Review: Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

23507745Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: July 14th 2015
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Point of View: 3rd Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Mystery

Buy: Book Depository


BLURB:

Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of the Biltmore estate. There’s plenty to explore in her grand home, although she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, have secretly lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember.

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is: a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of the Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity . . . before all of the children vanish one by one.

Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past. Continue reading

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Review: Threads by Ami Polonsky

28620390Threads by Ami Polonsky

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: November 1st, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 9+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Child Labor, Family

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


BLURB:

To Whom It May Concern: Please, we need help!

The day twelve-year-old Clara finds a desperate note in a purse in Bellman’s department store, she is still reeling from the death of her adopted sister, Lola.

By that day, thirteen-year-old Yuming has lost hope that the note she stashed in the purse will ever be found. She may be stuck sewing in the pale pink factory outside of Beijing forever.

Clara grows more and more convinced that she was meant to find Yuming’s note. Lola would have wanted her to do something about it. But how can Clara talk her parents, who are also in mourning, into going on a trip to China?

Finally the time comes when Yuming weighs the options, measures the risk, and attempts a daring escape. Continue reading

Review: The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis

18369372The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: September 8th 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Music, Contemporary, Family, Romance, Friendship, Disability, Magical Realism

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


BLURB:

Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

Then Maggie’s whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she’s ever met.Ben’s life isn’t easy, but he doesn’t see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn’t have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she’s currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the infuriatingly attractive lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben’s brother. Continue reading

Review:The Boy Who Knew Too Much by Commander S.T. Bolivar, III

28963895 The Boy Who Knew Too Much by Commander S.T. Bolivar, II

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: October 11th, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 3rd Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Boarding School

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


BLURB:

Mattie Larimore used to be the good son-compared to his brother, Carter, at least. But that was before Mattie stole a train, got caught, and was sent to Munchem Academy, the world’s greatest reform school. Or is it? Because the kids at Munchem don’t seem very, well . . . reformed. Mostly, they seem terrifying, and the whole place is just a little off.
Mattie has to get out. Fast.

But it may not be fast enough. Headmaster Rooney is tired of dealing with problem students. His solution, however, may prove to be too radical. When Carter is suddenly next in line for Rooney’s master plan, Mattie and the renegade siblings, Eliot and Caroline, must band together to save him and the rest of Munchem’s students before all is lost.
Suddenly, Mattie-the good son-must find his inner hero and fight back. And that’s how the world’s greatest thief got his start.

Continue reading

Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

23341894Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: June 16th 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Poetry Contemporary, Swoon Romance, Mental Illness, Friendship

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


BLURB:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear. Continue reading

Review: Jed and the Junkyard War by Steven Bohls

29775943Jed and the Junkyard War by Steven Bohls

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 3rd Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Super Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Steampunk, Action

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


BLURB:

Jed is a regular kid with a normal, loving family . . . that is, if it’s normal for a loving family to drop their child off in the middle of nowhere and expect him home in time for Sunday dinner. Luckily, Jed excels at being a regular kid who-armed with wit and determination-can make his way out of any situation.
At least until the morning of his twelfth birthday, when Jed wakes to discover his parents missing. Something is wrong. Really wrong. Jed just doesn’t realize it’s floating-city, violent-junk-storm, battling-metals, Frankensteined-scavengers kind of wrong. Yet.

A cryptic list of instructions leads Jed into a mysterious world at war over . . . junk. Here, batteries and bottled water are currency, tremendously large things fall from the sky, and nothing is exactly what it seems.

Resilient Jed, ready to escape this upside-down place, bargains his way onto a flying tugboat with a crew of misfit junkers. They set course to find Jed’s family, but a soul-crushing revelation sends Jed spiraling out of control . . . perhaps for good. Continue reading

Review: The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

29223495The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: Alternative
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Friendship, Refugees

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


BLURB:

Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention center after his mother and sister fled the violence of a distant homeland, Subhi has only ever known life behind the fences. But his world is far bigger than that—every night, the magical Night Sea from his mother’s stories brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories. And as he grows, his imagination threatens to burst beyond the limits of his containment.

The most vivid story of all, however, is the one that arrives one night in the form of Jimmie—a scruffy, impatient girl who appears on the other side of the wire fence and brings with her a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it herself, she relies on Subhi to unravel her family’s love songs and tragedies.

Subhi and Jimmie might both find comfort—and maybe even freedom—as their tales unfold. But not until each has been braver than ever before. Continue reading