Five Books for This Fall

September 14th, 2017 by

School’s back in session, so I know you’re busy busy busy! You’ve got homework to finish, friends to catch up with, lockers to decorate… But in addition to the books assigned by your teacher, don’t forget to find time to read for FUN!

Here are some awesome new releases to add to your to-read pile, with descriptions from the publishers:

#1. Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone

Allie Navarro can’t wait to show her best friends the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp. Click’d pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun (and occasionally rule-breaking) scavenger hunt to find each other. And it’s a hit. By the second day of school, everyone is talking about Click’d.

Watching her app go viral is amazing. Leaderboards are filling up! Everyone’s making new friends. And with all the data Allie is collecting, she has an even better shot at beating her archenemy, Nathan, at the upcoming youth coding competition. But when Allie discovers a glitch that threatens to expose everyone’s secrets, she has to figure out how to make things right, even if that means sharing the computer lab with Nathan. Can Allie fix her app, stop it from doing any more damage, and win back the friends it hurt — all before she steps on stage to present Click’d to the judges?

2. Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona, Aven moves with them across the country knowing that she’ll have to answer the question over and over again.

Her new life takes an unexpected turn when she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined. It’s hard to solve a mystery, help a friend, and face your worst fears. But Aven’s about to discover she can do it all… even without arms.

#3. Littler Women: a modern retelling by Laura Schaefer

The March sisters encounter new friends, challenges, school dances, and more in this fresh, modern retelling of the perennial classic, Little Women.

Thirteen-year-old Meg March and her sisters Jo (12), Beth (10), and Amy (9) are a close-knit group who share in one another’s hopes and dreams, as well as struggles and frustrations. Over the course of one year they get to know their neighbors the Lawrences, attend school dances and sleepovers, have first crushes, and grow closer as sisters despite their differences.

#4. The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente

Inside a small Yorkshire parsonage, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë have invented a game called Glass Town, where their toy soldiers fight Napoleon and no one dies. This make-believe land helps the four escape from a harsh reality: Charlotte and Emily are being sent away to a dangerous boarding school, a school they might not return from. But on this Beastliest Day, the day Anne and Branwell walk their sisters to the train station, something incredible happens: The train whisks them all away to a real Glass Town, and the children trade the moors for a wonderland all their own.

This is their Glass Town, exactly like they envisioned it… almost. They certainly never gave Napoleon a fire-breathing porcelain rooster instead of a horse. And their soldiers can die; wars are fought over the potion that raises the dead, a potion Anne would very much like to bring back to England. But when Anne and Branwell are kidnapped, Charlotte and Emily must find a way to save their siblings. Can two English girls stand against Napoleon’s armies, especially now that he has a new weapon from the real world? And if he escapes Glass Town, will England ever be safe again?

5. The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken

Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history — that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper’s great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made — and then broke — a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, 800-year-old Alastor isn’t exactly the forgiving type.

The fiend has reawakened with one purpose — to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him. With only days to break the curse and banish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts to trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his afterlife without a side of eternal servitude, thanks. But with the help of his long-lost uncle, Barnabas, and his daughter, Nell, a witch-in-training, it seems like Prosper has at least a fighting chance of ridding himself of Alastor before the demon escapes and wreaks havoc on his family.

Little does Prosper know, the malefactor’s control over his body grows stronger with each passing night and there’s a lot Alastor isn’t telling his dim-witted (but admittedly strong-willed) human host.


Okay, just kidding! I couldn’t help myself and must recommend another one (but “Six Books for This Fall” isn’t as cool of a title). Plus, we’re a fan of Cassie Beasley on Kidsmomo!

#6. Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley

When the red moon rises over the heart of the Okefenokee swamp, legend says that the mysterious golden gator Munch will grant good luck to the poor soul foolish enough to face him.

But in 1817, when TWO fools reach him at the same time, the night’s fate is split. With disastrous consequences for both… and their descendants. Half of the descendants have great fates, and the other half have terrible ones.

Now, Tumble Wilson and Blue Montgomery are determined to fix their ancestors’ mistakes and banish the bad luck that’s followed them around for all of their lives. They’re going to face Munch the gator themselves, and they’re going to reclaim their destinies.

