The adventure and excitement in Legends of Lost Causes Series was perfect for middle-grade readers! I loved the mixture of old west location and fantasy creatures. It created an excellent story that a young reader would love!
Legends of the Lost Causes by Brad McLelland and Louis Sylvester
How I Felt:
Legends of the Lost Causes features Keech and Sam, two orphans living in the wild west. The time frame and bad-guys for this book make it extremely unique. Set in the 1850s, it has that old feel, yet there are zombie-ish outlaws and magic. The two together created this amazing adventure that I’m sure little readers will love.
I love a good time travel book and that is exactly what I got with Hannah Goodheart and the Guardian of Time! I enjoyed how they traveled through time and how the time travel worked. It was all lovely!
The first person perspective in The Ben Braver Series was so fun and it is perfect for a middle-grade reader! I really enjoyed the way Ben addresses the reader. I found him to tell the story with some humor which made the books extremely enjoyable!
The weaving of so many wonderful topics to discuss with a child made this book an utter delight! There are so many strong messages about our world, our resources, and our actions. I cannot wait for my son to read it so we can discuss it together!
I loved that this was a story within a story, an allegory. I loved the references to things like the “second making.” It’s a book that you can read on the surface and enjoy, but you can also dig deeper into the words and get a more profound meaning.
How I Felt:
The Cracking of Monday Eggis such a deep story when you really start thinking about it. I feel that, while this was targeted for young children, it’s perfect for a young adult to adult reader. The story could definitely be read aloud to a child and a wonderful discussion could happen afterwards, however, older students are going to continue to think about the story and process all the heavier stuff.
The main story focuses on Monday’s awakening and life. We see him making friends and becoming interested in girls. The main idea though, is focused around his knowledge and understanding of “The Maker”. I was impressed with the writing of this story and the ability of the writer to create these ideas that were symbolic for something else. I think that each reader will get their own individual experience and take-away from reading this book because of the way it was written.
To Read or Not To Read:
I highly recommend this book for people that are interested in a more spiritual twist on a story. This will be most enjoyed by someone with a higher power background, I don’t know that you need to be Christian necessarily to enjoy it.
This can absolutely be enjoyed by children with an assist from an adult.
Where to Find This Book:
The Cracking of Monday Egg by B.T. Higgins is available at these sites.
The Maker created Monday Egg for a very important reason. Monday just doesn’t understand it yet. Being an egg with arms and legs has its advantages. Monday can run like the wind and climb trees easily, but he is an egg. What happens when he cracks?
The Cracking of Monday Egg by B.T. Higgins is the story of a cranky crow, a sick little girl, a kind squirrel and Monday’s struggle to deal with his own crackability.
Just the Facts:
The Cracking of Monday Egg by B.T. Higgins
Series: Egg World Allegory, Book 1
Genre: Middle-Grade / Christian
Page Count: 206 pages
Publisher: Emerald House Group, Incorporated
Pub Date: October 31, 2019
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.
Fairy Unicorn Wishes was filled with wonderful adventures that my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed. Ella is an adorable child that my daughter connected with and her mom is silly and fun and made the entire story excellent.
How I Felt:
I have long been a fan of Sophie Kinsella’s books. I find her writing to be fun and witty and have enjoyed every book she has written. I love that she now has a book series that is great to read to my children. I was so happy to see that Fairy Unicorn Wishes still held the charm that I love to find in Sophie’s books.
The Characters were excellent. Ella is sweet and silly and her mom is constantly getting into these magical problems that are so fun to read about.
The Writing is easy for a young reader. The chapters are broken up well, and the illustrations go perfectly with the book. The story is filled with fun adventures and problems to solve. The fantasy story-line of a fairy mom makes this a great book for young readers that love a fairy tale.
Overall, this was a fun book filled with great characters, wonderful writing, and an super fun story.
To Read or Not To Read:
Fairy Unicorn Wishes is a great read-along with a kindergarten to middle-elementary school child. For young readers that can read on their own, this book is broken into nice smaller chapters making this a great book for them.
Fairies, unicorns and magical wishes combine in this third book of the Fairy Mom and Me series from New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella!
Ella’s one wish is to become a fairy like her mom. She dreams of the day she will have her sparkly crown and Computwand. Ella even imagines what her first spell would be: a glittery unicorn of her very own.
