Monday, October 21, 2019

MG Book Gift Guide: 2019 Edition

It's been a couple of years since I've done a book gift guide. I enjoyed doing them, and wanted to again. I hope someone out there will find it useful. If you are looking for a book to buy a kid in your life, here is one place where you can get some recommendations. This is clearly not an exhaustive list and I hope others will add their own ideas, either by making their own posts or mentioning books in the comments. These are all book I have read, and I can't read everything. There's not enough time.

NOTE: In publishing the term Middle Grade (MG) refers to books marketed toward the 9ish-12ish range. This is not a reading level recommendation. Some kids can read them much younger, others enjoy reading MG well into adulthood. They're just good books. (I will do the Young Adult books for the 13 and over crowd later this week.)

These are mostly books published in the past three years or so, but I have added a "tried and true" option to every category. I've put the genre and year published after each.

Links are to my reviews.

For Those Looking for Fantasy Adventure

 Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan
Dragonfell by Sarah Prineas

 The Lighthouse Between Worlds by Melanie Crowder
Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin

The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
The Girl with the Dragon Heart by Stephane Burgis

(The third book in this trilogy, The Princess Who Flew with Dragons releases November 5 if you want to get a whole set for someone. I haven't read it yet, but I'm sure it will hold up. Stephanie is a wonderfully consistent writer.)

The Lost Books by Sarah Prineas
The Wrong Side of Magic by Janette Rallison

Tried and True Rec:

For Those Looking For Realistic, Relatable Tales of Friendship and Family

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams

Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Patina by Jason Reynolds
(These are the first two books in a fabulous series. The series is finished, so it's great if you're looking to buy a whole set.)

The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall
(This is the perfect ending for a perfect series. Another opportunity to buy an entire set of books!)
Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes by Mary E. Lambert

Amina's Voice by Hena Khan
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

Tried and True Rec:

For Those Who Enjoy Reading About Times Gone By

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis
Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Reneé Watson

Midnight Without a Moon and A Sky Full of Stars by Linda Williams Jackson

Tried and True Rec:

For Those Looking For Fantasy with Shades of Realism 

 The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu
Angel and Bavar by Amy Wilson

York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby

Tried and True Rec:

Remember, this is just scratching the surface! Feel free to ask me questions or for other recs if there is something you're interested in. 

Here are Previous Guides (where the categories were more creative):

Friday, October 11, 2019

Future Favorites Friday October 19

I take the 2nd Friday of every month to highlight some upcoming releases I am looking forward to that I hope are Future Favorites. Feel free to do your own post, just please link back to my blog and tell me about your post in the comments.

How I feel about "Beauty and the Beast" has been long established on this blog. At this point, it should also be pretty clear I'm quite the fan of Sandhya Menon. And now those two things are coming together. In one book.

Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?

His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can't shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending
Rebecca Stead has written some of my favorite (and some of the most profound) MG books I've read. I'm really looking forward to her new one. I love the concept of the title and where it comes from so much.

Release Date: February 18, 2020 from Simon Pulse

When Bea's parents got divorced, they told her about two big changes: Dad is gay. Mom and Dad will have different apartments, each with a room for Bea. They also gave her a special notebook to record the list of things that will not change. The first and most important: Mom and Dad will always love Bea, and each other. They are still a family, just different. Bea's days are split between her parents; school remains the same. She still goes to Dad's family's lake house every summer. Only now, no one mentions Mom.

Then, Dad announces that he and his boyfriend Jesse are getting married. Bea is thrilled. She loves Jesse--and he has a daughter her age, Sonia. Bea has never met her, but she's sure that she and Sonia will be the perfect sisters. Behind her joy, though, something she did last summer is haunting Bea.

This warm story is a testament to a modern family, and to the kind of love that doesn't ask you to be anyone but who you are.

Release Date: April 7, 2020 from Wendy Lamb Books

Jane Austen. Enough said. Though I will add that this is not about retelling her work as it is about her legacy. 

The Jane Austen Society is set at the end of WWII in the English town of Chawton, where Austen actually lived. The story follows an unlikely group of locals - from a farmer to the village doctor, the local gentry to a visiting Hollywood movie star - who come together out of their mutual passion for Austen’s work to preserve what remains of Austen’s legacy.

Release Date: May 28, 2020 by St. Martin's Press

Friday, October 4, 2019

September 2019 Stats

So this is waayyyyy late. I didn't really read any new-to-me books that wowed me this month, and I was mostly rereading anyways.

I did get to reread my all time favorite:

September in Numbers:
New Reads: 3
Rereads: 11

MG: 0
YA: 3
Adult: 11

Fiction: 13
Non-Fiction: 1
Realistic Fiction: 12
Speculative Fiction: 1

The TBR shelf is ever-growing, but I actually have already read two new to me books in October. Yay! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

TTT: Titles with Numbers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This Week's Topic Titles with Numbers

I just decided to go with books from my favorites list that had numbers in the title. Presented in numerical order.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Quarterly Review

This is a look back on my reading of the past three months: the best of the best, the books I couldn't finish, and the non-fiction and adult books I don't review on the blog. These only cover new-to-me books and not rereads.

The DNFs:
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden 
The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

The Non-Fiction:
1919: The Year That Changed America by Martin Sandler
Educated by Tara Westover
In the Shadow of Liberty by Kenneth Davis

The Adult Fiction: 
The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain (science-fiction) 
My Favorite Half Night Stand by Christina Lauren (contemporary romance)
Roomies by Christina Lauren (contemporary romance)
Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson (contemporary romance)

The Best of the Best: 

Friday, September 13, 2019

Future Favorites Friday September 19

I take the 2nd Friday of every month to highlight some upcoming releases I am looking forward to that I hope are Future Favorites. Feel free to do your own post, just please link back to my blog and tell me about your post in the comments.

Jenn Reese has a new book coming out!!!!!! I cannot tell you how much love I have for her Above World trilogy, and I was starting to lament that maybe we would never get another fabulous MG from her. BUT WE ARE!!!! And there's a tricky, well-dressed fox! And LOOK AT THE COVER!!!! (All the caps and exclamation points are totally necessary.)

After an incident shatters their family, eleven-year old Samantha and her older sister Caitlin are sent to live in rural Oregon with an aunt they've never met. Sam wants nothing more than to go back to the way things were… before she spoke up about their father's anger.

When Aunt Vicky gives Sam a mysterious card game called "A Game of Fox & Squirrels," Sam falls in love with the animal characters, especially the charming trickster fox, Ashander. Then one day Ashander shows up in Sam’s room and offers her an adventure and a promise: find the Golden Acorn, and Sam can have anything she desires.

But the fox is hiding rules that Sam isn't prepared for, and her new home feels more tempting than she'd ever expected. As Sam is swept up in the dangerous quest, the line between magic and reality grows thin. If she makes the wrong move, she'll lose far more than just a game.

Release Date: April 14, 2020 from Henry Holt & Co.

You guys know how I side-eye anything flirting with Jane Austen but also am pulled to it like a magnet to a refrigerator? Well, it is with equal parts trepidation and anticipation that I present a book that claims Austen influence with some mysterious goings on as well. Don't let me down, book.

Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home.

But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.

Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exactcircumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility.

Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day.

Release Date: December 3, 2019 from HarperTeen

What upcoming book releases are you excited for?