Autumn Reading Bingo Challenge / November

mgc-bingo-11nov2018

Here’s my bingo card for Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge. This month, I finished only eight middle grade books. Well, eight titles that fit the descriptions on the bingo card. (I actually read more than eight books, including a few books for adults.)

How Does It Work?

Pick your challenge, grab a book, and fill in the squares. Try and get 5 in a row, or attempt to fill in the whole sheet if you’re a speedy reader.

Rules

  1. Because this is a Middle Grade Carousel challenge, all of the books on your Bingo board should be MG reads.
  2. Each square needs to be filled with a unique book. You cannot use the same title more than once, even if it fits multiple themes. Choose wisely!
  3. You should only be filling in your Bingo board with books you’ve read during June.

Here are my results… (The * means that’s the book that got me my Bingo!)


*A Book of Short Stories

Funny Business // by Jon Scieszka, ed.

MG, Contemporary (2010)

funny-businessThis is a Guys Read book. I’ve seen these around for quite awhile, but this is the first time I’ve ever picked one up. And I’m glad I did. While I’ve read many of the authors before, there were some that were new to me. It was nice to get a hint of what they write. It was also nice to read new-to-me short stories by authors I already knew.

I particularly enjoyed the story “Artemis Begins” by Eoin Colfer. From what I can tell, this is a true story about his brother being the inspiration for his character Artemis Fowl. And then there was a story called “Your Question for Author Here” by Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka. It’s about a boy who has to write an author for a school assignment, and he gets a little more than he bargained for! [4 stars – Most stories were 3 stars, but there were a couple really good ones!]


*Red Cover

public-school-superheroPublic School Superhero // by James Patterson

MG, Contemporary (2015)

This book is about Kenny, who has been labelled by the school bullies as a “Grandma’s Boy”. But he’s invented an superhero alter-ego: Stainlezz Steel. After an incident, he (the victim) ends up with the same detention as the boys who pick on him. This eventually leads to him having to teach chess to one of the bullies: Ray-Ray.

This was an interesting book. I really like the story arc with Ray-Ray. And I love the principal. And the grandma. And of course, Kenny, himself. [4 stars]


*Pick Your Prompt / Based on a Classic

pinocchioPinocchio // by Michael Morpurgo

MG, Fantasy (2013)

I’ve never read the original classic written by Carlo Collodi, but I have seen the Disney movie LOTS of times. (I always hated the part about the donkeys!) So, when I read this, I could see some of the differences, especially the changes Walt Disney made. (And to tell the truth, I thought his changes were pretty decent. For example: In the end, Pinocchio is [SPOILER] swallowed by a shark. Disney changed this to a whale, which generally makes more sense to me. Wouldn’t a shark just rip both him and Geppetto to pieces? Whales, on the other hand, swallow their food whole.) [END SPOILER]

I enjoyed this book, which is told through the voice of Pinocchio, himself. Although, I will say that Pinocchio drove me crazy with all his stupid decisions! Just go home to Geppetto, Pinocchio. And apparently Morpurgo departs from both the Collodi and the Disney ending slightly with regards to Pinocchio becoming a real boy.

And the part about the donkeys? Yeah, it still bothers me. [4 stars]


*A Disabled Character

al-capone-throw-me-a-curveAl Capone Throws Me a Curve // by Gennifer Choldenko

MG, Historical Fiction (2018)

The disabled character is Natalie (she has a form of autism). Choldenko based her on her own sister. I love how this book (series) tells of the challenges and rewards of living with somebody like Natalie. I love how Moose struggles with this, but how their dad (especially) remains so positive and loving towards his daughter.

This is the fourth book in this series. While it’s not the best in the series, it’s still worth the read. (I absolutely love the first two books.) [4 stars]


*A Best-Selling Author

spy-school-goes-southSpy School Goes South // by Stuart Gibbs

MG, Espionage (2018)

I do love this series. However… the past few books aren’t quite as stellar as the first books. (I hate to make the joke, but they really have started to go south. Yikes!)

