle Grade/Family/Business
ISBN:  9780618750436
Edition: E-Book
Rating: 
Review Written: 31 August, 2017 
Summary: For a full hour, he poured lemonade. The world is a thirsty place, he thought as he nearly emptied his fourth pitcher of the day. And I am the Lemonade King.

Fourth-grader Evan Treski is people-smart. He’s good at talking with people, even grownups. His younger sister, Jessie, on the other hand, is math-smart, but not especially good with people. So when the siblings’ lemonade stand war begins, there really is no telling who will win—or even if their fight will ever end. Brimming with savvy marketing tips for making money at any business, definitions of business terms, charts, diagrams, and even math problems, this fresh, funny, emotionally charged novel subtly explores how arguments can escalate beyond anyone’s intent.

See more at Jacqueline Davies's website.

10 October, 2017

[Review] Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer


Series: Dividing Eden (#1)
Release Date: 11 April, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Fairy Tales & Folklore/Family
ISBN:  9780062440877
Edition: Audiobook
Rating: ★☆☆
Review Written: 31 August, 2017 
Summary: Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood, a Faerie Queen who is preparing for war, a strange and enchanting dream realm—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, Spindle Fire is a tour-de-force fantasy set in the dwindling, deliciously corrupt world of the fae and featuring two truly unforgettable heroines.

See more at HarperCollins's website.

03 October, 2017

[Review] Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones



Series: Wintersong #1
Release Date: 7 February, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Young Adult/Epic Fantasy/Coming of Age
ISBN:  9781250079213
Edition: ebook
Rating: 
Review Written: 25 August, 2017 
Summary: The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride…

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Rich with music and magic, S. Jae-Jones's Wintersong will sweep you away into a world you won’t soon forget.

For Full Description and more information, please check out the Macmillian website.

26 September, 2017

[Special] Banned Books Week!

When one says banned books, what is brought to mind? Antiquated stories that perhaps have lost touch with their meaning in a world that seems determined to ignore the value of them? Perhaps they’re ones with poor language or themes. 

Banned books, or more precisely banned and challenged books, are a hot topic in libraries. Anyone can challenge a title if they feel it doesn’t fit into their own moral compass. Some books, as with the case of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? have simply been victims of mistaken identity. In the case of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? the author Bill Martin Jr. was mistaken for author Bill Martin who wrote Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation. Some have been challenged because of topics they cover such as The Giver (euthanasia) or The Lorax (damage to the environment by the logging industry), and some get picked because a parent deems them full of inappropriate language like the Captain Underpants series. 

You might ask yourself, why is this such a problem? The answer, my friend, is that just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean you should limit materials from others. Since it's invention in 1982, Banned Books Week has been used to bring awareness to books that are frequently banned or challenged throughout the United States and the World. If you'd like to look through the most recent list (from 2016) please check here.

In honor of the upcoming week, here are 5 of my favorite frequently challenged books!

#5 - The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Reasons for challenges: Religious Overtones and unsuited for age group.

Taken as part of the highly popular Dystopian future setting, The Hunger Games focuses on the story of Katniss Everdeen, a young woman in a desolate version of what once was America, renamed Panem. Throughout the series, the reader's swept along with some of Katniss's very questionable choices, challenges of what a Utopian society looks like from the lower levels of society, and presents the idea of children killing children. It's a story of growth and how happy endings aren't always easy, definitely a good read.

#4 The Giver by Lois Lowry
Reason for challenge:  violent and sexual scenes, infanticide, euthanasia, and “sexual awakening.”

Perhaps one of the most well known Utopian/Dystopian novels around, The Giver introduces readers to the world where everything is 'the same'. There's no colours, no music, everything is regulated by the government. At the age of twelve you're given your life assignment and set to train for it, the very young and very old are 'sent elsewhere' to spare the needs of the community. It's not a very happy place, but emotions aren't exactly there to know any different. It's a challenging book, making the readers question everything about the books and one of perhaps the most influential things I read from the time I was in middle school onward.

#3 His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence

The world where the His Dark Materials trilogy takes place is a parallel world to our own, though with the key addition of Dæmons - a physical form of one's conscience. Originally Published as Northern Lights in Europe, the first book introduces readers to Lyra, a rebellious child left in the care of scholars while her parents go gallivanting around on their own thing. Mostly wild, Lyra seems to have a knack for getting herself into trouble. The series gets darker as it goes along, pulling in elements from this world and that, but don't let that stop you from reading it. This series is one of my favorites, set up as a fantasy world and I'll admit, I've always wondered what form my dæmon would have settled on.



#2  Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Reasons: Occultism/Satanism, offensive language, disrespect to adults, violence, and 'intense fantasy'

A fantastic tale of childhood imagination, the Bridge to Terabithia focuses on the friendship of Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke, two children who are a little off the beaten path of life. They create a vivid fantasy life outside of school to deal with many of their childhood fears and issues. However when a tragedy strikes, make sure you have tissues to deal with the fall out of things that happen. I love this book, and yes, it does make me cry every time I read it.

