Legendary – Stephanie Garber

36329818Legendary by Stephanie Garber

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
Published: May 29th, 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Super Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Siblings, Romance, Mystery


After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name. The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever. Continue reading

The Pomegranate Witch – Denise Doyen

17027871The Pomegranate Witch by Denise Doyen

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
Published: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Genres & Themes: Picture Book, Halloween, Witches, Poetry


Each year, local kids scheme to pick ripe pomegranates off a haunted tree and are thwarted by The Pomegranate Witch in a friendly challenge of wits. However, on Halloween, while the witch is away, a Kindly Lady has a surprise for every child. Continue reading

Big Bunny – Rowboat Watkins

See the source imageBig Bunny by Rowboat Watkins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
Published: March 20th, 2018
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Genres & Themes: Picture Book, Animals, Storytelling, Creativity


From the curious mind of Rowboat Watkins comes a ginormously imaginative story that is as funny as it is philosophical. How big is Big Bunny? And how will this story end? Delightfully meta and humorously subversive, Big Bunny will take its place as the next go-to story about stories. Continue reading

Amal Unbound – Aisha Saeed

36086513Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: May 8th, 2018
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Education, Family, Justice, Work, Culture


Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal’s Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she’s busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when–as the eldest daughter–she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn’t lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens–after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt. Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal–especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams. Continue reading

Speak: The Graphic Novel

34495927Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson & Emily Carroll

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
Published: February 6th, 2018
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR)
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Slow/Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Abuse, High School, Depression


From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless–an outcast–because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. Through her work on an art project, she is finally able to face what really happened that night: She was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Continue reading