There are still things I like about this book, though. Erica Hale, for one. And her mother! And Ben still remains our likeable protagonist. (I’m not crazy about Mike being in Spy School. And I’m not sure what I think about Zoe.) The Farkles Family Reunion is a cute part of the plot. And I’m glad Murray is part of the plot from the beginning and does not just swoop in with the bad guys at the end of the story like he has in the past. [3 stars]

P.S. I feel like this might need a more in-depth review in the near future.


Other MG Books I Finished this Month…

    • Color in the Title // Diary of a Mad Brownie // by Bruce Covill
    • Case in the Title // Case of the Purloined Parrot // by E.W. Hildick
    • Author’s Last Name Starts with “B” // Freckle Juice // by Judy Blume

Final Thoughts…

November Bingo is complete! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them.

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Quick Pick Reviews #11

Eighth Grade is Making Me Sick // by Jennifer L. Holm

eighth-grade-making-me-sickGenre: MG, Contemporary (2012)

My Thoughts: This is the sequel to Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf. The subtitle pretty much sums up the style of this book: Ginny Davis’s Year in Stuff. And it’s surprising how much plot we get from just reading report cards, notes from mom, bank statements, etc. This book picks up where the last one left off and Ginny’s life proves to be as interesting as ever.

I will say that the title of this book is actually quite plot relevant (as opposed to the Meatloaf title; I don’t remember meatloaf factoring into the plot of the first book.) [4 Stars]


Baby-Sitting is a Dangerous Job // by Willo Davis Roberts

baby-sitting-dangerous-jobGenre: MG, Contemporary (1985)

My Thoughts: A cute book about a teen named Darcy who gets a baby-sitting job for a family known to have three, rambunctious kids. That’s how she ends up being kidnapped along with the children. I like how she and the children bond and work together.

Is the book realistic? Not really, but it’s fairly entertaining. I do love teh cover on this re-release. (I’ve seen the original 1980’s cover and, well, this one is so much better. Although I’m not exactly sure what the tree house has to do with the plot!) [3 Stars]


Quick Pick books are always recommendations. (If I don’t recommend the book, it’s not a Quick Pick!)

Autumn Reading Bingo Challenge / October

mgc-bingo-oct2018Once again Middle Grade Carousel hosted a Reading Bingo challenge. Again, I wasn’t sure if I’d participate this month. However, since I normally read MG anyway, I decided to try for a bingo. This month, I finished twelve middle grade books.

How Does It Work?

Pick your challenge, grab a book, and fill in the squares. Try and get 5 in a row, or attempt to fill in the whole sheet if you’re a speedy reader.

Rules

  1. Because this is a Middle Grade Carousel challenge, all of the books on your Bingo board should be MG reads.
  2. Each square needs to be filled with a unique book. You cannot use the same title more than once, even if it fits multiple themes. Choose wisely!
  3. You should only be filling in your Bingo board with books you’ve read during June.

Here are my results… (The * means that’s the book that got me my Bingo!)


*The Second Book in a Series

12 Before 13 // by Lisa Greenwald

12-before-13MG, Contemporary (2018)

A cute story about these two friends who make a list of things to do before their thirteenth birthdays. I didn’t know it was a sequel to another book when I picked it up. The series is called The Friendship List. But I found this book worked well as a stand-alone. The author does reference the first book a bit (apparently they had a similar, but different, list of things to do before their twelfth birthdays.) [3.5 stars]


*Candy in the Title

Candy Bomber // by Michael O. Tunnell

candy-bomberMG, Non-fiction (2010)

This book is non-fiction. The subtitle is The Story of the Berlin Airlift’s “Chocolate Pilot”. I found this very interesting since I haven’t read much about the Berlin Airlift. In addition to the food, fuel, and medical supplies that were flown into West Berlin in 1948-49, one pilot decided to bring candy for the children. Lt. Gail Halvorsen would wiggle his wings as he flew into the city. That was the signal for the children to look up. Packages of candy would float down with tiny white parachutes.