But what if the legend of Munch is nothing but a legend, after all?

Are you as excited about any of these books as I am? Leave a comment below!

— Nancy

Nancy has been reading grown-up books lately, but her reading list is getting revamped with these new releases!

More about Nancy »

Dog Day Books

August 30th, 2017 by

dogsNational Dog Day was last weekend, on August 26th, so we must celebrate with a good old-fashioned barklist! Oops. I mean, booklist.

Like many Rovers and Spots out in the world, I did some digging and retrieved our Books About Dogs booklist — but doggone it, it’s been eight years since we made that list, so I’ve added some more suggestions!

Check out these pawesome books featuring dogs:

  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  • The Wolfling by Sterling North
  • Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
  • Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
  • Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • A Dog’s Life by Ann M. Martin
  • The Good Dog by Avi
  • Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
  • Pet Trouble series by T.T. Sutherland
  • Hank the Cowdog series by John R. Erickson
  • Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties by Dav Pilkey
  • The Survivors series by Erin Hunter
  • A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
  • Maxi’s Secrets (Or, What You Can Learn from a Dog) by Lynn Plourde
  • Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

If you have a favorite book featuring a puppy, leave a comment below!

— Nancy

Nancy loves dogs, but is super allergic, so she’ll just have to make do with hugging her fictional puppies instead. 🎵 sad trombone 🎵

More about Nancy »

 

Photo from Flickr user scuglik, under Creative Commons license

March 2017 Must-Reads

March 27th, 2017 by

Ack, March ends in just a few days and this book list of new releases is long overdue! Without further ado, check out these March (and a few February) new releases that we’re excited about. Prepare yourself for a MASSIVE book list — my personal top picks are noted with a ❤️… but seriously, everything on this list is bookshelf worthy!

Click on the plus signs next to the book titles to read the full descriptions from the publishers:

Fantastical Reads That’ll Have You Daydreaming

❤️The Bone Snatcher by Charlotte Salter
Sophie Seacove is a storyteller. She tells stories of what the world would be like if madness hadn’t taken over. If her parents hadn’t sold her off as a servant to pay for their stupid vacation. If she wasn’t now trapped in a decaying mansion filled with creepy people and surrounded by ravenous sea monsters.

The mansion has plenty of stories, too: About fantastical machines, and the tragic inventor who created them. About his highly suspicious death. And about the Monster Box, a mysterious object hidden in the house that just might hold the key to escaping this horrible place — and to reuniting Sophie with her family.

But not everyone wants Sophie to have the Monster Box, and as she gets closer to finding it, she finds herself unspooling years-old secrets — and dodging dangerous attacks. Sophie needs to use her brains, her brawn, and her unbreakable nature if she wants to make it off this wretched island…and live to tell this story.

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix
Poor Princess Anya. Forced to live with her evil stepmother’s new husband, her evil stepfather. Plagued with an unfortunate ability to break curses with a magic-assisted kiss. And forced to go on the run when her stepfather decides to make the kingdom entirely his own.

Aided by a loyal talking dog, a boy thief trapped in the body of a newt, and some extraordinarily mischievous wizards, Anya sets off on a Quest that, if she plays it right, will ultimately free her land — and teach her a thing or two about the use of power, the effectiveness of a well-placed pucker, and the finding of friends in places both high and low.

In Darkling Wood by Emma Carroll
When Alice is suddenly bundled off to her estranged grandmother Nell’s house, there’s nothing good about it, except the beautiful Darkling Wood at the end of the garden — but Nell wants to have it cut down. Alice feels at home there, at peace. She even finds a friend, a girl named Flo. But Flo doesn’t go to the local school, and no one in town has heard of her. When Flo shows Alice the surprising secrets of Darkling Wood, Alice starts to wonder: What is real? And can she find out in time to save the wood from destruction?
The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith
Thirteen-year-old Jessamine Grace and her mother make a living as sham spiritualists — until they discover that Jess is a mesmerist and that she really can talk to the dead. Soon she is plunged into the dark world of Victorian London’s supernatural underbelly and learns that the city is under attack by ghouls, monsters, and spirit summoners. Can Jess fight these powerful forces? And will the group of strange children with mysterious powers she befriends be able to help? As shy, proper Jess transforms into a brave warrior, she uncovers terrifying truths about the hidden battle between good and evil, about her family, and about herself.
The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman
The day Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, four 13-year-olds converge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where an eccentric curator is seeking four uncommonly brave souls to track down the hidden pages of the Kelmsbury Manuscript, an ancient book of Arthurian legends that lies scattered within the museum’s collection, and that holds the key to preventing a second attack on American soil.

