Flower Moon by Gina Linko

Title: Flower Moon
Author: Gina LinkoGina Linko
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Fiction
Pages: Print 242
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The  copy used in this review is a finished copy. 

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Tempest and Tally Jo Trimble are mirror twins—so alike they were almost born the same person—and they’ve been inseparable since birth. But it’s the summer they turn thirteen, and it seems like everyone can tell something is changing between them.

Pa Charlie, whose traveling carnival is the best part of every summer, is watching them closer than ever. Digger, who sneaks poor kids onto the carnival rides for free and smiles faster than anyone, seems to be fixing for a fight. Even Mama is acting different, refusing to travel with the carnival this year even though her own twin, who she hasn’t seen since childhood, will be there.

And Tally and Tempest are the most different of all. There’s a strangeness between them, a thickness to the air, an unseen push and pull, and it’s getting stronger. It starts as a feeling, but soon it’s sputtering and sparking, hurling them backwards, threatening to explode.

When Tally learns that she and Tempest may not be the first twins in their family to be separated by whatever this force is, she realizes she’ll have to find a way to stop it—or she might lose not only her sister, but everyone she loves.

Final Thoughts: 

This book started slow from the beginning. We learn about the twin sisters who Tally Jo and Tempest. Both are called mirror twins or identical twins in this story. There is some sort of pull between the two siblings but halfway through this novel and I am not sure what that pull is exactly. You learn more about the relationship between the two sisters in the beginning of the novel and learn how Tally Jo is mourning the loss of a connection she once had with her twin sister. Tempest is finally brave enough to have her own voice and try out new experiments. While Tally Jo continues to get into trouble trying to defend her sister and shield her from what she deems as harmful situations. Tally Jo has good intentions of protecting her twin sisters, although Tempest doesn’t always see it that way. Tempest is more interested in her experiments rather than her sisters antics. As both grow a part, Tally Jo starts to notice a force that is keeping the two from getting closer and reestablishing the connection they once had. The root of this mystery lies within the relationship between her mother and her mother twin sister Aunt Giana. Tally Jo must uncover many secrets with the help of Dibbler and find out the real reason her Aunt isnt in the picture. She must do this while still trying to figure out the how to save the relationship with her sister.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

Image was taken from the following site: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35464020-the-night-diary

Title: The Night Diary 
Author: Veera Hiranandani
Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction
Pages: Print 272
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy.

Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.

Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together.

Final Thoughts:

The Night Diary is a compelling novel that follows the life of Nisha and Amil. Two siblings who mourn the loss of a mother they never got the chance to know. The book is written from the perspective of Nisha. It is written in the form of a diary. Nisha writes about her day at the end of each day, she recaps her favorite moments and shares her thoughts. Nisha is a quiet girl with an immense amount of intelligence; she only speaks when she feels it is crucial. Amil, her brother, is the complete opposite. He is a free-spirited, outspoken, artist who fears nothing but the idea of not being able to be creative. Both siblings live in a large house in India while their father works as a doctor at a local hospital. In this home, they have a servant, and their father’s mother lives with them. In the days leading up to India gaining its independence from the British, turmoil is evident. As communities pick sides, families become divided, and this once safe place will become unsafe for this mixed family. Their home is now Pakistan, and they must leave to avoid being killed. This family must journey long and far to get to a safe place. They will face many challenges and hardships along the way. The only hope for these young souls is to get to a place where they can be safe and get to a moment where their father is free-spirited again. Will they survive the long journey? How far is their father willing to go to protect his family?

The author did a fantastic job with this novel. I enjoyed every moment of this book and enjoyed learning a bit more about the challenges faced by those born by both Hindi and Muslim parents. I have a History degree and love a good historical fiction novel. I have to say that this book made me cry. I completely understand the struggle of losing your mother and mourning the loss of a relationship with a parent you never knew. I may start my diary because of this book. I enjoyed the internal monologue that Nisha had with her mother and the connection she felt to her brother. The author built Nisha into a strong character, and Amil serves as her support. Both siblings struggle and cope with loss differently. Not only are they mourning the loss of their mother but the loss of a connection to their mothers family as well as the loss of the person their father used to be. I commend the author for doing such a great job with this book. I recommend this book to any youth between middle school age and high school. The book focuses on resilience, strength, determination, family, and fighting for what you believe. There are numerous life lessons in this book, and it also encourages youth to get a glimpse of the challenges faced by youth in other countries.