But Ella knows that spells are often harder than they look, even with the special fairy apps available…and being a fairy in waiting is not all rainbows and butterflies.
Will Ella learn more magic to help her become a fairy someday? Or will she learn she doesn’t need to be a fairy yet for all her wishes to come true?
Fairy Unicorn Wishes by Sophie Kinsella
Series: Fairy Mom and Me, Book 3
Illustrator: Marta Kiss
Page Count: 176 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: January 28, 2020
Sophie Kinsella has sold over 40 million copies of her books in more than 60 countries, and she has been translated into over 40 languages.
Sophie’s latest novel, Surprise Me, presents a humorous yet moving portrait of a marriage—its intricacies, comforts, and complications. Surprise Me reveals that hidden layers in a close relationship are often yet to be discovered.
Sophie Kinsella first hit the UK bestseller lists in September 2000 with her first novel in the Shopaholic series – The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (also published as Confessions of a Shopaholic). The book’s heroine, Becky Bloomwood – a fun and feisty financial journalist who loves shopping but is hopeless with money – captured the hearts of readers worldwide.
Becky has since featured in seven further bestselling books, Shopaholic Abroad (also published as Shopaholic Takes Manhattan), Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Shopaholic & Sister, Shopaholic & Baby, Mini Shopaholic, Shopaholic to the Stars and Shopaholic to the Rescue. Becky Bloomwood came to the big screen in 2009 with the hit Disney movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, starring Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy.
Sophie has also written seven standalone novels which have all been bestsellers in the UK, USA and other countries around the world: Can You Keep A Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, Wedding Night, and My Not So Perfect Life, which was a Goodreads Choice Awards finalist for Best Fiction in 2017.
In 2014 she published a Young Adult novel Finding Audrey about a teenage girl with social anxiety and her madcap family, and in January 2018, Sophie published her first illustrated book for young readers about the charming adventures of a mother-daughter fairy duo, Mummy Fairy and Me (also published as Fairy Mom and Me).
Sophie wrote her first novel under her real name, Madeleine Wickham, at the tender age of 24, whilst she was working as a financial journalist. The Tennis Party was immediately hailed as a success by critics and the public alike and became a top ten bestseller. She went on to publish six more novels as Madeleine Wickham: A Desirable Residence, Swimming Pool Sunday, The Gatecrasher, The Wedding Girl, Cocktails for Three and Sleeping Arrangements.
Sophie was born in London. She studied music at New College, Oxford, but after a year switched to Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She now lives in London, UK, with her husband and family.
Enter to win a finished copy of Fairy Unicorn Wishes by Sophie Kinsella. 3 participants will win this giveaway. Giveaway open to US residents only.
In wild medieval Britain thirteen-year-old Wynn Hoppringle has a big secret of the smallest kind. She has discovered a miniature village hidden close to her family home of Smailholm Tower. When tales of merciless border raiders reach the small folk, they realize they are in danger and must seek a cure to their strange predicament. Can Wynn help her tiny friends or will the scheming King quog have other ideas? Heroes it seems come in all sizes.
Where To Find This Book:
Smailholm by C.L. Williams publishes on January 28, 2020. It is available for pre-order until then.
“You see for many years a secret has been kept beneath my family home—Smailholm Tower, the wild brambles hiding a big secret of the smallest kind. It is a secret which only I seem to have discovered—that of the miniature folk of Smailholm. They say they were once the same size as I, but they were shrunk by some other-worldly curse.”
“So tiny she is, I could pick her up in the palm of my hand, put her in my pocket and you wouldn’t think she was there at all.
She has no wings to make her fly; nor ears that point to a peak. She is neither a fairy nor a spritely elf, as the old folk tales might say. Simply a jolly woman singing a jolly song. In fact, if my size didn’t dwarf her tiny frame you wouldn’t realise she was any different at all.”
“Smailholm folk, I have come here this eve to tell you of surprising news,’ he says. ‘As many of you know I spend most of my time outside the brambled protection of Smailholm. In the forests of Ettrick and beyond—’
“Aye, we know all about that! You’re never bloomin’ ’ere,’ a voice shouts from the back of the crowd. Some of the villagers stifle a snigger.”
“As I peer through the arrow slit, I see her balance a moment in the air; her wings buffeted by the gusts. Then she lifts her great wings upon the wind’s force and tilts her head slightly, sweeping down upon her prey.
