Current Contests/Announcements

The story of the Orange Cake Click here to find out more.


Check out the NKOTB Book Tag Meme Here!

Having trouble leaving a comment? If you have trouble commenting then please click on the refresh button, this usually fixes the issue. I also use comment moderation for new commenters to the blog.

Posts Categorized: Middle Grade

Monday, October 10, 2016

Guest Post: Joshua Khan, Author of Shadow Magic on Inspiration

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Guest Post, Middle Grade0 Comments

Guest Post: Joshua Khan, Author of Shadow Magic on Inspiration

 

Title: Shadow Magic (Shadow Magic #1)

Author: Joshua Khan

Release Date: 6th October 2016

Genre: MG Fantasy

Publisher: Scholastic

Format: Paperback

Thorn, an outlaw’s son, wasn’t supposed to be a slave. He’s been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they’re headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.

Lilith Shadow wasn’t supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?

Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.

I’m very pleased to welcome Joshua Khan, author of SHADOW MAGIC, to Ticket to Anywhere as part of the UK blog for this fun and imaginative middle grade novel. SHADOW MAGIC is filled with friendship, mystery, zombies, magic and giant bats. Its an adventure story and sure to engage the mind of anyone who reads it. SHADOW MAGIC is currently available in the US, UK and Australia and if you haven’t picked it up yet then what are you waiting for? As Rick Riordan has blurred “I defy you not to love this story.”

Guest Post

Most Inspiring Things/Places

 

My bank statement is probably what inspires me most of all. Second comes the crack in the walls in the house. Third is the holes in my shoes…

I jest, sort of. Writing’s my job. It’s my career. It’s what earns me money and I’m very proud of that. Very. Getting paid to do something you love is damn awesome.

I’m not looking for inspiration, and definitely not waiting for it to strike. If I’m not typing, I’m sitting with my notepad open. Sometimes it’s just scribbling, sometimes its notes in teh margin on previous pages, sometimes it’s maps or pages and pages of download, random ideas that, when shifted through, make yield up a nugget of sometime shiny.

My inspirations the world going by. I love taking buses. Up on the top floor you’ve a great view, of people and places and the sky and I love that. Looking down onto people’s heads and wondering about what they’[re wondering about, trying see into their heads. Cafes, travelling, seeing sights, all these things inspire me, if not immediately, sometimes later. They’re a compost of ideas. What will grow out of it, who knows?

I start and abandon projects all the time. If I hit 20,000 words on an idea, then I’ll finish it, that’s my test on its sturdiness. I no longer plot in detail, certainly not on the 1st draft. I have a sense of the journey, the destination, but not on the actual road. I know where I want to end up, but happy to work on the route as it comes.

I think there is an irony to writing. It’s a lonely profession, but one that needs the writer to engage with the outside world more than any other job. It’s our concerns, our dreams and our frustrations with the world at large that feed our work. SHADOW MAGIC is all about the education and opportunities for girls, despite the zombies and giant bats my concerns are how my daughters, now in secondary school, will get on in the outside world, what with gender pay gaps and glass ceilings and stereotypes on careers suitable for women (one daughter’s very interested in the RAF, for instance, the other’s taken up martial arts). So, my biggest inspiration is my children. Always has been, always will be.

Joshua Khan was born in Britain. From very early on he filled himself with the stories of heroes, kings and queens until there was hardly any room for anything else. He can tell you where King Arthur was born* but not what he himself had for breakfast. So, with a head stuffed with tales of legendary knights, wizards and great and terrible monsters it was inevitable Joshua would want to create some of his own. Hence SHADOW MAGIC. Josh lives in London with his family, but he’d rather live in a castle. It wouldn’t have to be very big, just as long as it had battlements.

*Tintagel, in case you were wondering.