Happy Reading!

Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

ARC Review: Good Dog

Title: Good Dog
Author: Dan Gemeinhart 
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Pages: Print 309
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Brodie didn’t remember the exact moment that he died. But he did remember the exact moment that he woke up afterward. When he woke up he was already running.

In his awe-inspiring new novel, acclaimed author Dan Gemeinhart brings his signature blend of action, heart, and beautiful, deliberate prose to the story of a good dog who can’t move on to the afterlife until the boy he loves is safe.

Final Thoughts: 

Good Dog is a compelling novel written about a dog named Brodie who has just died. Brodie is now dead and stick in between the worlds. He can’t move on because he is not at piece. Brodie needs to go back to the world of the living go save his best friend, Aiden. Aiden and Brodie have been together since the beginning. Brodie remembers all of the amazing moments they shared. He also remembers that something dark is near Aiden and Brodie has to go back to protect him. Brodie will sacrifice his soul to save his human. Will Brodie get to Aiden in time? Will Brodie move on to his forever place?

Overall this novel almost had me in tears. The author did such a great job showcasing the bond between human and animal. Brodie will stop at nothing to get back to his human on earth after his death. Even in the afterlife he strives to protect Aiden from the danger that awaits. Think of a time when your pet did whatever it took to protect you from the danger that awaits. My cat pickles is always crying when I’m in the kitchen. He assumes that I am in danger and I love that he is willing to protect me. Any animal big or small will form a bond with its human and this story brings that bond to life. I loved this book so much and I almost cried at the connection I felt. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a heartfelt read about the love animals posses.

Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

ARC: Class Action by Steven B. Frank

img_2983Title: Class Action 
Author: Steven B. Frank
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Pages: Print 243
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from HMH.

Dust Jacket Synopsis:


That’s what sixth grader Sam Warren tells his teacher while standing on top of his desk. He’s fed up with doing endless tasks from the time he gets home to the time he goes to sleep. Suspended for his protest, Sam decides to fight back. He recruits his elderly neighbor/retired attorney Mr. Kalman to help him file a class action lawsuit on behalf of all students in Los Angeles. Their argument? Homework is unconstitutional.

With a ragtag team—aspiring masterchef Alistair, numbers gal Catalina, sports whiz Jaesang, rebel big sister Sadie and her tech-savvy boyfriend Sean—Sam takes his case to federal court. He learns about the justice system, kids’ rights, and constitutional law. And he learns that no matter how many times you get knocked down, there’s always an appeal…until the nine justices have the last say.

Will Sam’s quest end in an epic fail, or will he be the hero who saves childhood for all time?

Favorite Quotes:

“Earlier this year we had to projects on endangered species. I did mine on the red panda because I love trees and so do they. But if I had to do it again, I’d choose a different endangered species. I’d choose childhood.” -Sam-

“You can’t tear down a wall if you don’t take a swing.” -Sam-

Final Thoughts:

This middle-grade fiction follows the life of Sam Warren. Sam has come home every day from school with mountains of homework. He has no time to build the treehouse with his dad, spend time with his mom, watch tv, or even hang out with his friends. His sister, Sadie, stays up late many nights working on special projects. One day in class, his teacher decides to give everyone a packet to complete over Columbus Day weekend. This weekend is one of his only a few long weekends he was looking forward. At this moment, Sam realizes that he cannot take it anymore, “it” being the endless amount of homework. Sam tries to rally other members of his class to stand with him against homework, but he learns that it is going to take a lot of hard work, a team of friends, an expert, and a sister on the debate team to keep homework away from home. Can Sam get homework removed from the home? Can Sam speak up for those students who are afraid to speak up? Will Sam stop student’s childhoods from going extinct?

Overall, Class Action is a fantastic story of bravery, commitment, determination, and the power of believing in yourself. A group of kids works together to achieve something that no one has ever tried to reach before. With the support of Sam’s parents and Sadie doing research, they might stand a chance to win their case. Mr. Kalman was tough to get on their team, but in the end, he was one of their biggest supporters. This novel encourages youth to stand up for what they believe in and not to be afraid to challenge their rights to freedom. The author did an excellent job with this storyline. I felt transported into the fight for no homework with the students in this book. I also liked the factual information provided about education court cases presented in this book. It served as a fiction read while also providing some educational facts. I personally would have liked for more interaction between Sam and the principal of the school. I think that would have added more to the story. I recommend this book to anyone interested in a fictional read that follows the life of one student who started a movement.

Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

img_2789Title: A Wrinkle in Time
Author: Madeline L’Engle
Series: Quintet
Next Book in the Series: A Wind in the Door
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Pages: Print 251
Rating: ★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I purchased a copy of this book from my local library in anticipation of the movie. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher.

Goodreads Synopsis:

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract”.

Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

Final Thoughts:

I have never heard of this book until the recent release of the movie. I read it in one morning as it was a short read. I, with the help of the programming department, planned an event at my library to provide STEM activities and free tickets to the movie. I wanted to read the book in case someone asked me questions about it during the program, no one asked me questions, but I stilled shared information about the book with the kids.

The book has a Christian influence throughout the reading. I felt that two ideals were clashing in this novel, i.e., science and religion. I could tell there was a religious influence throughout the pages due to the “non-earthly beings” referred to as guardian angels toward the end of the book. The book initially published in 1962 and the dated terminology was noticeable throughout this entire novel. The influence of science and technology was prevalent as well. The description of the time travel was fascinating and the diagrams displayed in the book were helpful in understanding the proposed time travel theory. I enjoyed the influence of science, technology, time, and family in this book. I adored the main characters, Margaret and Charlie. I loved the description of Margaret and how she continued to underestimate herself. In contrast, Charlie purposely projected himself as being illiterate to others so that they may underestimate his abilities. Each child has something special inside of them, and they just need to stick to their guns and never give up on themselves.

The mention of Margaret struggling in school not because of the curriculum but because of the lack of a challenge was significant. This is something that is still relevant in schools today. Students aren’t necessarily illiterate; they just need to solve problems the best way that works for them. The book continues to showcase the importance of family and believing in yourself as we watch the two siblings, Calvin, and their guardian angels work together to defeat “IT.” The all must learn their strengths to travel through time and space to save Margaret and Charlie’s dad.

Overall this is an exciting book. I like the lessons that were being taught in this novel and enjoyed the interaction between characters. I have never read this book and only heard of it recently. The concept that you can create a wrinkle in time to travel through dimensions indeed makes this fantasy novel stand out. The author did a great job capturing my attention, but there were also parts where I felt confused. The ending felt a bit rushed, and I wanted more. I haven’t decided if I’m going to look into obtaining the next novels in this series, but if you are interested in a fantasy book that will leave you feeling intrigued, this is your book.

Have you read ever read this book? What did you think of it?

Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg

Title: The Great Shelby Holmes 
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg 
Series: Trilogy
Next Book in the Series: The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match 
Genre: Middle Grade Mystery
Pages: Print 243
Rating: ★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I checked out a copy of this book from my local library. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Meet spunky sleuth Shelby and her sports-loving sidekick Watson as they take on a dog-napper in this fresh twist on Sherlock Holmes.
Shelby Holmes is not your average sixth grader. She’s nine years old, barely four feet tall, and the best detective her Harlem neighborhood has ever seen—always using logic and a bit of pluck (which yes, some might call “bossiness”) to solve the toughest crimes.

When eleven-year-old John Watson moves downstairs, Shelby finds something that’s eluded her up till now: a friend. Easy-going John isn’t sure of what to make of Shelby, but he soon finds himself her most-trusted (read: only) partner in a dog-napping case that’ll take both their talents to crack.

Sherlock Holmes gets a fun, sweet twist with two irresistible young heroes and black & white illustrations throughout in this middle grade debut from internationally bestselling YA author Elizabeth Eulberg.

Favorite Quotes:

“I observe. Then I assemble all my observations into several different theories and pick the on with the likeliest narrative. It’s called deductive reasoning. I don’t understand why others don’t do  it. I realize some people find my observations rude, but I don’t know when to stay quiet.” -Shelby-

Final Thoughts: 

This book is filled with a set of diverse characters. We follow the story of Shelby Holmes and John Watson, two unlikely friends who grow to learn something new from each other. John is new to the busy New York City, and he is looking for someone to guide him around his neighborhood. Shelby seems like a nice person who looks to be about his age, so why not follow her around for a bit. Shelby is not too excited about her new follower. Shelby is a smart, outspoken, seven year old who solves mysteries in her neighborhood. She doesn’t have friends she has contacts. Watson just moved to the community with his newly divorced military doctor mother. He is slowly adapting to his new neighborhood and trying to find his motivation to write again. The two unlikely pair are approached by Tamra after her prized show dog goes missing. Shelby and Watson search through clear clues while Tamra and her family argue over which one of them stole the dog. Will Shelby and Watson solve the mystery? Will Shelby accept Watson as a friend?

