Blog Tour | A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School by Carlotta Walls LaNier & Lisa Frazier Page

Title: A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School
Author: Carlotta Walls LaNier, Lisa Frazier Page
Genre: Nonfiction / Memoir / Social Justice
Publication Date: January 17th, 2023
Publisher: Delacorte Press

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Thank you to the publisher and TBR and Beyond Tours for a complimentary earc and a chance to help promote this book!

Follow the story of Carlotta Walls LaNier, who in 1957 at the age of fourteen was one of nine black students who integrated the all-white Little Rock Central High School and became known as the Little Rock Nine.

At fourteen years old, Carlotta Walls was the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine. The journey to integration in a place deeply against it would not be not easy. Yet Carlotta, her family, and the other eight students and their families answered the call to be part of the desegregation order issued by the US Supreme Court in its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case.
As angry mobs protested, the students were escorted into Little Rock Central High School by escorts from the 101st Airborne Division, which had been called in by then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower to ensure their safety. The effort needed to get through that first year in high school was monumental, but Carlotta held strong. Ultimately, she became the first Black female ever to walk across the Central High stage and receive a diploma.
The Little Rock Nine experienced traumatic and life-changing events not only as a group but also as individuals, each with a distinct personality and a different story. This is Carlotta’s courageous story.”

Content Warning: racism, violence, segregation in education

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Carlotta Walls LaNier attended Michigan State University and graduated from Colorado State College–now the University of Northern Colorado, on whose board of trustees she sits. After working for the YWCA, she founded her own real estate brokerage firm, LaNier and Company. A sought-after lecturer, LaNier speaks across the country, and she has received the Congressional Medal of Honor and two honorary doctorate degrees. She is the mother of two children, Whitney and Brooke, and lives in Englewood, Colorado, with her husband, Ira.

Carlotta Walls LaNier is available for select readings and lectures. To inquire about a possible appearance, please contact Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau at or visit

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Lisa Frazier Page, an editor and award-winning reporter at The Washington Post, is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream. A graduate of New Orleans’s Dillard University, Page holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She grew up in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband. They have four children.

Website | Twitter |Goodreads

This is a very important read and one I don’t know much about besides what was taught in school. It will be one I can share with my daughter as well since I homeschool her.

What do you think about this one?


Blog Tour | Cookie Monsters by Erika J Kendrick (Promo)

Title: Cookie Monsters
Author: Erika J. Kendrick
Genre: Middle Grade / Contemporary
Publication Date: January 17th, 2023
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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Thank you to the publisher and TBR and Beyond Tours for a complimentary earc and a chance to help promote this book!

A fun, fast-paced novel about friendship, family, fighting for what’s right, and standing out from the crowd while standing up for yourself. 
Twelve-year-old Brooklyn Ace is ready to take the Valentine World Scouts by storm and build her own cookie empire. She nearly won the top cookie selling spot last year and is determined to make her mom—who recently passed away—proud by coming in first this time around. With her fabulous best friends by her side, Brooklyn knows she’ll become Santa Monica’s District Cookie Queen. The crown is practically in the bag. 
Then Piper Parker arrives. 
Piper has a rich dad, a fancy hotel, and a drive to steal the cookie crown right off Brooklyn’s head. Before long, most of the seventh grade is under Piper’s spell. But Brooklyn is in it to win the biggest cookie war the school has ever seen. With the help of her cookie squad, her rockstar grandmother, her super cool therapist, and a lot of self-love and inner growth, maybe—just maybe—Brooklyn can end up a winner after all.” (Goodreads)

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Erika J. Kendrick is an acclaimed writer, a national speaker, and a mental fitness expert. She earned a psychology degree from Stanford University and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Erika was an NBA cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls before writing her novels, Confessions of a Rookie Cheerleader (Random House) and Appetite (Random House). She is currently touring her debut middle grade novel, Squad Goals, with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. The spinoff, Cookie Monsters, is set for a summer 2022 release.

