Book Blog Tour: Terry’s Crew by Terry Crews (Promo) | 11-8-22

Title: Terry’s Crew
Author: Terry Crews and Cory Thomas
Genre: Middle Grade / Contemporary / Graphic Novel
Publication Date: November 8th, 2022
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!

“Young Terry Crews has a Big Dream Plan: He wants to become a MULTIHYPHENATE. That means he wants to be an artist. And a football player. And a musician. And maybe a NASA scientist, too! OK, maybe it’s ambitious, but his parents worked hard so he could go to a new school—Rock City Academy, a prestigious institution (read: rich kids go there) where he’s sure he can make his mark at the talent show. He plans an elaborate performance with his new friends, Rani, a passionate engineer, and Xander, a shy kid with a head like an encyclopedia.
Along the way, Terry’s plan is threatened by his grades, which slip below Mom-and-Dad-approved levels, as well as the schemes of the school’s football star, Rick, who won’t stop until Terry quits the talent show altogether. No matter what challenges he faces, though, Terry knows that he always has his crew to back him up.” (Goodreads)

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Terry Alan Crews (born July 30, 1968) is an American actor and former American football player. He is best known for playing Julius on the UPN/CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, Sergeant Terry Jeffords on the NBC comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and for his appearances in Old Spice commercials, as well as films such as Friday After NextIdiocracy, and The Expendables series. He is a host of America’s Got Talent.

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After listening to his latest book about his life, I couldn’t help but want to promote this book! I’m looking forward to diving into my copy and sharing it with my daughter. I love a good graphic novel.

What Do you think about this one?

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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.

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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?

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?

Audiobook Review: Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Title: Heidi
Author: Johanna Spyri
Genre: Middle Grade / Classic / Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 1880
Publisher: Varies
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Little orphan Heidi goes to live high in the Alps with her gruff grandfather and brings happiness to all who know her on the mountain. When Heidi goes to Frankfurt to work in a wealthy household, she dreams of returning to the mountains and meadows, her friend Peter, and her beloved grandfather.” (Goodreads)

I picked this one up because I have been slowly going through the books I own, especially classics. The library finally had this one available and since it was short I figured why not give it a go!

The book is told through third-person and multiple points-of-view at times because the characters aren’t always in the same place. I liked how it was written and it was very easy to understand the switch and enjoy the characters that were present. Heidi is such a little firecracker and she reminded me a lot of my daughter. She is kind, open to anything, and just enjoys the outdoors.

There are hilarious moments between some of the characters and I absolutely enjoyed the scene with cats! Maybe because I love cats, lol. It was refreshing to find myself once again immersed in a classic as it doesn’t always happen when reading that particular genre.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I liked the audiobook that I listened to. I can see myself listening to this one again and even reading it with my daughter in the future.

Audiobook Review: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Title: Black Beauty
Author: Anna Sewell
Genre: Middle Grade / Classics / Historical
Publication Date: November 24th, 1877
Publisher: Varies
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

“Black Beauty spends his youth in a loving home, surrounded by friends and cared for by his owners. But when circumstances change, he learns that not all humans are so kind. Passed from hand to hand, Black Beauty witnesses love and cruelty, wealth and poverty, friendship and hardship . . . Will the handsome horse ever find a happy and lasting home? Carefully retold in clear contemporary language, and presented with delightful illustrations, these favorite classic stories capture the heart and imagination of young readers. By retelling the story in a shorter, simpler form, these books become highly engaging for children, and the color illustrations help with both comprehension and interest level. Black Beauty is part of a collectible series that has strong gift appeal.” (Goodreads)

I feel like I have listened to a lot of books told from an animal’s perspective lately, ha. It has been a nice break from people and the fantasy genre. I never thought I would say that about classics!

The book is told from all sorts of point-of-views but the main one is from Black Beauty himself. I actually didn’t realize he was a male until I got farther in the book and was confused. Oops! I guess I should have read the blurb again. 😂 It was interesting to read about his life starting from a youthful horse to an adult who has gone through a lot of changes and struggles along the way. It is very sad at times and you wonder if he will get the love he deserves.

The other point-of-views come from his owners, other people that have been around him, and even other horses that he has shared stables or a workload with. I do think that I liked the horse perspectives more because they were aware of the mistreatment of their fellow horses. Most of the people cared less about their plight even when others had said to not use certain equipment on them. It was always about the “fashionable” trend and someone couldn’t do the opposite because they didn’t want to be ridiculed. It was such nonsense! There are those that treated Black Beauty with utter respect and it gives you a little hope in humanity.

Overall, this was a good book and it shows us an interesting perspective on animal cruelty.