This book is for anybody who loves history, and WWII in particular. The book has lots of photos, plus copies of some of the many thank-you letters Halvorsen received from the German children.  [4 stars]


*A Book about Cryptids

Flight of the Phoenix // by R. L. LaFever

flight-of-phoenixLower MG, Magical Realism (2010)

This is Book One of a series called Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist. Poor Nate finds himself an orphan and in the care of a relative who has dodo birds living in the house! And then his aunt reveals the nature of their family business, which includes protecting a phoenix who’s about to be born from the ashes. However, when Aunt Phil is taken hostage by a Bedouin tribe, it’s up to the unadventurous Nate to make sure the phoenix will take flight. Cute story. Loved Nate and the gremlin, too! [3.5 stars]


*Historical

Winnie’s Great War // by Lindsay Mattick and Josh Greenhut

Winnies-great-warMG, Historical Fiction (2018)

I loved this book! First of all, it’s the true story behind the real Winnie-the-Pooh. Named for the city of Winnipeg, Winnie was an orphan black bear that crossed the Atlantic with the Canadian troops during the First World War. Since she was just a baby, she became their mascot. This book chronicles her voyage, her shenanigans, and how she was eventually taken to live in the London Zoo… which is where, of course, a real little boy named Christopher Robin came to visit with his dad. [5 stars]

A full review is coming soon!


*A Book Recommended to You

Nerd Camp // by Elissa Brent Weissman

camp-nerdMG, Contemporary (2011)

I really enjoyed this book. It was recommended by a fellow book blogger. Yay for good recommendations! This is a fun little romp of a book that follows Gabe, a kid who struggles with the idea of being too nerdy, especially in the eyes of his new step-brother. [4 stars]

You can read my full review here.


Other MG Books I Finished this Month…

    • Title Starts with T // The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet // by Erin Dionne
    • A Book About Witches // The Land of Stories: Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales // by Chris Colfer
    • Magical Realism // Time Garden // by Edward Eager
    • Author Who is New to You // Baby-Sitting is a Dangerous Job // by Willo Davis Roberts
    • A Book Found at a Thrift Store // Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle // by Betty MacDonald
    • House on the Cover // The Spy Code Caper // by Susan Pearson
    • A Book About Heroes // Silent in an Evil Time // by Jack Batton

Final Thoughts…

October Bingo is complete!

Quick Pick Reviews #10

Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle // by Betty MacDonald (1957)

Genre: MG, Magical Realism

hello-mrs.-piggle-wiggleMy Thoughts: I love Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle! I love reading about her cures for unruly, unhappy, and unfortunate children. I just happened upon this book at a used book sale and picked it up for a bargain. This is the fourth book in the series and I don’t know if I’ve actually read this one before now. I don’t recall any of the stories.

I do think the stories in the first books are slightly better than these ones. There’s definitely a formula in MacDonald’s writing and I can imagine she was starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel when it came to writing this one. Still, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle at her worst is still worth the read!

It’s always fun to see the creativity for how Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle will solve the problem at hand. The final story is, I think, my favourite in the book. It ends with, not only the original child getting a change of attitude… but the whole family! [3.5 Stars]


The Land of Stories: Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales // by Chris Colfer (2016)

Genre: MG, Fairy Tales

treasury-classic-fairy-talesMy Thoughts: I’ve never read the Land of Stories series before. I’m guessing they’re books that retell fairy tales, which means they probably give their own spin to the original stories. One thing I’ve noticed with such books, they don’t mean much if you aren’t familiar with the original accounts. So, my guess is meant to remedy to that… By giving us the famous fairy tales and folk tales like: Cinderella, Rapunzel, The Little Mermaid, Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks, etc. (Each tale does mention whether it was based on the Grimm Brothers’ retelling or Hans Christian Andersen’s story or whatever.)