After battling her brain pain, Erika founded Mental Fitness For Life where she launched her latest Mental Fitness book tour, “Who Moved My Happy?” While talking to audiences of all backgrounds and ages, Erika shares her story of brain pain and inspires hope by creating safe spaces for life-saving conversations. She has presented and guest lectured at colleges and universities as well as the US Army and US Air Force, national sororities and fraternities, middle and high schools, conferences, retreats, and national organizations, large and small. Erika has toured with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and is a speaker with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) where she has been inducted into their Hall of Fame.

Erika is a recipient of several “Who’s Who” honors, a Rising Icon honor, and several Awards of Excellence. Erika has taken the stage for TEDx, appeared on Good Morning America – The Third Hour (GMA3), NBC News, CBS News, The Wendy Williams Experience, national television and radio segments, and a host of other media outlets. She has been featured in several publications, including Page Six of The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and various other magazines and digital media.

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I never was a Girl Scout but I feel like this would be a cute read and give me a glimpse at that life! It’s definitely a book I’d love to share with my daughter.

What Do you think about this one?

Audiobook Review: In the Beautiful Country by Jane Kuo

Title: In the Beautiful Country
Author: Jane Kuo
Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction / Realistic
Publication Date: June 28th, 2022
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Anna can’t wait to move to the beautiful country—the Chinese name for America. Although she’s only ever known life in Taiwan, she can’t help but brag about the move to her family and friends.

But the beautiful country isn’t anything like Anna pictured. Her family can only afford a cramped apartment, she’s bullied at school, and she struggles to understand a new language. On top of that, the restaurant that her parents poured their savings into is barely staying afloat. The version of America that Anna is experiencing is nothing like her dreams. How will she be able to make the beautiful country her home?” (Goodreads)

I was hesitant on picking this one up because in verse novels just aren’t my thing. I’m glad that I pushed myself to do it though, because it was worth the listen and understand another perspective better.

The book is told through the eyes of a girl named Anna. She has only known Taiwan until her father decides to move him family over to America. Sadly, it isn’t what her family expected and it comes with a lot of hardship they must face.

This was a sad book for a majority of it. The language that people use to describe those that are different from them hasn’t changed. It’s a real shame that we haven’t learned over the years. Anna deals with a lot of bullying because of her differences and her parents deal with property damage at their restaurant. These things still happen.

Even though they go through all of that, they find true friends and it feels like their luck changes after that for the better. Their friends were amazing and helped them a lot, especially when it came to putting an end to the vandalizing.

From beginning to end to really painted a picture of what its like to move from a place you are familiar with to the unknown. Life isn’t always fair and sometimes it sucks to have to toughen it out but in the end it may just turn to a brighter day.

Overall, this was well done!

Audiobook Review: Wild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin

Title: Wild is the Witch
Author: Rachel Griffin
Genre: YA Paranormal / Witches
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Rating: ⭐⭐

When eighteen-year-old witch Iris Gray accidentally enacts a curse that could have dire consequences, she must team up with a boy who hates witches to make sure her magic isn’t unleashed on the world.
Iris Gray knows witches aren’t welcome in most towns. When she was forced to leave her last home, she left behind a father who was no longer willing to start over. And while the Witches’ Council was lenient in their punishment, Iris knows they’re keeping tabs on her. Now settled in Washington, Iris never lets anyone see who she really is; instead, she vents her frustrations by writing curses she never intends to cast. Otherwise, she spends her days at the wildlife refuge which would be the perfect job if not for Pike Alder, the witch-hating aspiring ornithologist who interns with them.
Iris concocts the perfect curse for Pike: one that will turn him into a witch. But just as she’s about to dispel it, a bird swoops down and steals the curse before flying away. If the bird dies, the curse will be unleashed―and the bird is a powerful amplifier, and unleashing the curse would turn not just Pike, but everyone in the region, into a witch.
New witches have no idea how to control their magic and the consequences would be dire. And the Witches’ Council does not look kindly on multiple offenses; if they found out, Iris could be stripped of her magic for good. Iris begs Pike to help her track the bird, and they set out on a trek through the Pacific Northwest looking for a single bird that could destroy everything.” (Goodreads)

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one since I didn’t read this author’s first book but have seen a lot rave about it and even this one. Unfortunately for me, this one just didn’t work.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Iris Gray who is a witch. She was a fine character who enjoyed being around animals which was a part of how she used her magic. I don’t think there was anything wrong with her, minus the fact that she wanted to curse someone for them not liking witches. I feel like that is a bit far but okay.