Website: http://www.joshuakhan.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/writerjoshkhan

 

Tour Stops

Wednesday 5th October

Bart’s Bookshelf

Teens on Moon Lane

Thursday 6th October

Luna’s Little Library

Bazinga Booknerd

Friday 7th October

Bookish Outsider

Sister Spooky

Saturday 8th October

Northern Plunder

Chouett

Sunday 9th October

Tales of Yesterday

The Book Bandit

Monday 10th October

It Takes a Woman

Ticket to Anywhere

Tuesday 11th October

Big Book Little Book

Delightful Book Reviews

Wednesday 12th October

ArtsMum

The Reading Pile

Thursday 13th October

Kirstyes

Inspiring Imarah

Friday 14th October

YA Under my Skin

Bibliomaniac

Saturday 15th October

Fiction Fascination

Sweet Love Books

Sunday 16th October

Mugglenet

K Books

Monday 17th October

Snuggling on the Sofa

MG Strikes Back

Tuesday 18th October

YA Yeah Yeah

Nayu’s Reading Corner

Divider

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Blog Tour, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa YeeWonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee
Series: DC Super Hero Girls,
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on 01 March 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Friendship, Middle Grade, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Metropolis // Paradise Island

First Line(s): It was barely the third week of school, and already someone had been expelled.

WONDER WOMAN AT SUPER HERO HIGH by Lisa Yee is the start of a new middle grade series set at the fictional Super Hero High in Metropolis. This is the school where all the young super heroes go to learn how to use their powers and how to be a super hero. Or maybe not as not all those who go to this school have good intentions in mind. Wonder Woman is a total fish out of water when she starts at Super Hero High having been home schooled and fairly sheltered on Paradise Island by her mother. She knows of the outside world but she misses a lot of social queues and doesn’t always get the joke. She’s a very literal girl and so this makes her a tad bit socially awkward and that is part of what makes Wonder Woman, or Wondy as she begins to be called, a relatable character.

Going to a new school is always hard be it a transfer in, a move from home school to public, or even going from middle school to high school. Its easy to get overwhelmed at times or to sign up for too much. Not to mention all the pitfalls of making new friends (or enemies as the case may be) along with being part of the social media generation. Wondy learns all of these things, often at a comical expense throughout the course of WONDER WOMAN. Her roommate runs HQTV (aka Harley Quinn TV YouTube channel) and so often captures Wondy’s mishaps along with her fellow students much to Wondy’s embarrassment but its something she learns to deal with and become aware of. To think before she acts because you never know who may be watching and to learn to accept that she can’t be perfect all of the time.

Wondy is a bit naive at times and that wasn’t always the easiest things for me to read as an adult but I think that this is something that will really help her appeal to a younger reader.  Wondy is also filled with so much heart and dedication to do well and to be the best friend she can be. She’s the sort of girl who wants to be the best at everything and to win all the awards but she’s also humble enough to know when to share the spotlight with someone else. Even if doing so means sacrificing something else.

There were times when WONDER WOMAN made me laugh at loud, usually at something Harley Quinn said, and times where it made me cringe. I loved all the various characters that were incorporated into this story along with the superhero triathalon. I liked how this was a girl power dominated story in a universe that is typically overshadowed by boys. I thought that the mystery element was a little weak, choppy and highly underdeveloped but that is probably not something that will bother younger readers. But will also help in teaching them the impoartance of making assumptions and why that isn’t always a good thing. There are a lot of great teachable moments in WONDER WOMAN and its a book that I look forward to sharing with my niece as I think she’ll like it a lot.

irishdarkblue

IR - Wonder Woman

 

Add Cinderella Stays Late by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams to Goodreads (Click here for my review)

Add Gotham Academy Volume 1 by Becky Cloonan to Goodreads.

four-stars
Divider

Friday, November 6, 2015

Review: George by Alex Gino

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Review: George by Alex GinoGeorge by Alex Gino
Published by Scholastic on 25 August 2015
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Middle Grade, Social Issues
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, USA // Bronx, New York

First Line(s): George pulled a silver house key out of the smallest pocket of a large red backpack.

***There will be spoilers in this post so read at your own risk***

I first learned of GEORGE by Alex Gino when I received an ARC of it at BEA and I loved the premise and how the back of the book read “Be who you are.” I think that GEORGE has the potential to be a very empowering book but while I wanted to love it there were parts of it that just fell flat for me. For one, GEORGE is very short which isn’t uncommon for a middle grade read but as such I think that things were a bit rushed and felt unfinished. I also thought that the book was filled with extremes that while might be a good way to get a point across to a tween it just didn’t sit well with my adult self. The emphasis on gender separation was a bit grating and how boys were always represented by a blue color had had to do certain things and girls by pink. How the class lined up by gender and seemed to have separate entrances.