Oh, sweet Aquila.”
“What stares back makes me gasp. Not of shock, nor even fear, but in awe. For the beauty of it is spellbinding—I do not look upon the face of any normal living creature. In fact, it appears to have no face at all. Instead, what looks back at me is a limitless blanket of black, punctuated only with the light of the moon and stars. A reflection of the night’s sky in all its peace.”
Claire Williams lives in Cheshire with her husband and children Ava and Henry.
She probably needs to consider Botox in the near future.
She is proud to be called a ‘Clayhead’ – a person born in the Potteries (Stoke on Trent) and will always turn over a china cup to see where it is made.
She is a tech geek and fantasy fan and will often be found snuggled in front of the TV watching a sci-fi or fantasy movie.
Enter for a chance to win: One copy of a luxury clothbound hardback of Smailholm with Smailholm book swag including enamel ‘Reader of Magic’ enamel pin, Believer bookmark, three character illustrations and miniature bow and arrow charm. Giveaway open internationally.
The friendships in this book were wonderful and made me really connect to the characters. I loved that it had 4 main characters and their point of view was shown throughout the book. Their friendship was heartwarming and made Midnight on Strange Street so wonderful.
How I Felt:
Although this book is targeted towards middle-grade readers, it’s a really fun read for an adult that loves sci-fi as well!
The Writing: Written from the POV of four main characters, I was concerned that this would become confusing and difficult to follow, but it didn’t! The writing was done so well and made the story flow seamlessly.
The Characters: The four main characters were so wonderful. They had complexity and depth making them relatable and enjoyable. I loved that they each had a special power related to their glowboards. This was a special twist that was fun to learn about.
The Plot: Avery, Dani, Lola, and Bastian are all glowboarders in their small Texas town. Glowboarding is a new style of skateboarding where the boards are powered by this mysterious substance, Glow. While the book is really focused on the glowboarding events, there is a bigger, global war, that is brewing. I believe that there could be a book 2 where this would be expanded on, but we will see!
Overall, this was a fun story with a great science-fiction aspect for middle-grade readers. At 400 pages, it’s an investment for a young child to read, however, I flew through the pages and found that the size of the book, was not a deterrent and didn’t feel like 400 pages.
To Read or Not To Read:
This is a good book for young readers that enjoy reading chapter books. If you enjoy getting to know characters and books about friendship and a sporting event, Midnight on Strange Street is perfect.
AVERY MILLER is looking for a fresh start, away from all the bomb sirens and talk of war in Los Angeles. She expects to find a haven in Callaway, Texas, where the cool new substance “glow” was first discovered. What she doesn’t count on is making friends with glowboard skaters Dani, Bastian, and Lola, aka the Sardines. . . .
DANI HIRSCH, captain of the Sardines, knows for a fact they’re the best glowboarding team in Texas—if only they could prove it. Nothing will distract Dani from leading the team to victory at this summer’s big race. Not even food explosions in the school cafeteria, or a mysterious midnight message, or secretive government workers in Callaway. . . .
BASTIAN GIL is sick of the bullies who tease him for being a Sardine, for being different. Sure, he and his twin sister, Lola, can share thoughts. That’s just twin telepathy, though—nothing too weird, right? But when Bastian finds he can do even stranger things, he starts to wonder if maybe he really is different from the other kids at school. . . .
LOLA GIL wants life to go back to normal, to a time before big glowboard races and government investigations. But the more the Sardines discover about themselves—like how they can share thoughts and move objects with their minds—the more Lola begins to fear there was never anything normal about her. . . .
When the Sardines receive an ominous, otherworldly message, they must decide if they’ll use their newfound powers to stop an impending disaster—one that could have more to do with the war, their bullies, and glowboarding than they can possibly imagine.
Midnight on Strange Street by K.E. Ormsbee
Genre: Children’s / Mystery / Sci-Fi
Page Count: 400 pages
Pub Date: January 21, 2020
K.E. Ormsbee writes books, cooks food, & records podcasts in Austin, TX. She is the author of the WATER AND THE WILD fantasy trilogy (Chronicle Books and Gumption Press), folk mystery THE HOUSE IN POPLAR WOOD (Chronicle Books), and the upcoming sci-fi adventure MIDNIGHT ON STRANGE STREET (Disney-Hyperion, January 2020).