When Madge, Joe, Kiku, and Walt agree to help, they have no idea that the Kelmsbury is already working its magic on them. But they begin to develop extraordinary powers and experience the feelings of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Morgan le Fay, and Lancelot: courage, friendship, love… and betrayal. Are they playing out a legend that’s already been lived, over and over, across the ages? Or can the Metropolitans forge their own story?

❤️Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood
Chantel would much rather focus on her magic than on curtsying, which is why she often finds herself in trouble at Miss Ellicott’s School for Magical Maidens. But when Miss Ellicott mysteriously disappears along with all the other sorceresses in the city, Chantel’s behavior becomes the least of her problems.

Without any magic protecting the city, it is up to Chantel and her friends to save the Kingdom. On a dangerous mission, Chantel will discover a crossbow-wielding boy, a dragon, and a new, fiery magic that burns inside her — but can she find the sorceresses and transform Lightning Pass into the city it was meant to be?

❤️Saturdays at Sea (Castle Glower #5) by Jessica Day George
After constructing a grand ship built from parts of the Castle, Celie, Lilah and Rolf are ready to set sail! But on its maiden voyage, the Ship steers them far off course into uncharted waters. Celie and her sister, Lilah, hope that the Ship is heading to the ancient island where unicorns once roamed, but as the journey grows longer and supplies run low, they could be in trouble. Can Celie and her family trust the Ship just as they’ve always trusted the Castle?

Note from Nancy: Check out my recent post about the new cover art for this series!

Tricked (Fairy Tale Reform School Series #3) by Jen Calonita
Things are changing at Fairy Tale Reform School.

At least, that’s what Gilly’s heard through the Enchantasia rumor mill. Word is, notorious trickster Rumpelstiltskin has taken over management from Headmistress Flora, and he’s locked down the school tighter than the Pied Piper’s pants. Not that this news concerns Gilly. She’s been released from FTRS and is now suffering through attending Jack of All Trades School, where she gets to learn about different kinds of shoe leather and ways to measure feet. Truly riveting stuff.

But when Gilly’s little sister Anna gets whisked off to FTRS thanks to her troublemaking new friends, Hansel and Gretel, Gilly knows she’s got to get Anna out of there. There’s only one thing to do; make some serious trouble and get thrown back into FTRS.

It’s time to out-trick a trickster.

New Series We’re Excited About

Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure (Dragonwatch Series #1) by Brandon Mull
In the hidden dragon sanctuary of Wyrmroost, Celebrant the Just, King of the Dragons, plots his revenge. He has long seen the sanctuaries as prisons, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow his captors and return the world to the Age of Dragons, when he and his kind ruled and reigned without borders. The time has come to break free and reclaim his power.

No one person is capable of stopping Celebrant and his dragon horde. It will take the ancient order of Dragonwatch to gather again if there is any chance of saving the world from destruction. In ancient times, Dragonwatch was a group of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who originally confined the majority of dragons into sanctuaries. But nearly all of the original Dragonwatch members are gone, and so the wizard Agad reaches out to Grandpa Sorenson for help.

As Kendra and Seth confront this new danger, they must draw upon all their skills, talents, and knowledge as only they have the ability to function together as a powerful dragon tamer. Together they must battle against forces with superior supernatural powers and breathtaking magical abilities.

How will the epic dragon showdown end? Will dragons overthrow humans and change the world as we know it?

Dragon Captives (The Unwanteds Quests #1) by Lisa McMann
Identical twins Fifer and Thisbe Stowe have amazing yet uncontrollable magical abilities. They’re naturally more gifted than even their brother, Alex, the head mage of Artimé, could hope to be. But when they accidentally use their magic in the jungle of Artimé to strike down a beloved creature, Alex is furious and threatens to lock them away until they can learn to control their power.