But even with the over emphasis on gender I did love George as a character. She was so sweet and genuine and made my heart ache with the responses of adults around her. Like her teacher insisting that the part of Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web could only be played by a girl and how she laughed when George tried out. That wounded my heart so much because there is no reason why a boy couldn’t play the role and also because George, while born in a male body wasn’t a boy. I loved how sure and secure George was in her thinking and I hated the doubts she had about telling the truth of her idenity to those around her. I loved how accepting her friend was and I hated the response she got from adults. Especially her mother.

George Quote

For months, George has been collecting girl magazines and hiding them in her room. They are her treasures and she loves to look at them and imagine how life would be if she looked like the girl she knew she was. When her mom finds this stash, mind you these are magazines like Teen Vogue, she flips out and yells at George that ‘he better not dress up in her clothes.’ As if that was something shameful and wrong. One of my favorite moments in the GEORGE was when she and her friend Kelly go to the zoo and she gets to be Melissa, which is the name she’d go by if she had a choice. She gets to wear a skirt and be the girl she is on the outside as well as in and she is just so happy. That’s how I wanted George to feel throughout the book.

I also felt that the reactions of George’s mother and teacher went from horrid to not in a whiplash inducing way. George’s mom went from telling George to not dress in her clothes and thing that ‘he’ was gay to being ok with George knowing she was a she. Although when George asks to be able to grow out her hair and live as a girl her mother still seems phobic about it. And that unsettled me as it seemed to put a grey cloud over the positive message that GEORGE was trying to be. But even though GEORGE unsettled me at times I do wonder how actual tweens will react to this book. Perhaps the extremes are needed to get points across to younger minds that see things more in black and white than in shades of grey. I also think that GEORGE is an important book and a good introduction to what it means to be transgender. I hope that we get more transgender books in the future for all age levels

irishdarkblue

IR - George

Add Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky to Goodreads.

Add Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman to Goodreads.

three-stars
Divider

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: Curse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Review: Curse of the Bane by Joseph DelaneyCurse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney
Series: The Last Apprentice, Book 2
Also in this series: Revenge of the Witch, Night of the Soul Stealer
Published by Greenwillow Books on 29 August 2006
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Demons, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friendship, Middle Grade, Paranormal, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Survival Stories
Pages: 480
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Revenge of the Witch, Night of the Soul Stealer

Place(s) Traveled to: Horshaw // Chipenden // Priestown // Heysham – The County

First Line(s): When I heard the first scream, I turned away and covered my ears with my hands, pressing hard until my head hurt.

Curse of the Bane is the second book in Joseph Delaney’s Last Apprentice series and its one that is filled with crazy non-stop action that really sucked me into the story. In this book, Tom and the Spook head to Priestown to attend a funeral and also to deal with a big bad that has been trapped beneath a cathedral there for many years. Its a big enough baddie that it made me wonder why its the feature for the second book in a series and not used later on when Tom is farther into his training so I do do fear that that it will be hard for other books in the series to live up. Or if the big bads continue to get bigger and badder then the series has the potential to dip into the ridiculous. Which I hope doesn’t happen because I do like this world and these characters.

Although, I do find it a bit hard to believe that newly apprenticed Tom is the one who is always managing to save the day because something happens to the Spook. Its not a very good Spook that is easily taken out and his apprentice of mere weeks is the one to do all the heavy lifting. While I can see how this might be empowering to a middle grade reader, as an adult it just rings as untrue. It also doesn’t allow Tom to grow and change all that much as he never has many consequences from his actions since everything seems to work out. Even though he doesn’t listen or just blately goes against the advice of those older and wiser than him.

IR - Curse of the Bane

Overall though, I really did enjoy Curse of the Bane so much more than the first book, Revenge of the Witch (my review). I liked that it was a little darker and that it was filled with action. Yes, Tom was a bit of an idiot most of the time but I still hold out hope for him as he is still young and he is still a very new apprentice. I enjoy the appearance of Alice, his witch friend, and do tend to like what she adds to the story. Even if she does annoy me at times with her smugness and standoffish behavior.

I found that Curse of the Bane was a quick read and I read it in a single sitting. Its a book that had me turning the pages as fast as I could in order to see what happened. And even though I found the ending to be a bit implausible, this book was enough to make me continue reading this series. After Revenge of the Witch I was just so-so on this series but if the books to come are anything like this one then I think that I am in for a treat.

irishdarkblue

IR - Revenge of the Witch

Add Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda to Goodreads. (Click here to read my review.)

