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Book Review: The Class

I received this e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Middle school is a time for big changes in the lives of tweens. The Class follows the students in Mrs. Herrera’s sixth grade class with each chapter being told from a different student’s point of view. New students trying to fit in, old friendships tested, and several of Mrs. Herrera’s items have gone missing. There is a lot going on in this story even though there’s only been 2 months of school. While I did enjoy the overall story, I found it difficult to keep track of all the students’ narratives. Maybe it’s because I read the digital version and couldn’t flip back to compare students.

This title will be available October 8, 2019.

#TheClass #Edelweiss

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Book Review: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

I received a copy of this book at BEA 2019 from Rick Riordan Presents/Disney. Thank you very much for the opportunity to preview this book.

Seventh-grader Tristan Strong is grieving his best friend who recently died in a school bus accident. All Tristan has left of Eddie is his journal. Tristan comes from a family of boxers but when he has his first match, he loses. His father and granddad are disappointed in him and now Tristan has to spend his summer on his grandparents Alabama farm. On the long car ride from Chicago, Tristan notices some strange things happening – strange glowing light, drumming. He shrugs them off until later that evening. Eddie’s journal starts glowing and a small intruder is attempting to steal it. Tristan realizes the thief is Gum Baby from the Anansi stories his grandmother would tell. As he chases the sticky little thief, Tristan accidentally breaks a Bottle Tree and falls into another world where African gods and African-American folk heroes exist. All Tristan wants to do is to go home but the hole he punched in the sky has its consequences.

This debut novel is quite the tome at just under 500 pages. Some of the folk heroes I was familiar with, others I was not. Although Kwame Mbalia, through Tristan, does give an overview of each of the gods and heroes, I still looked up the stories to learn a little more. Even though it is long, it is very fast-paced with a lot of action. I can’t wait to see Tristan’s next adventure in book 2. Fans of Rick Riordan’s books and his imprint will be sure to enjoy this book. I would recommend for readers in grades 4 and up.

This title will be available October 15, 2019

#TristanStrongPunchesAHoleInTheSky

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Book Review: The Last Dragon (The Revenge of Magic #2)

I received this e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

This sequel picks up shortly after the events of The Revenge of Magic. The Oppenheimer School has been relocated to another top secret location. Fort is having nightmares about the day his father was taken. The dreams ends with the Old One demanding the location of the last dragon. Fort has no idea where that could be. Cyrus, Fort’s best friend, is being transferred to the U.K. school and Fort is moved to a new section of the school with a new roommate. Gabriel is very good at keeping secrets, Fort’s as well as his own. Gabriel is also tormented by nightmares each evening but does not share the details with his new roomie. Fort is supposed to be tutoring Gabriel to catch him up to the level 2 students and finds out that Gabriel is receiving special treatment. He can look at the magic books any time he wants, not just in class. Fort, believing his father is still alive, hatches a plan to rescue him. Unfortunately, things don’t go according to plan and loyalties are tested.

There is a lot of action in this sequel and it turns a bit darker. Fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson will definitely enjoy this series. I won’t tell you how it ends but there will be another book after this one. Because of the darker turn, I would recommend this book for grade 4 and up.

This book will be released on October 8, 2019.

#TheLastDragon #Edelweiss

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Book Review: Lalani of the Distant Sea

I received this e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I am a fan of mythology and folklore so that is what drew me to this title. Lalani lives with her mother on the island of Sanlagita. On this island, the village people fear the mountain, Mount Kahna. Sanlagita has been experiencing a tremendous drought and its people are suffering. Many village men have set sail to find Mount Isa, where good fortunes are to be found. No man has ever returned, including Lalani’s father. One day while on the forbidden mountain, Lalani meets a man who had been banished from Mount Isa. He grants Lalani a wish, for rain, which proves to be more dangerous than Lalani could ever have imagined. Lalani, ostracized from the other villagers, finds a boat, and her courage, and attempts the voyage that so many men had failed.

This is a different type of fantasy book than I have previously read. I was unfamiliar with the folklore and the creatures found along the way (don’t bother googling, you just come back to the book). The initial setup is a little slow but the story does pick up quickly. The author uses a lot of imagery to describe the landscape and the creatures, which helps because remember what I said about googling? I would recommend this middle grade book for grade four and up.

This book will be available September 3, 2019.

#LalaniOfTheDistantSea #Edelweiss

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A Universe of Cooking

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the summer reading theme is A Universe of Stories. Kids ages 3 – 12 were able to come to the library for a spaced-themed cooking activity. We had many “space” stations to visit: s’mores meteorites, pretzel aliens, solar eclipse cookies, moon phase cookies, and edible constellations. Fun was had by kids and parents alike! Check out the photo gallery below!

#AUniverseOfStories

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Book Review: A Wolf Called Wander

This story is based on the real gray wolf called OR-7, or Journey, who traveled more than a thousand miles in six months from Oregon to Northern California. Swift is one of five cubs born into the gray wolf pack that live in the mountains of the Northwest. When the cubs are a year old, disaster strikes. The pack is attacked by a large pack of pale wolves. Swift manages to lure one of the lead wolves to his death but while he is away from the rest of the pack, he hears his father’s death howl. Swift tries to find his family but they are nowhere to be found. Not knowing what happened to the rest of his family, Swift sets off on a journey that takes him through mountains, prairies, farms, and rivers. Swift is injured early on in his journey when he attempts to take down an elk. As he heals, he is joined by a raven who helps him find food. But hunger and thirst are his constant companions and Swift must avoid hunters, highways, wayward wolves, and fire. By the end of his journey, he no longer identifies as Swift and becomes Wander.

This story is told in Swift/Wander’s voice and nothing is held back. He describes the hunt, the kill, the pain of being injured, the sadness, and the loneliness. The chapters are relatively short and enhanced by beautiful pencil illustrations. In the afterword, the author shares the real story of OR-7, life in a wolf pack, and the habitats of the Pacific Northwest. I very much enjoyed this middle grade story. I would recommend this book for readers in grades 3 and up.

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Book Review: Pavi Sharma’s Guide to Going Home

I received a copy of this book at Book Expo America 2019. All opinions are my own.

Pavi Sharma, a 12 year old foster child, is happy with her latest placement. She runs a “business” helping other foster children get ready for their new families with techniques to help put them and their new foster families at ease. When five year old Meridee comes to the shelter, of course Pavi wants to help her. Pavi finds out that Meridee is going to Pavi’s first and most horrendous foster home and hatches a plan to keep her from going there. With the help of her foster brother Hamilton, his best friend Piper, and older foster kid Santos, she just might be able to do it.

I felt some of the characters could use a little more development. While Pavi’s character is well developed, Hamilton and mom Marjorie could have used more. In its ARC form, it is only 262 pages, so there is room for expansion. It did remind me a bit of Greetings from Witness Protection by Jake Burt in that both girls are in foster care and both have their own “businesses.” That being said, I did enjoy this middle grade story.

This title will be available September 17, 2019.

#PaviSharmasGuide