The threat is soon forgotten, though, when Hux, the ice blue dragon, comes to Artimé bearing the horrible news that his siblings have been enslaved by the notoriously evil Revinir, ruler of the dragon land.

Seeking a chance to right their wrong and escape their brother’s wrath, Thisbe, Fifer, and their friend Seth sneak away to rescue the dragons from grave peril. Will their untrained abilities be enough to save the dragons — and themselves — when they come face-to-face with the Revinir?

❤️Last Day on Mars (Chronicle of the Dark Star #1) by Kevin Emerson
It is Earth year 2213 — but, of course, there is no Earth anymore. Not since it was burned to a cinder by the sun, which has mysteriously begun the process of going supernova. The human race has fled to Mars, but this was only a temporary solution while we prepare for a second trip: a 150-year journey to a distant star, our best guess at where we might find a new home.

Liam Saunders-Chang is one of the last humans left on Mars. The son of two scientists who have been racing against time to create technology vital to humanity’s survival, Liam, along with his friend Phoebe, will be on the very last starliner to depart before Mars, like Earth before it, is destroyed.

Or so he thinks. Because before this day is over, Liam and Phoebe will make a series of profound discoveries about the nature of time and space, and find out that the human race is just one of many in our universe locked in a desperate struggle for survival.

❤️Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere (Olga Series #1) by Elise Gravel
When Olga crosses paths with a weird creature and becomes the first kid to discover the species olgamus ridiculus, she is ecstatic! What does an olgamus eat? How does it poop? Why does its burp sound like the word rubber? With her trusty observation notebook and the help of a librarian, a shopkeeper, and some friends, Olga sets out to do science — learning the facts about her smelly, almost-furry pal and searching for him when he goes missing. The scientific method is the best way to discover anything!

Contemporary Reads

Baseball Genius by Tim Green and Derek Jeter
Jalen DeLuca loves baseball. Unfortunately, his dad can’t afford to keep him on the travel team. His dad runs a diner and makes enough to cover the bills, but there isn’t enough to cover any extras. So Jalen decides to take matters into his own hands and he sneaks into the home of the New York Yankee’s star second baseman, James Yager, and steals a couple of balls from his personal batting cage. He knows that if he can sell them, he’ll be able to keep himself on the team.

But like the best-laid plans — or in this case the worst! — Jalen’s scheme goes wrong when Yager catches him. But Jalen has a secret: his baseball genius. He can analyze and predict almost exactly what a pitcher is going to do with his next pitch. He can’t quite explain how he knows, he just knows. And after proving to Yager that he really can do this, using a televised game and predicting pitch after pitch with perfect accuracy, the two agree to a deal. Jalen will help Yager out of his batting slump and Yager won’t press charges.

However, when he begins to suspect that the team’s general manager has his own agenda, Jalen’s going to need his friends and his unusual baseball talent to save not only Yager’s career but his own good name.

Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes by Mary E. Lambert
Annabelle Balog’s life is a mess. Literally. Her mother refuses to throw anything away. Life gets even more complicated when Grandma Nora decides to clean house against the wishes of Annabelle’s mother. Now Annabelle, who can usually be found trying to sneak her mother’s collections to the nearest dumpster, must decide if some things are worth saving.
❤️Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter
Flora and her brother, Julian, don’t believe they were born. They’ve lived in so many foster homes, they can’t remember where they came from. And even now that they’ve been adopted, Flora still struggles to believe in forever. So along with their new mother, Flora and Julian begin a journey to go back and discover their past — for only then can they really begin to build their future.
Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams
Grandpa is Jack’s favorite person in the world. It doesn’t matter that he wears his slippers to the supermarket, serves Spam a la Custard for dinner, and often doesn’t remember Jack’s name. But then Grandpa starts to believe he’s back in World War II, when he was a Spitfire fighter pilot, and he’s sent to live in an old folk’s home run by the sinister Matron Swine. Now it’s up to Jack to help Grandpa plot a daring escape!
❤️The Goat by Anne Fleming
When Kid accompanies her parents to New York City for a six-month stint of dog-sitting and home-schooling, she sees what looks like a tiny white cloud on top of their apartment building. Rumor says there’s a goat living on the roof, but how can that be?
A Rambler Steals Home by Carter Higgins
Eleven-year-old Derby Christmas Clark is a rambler of the road. She travels year-round in an RV with her father and younger brother, selling Christmas trees during the cold months and burgers and fries during baseball season. Derby always did prefer grease splatters to hauling trees, so she’s excited that summer will take her back to small town Ridge Creek, the Rockskippers, her best friend, and her surrogate mom, June. But this summer, a tragedy has changed Ridge Creek — and as Derby tries to help those she loves, long-held secrets are revealed.
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
Eleven-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan — named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on Earth, his Earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover — from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.
❤️Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail
Gracie has never felt like this before. One day, she suddenly can’t breathe, can’t walk, can’t anything — and the reason is standing right there in front of her, all tall and weirdly good-looking: A.J.