Most of the stories were exactly what I remember them to be, which was nice. However, there were a few little things that bothered me. I don’t understand why the author changed some strange details. Now, it’s possible that I don’t remember these details… like Rapunzel having a child during the time when she’s parted from the prince (before he finds her after he’s blinded). (What?! Why?! What is purpose of this baby?!) Or there are some little details that he got wrong, like when Snow White’s mother pricks her finger on a knitting needle. Does the author even know what a knitting needle is? No knitting needle I’ve ever seen is so sharp as to draw three drops of blood?

But those things weren’t major and overall I did enjoy the stories! [3.5 stars]


Quick Pick books are always recommendations. (If I don’t recommend the book, it’s not a Quick Pick!)

Autumn Reading Bingo Challenge / September

mgc-bingo-sept2018

Middle Grade Carousel is hosting another Reading Bingo challenge. I wasn’t sure if I’d participate this month, but since I normally ready MG anyway, I figured I’d at least try to get a bingo.

And I did! This month, I finished nine middle grade books.

How Does It Work?

Pick your challenge, grab a book, and fill in the squares. Try and get 5 in a row, or attempt to fill in the whole sheet if you’re a speedy reader.

Rules

  1. Because this is a Middle Grade Carousel challenge, all of the books on your Bingo board should be MG reads.
  2. Each square needs to be filled with a unique book. You cannot use the same title more than once, even if it fits multiple themes. Choose wisely!
  3. You should only be filling in your Bingo board with books you’ve read during June.

Here are my results… (The * means that’s the book that got me my Bingo!)


*A Book About Puzzles

You Go First // by Erin Entrada Kelly

You-go-firstI’m claiming puzzles on this one, even though it’s about Scrabble. I figure that Scrabble is about word puzzles, right?

This book has two protagonists: Charlotte and Ben. I liked both of them and enjoyed reading both their stories. Their only connection is through online Scrabble. Although, at one point, they actually speak to each other on the phone.

This book is about the masks we wear. And about how one friend can change things for us, for the better. Interestingly our two main characters never meet. And they never do get the full picture of what the other’s life is really like. Basically because neither of them will “go first”. However, both kids find their one friend among the kids they already know at school… Kids they have overlooked in the past.

I keep vacillating between 3.5 and 4 stars for this book. I think I’ll go with the higher rating. [4 stars]


*Time Travel

no-wifi-on-the-prairieThere’s No Wifi on the Prairie // by Nicholas O. Time

I wish I liked this book better. I did like the premise about how the girl needs to learn that you can’t always depend on doing a Google-search in life. I probably would have liked this book as a kid, though.

I think the random cows that kept cropping up at the school was a little weird for me. [3 stars]


*’Princess’ in the Title

true-princessA True Princess // by Diane Zahler

This is a delightful retelling of one of my favourite fairy tales. I won’t say which one, because it’s more fun that way. The main character is Liliana* and she’s a spunky one. I loved how the chapter titles connected with the story.

If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, I’d definitely recommend this. I found this one have enough surprises to make me happy, while keeping to its inspiration. [3.5 stars]


*A Boy and His Dog

kindred-soulsKindred Souls // by Patricia MacLachlan

This one is more like a book about a grandfather and his dog! But there’s a boy, too…

This was interesting, especially with the dog. Billy (the grandfather) just happens to come across the dog, Lucy. He’s growing old, and he’s hoping that his grandson, Jake, will build him a sod house (like he had when he was younger). And when he lands in the hospital, Jake decides to do what he can.

I really like how the family comes together in this book to make Billy’s dream come true. And, of course, Lucy the dog is there for it all. [4 stars]


*Pick Your Prompt // Historical Fiction

Fences-Between-Us.jpgThe Fences Between Us // by Kirby Larson

I’ve read quite a few books about the internment of the Japanese-Americans during World War II, but this is the first book that talks about it from the perspective of a non-Japanese protagonist. But what’s cool about this book is that it’s based on a real person.