This is my first middle-grade mystery novel involving a stolen dog. The book was fascinating, but the idea of the family arguing with each other over who took the dog was a bit far-fetched. I also did not like the part in the story where Shelby was interacting with a “sketchy” character. I thought that part of the story was wholly inappropriate and should not have been included in the book. I could not believe this was in there. I also thought two young children exploring the streets of New York unsupervised was a bit unlikely in today’s society. I would have liked that part to be a little more realistic. I did like the idea of freedom of expression and the mystery solving tactics in this book. Some tactics were unnecessary but comical. The author did a great with this book by capturing the attention of the reader, and it makes me want to read the second one in this series. I thoroughly enjoyed each character, and I am hoping to learn more about Shelby Holmes’ family. I recommend this book to middle-grade students in the earlier grades. It is on the Texas Bluebonnet List.

Have you read any good mysteries lately?

Share them in the comments below!

Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

ARC Review: How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens

img_2475Title: How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens
Author: Paul Noth
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary, Fantasy
Pages: Print 210
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from Bloomsburg Publishing.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Ten-year-old Hap’s grandmother has experimented on his family and confined them to the basement of a mansion paid for by his father’s inventions, but his plan to sell her to aliens goes awry.

Rear Cover Synopsis:

Happy Conklin Jr. is the only 10-year-old who has to shave three times a day. Hap’s dad is a brilliant inventor of screwball products, and being a Conklin kid means sometimes being experimented on. So Hap has his beard, and his five sisters each have their own unique–and often problematic–qualities too. And although Hap’s dad has made a fortune with his wacky inventions sold via nonstop TV infomercials, all of that money has gone to Hap’s tyrannical Grandma. While she lives in an enormous mansion, the rest of the family lives in two rooms in the basement.

All Hap has ever wanted is to have a normal life, so when he sees a chance to get rid of Grandma, he takes it! He only means to swap out Grandma, but when he–oops!–sells his whole family to the aliens, he wants nothing more than to get them back. He just has to figure out . . . how?

Favorite Quotes:

“Before you assume I’m a bad person, you should know that I had originally only planned on selling Grandma to the aliens.”

This is the opening line of the book. The first line really grabbed my attention. I enjoyed reading further on in the story to understand why Hap wanted to sell his family to aliens.

Final Thoughts:

First off, I want to say that I laughed a lot throughout this entire novel. I thought it started off a bit slow for me, but it picked up fast. The author did a fantastic job capturing my attention throughout this book, and the small illustrations provided an excellent basis for the description of the characters. The author offered detailed backstory on each character in this novel except for Chip, the grandmothers assistant, the wrestler, the zookeeper, and the detective. These supporting characters did not need a backstory or explanation in the novel, so it worked well for the author to leave that extra information out. Hap Senior is a business partner for Conklin Business which sells products to “enhance” the lives of people in the area. Hap Senior is the star of many of the businesses commercials.

I enjoyed the hint of diversity in this story in Hap Junior’s family. Hap’s mom is from Romania, and all the kids are bilingual. Hap spends the entire book trying to both get rid of his family and protect them at the same time. He has to figure out who he needs to protect them from, his grandmother, the FBI, or the potential alien threat. The book focuses on the importance of family and accepting each other’s differences. Hap is a member of a unique family, and he must learn the importance of family while his siblings learn to accept themselves for who they are. Each young member of the Conklin family has undergone many experiments to “enhance” their lives, but these tests have consequences. Will Hap sell his family to the aliens? Is that actually what he wants to do? He will have to create a plan, which has three parts, and one outcome.

I am going to recommend this book added to my library collection. I thought the author did a great job highlighting the importance of family. Also no matter how annoying your family is, they are your family. I was excited to receive a copy of this book to review and enjoyed reviewing it. I recommend this book to anyone in late elementary and early middle school. It is an easy-to-read and is very captivating. If you are looking for a story that will make you laugh and think of your family, then this is the book for you!

Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

ARC: Payback on Poplar Lane by Margaret Mincks

CoverTitle: Payback on Poplar Lane 
Author: Twitter, Margaret Mincks Blog
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary, Realistic
Pages: Print 315
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Rating: ★★★★.5

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Penguin Young Readers as a part of Viking Publishing #partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from the publisher, some quotes may have been changed prior to publishing. 