She also writes Young Adult novels as Kathryn Ormsbee: LUCKY FEW, TASH HEARTS TOLSTOY, and THE GREAT UNKNOWABLE END (Simon & Schuster).
K.E. Ormsbee likes clothes from the 60s, music from the 70s, and movies from the 80s. She is from the 90s. You can visit her online at keormsbee.com or follow her on Twitter & Instagram @kathsby.
Enter the giveaway using the below link for a chance to win one of three finished copies of MIDNIGHT ON STRANGE STREET. Available for US residents only.
The illustrations in this book were AWESOME! They were fun and quirky, and really made me just want to look at each one!
How I Felt:
Real Pigeons Fight Crime was just a ton of fun to read! I read this book and also had my 8 year old son read it. We both agreed it was a 5 star read! The pages fairly illustration-heavy making this a great book for a young reader just starting chapter books, but it’s also great for a higher level reader as well!
Mighty Coconuts is a book about conserving energy and the environment and is targeted at middle-grade readers. I love the message this book is giving to young readers and the future of our world. The way the book is written, gives a lot of information about these topics, but it is done with these missions and time travel. It made it fun to read.
How I Felt:
I was so intrigued by the ideas in this book! There is new, plant technology and it is truly amazing. The thought that went into these fun devices was very detailed. The book even included drawings of these so that we could envision them. There are apps for the kids to use, there’s time travel, and a shrinking device. It all makes for a perfect book for young readers today.
The missions that the children are sent on are really cute, and a bit interactive for the reader sometimes. These were fun for me, and would be enjoyed by a child reading as well.
There are links at the end of the chapters and I appreciated the extra information given through these! I think I would have preferred that the information be collected at the end of the book so that it was easier to reference later, but I loved having a guide for more information.
To Read or Not To Read:
This is a chapter book with short, easy to read chapters. I think this is good for a 3rd grade and up reader.
Where to Find This Book:
Mia and Nik are approached by Miss Tree to go on a mission to save Earth’s plants. They accept this challenge and become members of the Plant Savers Club. They are given all the new gadgets and technology that they will need for their mission including a Seed Pod, Seed Watch, apps, and a Seedcopter.
Will Mia and Nik be able to time travel to 1990 and 1890 and complete their missions to save the plants?
Mighty Coconuts by Deepa Remesh and Anjana Prabhu-Paseband
Book 1 in Miss Tree Tales Series
Page Count: 112 pages
Publication Date: November 30, 2016
Style: Chapter book with images
I received a copy of this advanced reader’s copy for free. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.
What I Loved: The main character Kick is EVERYTHING! She is adorable and funny and full of energy and smarts! I loved her adventure and was so glad she was written the way she was. She is the perfect example of being who you really are.
How I Felt: The Monster Hypothesis has such a fun story that had me so interested in the story. The main character, Kick is into science and I really loved how that was woven into the story. We always need more science in our children’s lives and this book makes science so fun!
To Read or Not To Read: This book is perfect for middle graders that enjoy a little bit of spooky and mystery! My third grader can’t wait to start this one!
Kick is starting a new school in a new town while she temporarily moves in with her grandmother, a fake psychic. After a trio of mean girls set their targets on her, she tells everyone that she is a psychic like her grandmother.
With her newly exposed (and fake) abilities, people turn to her to help with the town’s curse. Every 100 years, the town’s children will turn into monsters. Believing this curse to be fake, she tries to figure out this mystery. The clues, though, begin to make it look like this curse might actually be real. Using her science knowledge and her friend’s help, she creates theories and tests them to figure out this curse.
Romily Bernard graduated from Georgia State University with a literature degree. Since then, she’s worked as a riding instructor, cell-phone salesperson, personal assistant, horse groomer and exercise rider, accounting assistant, and, during a very dark time, customer service representative. . . . She’s also, of course, now a YA novelist.
So don’t let anyone tell you a BA degree will keep you unemployed.
Romily currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and Find Me is her debut novel. It placed first in the 2011 YA Unpublished Maggie Awards (given by Georgia Romance Writers) and won the Golden Heart Award for YA Romance from the Romance Writers of America in 2012.
Three winners will receive a hardcover of The Monster Hypothesis by Romily Bernard. Open to US only.