Arc Review: Shadow Grave by Marina Cohen

Title: Shadow Grave
Author: Marina Cohen
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy / Paranormal
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2022
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

This town has a secret it might just kill to keep…

12-year-old Arlo is afraid of the creepy zombie show all his friends watch, of fire, of his own shadow—but most of all he’s afraid of losing his mother to the disease that nearly claimed her life the previous year. While on a Thanksgiving road trip with his mother and sister, Lola, their car hits a strange beast and they become stranded in an old logging town with something unnatural living in its surrounding woods—a dark secret the townsfolk will kill to keep.” (Author’s Website)

This book wasn’t what I was expecting but in a totally good way! I really enjoyed the plot and the characters that were a part of this spooky book.

The book is told in three parts. The first and last parts come from the point-of-view of Arlo. He is a 12 year-old who is on vacation with his 9 year-old sister, Lola, and their mother. A happy thanksgiving away is meant to bring fun times but it becomes a disaster when they get in an accident and find themselves asking for help in a town called Livermore.

Arlo is a character I could relate to even though I am an adult. His sister watches a zombie show with him and she prefers that over unicorns. He was scared of zombies at her age. I still am, haha. Arlo watches this show only so that he doesn’t feel left out when his friends talk about it. I can understand not wanting to feel left out. I remember those days and it’s not a nice feeling. He also deals with anxiety and during the trip his mother is always trying to remind him that he is strong and to think positive. Because of his anxiety, he tries to have a plan in the back of his head. A perfect example of this was his use of first aid after the accident. He was a quick thinker and got the job done! Because of these two things, I feel like many kids will be able to relate to him.

When the book splits into another point-of-view, it comes from a girl named Alice who lives in Livermore. The town is very odd and so her point-of-view was quite interesting! We learn about a couple secrets when it comes to the town through her and she is a great friend towards Arlo and his sister Lola.

The plot wasn’t as spooky as I thought it would be but it didn’t stop me from enjoying what this book had to offer. I liked learning about the secrets of the town and it’s people. There are some cool plot twists as well. Although I still have a question or two about one thing in particular, it makes sense that it stays a mystery and I’m okay with how it all went down. I don’t think that kids will mind either.

I really liked the author’s note at the end as she explains where she found her inspiration, which does indeed include a real ghost town! Using things from history always intrigue me when it comes to these types of books.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read! This would be perfect for those who want to try a spooky book but want to read one that is more mild.

Audiobook Review: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Title: Hatchet
Author: Gary Paulsen
Genre: Middle Grade / Classics / Adventure
Publication Date: September 30th, 1987
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers: Richard Jackson
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

“Brian is on his way to Canada to visit his estranged father when the pilot of his small prop plane suffers a heart attack. Brian is forced to crash-land the plane in a lake–and finds himself stranded in the remote Canadian wilderness with only his clothing and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present before his departure.

Brian had been distraught over his parents’ impending divorce and the secret he carries about his mother, but now he is truly desolate and alone. Exhausted, terrified, and hungry, Brian struggles to find food and make a shelter for himself. He has no special knowledge of the woods, and he must find a new kind of awareness and patience as he meets each day’s challenges. Is the water safe to drink? Are the berries he finds poisonous?

Slowly, Brian learns to turn adversity to his advantage–an invading porcupine unexpectedly shows him how to make fire, a devastating tornado shows him how to retrieve supplies from the submerged airplane. Most of all, Brian leaves behind the self-pity he has felt about his predicament as he summons the courage to stay alive.

A story of survival and of transformation, this riveting book has sparked many a reader’s interest in venturing into the wild.” (Goodreads)

I am trying to get through books I own this year and this was one of them. I’ve had it sitting on my shelf for awhile now. With classics, it’s better for me to read them as an audiobook. I can have it playing while doing other things which is a nice benefit! Unfortunately, even though this was interesting at times. It just never really clicked for me and I didn’t love it.

The book is told from one perspective and it comes from Brian. He was on his way to his father’s when the plane goes down. It was interesting to see him take on the wilderness and try anything to survive. It wouldn’t be an easy thing to do. It’s kind of impossible to believe that he did survive but it is fiction after all. There really isn’t much else to say about him because this book isn’t about anything else but his survival. It blends into his character development but that’s all there is.

I was actually surprised by how graphic the book could be, especially since it is for middle graders. I couldn’t help but be shocked at times, lol.

Overall, this was okay/good. I know this review is short but the book is also short and there isn’t much to say about it for me. I think that it does a good job of showing us that we should be grateful for what we have because all of the luxuries can be gone in a flash. I can understand why it is a classic but it didn’t do enough for me to continue on with the saga.