But it turns out A.J. likes not Gracie but Gracie’s beautiful best friend, Sienna. Obviously, Gracie is happy for Sienna. Super happy! She helps Sienna compose the best texts, responding to A.J.’s surprisingly funny and appealing texts, just as if she were Sienna. Because Gracie is fine. Always! She’s had lots of practice being the sidekick, second-best.

It’s all good. Well, almost all. She’s trying.

Walk In Another Kid’s Footsteps

❤️Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold
For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises — some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.

But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry
Astronomy-loving Calliope June has Tourette syndrome, so she sometimes makes faces or noises that she doesn’t mean to make. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But it isn’t long before the kids at her new school realize she’s different. Only Calliope’s neighbor, who is also the popular student body president, sees her as she truly is — an interesting person and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public?

As Calliope navigates school, she must also face her mother’s new relationship and the fact that they might be moving — again — just as she starts to make friends and finally accept her differences.

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson
Matthew Corbin suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He hasn’t been to school in weeks. His hands are cracked and bleeding from cleaning. He refuses to leave his bedroom. To pass the time, he observes his neighbors from his bedroom window, making mundane notes about their habits as they bustle about the cul-de-sac.

When a toddler staying next door goes missing, it becomes apparent that Matthew was the last person to see him alive. Suddenly, Matthew finds himself at the center of a high-stakes mystery, and every one of his neighbors is a suspect. Matthew is the key to figuring out what happened and potentially saving a child’s life… but is he able to do so if it means exposing his own secrets, and stepping out from the safety of his home?

❤️Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kind-hearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so that he can concentrate on basketball.

They aren’t friends, at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find the missing Virgil. Sometimes four can do what one cannot. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms.

Love, Ish by Karen Rivers
My name is Mischa “Ish” Love, and I am 12 years old. I know quite a lot about Mars.

Mars is where I belong. Do you know how sometimes you just know a thing? My mom says that falling in love is like that, that the first time she saw Dad, she just knew. That’s how I feel about Mars: I just know.

I’m smart and interesting and focused, and I’m working on getting along better with people. I’ll learn some jokes. A sense of humor is going to be important. It always is. That’s what my dad always says. Maybe jokes will be the things that will help us all to survive. Not just me, because there’s no “me” in “team,” right? This is about all of us. Together.

What makes me a survivor? Mars is going to make me a survivor.

You’ll see.

The Pants Project by Cat Clarke
“My name is Liv (Not Olivia)… I’m not technically a girl.

I’m Transgender. Which is a bit like being a transformer. Only not quite as cool because I probably won’t get to save the world one day.”

Liv knows he was always meant to be a boy, but with his new school’s terrible dress code, he can’t even wear pants. Only skirts.

Operation: Pants Project begins! The only way for Liv to get what he wants is to go after it himself. But to Liv, this isn’t just a mission to change the policy — it’s a mission to change his life. And that’s a pretty big deal.

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.

But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.