In the story, Piper’s father is a minister to a Japanese congregation in Seattle. So, when his church is shut down (because all the congregants are interned), he [SPOILER] takes Piper and moves with them. Piper’s not too happy to leave her friends and school behind, just because of her father’s convictions. [END SPOILER] A good, solid historical novel. [4 stars]


A Window on the Cover

cody-mysteries-of-the-universeCody and the Mysteries of the Universe // by Tricia Springstubb

A cute book about a girl (Cody) who welcomes a friend (Spencer) to the neighbourhood. he’s not the only new kid on the block. There’s about the Meen girls: Molly and Maxie. And let’s just point out that Molly and Maxie live up to their last name.

I enjoyed Cody’s imaginative outlook on life… how she tries to protect the younger Spencer. I also like how she also gets things wrong! [4 stars]


Character Shares Your Name

anna-maria-giftAnna Maria’s Gift // by Janice Shefelman

The protagonist in this one is an orphan by the name of Anna Maria. (I don’t share the Anna-part, but my name is Maria!) It’s a cute story of her and her special violin. (As an adult, I don’t know how realistic the plot is, but a kid would probably like it!)

I did love the historical setting in Venice. And I learned a little about Vivaldi. I didn’t know he was a priest who taught violin to orphans! Definitely a story for lower-MG readers. [3 stars]


A Book About Photography

northern-exposuresNorthern Exposures // by Eric Walters

This was a fun story about a boy who wins a photography contest by accident. The prize? Photography the polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba. And because he’s not really a photographer, he has some madcap adventures. Not to mention, the other people in his group are a bunch of senior citizens!

I enjoyed learning about polar bears and getting a little geography/history lesson (which I see as fun!) about Churchill. Plus, as a photographer, I would have loved to be on this trip with Kevin and all the senior citizens! (Oh, and because the book was first published in 2001, I loved all the film-talk. It brought me back to the days when I first started taking pictures.) [3.5 stars]


A Book You Borrowed

middle-school-worse-than-meatloaf.jpgMiddle School is Worse than Meatloaf // by Jennifer L. Holm

This is a story told through “stuff”: Report cards, notes, homework, etc. The protagonist is Ginny and she’s having former-friend trouble, brother trouble, and school trouble. In fact, this book reminded me of Kate Messner’s Breakout in its style.

Actually, I’m guessing this story led to Holm’s graphic novel Sunny Side Up. Many of the plot elements are the same. The one exception is that this story is contemporary whereas the other is set in the 1970s. [4 stars]


Final Thoughts…

September Bingo is complete!

Summer Reading Bingo Challenge / August

mgc-summerbingo-08aug2018

Middle Grade Carousel is hosting a Summer Reading Bingo challenge, and I enjoyed doing it in June and July, so I decided to finish off the summer with the August challenge.

This month, I finished ten middle grade books. Not as many as last month… but I was busy. The irony is that 3 out of my 5 bingo books were books I actually did NOT enjoy reading! 😦 (Fortunately, at least 2 of the books were good!)

I also came so close to a double-bingo. I just never got around to reading a book on mermaids!

Once again, thank-you to Elza Kinde for first putting this reading challenge onto my radar!

How Does It Work?

Pick your challenge, grab a book, and fill in the squares. Try and get 5 in a row, or attempt to fill in the whole sheet if you’re a speedy reader.

Rules

  1. Because this is a Middle Grade Carousel challenge, all of the books on your Bingo board should be MG reads.
  2. Each square needs to be filled with a unique book. You cannot use the same title more than once, even if it fits multiple themes. Choose wisely!
  3. You should only be filling in your Bingo board with books you’ve read during June.

Here are my results… (The * means that’s the book that got me my Bingo!)


*A 2018 Release

Sunny // by Jason Reynolds

sunnyThe third book in the Ghost / Patina series. This one focuses on Sunny who is a long-distance runner. Except he doesn’t want to do that anymore. It was his mom’s dream to run the marathon, but his mom is dead. And so, he just stops running. When he tells Coach, he gets pulled into the field part of track and field.

