Middle Grade Monday – Spooky/Halloween Recommendations

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Looking for some spooky middle-grade reads? You’ve come to the right place.  I will warn you right now that just because it’s middle-grade doesn’t mean it’s tame and “just kid’s stuff.”  I find some of the middle-grade horror, creepier than some of the stuff on the shelves in the YA section, so keep that in mind if you scare easily.  Also, I would consider the majority of these books more for children on the older side (10-12 range), obviously this depends on the child and their reading level and how easily they scare.  I know I was scouring the library for anything and everything that might give me a scare as soon as I was old enough to read.

Continue reading “Middle Grade Monday – Spooky/Halloween Recommendations”

YA Horror/Halloween Recommendations

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It’s almost October and that means that everyone is picking out their TBR’s and lots of people are daring to dive into the horror section a little more.  As someone who adores anything horror, this makes me very happy.  I’m constantly asked for recommendations in YA horror, and since Halloween is coming up, it seems like the perfect time to do this post.  I know YA horror doesn’t have an amazing selection of decent horror, but I promise there are a few gems in among all the junk!

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Middle Grade Monday: Review – Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire by John August

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Hey everyone!  We’ve moved Middle-Grade Monday over from our TBR and Beyond Facebook Group to the blog! Hopefully we can bring you lots of great reviews, topics and maybe even some author interviews!
I’m a massive middle-grade fan, and I’m always trying to get people to give it a shot! Hopefully these reviews will give you a better idea if you want to try out the books or not! That is the goal anyway!

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My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Genre: Middle-Grade Adventure/Fantasy
Pages: 336
Pacing: Normal
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Published:  February 6th 2018

 

 

Arlo Finch thought becoming a Ranger meant learning wilderness skills, like camping and knots. But upon arriving in the tiny town of Pine Mountain, Colorado, Arlo soon learns there’s so much more. His new friends Indra and Wu teach him how to harness the wild magi seeping in from the mysterious Long Woods – a parallel realm of wonder and danger.  First he must master the basics, including snaplights, thunderclaps and identifying supernatural creatures. But Arlo Finch is no ordinary Ranger, and this is no ordinary time. A dark and ancient force is sending threats into the real world…our world. And whatever it is has its sights set on Arlo. – Synopsis by Goodreads

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I knew the second I saw the cover for this book that I was going to love it and I was right on the money for this one.  Adventure, Magic, Friendship and lots of chaotic fun!

Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire begins as Arlo and his family are moving from another state to move in with his uncle.  His mother has fallen on hard times financially and his father is only partly in the picture, which has been hard on everyone.  Arlo is not too excited about the move since he’s leaving everything he loves to go to the unknown but when he gets to his uncle’s house weird stuff starts happening almost immediately.   Arlo meets his uncle’s dog right off the bat, only issue is that his uncle’s dog has been dog a long time and Arlo seems to be the only one that can see him.  Let’s just say that is only the beginning of the weirdness that starts to befall our young Arlo.

Most of this book centers around Arlo joining the Rangers in his new town and the friends and adventures they go on.  It seems that they all know a little more than the adults when it comes to the town and the odd things that are going on there.  The Long Woods, where the Rangers spend a lot of their time is not quite what it seems and allows them to do some pretty cool stuff while inside.  That would all be well and dandy if it weren’t for the fact that someone or something seemed to be hunting them suddenly and they  have no clue why.  Arlo and his new friends have to work together to solve what is going on and make it back home safe and sound.

I love this book so much, it’s perfect for both children and adults alike – which are always my favorite middle grade novels.  The strong message of teamwork and friendship are prevalent in this one and it really shines through.  The kids really do care about each other and the acceptance they show each other is something we should strive for.  I also loved the Rangers aspect and that it’s not just boys in the group.  It’s completely co-ed which was fantastic to see and I loved hearing about the badges and watching them trying to earn them.  Honestly, this would make such a good movie – why hasn’t this happened? Get on it Netflix!

Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire is the first in the trilogy and I can’t wait to read the next book and see what comes next for this gang.  I would highly recommend this book for anyone that loves a good adventure with a little pinch of danger.

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Drama Llama Patrol: They’re Special Edition Boxes. Not Life Saving Medicine

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Hey beautiful people! We are starting up a new feature on the blog called Drama Llama Patrol.  There is always so much drama in the YA book community and we are here to give some commentary on it. We might ruffle a few feathers but this our just opinions – we can agree to disagree.  What is the point in having a blog if you can’t get a little sassy from time to time?