Take Note of These Sequels

The Balance of Power (Zodiac Legacy Series #3) by Stan Lee, Stuart Moore
Steven Lee always thought that having superpowers would make him happy, make life easier, and make everything more fun. He was wrong. Steven, now 16 years old, has spent years living with the power of the Tiger. But now, on the edge of a catastrophe that could destroy not only Steven and his super-powered friends, but every Zodiac in the world, Steven will have to decide just how far he’ll go to protect those closest to him. Stan Lee, Stuart Moore, and Andie Tong bring the earth-shaking conclusion to The Zodiac Legacy!
Cavern of Secrets (Wing & Claw #2) by Linda Sue Park
Raffa Santana has spent all winter hiding in the harsh wilderness of the Sudden Mountains, and now it’s time to return home. Home, where his parents will help him fight back against the vile Chancellor who has captured and altered the wild creatures of the Forest of Wonders. Home, where Raffa’s beloved companion, Echo the bat, will recover from his mysterious sickness.

To get there, Raffa must make a treacherous journey across Obsidia. Along the way, he will discover a luminous plant that might be the key to saving the creatures stuck in the Chancellor’s grasp… if only Raffa can unlock the plant’s secrets and deliver the cure to the captive animals.

Jurassic Carp (My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish Series #6) by Mo O’Hara
When Tom and his best friend rescued Frankie the goldfish from his evil-scientist big brother’s toxic gunge their new pet came back as a BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH.

Frankie is good at saving the day, but can he become a real knight in shining armor during the medieval day reenactment joust?

Then, can the school survive two BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH? Find out when Tom’s evil big brother manages to clone a Jurassic Carp!

The Lost Staff of Wonders (Will Wilder #2) by Raymond Arroyo
Twelve-year-old Will Wilder is back to protect the town of Perilous Falls from another ancient evil — the fearsome demon, Amon.

When the storied Staff of Moses — responsible for summoning the plagues of ancient Egypt — vanishes from the museum in Perilous Falls, Will Wilder is suspect number one. Desperate to prove his innocence and stop the thief from unleashing terrors upon the town of Perilous Falls, Will must use his supernatural gift to locate the beast — but it’s nowhere to be found.

As the river runs with blood, sharp-toothed frogs surround his home, and clouds of swarming gnats choke the streets, Will must rely on his supernatural ability, everything he learned from his training, and help from his friends, siblings, and Great-Aunt Lucille to find the missing staff and unmask the hidden evil before time runs out for all of them.

Middle School: Escape to Australia by James Patterson
Rafe isn’t exactly considered a winner at Hills Village Middle School to say the least, but everything’s about to change: He’s won a school-wide art competition, and the fabulous prize is getting to jet-set off to Australia for a whirlwind adventure! But Rafe soon finds that living in the Land Down Under is harder than he could’ve ever imagined — his host-siblings are anything but welcoming, the burning temperatures are torturous, and poisonous critters are ready to sting or eat him at every step. So with the help of some new misfit friends, Rafe sets out to show everyone what he does best: create utter mayhem!
❤️The Mystery of the Painted Dragon (The Sinclair’s Mysteries #3) by Katherine Woodfine
When a priceless painting is stolen, our dauntless heroines Sophie and Lil find themselves faced with forgery, trickery, and deceit on all sides!

Be amazed as the brave duo pit their wits against this perilous puzzle! Marvel at their cunning plan to unmask the villain and prove themselves detectives to be reckoned with — no matter what dangers lie ahead… It’s their most perilous adventure yet!

Payback (Masterminds Series #3) by Gordon Korman
After a serious betrayal from one of their former friends, the clones of Project Osiris are on the run again. Now separated into pairs, Eli and Tori and Amber and Malik are fighting to survive in the real world.

Amber and Malik track down the one person they think can help them prove the existence of Project Osiris, notorious mob boss Gus Alabaster, also known as Malik’s DNA donor. But as Malik gets pulled into the criminal world — tantalized by hints of a real family — his actions put him and Amber into greater danger.

Eli and Tori get sucked into even bigger conspiracies as they hunt down Project Osiris’ most closely guarded secrets — who does Eli’s DNA come from? With a surprising new ally and another cross-country adventure, the four will have to work together to overcome the worst parts of themselves if they are going to end Project Osiris once and for all.

Tornado Terror (I Survived True Stories #3) by Lauren Tarshis
The Tri-State Tornado of 1925 was the deadliest tornado strike in American history, tearing through three states and killing 700 people. Almost a century later, the Joplin Tornado was a mile-wide monster that nearly destroyed the heart of a vibrant city. The author of the New York Times best-selling I Survived series now brings you the vivid and true stories of two young people who survived these terrifying twisters, along with fascinating facts about tornadoes and profiles of the well-respected scientists and storm chasers who study them.