The other characters were alright. Her mom didn’t really seemed too concerned about sending her into the woods with a guy she didn’t like but again okay. Do you!

The romance didn’t work for me. It was very short distance from loathe to love and its just not my cup of tea.

I think that a lot of the issues I had could have been fixed if the book was longer. It’s hard to pack everything in, especially with the timeline being so short as it is. It left not much room for development when it came to the characters and the magic system.

Overall, it was okay but I just needed more.

Arc Review: Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega & Rose Bousamra (Graphic Novel)

Title: Frizzy
Author: Claribel A. Ortega & Rose Bousamra (illustrations)
Genre: Middle Grade / Graphic Novel / Contemporary
Publication Date: October 18th, 2022
Publisher: First Second
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and Bookishfirst for a finished copy to review! All opinions are my own.

“Marlene loves three things: books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. But according to her mother, Paola, the only thing she needs to focus on is school and “growing up.” That means straightening her hair every weekend so she could have “presentable”, “good hair”.

But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn’t understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. With a few hiccups, a dash of embarrassment, and the much-needed help of Camila and Tia Ruby—she slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair.” (Goodreads)

I was able to read a bit of this one on BookishFirst and was definitely intrigued! I’m so glad I was able to win a finished copy and be able to read the rest of the book early.

The book is told from Marlene’s point-of-view and the book goes through her struggles of being accepted by those around her when it comes to her hair and just being herself. She definitely goes through a lot and although sometimes we are quick to say “It’s just hair.”, it’s a part of use that makes us who we are.

Marlene builds her relationship with her mother and even her aunt. I liked seeing them interact with one another and as a mother we don’t always have the best approach when trying to understand our child even when we want what is best for them. Listening is hard for everyone.

There are a couple great messages in this book that I think anyone would be able to relate to. We should be able to be ourselves and not have to change something about us for others.

The illustrations are wonderful and I loved the color choices.

Overall, this was a great graphic novel and one that I will share with my daughter in the future.

Book Blog Tour: Outside Nowhere by Adam Borba (Promo) | 10-11-22

Title: Outside Nowhere
Author: Adam Borba
Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy
Publication Date: October 18th, 2022
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

—->Click Here For Tour Dates!<—-

Thank you to the publisher and TBR and Beyond Tours for a complimentary earc and a chance to help promote this book!

From the author of The Midnight Brigade, this heartwarming and humorous middle grade novel follows one boy’s summer adventure at a peculiar farm in the middle of nowhere. 

Charming and funny, Parker Kelbrook can wriggle out of anything he doesn’t want to do. So when he’s forced to take a job at the local pool—a threat to his beach-filled summer plans—he comes up with the perfect prank to get himself fired.
Once Parker’s father catches wind of his latest scheme, he decides enough is enough, and Parker is sent halfway across the country to work on a farm alongside five other kids who aren’t his biggest fans. As Parker learns to roll up his sleeves and keep his head down, strange things start happening. And after he awakens one morning to find a seventeen-hundred-pound dairy cow on the roof of a barn, he suspects that something magical and mysterious is growing in the farm’s fields.

Adam Borba presents a whimsical new story about a boy’s discovery that mistakes and miracles can have serious consequences.” (Goodreads)

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ADAM BORBA is a writer and filmmaker from California who helps develop and produce movies for Walt Disney Studios. Outside Nowhere is his second novel.

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | IMDb

I absolutely love the cover for this one! The cow is my favorite and I like how it feels like a painting.

What Do you think about this one?

Audiobook Review: Empty Smiles (Small Spaces #4) by Katherine Arden

Title: Empty Smiles (Small Spaces #4)
Author: Katherine Arden
Genre: Middle Grade Paranormal / Horror
Publication Date: August 9th, 2022
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“It’s been three months since Ollie made a daring deal with the smiling man to save those she loved, and then vanished without a trace. The smiling man promised Coco, Brian and Phil, that they’d have a chance to save her, but as time goes by, they begin to worry that the smiling man has lied to them and Ollie is gone forever. But finally, a clue surfaces. A boy who went missing at a nearby traveling carnival appears at the town swimming hole, terrified and rambling. He tells anyone who’ll listen about the mysterious man who took him. How the man agreed to let him go on one condition: that he deliver a message. Play if you dare.