Continue reading “Drama Llama Patrol: They’re Special Edition Boxes. Not Life Saving Medicine”

Middle Grade Monday – Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black

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Hey everyone!  We’ve moved Middle-Grade Monday over from our TBR and Beyond Facebook Group to the blog! Hopefully we can bring you lots of great reviews, topics and maybe even some author interviews!
I’m a massive middle-grade fan, and I’m always trying to get people to give it a shot! Hopefully these reviews will give you a better idea if you want to try out the books or not! That is the goal anyway!

Continue reading “Middle Grade Monday – Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black”

NetGalley Book Tag

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Hey everyone! It’s a Sunday and I thought what better day to try and do a fun little tag! We are super behind in tags, if you’ve tagged Mireille or I – we aren’t ignoring you, we super appreciate it and have them all written down.  Just takes us awhile to actually get to them.  I’m sure lots of you relate!

I did get tagged recently by the lovely Siobhan at Siobhans Novelties (Go follow her – she is amazing! I love her!)

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Rules

  • Link back to the tag’s creator: Kourtni at Kourtni Reads
  • Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
  • Answer the questions the best you can. If you don’t use NetGalley, you can substitute other sites or places where you get books!
  • Tag a few people to do this too!

Auto-Approved | Who’s One Author Whos Books You Automatically Want to Read, regardless of What They Are About?

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Oh goodness, so many.  I can’t just pick one, so I’ll narrow it down to a few.

  • Tricia Levenseller
  • Sarah Glenn Marsh
  • Derek Milman
  • Dawn Kurtagich
  • Victoria Schwab
  • Emily Duncan

I want to keep listing!!!!

Request | What Makes You Want to Request a Book on NetGalley?

I’m not a HUGE fan of NetGalley – I was when I first started using it last year.  I’ve since found that they favour US users and too many books are “wish only” for anyone outside of that.  It’s quite frustrating.  International bloggers get me LOL

Long story short – I don’t request very often on Netgalley anymore.  I mostly use it to get my earcs from blog tours.  However, if I do request an earc on there – it’s usually more likely to be a YA thriller or horror because I enjoy reviewing those before they are released or a debut author.  Most of the time I don’t read the GIANT names before release – there are exceptions to this.

Feedback Ratio | Do You Review Every Book You Read? If Not, How Do You Decide What Books to Review?

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EXPOSED! No, I try my best to keep up with everything and since Netgalley keeps a rating system, I don’t over-request on there.  I keep it pretty minimalist overall.  My rating is still usually like somewhere in the 70% range though.

Badges | If You Could Create One Badge to Display on Your Blog, What Would It Be for?

OOh wow, huh – of course I instantly draw a blank.  Maybe a badge for being a Debut Author Supporter or LGBT+ Advocate.  That would be cool.

Wish for It | What’s One Book That You Are Absolutely Dying to Read?

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Right now? I recently got Ruthless Gods and Light at the Bottom of the World and they would’ve been my go-to answers.  Oh! I’m really interested in Girls Save the World in this One and my request got denied because Penguin US hates me LOL

2019 NetGalley Challenge | What Was the Last Book That You Received as an ARC That You Reviewed? If You’ve Never Received One, What’s the Last Book You Reviewed?

That I have reviewed? Probably Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan – You can check out that review HERE.  

 


I can’t tag everyone but if I didn’t tag you this round – still considered yourself tagged if you’d like to do it!!!

I TAG:

Kristi @ Confessions of a YA Reader
Candyce & Isabelle @ The Book Dutchesses
Leelynn @ Sometimes Leelynn Reads
Jessica @ Jessticulates 
Evelyn @ Evelyn Reads
Raven @ Dreamy Addictions
Kay @ Hammock Of Books 
Sammie @ The Writerly Way 
Alex @ WhimsyPages

 

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Blog Tour: Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan, Favorite Quotes & Giveaway!

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We are so happy to be part of the blog tour for Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan that is put on by the lovely The Fantastic Flying Book Club.  To see the full schedule, go HERE Continue reading “Blog Tour: Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan, Favorite Quotes & Giveaway!”

August 2019 Fairy Loot Unboxing

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Mirielle has unboxed Fairyloot on our blog in the past, but this is my very FIRST box ever from this company.  I hadn’t bitten the bullet prior because I’m in Canada and the exchange rate  is just brutal on this one.  However, they recently got a shipping company in the states as well, so the shipping went down for US and Canada (Yippee) .  I won’t be getting this monthly because they overlap with Owlcrate quite a bit in terms of monthly books but I will get it here and there when the theme sounds good and the book is different.  Ok, let’s get to unboxing my very first Fairyloot.