#1 Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Reasons: Occultism, Witchcraft, Violence, Anti-Family, Satanism

The story that built a generation, and yes I'm very much part of that generation. Undoubtedly one of the biggest hits in the past 30 years, Harry Potter is the incredibly coming of age story of a boy who comes from a impossible family life to becoming a man of his own making. Captivated in seven books and several not quite direct spin-offs, Harry Potter teaches the meaning of friendship, shows hardship, and even gives a bit of a historical lesson (if one squints and tries to read more in the lines). Definitely one of my favorite series to reread over and over.

19 September, 2017

[Review] The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen


Series: Queen of the Tearling #2
Release Date: 9 June, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Young Adult/Epic Fantasy/Dystopian
ISBN:  9780062290397
Edition: Audiobook
Rating: 
Review Written: 31 August, 2017 
Summary: With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.

In this dazzling sequel, Erika Johansen brings back favorite characters, including the Mace and the Red Queen, and introduces unforgettable new players, adding exciting layers to her multidimensional tale of magic, mystery, and a fierce young heroine. 

For more information, please check out the HarperCollins website.

12 September, 2017

[Review] The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen


Series: Queen of the Tearling #3
Release Date: 29 November, 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Young Adult/Epic Fantasy/Royalty
ISBN:  9780062290427
Edition: Audiobook
Rating: ★☆☆
Review Written: 31 August, 2017 
Summary: In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has transformed from a gawky teenager into a powerful monarch. As she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, the headstrong, visionary leader has also transformed her realm. In her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies—including the evil Red Queen, her fiercest rival, who has set her armies against the Tear.

To protect her people from a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable—she gave herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy—and named the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, regent in her place. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign, imprisoned in Mortmesne.

Now, as the suspenseful endgame begins, the fate of Queen Kelsea—and the Tearling itself—will finally be revealed.

See more at HarperCollins's website.

05 September, 2017

[Review] The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken


Series: The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1
Release Date: 5 September, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 
Genre: Middle Grade/Supernatural/Witches
ISBN: 9781484778173
Edition: ARC E-Book
Rating: 
Review Written: 1 September, 2017
Summary:“I would say it’s a pleasure to meet thee, Prosperity Oceanus Redding, but truly, I only anticipate the delights of destroying thy happiness….”

Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history—that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper’s great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made—and then broke—a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, eight-hundred-year-old Alastor isn’t exactly the forgiving type.

The fiend has reawakened with one purpose–to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him.  With only days to break the curse and banish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts to trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his afterlife without a side of eternal servitude, thanks. But with the help of his long-lost uncle, Barnabas, and his daughter, Nell, a witch-in-training, it seems like Prosper has at least a fighting chance of ridding himself of Alastor before the demon escapes and wreaks havoc on his family

Little does Prosper know, the malefactor’s control over his body grows stronger with each passing night and there’s a lot Alastor isn’t telling his dim-witted (but admittedly strong-willed) human host…

See more at Disney Press's website.

21 August, 2017

[Review] The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen


Series: Queen of the Tearling #1
Release Date: 8 July, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Young Adult/Epic Fantasy/Coming of Age
ISBN:  9780062290366
Edition: Audiobook/Hardback
Rating: 
Review Written: 19 August, 2017 
Summary: Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler—and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

For Full Description and more information, please check out the HarperCollins website.

19 August, 2017

Some New and Old Children's Books to Check Out

Children's books are perhaps one of the main staples of what I work with on a daily basis. Whether they're board books or picture books, Children's books are a wonderful joy if they're written well. And through the joy of NetGalley, I've found 3 newish books to check out for potentially adding to your collection.


First up is Where is My Coat? by Anita Bijsterbosch that will be published on November 15th, 2017. In this adorable board books, children are challenged to name what the animals are based on their silhouettes with answers provided on the second page. This book will help work with children who are just learning their farm animals or animals in general, teaching them to recognize shapes of animals. 

12 July, 2017

[Review] Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau



Series: Dividing Eden (#1)
Release Date: 6 June, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Young Adult/Epic Fantasy/Royalty
ISBN:  9781619634480
Edition: Audiobook
Rating: ★☆☆
Review Written: 10 July, 2017 
Summary: Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure. But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom. As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family. 

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal? See more at HarperCollins's website.

10 July, 2017

[Review] A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas


Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses (Book #3)
Release Date: 2 May, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Action & Adventure
ISBN:  9781619634480
Edition: Hardback
Rating: 
Review Written: 10 July, 2017 
Summary: Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places. See more at Bloomsbury's Website.

17 April, 2017

[Book Review] A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas



Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses (Book #2)
Release Date: 3 May, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Action & Adventure
ISBN:  9781619634466
Edition: Hardback
Rating: 
Review Written: 17 April, 2017 (rewritten multiple times trying to get it right)
Summary: Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court--but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms--and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future--and the future of a world cleaved in two. See more at Bloomsbury's Website.

09 March, 2017

[Book Review] Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard


Summary:
The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they've always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

Mare Barrow's blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever? 
(summary pulled from Harper Collins's Website.)
 
 
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