Well it’s officially October and time for all things spooky and magical! I started my month off with a new book from Algonquin Young Readers, The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz. As the cover art and title suggest, this is a fantasy book for young readers filled with magic and adventure with a storybook feel to it. It is a great pick if your kiddos want something to suit the season or for any kids who enjoy adventure stories. Additionally, this book features a strong female lead with strong female supporting characters. Definitely a plus in my book, as I feel that adventure stories still tend to lean toward male protagonists. But not in this book. This book is all about Lady Clementine, daughter to the Dark Lord Elithor and heir to Castle Brack, where hundreds of years of Dark Lords have ruled before her. But…what if Clementine doesn’t want to be a Dark Lord? What if she doesn’t want to be a Dark anything?
The humid summer weather is finally letting up here, bringing a welcome rush of cool air. There’s nothing quite like opening the windows and having that fresh, crisp air breeze through the house. Of course with the cooler weather comes back to school followed by all things Halloween. I was surprised to see Halloween décor hitting shelves in August, but now that we’re a couple of weeks from October, I don’t mind it so much. I really enjoyed the displays of scary stories I saw at the bookstore this week. There was something for everyone, from Stephen King’s newest release, The Institute, to middle grade scary stories and even Halloween and monster themed picture and board books for kiddos. Today I’ll be reviewing two new children’s picture books that have released just in time for scary story season.
Today, I’ll be sharing reviews of two new picture book releases from Sourcebooks. One is about the Apollo 11 mission and is a great way to introduce kids to science and space. The other is a whimsical story of inclusion and acceptance featuring unicorns and rhyming words.
What a month! What a couple of months actually! I have been very busy with work over the last six weeks or so – but that’s a great thing! I love being a writer and working on articles and new book projects.
I have been fortunate enough in my writing career to become a published author. I have written several nonfiction educational books for children and teens, and just recently finished working on a couple of new ones that will be out in 2020.
In January, I had a new book release as part of a middle grade series called Inventions That Changed the World. I wrote about Facebook. There’s no denying that social media, and Facebook in particular, has had a huge impact on our world. That’s what I dive into in my latest book, How Facebook Changed the World.
I love middle grade novels. Last year I did a post about why I love reading the young adult genre, and I think I may have to do a similar one about middle grade in the future. MG novels are the best! The characters are usually around 10 to 13 years old and still figuring out who they are, where they fit in, and what the world is all about (aren’t we all?!)
I recently received a new MG novel from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Ruby in the Sky by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo. To be honest, the title and the cover drew me in right away. Yes, I know, we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers. But, come on, look at it! Those beautifully blended winter blues and purples in the trees and reflecting off the snow…that gorgeous pink moon…the young girl dancing in the snow…and is that a dog? For a dog mom like myself, you just can’t beat a book with a dog on the cover. I was intrigued from the get-go.
I look forward to July each year, because it’s the heart of summertime for me. I often take a little vacation to visit family which means I get some down time. This July was as awesome as I had anticipated, and I hope yours was too! I got to travel, see family, I took on an exciting new book project, and I got tons of reading time in. That, my friends, is an amazing few weeks! Not to mention that as August creeps along, Fall is inching closer and closer. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer, and I’m not ready to see it go. But, my first love is Fall, and I’m starting to get a teeny bit excited at the thought of crisp air, sweaters, and fall leaves. But there will be time for that later. For now, I’d like to recap my July reads and talk about what’s ahead for these last few weeks of summer.
Well, July is in full swing and that “summer vacation” feeling is in the air! I stated in my last post that I often gravitate toward middle grade and young adult books in the summer. I chose The Borrowers as my July book bucket list pick for this very reason. I figured that I would probably be in the mood for something light and imaginative, and I have wanted to revisit this childhood favorite for some time. It seemed like the timing would be perfect, and it was.
“It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus…”
I don’t often post reviews back to back, but today is the release day of Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel, and I just couldn’t wait to share my thoughts. This is going to be one of those posts where I date myself. I remember seeing Hocus Pocus in the theater when it released in July 1993 ~ 25 years ago! I saw it with my sister, brother, and friends. I was still a preteen, and I remember loving the movie. I laughed, I got nervous when Max lit the black flame candle, I screamed when Sarah Sanderson was found hiding in Dani’s bed, and I, like all other preteen girls, developed a tiny crush on Thackery Binx. For years, Disney fans have been begging for a sequel, but only if it includes the original cast, and I agree!
When I heard about the new book re-telling the original story with a new sequel included, I was excited yet a little hesitant, hoping that it wouldn’t ruin the original story and that the sequel would live up to my expectations. Well, the book releases today, and here is my review.
Since I didn’t get to read many books in June, this post will serve as both a book review post and my June wrap-up. I did thoroughly enjoy All the Stars in the Heavens, and I did get to my book bucket list pick for June, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I can’t wait to write my review of that book, though nothing I write will ever do it justice. If you missed All the Stars in the Heavens, you can go back and read my review here. My review of Diary of a Young Girl will be my next post so watch for that in the coming days.
Moving on to today’s reviews, I’m excited to talk about the first two novels in Disney’s Tangled series. Anyone who knows me knows about my love of all things Disney. Disney’s Tangled was a big hit with me. It was the first animated movie in a long time that had created such a buzz amongst both the kids and adults in my life. The movie was entertaining and funny, even earning a chuckle or two from my hubby who’s not exactly a Disney fan but watched it to humor me. 🙂
I’ve been a fan of Leila Howland’s work since Disney kindly gave me an advanced reader copy of her young adult book Hello Sunshine last year. I loved that book about an eighteen year old heading to Hollywood in pursuit of her dream, and I’ve been watching for Ms. Howland’s writing ever since. So you can imagine how excited I was when an author I love started a book series for Disney!
“’Well, then, someone just tell me how we got here!’ Calvin’s voice was still angry and his freckles seemed to stand out on his face. ‘Even traveling at the speed of light, it would take us years and years to get here.’
‘Oh, we don’t travel at the speed of anything,’ Mrs. Whatsit explained earnestly. ‘We tesser. Or you might say, we wrinkle.’” – A Wrinkle in Time
I chose A Wrinkle in Time as my book bucket list pick for February for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve wanted to re-read this book for years. When I picked it up this month, it had been at least twenty years since I’d read it. I remember it having a science fiction and fantasy feel to it, but I was fuzzy on the details. Two, I wanted to brush up on the book before the new Disney film version releases in March.