You did it! You made it to the end of the list! 🎉🎈🎆 There must be at least one (or two, or three, or 20) from this booklist that made it onto your must-read book list — let us know which one in the comments below!

— Nancy

Nancy is honestly a little overwhelmed with how many awesome books there are to read. She recommends all authors treat themselves to a little vacation and hold off publishing anything for a month, please. Thank you.

Meet Nancy »

Books to Prep for Your Exoplanet Visit

February 26th, 2017 by

NASA made a big announcement this week: Forty light-years away (a measly 235 trillion miles) from our planet, there are seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a single star called Trappist-1. Three of those planets are in the habitable-zone, which is the zone around Trappist-1 that could possibly sustain water.

What does this mean? Well, we’re not quite ready to climb into our space ships, take a nice nap in hyper-sleep, and wake up on a new planet — but it’s possible that human beings will eventually visit these exoplanets. In fact, NASA released some (fake) travel posters showing off the far-future vacation destinations, like this one:

Take a planet-hopping excursion through the TRAPPIST-1 system, where you can see other planets in the red sky. Credit NASA-JPL/Caltech

In honor of this scientific breakthrough, here is a booklist featuring kids just like you (well, occasionally with super powers and hefty responsibilities) growing up in space. (Book descriptions from the publishers.)

Stupendous Science Fiction Standalone Novels

   

The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh
The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh

Pattie and her family are among the last refugees to flee a dying Earth in an old spaceship. And when the group finally lands on the distant planet which is to be their new home, it seems that the four-year journey has been a success. But as they begin to settle this shiny new world, they discover that the colony is in serious jeopardy. Nothing on this planet is edible, and they may not be able to grow food. With supplies dwindling, Pattie and her sister decide to take the one chance that might make life possible on Shine.

Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass
Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass

Joss is the seventh son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe. This means that his older brothers took the really cool jobs before he was born. All Joss gets to do is deliver pies. That’s right: pies. Of course these pies actually hold the secrets of the universe between their buttery crusts, but they’re still pies.

Joss is happy to let his older brothers shine. He has plenty to keep his hands full: trying to improve his bowling score, listening to his best friend Kal try (and fail) to play the drums, and exploring his ever-changing home: The Realms. But when Earth suddenly disappears, Joss is tasked with the seemingly impossible job of bringing it back. With the help of an outspoken girl from Earth named Annika, he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime and learns that the universe is an even stranger place than he’d imagined.

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Liam has always had trouble keeping his feet on the ground. Being 239,000 miles from earth doesn’t make it any easier.

Liam is too big for his boots. And his football strip. And his school blazer. But being super-sized height-wise has its advantages: He’s the only 11-year-old to ever ride the G-force-defying Cosmic rollercoaster — or to be offered the chance to drive a Porsche. Long-legged Liam makes a giant leap for boy-kind by competing with a group of adults for the chance to go into space. Is Liam the best boy for the job? Sometimes being big isn’t all about being a grown-up.

Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson
Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson

For Violet Marlocke, family is the most important thing in the whole galaxy. So when her father goes missing while on a hazardous job, she can’t just sit around and do nothing. To get him back, Violet throws caution to the stars and sets out with a group of misfit friends on a quest to find him. But space is vast and dangerous, and she soon discovers that her dad is in big, BIG trouble. With her father’s life on the line, nothing is going to stop Violet from trying to rescue him and keep her family together.

Splendid Series in Space


Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Zita the Spacegirl series

Zita’s life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of an eye. When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don’t even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita’s quest.

Starbounders by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson
Starbounders by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson
Starbounders series

Zachary Night has been waiting his whole life for this moment. Like his family before him, he’s finally headed to Indigo 8, a top secret training center where future Starbounders learn the skills to protect the galaxy. But being a Starbounder is no walk on the moon. No sooner has Zachary mastered the warp glove basics than a mission into space goes wrong and puts him and his new friends right in the line of fire. And when a plot to destroy Indigo 8 comes to light, Zachary will have to get back to Earth on his own and fast — before there’s no Earth left to go back to.

