Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Liesl Shurtliff

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: May 29th, 2018
Publisher: Knopf
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal/Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fairytale Retellings, Adventure, Magic, Friendship, Betrayal


BLURB:

Ever since he was a dwarfling, Borlen (nicknamed “Grump”) has dreamed of visiting The Surface, so when opportunity knocks, he leaves his cavern home behind. At first, life aboveground is a dream come true. Queen Elfrieda Veronika Ingrid Lenore (E.V.I.L.) is the best friend Grump always wanted, feeding him all the rubies he can eat and allowing him to rule at her side in exchange for magic and information. But as time goes on, Grump starts to suspect that Queen E.V.I.L. may not be as nice as she seems. . . . When the queen commands him to carry out a horrible task against her stepdaughter Snow White, Grump is in over his head. He’s bound by magic to help the queen, but also to protect Snow White. As if that wasn’t stressful enough, the queen keeps bugging him for updates through her magic mirror! He’ll have to dig deep to find a way out of this pickle, and that’s enough to make any dwarf Grumpy indeed. Continue reading

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Akata Witch – Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch by Nnedi OkoraforAkata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: July 11th, 2017
Publisher: Speak
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Magic, Culture, Friendship, Secret Society


BLURB: 

Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But just as she’s finding her footing, Sunny and her friends are asked by the magical authorities to help track down a career criminal who knows magic, too. Will their training be enough to help them against a threat whose powers greatly outnumber theirs? Continue reading

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnultyThe Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: May 1st, 2018
Publisher: Random House
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal/Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Middle School, Contemporary, Friendship, Adaptation, Community


BLURB:

Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn’t remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she’s technically ready for college. She just has to pass 1 more test — middle school! Lucy’s grandma insists: Go to middle school for 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. And read 1 book (that’s not a math textbook!). Lucy’s not sure what a girl who does calculus homework for fun can possibly learn in 7th grade. She has everything she needs at home, where nobody can make fun of her rigid routines or her superpowered brain. The equation of Lucy’s life has already been solved. Unless there’s been a miscalculation? Continue reading

Aru Shah and the End of Time – Roshani Chokshi

36222611Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: March 27th, 2018
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal/Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Quest, Adventure, Mythology


BLURB:

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur? One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again. But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them. The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that? 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


BLURB:

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

Cucumber Quest: The Ripple Kingdom (Cucumber Quest #2)

Cucumber Quest: The Ripple Kingdom by Gigi D.G.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
First Published: February 27th, 2018
Publisher: First Second Books
Recommended Age: 7+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Humor, Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Magic, Action, Adventure, Friendship


BLURB:

The quest to save Dreamside continues! After a surprise attack at sea, Cucumber finds himself in the Ripple Kingdom, home to white sand, blue waves . . . oh yeah, and the giant, terrible squid monster holding Almond and Sir Carrot captive. Can our so-called “legendary hero” rescue his companions from the nefarious Splashmaster? Nah, probably not. Good thing Princess Nautilus is here! With her wit, charm, and positive attitude, there’s no way they can lose. But saving the day won’t be as simple as it seems once a 500,000-year-old secret comes to light . . . Continue reading

A Boy Called Christmas – Matt Haig

25882558A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Family, Adventure, Christmas, Magic


BLURB:

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas. It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible. If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you. Because this book is FULL of impossible things. Continue reading