Sunny’s a great character. I love his home-schooling teacher. And the subplot with his dad is really what makes the book good. [3.5 stars]

Read my full review here.


*Green Cover

whatshisfaceWhatshisface // by Gordon Korman

I wish I liked this book better. I liked the main character Cooper Vega (otherwise known as Whatshisface). But that’s where I stopped liking this book. The story is about the ghost of a Shakespearean boy who lives in Cooper’s phone. And to top it all, he claims that that vagabond Shakespeare stole his masterpiece: Romeo and Juliet (otherwise known as Barnabus and Ursula). I don’t always like alternative histories, and this is one of the ones I didn’t like. [2.5 stars] 😦


*A Book about Twins

Astrotwins: Project Blastoff // by Mark Kelly

astrotwins-project-blastoffThere are many reasons why I should have liked this book. I love stories about the space race. I love middle grade books. This book is by a real astronaut, so the science should be A-Okay!

But, but, but… I probably would have DNFed this book. I only kept reading because it fulfilled the “twin” prompt. (See above.) I can’t even put my finger on what was “wrong” with this book. It was realistic, and yet SO NOT realistic at all. It had some good STEM elements, and yet there were too many STEM elements. [2.5 stars] 😦

(If the premise of this book sounds good to you, I’d recommend Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce instead. Not written by an astronaut, but hey!)


*Middle Book of a Series

Heidi Grows Up // by Charles Tritten

heidi-grows-upSo, I read this book when I was a kid. It’s the “sequel” to Heidi, by Johanna Spyri. This book was written by the man who translated the book into English. It is followed by a book called Heidi’s Children (also by Tritten).

I remember really enjoying this book as a kid. So, I decided to pick it up to see how it holds up. Sadly, it doesn’t. The plot is all over the place. The “bad guys” hardly get any page-time to create any meaningful conflict. I basically had to force myself to finish this book! But, I can see WHY I liked it as a kid. It does indeed tell us what happened to Heidi, and Peter, and the Alm-Uncle. [2.5 stars] 😦


*Wish in the Title

The Well-Wishers // by Edward Eager

well-wishersThis is the sequel to Magic or Not? In this one, the magic wishing well is up to its old tricks. The children make wishes, but they’re not sure if the well is actually doing anything. This book, oddly enough, is written in first person, from multiple perspectives of the children. (I don’t think any of the other Eager books are written this way.) My favourite chapter is the “Anonymous” one that gives several clues as to the identity of the character. Of course, it’s easy to figure out who the character is!

The “magic” in these two books are not as prominent as in the earlier books. I do love the story about the new family moving in which caused within the community. Eager doesn’t ever say exactly what the “problem” is, but it becomes clear (at least to an adult) that this is a black family moving into the neighbourhood. (The book was written in the 1960s.) I love how little Deborah puts it when she first meets the family: “Oh, that’s what the fuss is all about.” And I love the friendship that develops between her and the little boy, Hannibal. [4 stars]


A Book about Sports

Patina // by Jason Reynolds

patinaA companion book to Ghost. If you like track and field (at least track), you should read this book. This is Patty’s story. How she’s training to be on the 4×800 relay team. On top of that, she has to juggle a never-ending to-do list: her ma’s on dialysis, her sister needs her hair braided, she’s the only one in her group project doing any of the research. And then there’s Momly.

I hesitated about reading this book, but I really enjoyed it. You can read my review here. [4 stars]

Read my full review here.


A Book About School

Kat Greene Comes Clean // by Melissa Roske

kat-greene-comes-cleanThis book was a little hard for me to read. It’s about a mother who has OCD who’s always cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. But her daughter, Kat, doesn’t want to tell anybody. I felt for Kat and for the mother. I just wanted to reach out and give this girl a hug. And get that mom some help!