Margaret Mincks_copyright Kelli Ward 2009Author Bio:

Margaret Mincks grew up the second oldest of eight kids. When she wasn’t swimming, acting, making up slightly disturbing songs, or filming B-movie parodies with siblings and friends, she was writing and illustrating stories. After graduating from the University of Virginia, she moved to Chicago to perform improvisational comedy with the iO Theater. She later worked at Spider, a literary magazine for six- to nine-year-olds, as an editor. Margaret has also written for children’s nonfiction series like Ripley’s Believe It or Not. She now lives in Florida with her husband, young daughter, and her Staffordshire bull terrier named Reesie.

Book Description:

“ABC’s Shark Tank meets The Terrible Two when a pair of sixth grade entrepreneurs compete to become top mogul on their block.

Twelve-year-old Peter Gronkowski prides himself on being a professional businessman. Tired of the clichéd lemonade stands that line his block, he decides to start a better business with the help of an intern. But his intern of choice, the quiet and writerly Rachel Chambers, turns out to be more than he bargained for. Rachel is innovative, resourceful, driven–and when she’s had enough of Peter’s overbearing management style, she decides to start a competing empire next door. As their rivalry and sabotage tactics become more outrageous–Slander! Espionage! Lemonade threats!–Peter and Rachel ultimately learn the hard way that “nothing gold can stay” and that friendship is more important than money.

Alternating perspectives reveal what really motivates each character to win. And Peter’s memos and “business tips” as well as excerpts from Rachel’s melodramatic novel-in-progress generate fresh hilarity and tension at every page turn. Payback on Poplar Lane is a pitch-perfect comedy with heart, reminiscent of your favorite classic middle-grade series.”

Favorite Quotes:

“Business tip: you can be nice or you can be honest. Choose wisely.”

-One of Peter’s many business tips. I loved this tip. It is hard to emphasize in students on how to be honest without being rude.-

“Business tip: A strong person can admit weakness.”

– I encourage people to share this with others. Peter fails in this novel but he learns from his mistakes each time. He learns to adapt to each situation and grow.-

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I thought this book was adorable. I have heard about this book before its release. The idea of a young boy trying to support his family is a greats storyline. I enjoyed reading how Peter learned to build his own business and how he learned what is important in life, relationships. Peter provides these business tips throughout the novel to the readers. The author used this to connect with the reader, and I felt like Peter was giving me business tips this entire book. The character development and the back story created for Peter and Rachel provided an excellent basis for understanding their actions. I felt that Clover and Peter’s supplemental friends could have been developed more, but that did not take away from the overall message. I liked how Rachel struggle with finding her voice throughout the novel and also loved how the author developed Rachel to be an author in this book. Rachel’s form of escaping is by writing about a character that best describes her situation. Inserted in between a few chapters is excerpts from Rachel’s book about Cyrano. It was fascinating to see Rachel develop throughout the entire novel. I also felt the argument between Rachel and Clover was lackluster and could have been improved more. The author did a great job of showcasing the fact that people fail but you have to learn from your mistakes. Peter and Rachel both fail a lot in this novel, but each time they pick themselves up and try again. This is a great message to emphasize with any age group. The strategically placed business tips also added to the overall delivery of the clear message.  Also, kuddos to the author for making Rachel’s dad a librarian. That was a fantastic idea of enforcing the idea they could go to the library to get information.
I am a Youth Librarian and this book definitely made me want to share it with the young patrons that come into my library. The grade range for this novel is 6th and up, but you could give this book to an advanced 4th and 5th grade. I recommend adding this book to your collection. The message is clear, you should always discuss your issues, friendships are meaningful, and family is there to support you.

Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

ARC Review: Lou Lou and Pea and The Bicentennial Bonanza

img_2084Title: Lou Lou and Pea and the Bicentennial Bonanza
Author: Jill Diamond ; Pictures by Lesley Vamos
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary, Realistic
Pages: Print 251
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. 