Audiobook Review: White Fang by Jack London

Title: White Fang
Author: Jack London
Genre: Middle Grade / Classics
Publication Date: May 1906
Publisher: Varies
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“White Fang is part dog and part wolf, and the lone survivor of his family. In his lonely world, he soon learns to follow the harsh law of the North–kill or be killed. But nothing in White Fang’s life can prepare him for the cruel owner who turns him into a vicious killer. Will White Fang ever know the kindness of a gentle master?”

I have been trying to get through backlisted books and my classics list is very long!

I haven’t heard much about this particular book and honestly didn’t realize that it is mostly from the perspective of White Fang. It was very interesting to listen to as I can’t say I have read a book from an animal’s perspective that wasn’t able to talk, ha.

The book covers a lot of topics, one being nurture and nature. White Fang doesn’t know much about love and affection and really has only learned how to survive. His life is not always easy but he fights to remain alive and keeps on going.

It is a very short and fast-paced book but it wasn’t enough to feel like I was missing anything. The author does a good job of setting up the story and going through White Fangs life from birth to present.

Overall, this was a good book! Glad that I gave it a chance.

Audiobook Review: Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

Title: Pinocchio
Author: Carlo Collodi
Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy / Classic
Publication Date: 1883
Publisher: N/A
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“A classic tale of mischance and mischief based on the original adventures.

A naughty wooden puppet gets into trouble, disobeys his father, forgets his pomises, and skips through life looking for fun. Just like a “real boy.” Until he learns that to become truly real, he must open his heart and think of others.” (Goodreads)

Let me tell you, this was nothing like the Disney tale! The book is straight up wild, lol. There is literally no other way to put it.

The book is told in third person and it follows Pinocchio who is a wooden puppet. He wants to be a real boy but it is not an easy journey to get there. He refuses to see reason even from those who want nothing but the best for him. Naughty doesn’t even begin to describe his behavior!

The audiobook is very short and because of that the book is fast paced. It is easy to get into right from the beginning because it’s just nonsense from all of the characters, lol. Obviously, there are important messages that any child should be able to understand, even adults.

Overall, this is one of those books where you just have to read it to understand! I wouldn’t want to spoil it because I do think everyone should just try it at least once. I am not usually persuade by classics but this one has definitely been added to my favorites list when it comes to them.

Book Review: Dark Waters (Small Spaces #3) by Katherine Arden

Title: Dark Waters (Small Spaces #3)
Author: Katherine Arden
Genre: Middle Grade Paranormal / Horror
Publication Date: August 10th, 2021
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces and Dead Voices.

Until next time. That was chilling promise made to Ollie, Coco and Brian after they outsmarted the smiling man at Mount Hemlock Resort. And as the trio knows, the smiling man always keeps his promises. So when the lights flicker on and off at Brian’s family’s inn and a boom sounds at the door, there’s just one visitor it could be. Only, there’s no one there, just a cryptic note left outside signed simply as –S.

The smiling man loves his games and it seems a new one is under way. But first, the three friends will have to survive a group trip to Lake Champlain where it’s said Vermont’s very own Loch Ness monster lives. Brian is thrilled. He hasn’t sailed since visiting his family in Jamaica and even the looming threat of the smiling man can’t put a damper on what is guaranteed to finally be a day of fun–even if it is awkward being stuck on a boat with both his old best friend, Phil and his new best friends, Coco and Ollie. But when a misstep from Phil causes a tragedy onboard and leaves them shipwrecked on an island haunted by a monster on both land and sea, Brian’s survival instincts kick in and it’s up to him to help everyone work together and find a way to escape.

One thing is for sure, the smiling man is back and he wants a rematch. And this time Brian is ready to play.” (Goodreads)

This was a very thrilling book! It’s hard to decide if this beats out the first book in the series but I am glad that it took the shock and horror value up a notch because the sequel just didn’t do it for me.

The book is told in third point-of-view but mostly from the view point of Brian. I’m pretty sure the other two books were Ollie’s but I could be wrong. I was intrigued but also surprised by the change because she usually has had the answers due to her special watch. I will say that this change does make sense by the end up the book and I’m very much onboard with the direction of the plot!

My one complaint from the second book was that the plot felt lack luster and the horror/spooky aspect wasn’t there like it was for book one. This third book didn’t have that issue at all! I was entranced by the story from the beginning and read it in one sitting, haha. I just needed to know what would happen next! Between the ax man and the lake monster there was a lot going on but it wasn’t overwhelming and everything connected together very well.

It does leave off on a cliffhanger which is to be expected since there will be one more book to finish off the seasons. It is a real big cliffhanger though and my mouth dropped when I read it. Katherine Arden is great at upping the suspense and I’m going to need the publisher to drop me book four right away, haha.

Overall, this was another great book for the series! I can’t wait to finish it off next year. I know this review is short and doesn’t share much but the books are definitely better when you go in blind! This would be great to pick up for the spooky seasons or pretty much any time of year if you like books like that!