There are Harriet the Spy connections, which were fun. Kat gets assigned to portray the character of the Boy with the Purple Socks, which (and she’s right) has absolutely no character growth in the book. Kat’s best friend, Halle, drove me bonkers! I was ready to give that girl a talking-to. Oh, and that school. That school would have driven me bonkers! [3 stars]


Orange Cover

seven-wondersThe Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs // by Betty G. Birney

I love the title of this book! And I love the premise. The story wasn’t as engaging as I had hoped, but it was cute. And full of wacky and quirky characters.

Eben goes from neighbour to neighbour to search of seven wonders. I really like the character, the pesky Rae Ellen. Eben wants nothing to do with her or her “wonderful”. I really wished that her story had been part of the climax of the book. Or that after agreeing that she actually does have a wonder, that Eben would have agreed to team up in search of the final wonders. A missed opportunity, IMHO. [3 stars]


A Classic

thimble-summerThimble Summer // by Elizabeth Enright

My first time reading this book! I enjoyed it. Garnet has some wonderful summer adventures on her family’s farm. I love her adventure in the library! And when she decides to take off for the day, without telling anybody in her family… Would not happen these days.

While, I still love Enright’s The Saturdays better, this book is certainly a fun read. I just wish the thimble actually made it into the plot a little more often. [3.5 stars]

Read my full review here.


A Book on the Cover

things-that-surprise-youThings That Surprise You // by Jennifer Maschari

Em Murphy is starting Middle School. And it seems that’s when her problems start. Her parents are divorced. Her sister has an eating disorder. Her best friend is turning to other friends. And then her teacher pairs her up to do a project with the weird kid in the class: Hector.

Although, I did not find this book to be a fast read, I did enjoy it. My favourite parts were with Em and her sister, Mina. I really felt for the family as they try to cope with such a delicate and difficult situation.  [3.5 stars]


Final Thoughts…

Those are my results for August with regards to Middle Grade books. I again thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

Quick Pick Reviews #9

Maid of the King’s Court // by Lucy Worsley (2016)

Maid-of-King's-CourtGenre: YA, Historical (Henry VIII)

My Thoughts: This is the story of Katherine Howard, who becomes Wife #5 to Henry VIII. It’s told through the eyes of her cousin, Elizabeth (but not to be confused with Princess Elizabeth, who eventually becomes Good Queen Bess.) It’s certainly an interesting look inside court life at the time of Henry VIII, especially interesting to me were the games the courtiers all played. The flirtatious activity among… well, everybody. This is really what gets Katherine Howard into trouble.

In the history books, there’s so much attention given to Henry’s first three wives. (This makes sense, since they are the mothers of his three children that became Edward VI,  Mary I, and Elizabeth I.) This book gives a little insight into his next two wives…  [3 Stars]


Crossing Ebenezer Creek // by Tonya Bolden (2017)

crossing-ebenezer-creekGenre: YA, Historical (Civil War)

My Thoughts: I thought I’ve read everything there is to read about the American Civil War, but apparently not. This book brought to my attention something new. (And I always love learning something new about history!) This story revolves around General Sherman’s March to the Sea. And joining that march were the newly freed slaves, courtesy of the Emancipation Proclamation. We get two POVs in this story: Mariah and Caleb.

I will have to say that I wanted to love this book more than I did. But for some reason, I did not really connect with either of the protagonists. I think this may have been due to the fact that there are too many other characters “cluttering” the story. Not that there couldn’t have been other characters. I think it’s important to the story to include the other people. But the writer in me wanted to combine some of them. As a reader, I was getting too confused! Who was who? The cover is also slightly misleading. I would have loved to see a row of silhouetted characters standing over on the other side of the water. (It IS a beautiful cover, though.)

This is a heart-breaking story. I won’t spoil exactly what happens. You’ll just have to read to book. [3 Stars]


Quick Pick books are always recommendations. (If I don’t recommend the book, it’s not a Quick Pick!)