Add The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan to Goodreads. (Click here to read my review.)

four-stars
Divider

Friday, April 10, 2015

Audio Review: Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: Mary Poppins by P.L. TraversMary Poppins by P.L. Travers
Narrator: Sophie Thompson
Series: Mary Poppins,
Published by Blackstone Audio on 1934
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Friendship, Middle Grade
Length: 3 hours 50 min
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England (early 1900s)

First Line(s): If you want to find Cherry-Tree Lane all you have to do is ask the Policeman at the cross-roads

Growing up, one of my favorite movies was Mary Poppins, I loved the music and the stories and the magic of it all. I didn’t realize it was a book until I was much older and then never really found the time to explore the original story until recently. Recently being after I watched the movie, Saving Mr Banks and I became interested in this story all over again. Overall, the story was ok but the book wasn’t really a book in that there was one cohesive story. Instead, Mary Poppins, seemed to be a series of vignettes and they didn’t really mesh well together. The whole thing seemed a little disjointed and lacked the magic and imagery that I was expecting.

I also HATED the character of Mary Poppins. She was vain and vile and one of the most dislikable characters that I’ve ever had the displeasure to meet. Listening to this story also made me realize just how much Disney changed from book to screen and while normally I am very opposed by this I think that in this case it was for the better. Disney pulled out all the very best of the book and put them on screen and left out those parts that just made no sense to the story. But most importantly they made Mary Poppins into a likable, lovable person.

The narrator, Sophie Thompson, was just so-so but she spoke very softly so when I listened to this one I had to have the volume turned up really loudly. If this audio was any longer than I probably would have ended up DNF’ing it. Just as I think I would have DNF’d the book if I had picked that up in place of the audio. Mary Poppins was not a good book and I have no plans on continuing with this series. In some ways I almost wish I could more easily forget this story so that the only version that I knew of was the Disney version.

irishdarkblue

Mary Poppins Quote

two-stars
Divider

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Audio Review: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher HealyThe Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy
Narrator: Bronson Pinchot
Series: The League of Princes, Book 2
Published by Harper Audio on 26 November 2013
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adaptation, Espionage, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friendship, Magic, Middle Grade, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Survival Stories
Length: 10 hours 20 minutes
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: The Kingdoms – Erinthia // Sylvaria // Harmonia // The Orphaned Wastes // Sturmhagen // Avondell

First Line(s): A true hero plays the flute.

 The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle is the second book in Christopher Healy’s League of Princes series and picks up not long after the first book ends. Events have been turned against our princes a but as their heroics are turned into a bit of a farce and Briar Rose is determined to concur all of the kindoms. Which she will do with through blackmail and cunning where she can. But then the bandit king steals an item of power and this will have our luckless League of Princes joining with Briar Rose to get it back.

As with the first book, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, this book is filled which shenanigans and humor as our bumbling princes and their sassy princesses try to overcome impossible odds in order to save the say. Bronson Pinchot does a great job bringing all of these characters to life making them endearing and bratty depending on who is doing the talking. Pinchot’s narration had me finding reasons to listen to this story to see what would happen next. The only thing missing from the audio version of this story was that I missed all the artwork that I know had to be included in its pages. The artwork was really fun and added to the the story and so without it there was something missing from this one.

Storming the Castle Quote

Overall, I enjoyed this story but there are times when the characters do annoy with their constant bumbling and a refusal to learn from past mistakes. There are also things that are easier for me to see reading this as an adult than some of the intended audiences might. Like the various star-crossed lovers that fill the pages of this book. Just because a fairy sets up two people doesn’t mean that they are destined to be together forever.

However, most of my quibbles and annoyances with this one do come from the fact that I’m not the target audience. There are tools needed sometimes when writing for younger readers that seem repetitive or just plan dumb. But I do think that Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle will have a lot of appeal to both boys and girls who like adventure stories.

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Storming the Castle

Add Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Fablehaven by Brandon Mull to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
Divider

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Audio Review: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph DelaneyRevenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
Narrator: Christopher Evan Welch
Series: The Last Apprentice,
Also in this series: Curse of the Bane, Night of the Soul Stealer
Published by Harper Audio on 09 September 2005
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Death & Dying, Fantasy, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Magic, Middle Grade, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Survival Stories, Witches & Wizards
Length: 5 hours 14 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Curse of the Bane, Night of the Soul Stealer

Place(s) Traveled To: The County – Horshaw // Chipenden

First Line(s): When the Spook arrived, the light was already beginning to fail.