Continue reading “August 2019 Fairy Loot Unboxing”

ARC Review: Slay by Brittney Morris

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 336
Pacing: Average/Normal
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: September 24th 2019

 

 

 

 

By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.” But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”

Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

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“As we duel, as we chat, there’s an understanding that “your black is not my black” and “your weird is not my weird” and “your beautiful is not my beautiful,” and that’s okay. It’ brings tears to my eyes if I think about it too long.”

I knew when I saw this that I wanted to get my hands on this, so I actually requested this in two different places – just incase! I mean it was marketed as Warcross meets Black Panther – yes please! Thankfully Simon and Schuster was lovely enough to send me a physical arc because this was such a wonderful book.

I have to start by saying that I’m a little out of my depth with this review, SLAY wasn’t written for me in any shape or form.  This book is unapologetically black and I can’t even begin to imagine what this book has meant and will meant to so many young black teens – it makes my heart happy to think it.  I’m going to review this the best I can, but keep in mind that I am a middle-class, white, Canadian girl and my voice isn’t the main one you should be listening to when it comes to this book.  I encourage you to search out ownvoice reviews on this, it’s so very important. I would recommend checking out: Big Bang Books and Regina’s Review

This story features a seventeen year old girl named Keira,  who is leading a kind of double life.  One part of her life is being the good daughter and sister and going to a mostly white school and trying to excel, so she can get into a good college.  The other part of her life, she is the creator and co-admin (with another young bi-racial girl) of an online MMORPG for thousands of the black community only called SLAY.  Her parents, siblings and boyfriend are completely in the dark about this – she has remained 100% anonymous.  Her fear is in telling them is that they will think it’s a waste of time and not really get what she is doing for the community and how important it is to her and so many others.  Unfortunately, a player of the game is murdered outside the game because someone wanted some of his game items and so begins a giant new circus about violence in video games, as well as questions if the site is racist for being anti-white.

I want to get this out of the way real quick – there is no such thing as white racism.  Racism means oppression, not hurt feelings.  If you are not being oppressed by another race, by their actions then there is no racism.  Therefore, there can be not white racism – just name calling.  Just saying… SLAY is based on games like World of Warcraft, but it for the black community only and all the game play is based off historical, cultural, entertainment and everyday references that mean something in the black community.  No, not just the US community – world wide.  It sounds like such a badass game and I’d do it no justice if I ever tried to explain it but it’s very well thought out and super accessible for the people that are not gamers.  I will say that there is a lot of gaming talk and I am a gamer, but I don’t think many will struggle with it.  I promise, it’s broken really easy and keeps it interesting.  It’s not even my type of game and I was completely invested – the stakes always seemed high and the characters were amazing sounding.   A friend actually asked me if there was a game like this for certain communities.  I sadly answered, “no, because it would be swamped instantly by other communities with nothing but hate fueled comments.”  It’s a shame.  I think safe spaces are very important and as a girl gamer I get the desire for just wanting a place where you don’t have to be called names or harassed.

The one thing I could really relate to in this book is the girl gaming aspect and it being assumed they were men and ending gave me such chills and brought tears to my eyes. This is for the girls – the STEM girls! This book hears you and gets you.  I wanted to stand up and cheer for these girls – just thinking about the ending in this book makes me weepy – it’s so flipping empowering and I think the author for putting it on paper and allowing me to read it.

The only negative thing I can say about this book is that it’s a bit far fetched in terms of the creating the game.  A massive game could not be run by two young girls alone – it takes a ton of people.  It also takes cash, there is a reason that games aren’t free – they aren’t cheap to make, especially on the caliber of SLAY.  Also, there is no way they could just being doing it in their spare time – not realistic.  You’d be a slave to your PC if you were creating something like that and keeping it going.  This didn’t really bother me, but it might frustrate some because of how unrealistic it is and how easy the author makes it seem.

I feel like I was all over the place with this review.  I haven’t given the best overview ever but please don’t be scared of this book because you think it’s a gaming book or that you won’t get it because you aren’t black – you should read it for that exact reason.  It will likely open your eyes to some really important topics.  I know it did for me.  I highly recommend this one, I wish I could do it better justice but please go read it.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for a physical ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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