Game on! The smiling man has finally made his move. Now it’s Coco, Brian, and Phil’s turn to make theirs. And they know just where to start. The traveling carnival is coming to Evansburg.
Meanwhile, Ollie is trapped in the world behind the mist, learning the horrifying secrets of the smiling man’s carnival, trying everything to help her friends find her. Brian, Coco and Phil will risk everything to rescue Ollie—but they all soon realize this game is much more dangerous than the ones before. This time the smiling man is playing for keeps.
The summer nights are short, and Ollie, Coco, Brian, and Phil have only until sunrise to beat him once and for all—or it’s game over for everyone.” (Goodreads)

I’ve been dying to know what would happen to these kids and I finally do! Plus, it’s another series off my list. I am sad to see these characters go. Although, I think Arden could continue with a spin-off series and write more about the smiling man.

The book is told from a third person narrative that follows multiple perspectives. I can’t recall but I believe that this is how it was for maybe the third book? I honestly could be wrong. I did like how this was done since the characters weren’t always in the same place.

I do think that there was more character growth for Coco, Brian, and Phil. They learn to be brave and speak up! It’s a good message for a lot of kids and even adults.

I was actually very surprised with how interesting the smiling man was. He seemed more friendly and I think it was easier to understand why he wanted someone around, although he obviously goes about it the wrong way. I still don’t feel like I know him all that well and wish that there would have been more background to him. This is why I want a spin-off series!

The first book was the scariest and I think this would be the second. Creepy clowns and humanlike dolls? No, thank you! I don’t know if I will want to go in my basement ever again haha.

Overall, this was a great way to end the series. I’m sad to see it go but I know that they will be books I come back to around the spooky season.

Arc Review: How to Heal a Gryphon by Meg Cannistra

Title: How to Heal a Gryphon
Author: Meg Cannistra
Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy
Publication Date: October 4th, 2022
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and BookishFirst for a complimentary book to review! All opinions are my own.

To save her family, she’ll have to make a dangerous bargain and tip the scales off balance.
With her thirteenth birthday just around the corner, Giada Bellantuono has to make a big decision: Will she join the family business and become a healer or follow her dreams? But even though she knows her calling is to heal vulnerable animals, using her powers to treat magical creatures is decidedly not allowed.
When a group of witches kidnaps her beloved older brother, Rocco, and her parents are away, Giada is the only person left who can rescue him. Swept into the magical underground city of Malavita, Giada will need the help of her new companions to save her brother—or risk losing him forever.” (Goodreads)

I’m always down to read a Middle Grade book. They are a fun break from my other genres and I can find books for my daughter to read when she gets older.

This book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Giada. To others she would be considered a rulebreaker/troublemaker but she is just trying to do what she loves with her magic which is healing magical creatures. Usually witch books don’t involve magical creatures so I was definitely here for the change, especially with the gryphon right on the cover!

Giada is a girl that every child can look up to. She follows her heart and even when family doesn’t understand her choices she will still help them out. I loved her spirit. I also liked that she was plus-size. As someone who grew up plus-size and still is, I cherished her appearance a lot more and can see others doing the same.

The plot for this book was fun and engaging. I can see my daughter being really intrigued by what it has to offer.

Overall, this was a fun read! I’ll definitely revisit it in the future with my daughter along for the ride!

Book Blog Tour: Sisterhood of Sleuths by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (Promo) | 9-30-22

Title: Sisterhood of Sleuths
Author: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Genre: Middle Grade / Mystery
Publication Date: October 4th, 2022
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

—->Click Here For Tour Dates!<—-

Thank you to the publisher and TBR and Beyond Tours for a complimentary earc and a chance to help promote this book!