I first became interested in Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney when I learned that there was going to be a movie released based on the series. Looking for a new audio I downloaded this from audible and quite enjoyed the narrator for the most part though he doesn’t do the best job with the female voices. The story is quick moving and while Revenge of the Witch is filled with a ton of set up there is a lot of promise for the series.

I enjoyed this book but felt it dragged a lot in portions and didn’t seem as action filled as movie previews appeared. The movie previews also look like nothing in this book so I wonder how many books that the movie pulls from to make up its story. For the most part, I liked the character of Tomas Ward but he does annoy me at the same time. He does some very stupid things and yet is also really smart and despite being a new apprentice often manages to save the day. The two sides of himself just don’t seem to mesh and I hope that he becomes more cohesive as the series progresses.

Revenge of the Witch Quote

The story is also told mostly in first person present but every once in awhile there is this foreshadowing/flashback-eske comment that just really took me out of the story. Tom would be talking about something and then make a statement along the lines of ‘this would come back to haunt me later’ or ‘by the time I did this it was already too late.’ I’m fine with the bulk of a book being mostly a flashback, heck that’s mostly how Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss is told. I just want these things to be more clear from the get go and not mentioned in random, cryptic comments.

Revenge of the Witch was an enjoyable audio and I will be reading other books in the series but as they are short, quick reads I will probably be switching over to print. I do plan on seeing the movie at some point but may way until DVD to do so as I can hopefully get most, if not all of the books read before then. That way I won’t be spoiled in the books if the movie pulls from the full series. This is a series I’d recommend if you are looking for a quick read and its a world that I look forward to getting to know better.

irishdarkblue

IR - Revenge of the Witch

Add Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda to Goodreads. (Click here to read my review.)

Add The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan to Goodreads. (Click here to read my review.)

three-stars
Divider

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Review: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon HaleThe Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale
Series: Ever After High,
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 08 October 2013
Genres: Adaptation, Adolescence, Books & Libraries, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Friendship, Girls & Women, Middle Grade, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 305
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Fairy-Tale World

First Line(s): Once upon a new school year, Raven Queen was packing.

The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale is the first book in the Ever After High series which was created by the same people who did Monster High and is a spin off of sorts. Though instead of “monsters” this story is filled with the children of the fairy tales we grew up listening to. We quickly learn that all the children in this story have a destiny that they need to fulfill and that destiny is to live out their fairy tale story as written and as determined by the Storybook of Legends. If your mother was an Evil Queen then you are supposed to grow up to be one too, even if you don’t feel so very evil. Which is Raven Queen’s dilemma as the new school year starts. This is her legacy year, the year she signs the book of Legends and seals her fate. Only she doesn’t want to be evil and wonders just what will happen if she doesn’t sign the book after all.

Along the way you meet her friends and a girl named Apple White, the daughter of Snow White, and the girl that Raven is supposed to grow up and poison so she can have her happily ever after. Apple is supposed to be good but what I love about this book is that the lines are blurred between good and evil and just because someone is perceived to be good doesn’t mean that they are. I really liked how fun and imaginative this story was and I did so enjoy the youtube cartoon tie-in as well. I liked all of the characters and the mystery that was contained in its pages. It was a fun fairy tale retelling and one in which I look forward to reading the other books in the series.

 

Storybook of Legends Quote

While I enjoyed the story I did get a little frustrated at times because I couldn’t understand why if each fairy tale character had two parents then why did Raven have to follow her mother’s path when her father was a good king. And what about the fairy tale characters that had multiple children? How do their stories play out as if there are 3 girls then they can’t all be Cinderella, can they? And just what happens if you don’t follow your destiny but instead forge your own path? These are all questions that I hope get answered as the series moves on. But for now, I was happy with it and do think that younger readers will enjoy it as well.

 

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Storybook of Legends

Add The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy to Goodreads. (Click Here for my review)

Add Kat, Incorrigable by Stephanie Burgis to Goodreads. (Click Here for my review.)

three-half-stars
Divider

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review: I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Review: I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul AcamporaI Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora
Published by Roaring Brook Press on 20 May 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Books & Libraries, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Friendship, Middle Grade, Social Issues
Pages: 176
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: West Grover, Connecticut (and surrounding towns)

First Line(s): My mother’s wheelchair doesn’t fit through the bathroom door, and I don’t know what to do about it.