This Middle-Grade contemporary novel provides a realistic view of two friends, Lou Lou and Pea. This book is the second book written by this author about these two friends who seem to have an eye for solving mysteries. Lou Lou and Pea are incredibly excited about their neighborhood hosting the two hundred year anniversary of the town. The Flyers have both their names showcased. Lou Lou is a horticulturist and will be showcasing her prized honeysuckles at the event. Pea is a designer and will be showcasing her hats from the hat shop where she is an apprentice. Unfortunately, Mayor Montoya’s dog becomes ill a few weeks before the ceremony, leaving the vice mayor in charge. Andy Argyle will stop at nothing to get to the Bicentennial Bonanza moved to Verde Valley from El Corazon. Andy and his daughter Amanda create a scheme together to get the event relocated. How far will these two go to get what they want? Will Lou Lou and Pea save the day with the help of a few friends?

Favorite Quotes:

” If conclusions were a pool, Lou Lou would be constantly wet.”

I laughed so hard after reading this because it is just too clever. This is an iconic moment in the story where the plot starts to unravel.

“‘Being kind is always in style,’ Pea replied with one of her fashion quotes. ‘Who said that?’ Lou Lou asked. ‘Peacock Pearl, of course.’ Pea winked one bright blue eye.”

This is an absolutely amazing lesson to teach young readers. Kindness is important regardless of the way others may treat you.

Final Thoughts:

I adored this novel and thought the author did a great job capturing the essence of Lou Lou and Pea. I also loved the author used a Spanish influence throughout the entire novel, providing text in a bilingual manner was very creative. I was able to learn a few words throughout the story. I enjoyed the instructions on how to make a hat and the Spanish-English dictionary at the end of the story. I loved the connection between friendship throughout this novel and the emphasis on kindness. The author spent time providing details of the characters that fueled my imagination throughout the entire book. I loved the portrayal of Lou Lou’s parents and their uniqueness. I thought it was a bit strange that her parents went with a nautical theme for their home, but it does happen. I would have liked a bit more explanation of Pea’s parents instead of the full focus on her grandmother. This novel is well written, and I recommend it to any in middle school who is interested in a little bit of mystery, friendship, and excitement.

Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

The Book of Storms by Ruth Hatfield

img_2051Title: The Book of Storms
Author: Ruth Hatfield
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Pages: Print 357
Rating: ★★★★.5

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I purchased a copy of this book on my own from book outlet. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher.

This Middle-Grade fantasy fiction novel follows the life of Danny. He awakes one morning to find out that his parents are missing after a harsh storm that occurred the night prior. Danny searches outside in hopes of locating his parents and discovers the sycamore tree in his yard has been struck by lightning. As he examines the tree more closely, gazing upon the charcoal color, he finds a piece of the tree that looks different. Danny reaches to pick up the stick, and from that moment on he can hear the sounds of the earth. This startles him, and he takes the stick places it in his pocket and heads to school assuming his parents will be home when he returns. Danny returns home and realizes his parents are indeed missing. He must journey to find his parents and uncover their secrets. While searching his parent’s room for clues, he stumbles upon a journal that explains that his parents were storm chasers. With the help of the neighborhood cat, Mitzy, Danny journeys to the home of Abel Korsakof in hopes of discovering what the Book of Storms is. Danny must learn who to trust and who not to trust. He must also find his parents, the Book of Storms, and try not to be killed by Sammael. Will Danny see his parents or will he be killed?

Favorite Quotes:

“What would you do if you woke up and your mum was missing?”

Danny said this line to his cousin Tom after arriving at his Aunt’s farm.

“He waited for an uncountable time in the hop of seeing the earth re-form and rise up into the shape of the great gray dog he had loved, but there was nothing there.”

This was one of the saddest parts for me. Even though I know Sammael is the villain in this story, he still had a heart for his dog. I am assuming Sammael will seek vengeance for the death of his dog and still continue to try to control the storms.

Final Thoughts:

I thought this was a great story. I liked the way this book was written and felt the same feelings Danny felt. Danny was in complete shock at the beginning of the book, not realizing his parents were indeed missing. He struggled to come to terms with the fact that he had to journey alone to find them but continued to seek out help from others such as Mitzy and the creatures of the earth. I did not wholly understand the power that Sammael had or the importance of his dog, other than being a companion. I also did not understand the concept of a Lurcher and felt that could have been explained more in the book. Overall, I thought this book did a great job of capturing my attention and had me on the edge of my seat a good portion of the time. I recommend this book for anyone in middle school interested in a fantasy novel that focuses on the importance of working together. I assume the overall lesson in this book is not to give up and to seek out help when needed. It is also important to be careful who you trust because Tom made a mistake in this book towards the end and I am curious as to how his error will affect everyone else.

What would you do if you came home and your parents were missing?