Maizy always assumed she knew everything about her grandmother, Jacuzzi.  So when a box full of vintage Nancy Drew books gets left at her mom’s thrift store, Maizy is surprised to find an old photo of her grandmother and two other women tucked beneath the collection. Stranger still, when Maizy shows the photo to Jacuzzi she feigns ignorance, insisting the woman is someone else. Determined to learn the truth — and inspired by the legacy of Nancy Drew — Maizy launches her own investigation with the help of new friends, Nell and Cam. What they discover not only points to the origins of the iconic series, but uncovers a truth from the past that will lead to self-discovery in the present, connecting three generations of women. 

This intergenerational mystery filled with literary history, friendship, and family secrets delivers a captivating tribute to the world’s most famous girl detective.

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Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is the New York Times bestselling author of the Book Scavenger series and Sisterhood of Sleuths, forthcoming in Fall 2022. Book Scavenger was an Indie Next Top Ten pick, an Amazon Book of the Year, a Bank Street College Book of the Year, an NCTE Notable Book, and has been nominated for over twenty state award and honor lists, among other accolades. The series is being translated into more than a dozen languages. Jennifer’s debut picture book, A Good Deed Can Grow, illustrated by Holly Hatam, will be published in 2023. She holds an MFA in creative writing and has worked in a variety of roles with children and in publishing. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Jennifer now lives in Colorado with her family.

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This book sounds great and I can’t wait to get to it! I love mysteries, especially at the middle grade level.

What Do you think about this one?

Book Blog Tour: Ghostlight by Kenneth Oppel (Book Review) | 9-5-22

Title: Ghostlight
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Genre: Middle Grade Paranormal
Publication Date: September 6th, 2022
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and TBR and Beyond Tours for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

—->Click Here For Tour Dates!<—-

Rebecca Strand was just sixteen when she and her father fell to their deaths from the top of the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse in 1839. Just how they fell–or were they pushed?–remains a mystery. And their ghosts haunt the lighthouse to this day. . . .Gabe tells this story every day when he gives the ghost tour on Toronto Island. He tries to make it scary enough to satisfy the tourists, but he doesn’t actually believe in ghosts–until he finds himself face to face with Rebecca Strand.

The true story of her death is far more terrifying than any ghost tale Gabe has told. Rebecca reveals that her father was a member of the Order, a secret society devoted to protecting the world from “the wakeful and wicked dead”–malevolent spirits like Viker, the ghost responsible for their deaths. But the Order has disappeared, and Viker’s ghost is growing ever stronger. Now Gabe and his friends must find a way to stop Viker before they all become lost souls. . . .” (Goodreads)

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I was born in Port Alberni, a mill town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia but spent the bulk of my childhood in Victoria, B.C. and on the opposite coast, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At around twelve I decided I wanted to be a writer. I started out writing sci-fi epics then went on to swords and sorcery tales and then, during the summer holiday when I was fourteen, started on a humorous story about a boy addicted to video games. 

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

When I saw this cover I knew I needed to read the book! I love finding a new Middle Grade Spooky book to read and this one hit the spot.

The book is mainly told from one point-of-view and it comes from Gabe. Although, in the beginning the first chapter is from Rebecca’s and I like how this was done. Plus, there are chapters/pages where the evil spirit, Viker, is out doing what he does best and he is quite terrifying! We get her backstory and it really is the culminating event for the rest of the plot because without it, I don’t know if Gabe, and even Rebecca, would be where they are now.

Gabe is very hesitant when it comes to believing in ghosts. He may be a guide for a ghost tour but that doesn’t mean he actually believes what he is saying. It’s always nice to see a character be proven wrong on a stance they have and learn that is wrong through weird and spooky events happening to them. Rebecca really needed his help and she wasn’t going to go without trying everything in her power! They both work together as a team and two more kids also join the mix, one being another skeptic and the other a newly blogger who wants to solve the mystery of Rebecca and her father’s death. They all make a great group.

Sometimes it is hard to not compare one ghost story to another because it can feel like reading something familiar. I will say that this one didn’t give me that feeling at all. It felt refreshing and I liked the idea of an order of lighthouse workers vanquishing the dead! It was really cool to read about and I kind of wish it was a job. Although, I would probably regret it eventually, haha.

Overall, this was a fun read and I liked how there was more than one ghost with a story. It wasn’t overly spooky and there was a great group of kids working together to defeat the evil presence.