I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora is the story of three friends who want to honor their teacher by creating buzz for his favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird. Which is part of their summer reading but not all of their classmates are as excited for it. So these friends create a campaign that makes it seem like copies of To Kill a Mockingbird are being stolen and it quickly goes viral. And more importantly, the less copies that are available the more that people want to read this book. I Kill the Mockingbird is a quick read, engrossing, humorous, and a love letter to the written word. Its a powerful story of friendship and a great example of the what can be done when a group of people set their mind to something.

While I didn’t always agree with the things that Lucy and her friends did I must admit that I loved their initiative. I loved their drive and got sucked into their campaign. Its also an example of how powerful social media can be as what started off as a small and local thing quickly spread across the nation. The whole campaign quickly takes on a life of its own and Lucy and her friends must try to figure out a way to end things before it all gets impossibly out of control. This can lead to some great discussions with middle grade readers about proper and responsible use of the internet told in a way that’s easy to see and understand in Acampora’s book.

I Kill the Mockingbird is also a great coming-of-age story as the three friends learn so much about themselves and the power they have to invoke change in the world. I Kill the Mockingbird is a cute and quirky read and one that people of all ages can find something to love. Its a book that will make you remember the love you feel for To Kill a Mockingbird or make you want to pick up the book if you’ve never read it before. Its a book for book lovers and while it does seem a little forced at times I enjoyed my read of it. I liked Acampora’s quirky writing style and realistic characters and I look forward to reading more books by this author.

.

irishdarkblue

.

.

.

Mockingbird

three-stars
Divider

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: Red Riding Hood Gets Lost by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Review: Red Riding Hood Gets Lost by Joan Holub & Suzanne WilliamsRed Riding Hood Gets Lost by Joan Holub, Suzanne Williams
Series: Grimmtastic Girls, Book 2
Also in this series: Cinderella Stays Late
Published by Scholastic on 25 March 2014
Genres: Adaptation, Adolescence, Fantasy, Friendship, Girls & Women, Middle Grade, Mystery & Detective, People of Color
Pages: 192
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Cinderella Stays Late

Places Traveled To: Grimm Academy, Grimmlandia

First Line(s): “Red Riding Hood?” The voice of Tom Thumb, Grmm Academy’s drama instructor, cut through twelve-year old Red’s thoughs like a woodcutter’s ax slicing into a willow tree.

Red Riding Hood Gets Lost by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams starts about a week or so after the events in Cinderella Arrives Late take place. Red Riding Hood Gets Lost is a companion novel to the first book in that it has a different POV character but it is very much a direct sequel as you do need to read the first to understand what’s going on in this book. The girls are in much the same place as we left them and they are still trying to figure out just what E.V.I.L. is up to and who might be in the group. As with the first book, Red Riding Hood Gets Lost is a quick read with a simple premise that I am sure those in the target audience will enjoy.

Red is a likable character and I enjoyed her story and how she interacted with her friends. Though I think that I enjoyed Red and Wolfgang’s scenes the most. The two characters were adorable together and I sometimes found myself wishing that this book was more YA than MG so that there could be some kissing scenes. Wolfgang was a sweet character who liked to tease Red and he had a bit of that bad boy edge to him in that he may or may not be a part of the E.V.I.L. society. (I guess even tweens like the bad boy trope or maybe this is where the love of the redeemable bad boy begins?)

As with Cinderella Stays Late there are plot points that are resolved but so many more that aren’t. The ones that are resolved are the more minor ones of the story and the bigger one is left open. Which means that to find out what happens next you really need to read the next book in the series. This just makes me sigh as it draws out the story too much and I hate being forced to read the next book just to see how it all closes out. Especially since the next book will be from a new POV and so there will have to be a bit of background to introduce this character and she’ll have her subplot/drama to deal with that will take time away from the bigger story ARC.

I do think that the Grimmtastic Girls series is cute and worth reading but I just wish that there was a little more to each installment. It seems that just as we are about to learn something about the big mystery that the book ends which makes me fear that the whole thing is going to be very rushed when we reach the conclusion. I will be reading Snow White Lucks Out when its available as these are fun books but I don’t think they’ll ever be a must read series for me.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
Divider