George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy Hawking and Stephen Hawking
George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking
George series

George’s parents, who have always been wary of technology, warn him about their new neighbors: Eric is a scientist and his daughter, Annie, seems to be following in his footsteps. But when George befriends them and Cosmos, their super-computer, he finds himself on a wildly fun adventure, while learning about physics, time, and the universe. With Cosmos’s help, he can travel to other planets and a black hole. But what would happen if the wrong people got their hands on Cosmos? George, Annie, and Eric aren’t about to find out, and what ensues is a funny adventure that clearly explains the mysteries of science.

Hunt for the Hydra by Jason Fry
Hunt for the Hydra by Jason Fry
The Jupiter Pirates series

The relationship between Tycho Hashoone, his twin sister, Yana, and their older brother, Carlo, isn’t your average sibling rivalry. They might be crew members together aboard the Shadow Comet, but only one of them can be the next ship captain. So when the Hashoones find themselves in the midst of a dangerous conspiracy — one that will pit them against space pirates, Earth diplomats, and even treachery from within the family — each sibling is desperate to prove his or her worth. The only trouble is, if they don’t work together, none of them may make it out alive.

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
Moon Base Alpha series

Like his fellow lunarnauts — otherwise known as Moonies — living on Moon Base Alpha, 12-year-old Dashiell Gibson is famous the world over for being one of the first humans to live on the moon.

And he’s bored out of his mind. Kids aren’t allowed on the lunar surface, meaning they’re trapped inside the tiny moon base with next to nothing to occupy their time — and the only other kid Dash’s age spends all his time hooked into virtual reality games.

Then Moon Base Alpha’s top scientist turns up dead. Dash senses there’s foul play afoot, but no one believes him. Everyone agrees Dr. Holtz went onto the lunar surface without his helmet properly affixed, simple as that. But Dr. Holtz was on the verge of an important new discovery, Dash finds out, and it’s a secret that could change everything for the Moonies — a secret someone just might kill to keep…

The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos
The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos
The Planet Thieves series

Two weeks ago, 13-year-old Mason Stark and seventeen of his fellow cadets from the Academy for Earth Space Command boarded the SS Egypt. The trip was supposed to be a short, routine voyage to log their required space time for summer quarter.

Routine goes out the airlock when they’re attacked by the Tremist, an alien race who have been at war with humanity for the last 60 years.

With the captain and crew dead, injured, or taken prisoner, Mason and the cadets are all that’s left to warn the ESC. They soon find out exactly why the Tremist chose their ship to attack: the Egypt is carrying a weapon that could change the war forever.

Now Mason will have to lead the cadets in a daring assault to take back the ship, rescue the survivors, and recover the weapon. Before there isn’t a war left to fight.

Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall
Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall
Mars Evacuees series

The fact that someone had decided I would be safer on Mars, where you could still only SORT OF breathe the air and SORT OF not get sunburned to death, was a sign that the war with the aliens was not going fantastically well.

I’d been worried I was about to be told that my mother’s spacefighter had been shot down, so when I found out that I was being evacuated to Mars, I was pretty calm.

And despite everything that happened to me and my friends afterwards, I’d do it all again. because until you’ve been shot at, pursued by terrifying aliens, taught maths by a laser-shooting robot goldfish and tried to save the galaxy, I don’t think you can say that you’ve really lived.

The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles
The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles
The Lost Planet series

If the same thing happens to you, this is my advice: ALWAYS CARRY DUCT TAPE.

This is what the boy is told:

– He woke up on planet Trucon, inside of a fence line he shouldn’t have been able to cross.
– He has an annirad blaster wound to the back of his head.
– He has no memory.
– He is now under the protection of a mysterious benefactor.
– His name is Chase Garrety.

This is what Chase Garrety knows:

– He has a message: “Guide the star.”
– Time is running out.

MiNRS by Kevin Sylvester
MiNRS by Kevin Sylvester
MiNRS series

In space. Underground. And out of time.

Christopher Nichols and his family live on a new planet, Perses, as colonists of Melming Mining’s Great Mission to save the earth. Dozens of families like Christopher’s have relocated, too, like his best friend Elena Rosales.

A communications blackout with Earth hits, and all of Perses is on its own for three months. It’s okay, though, because the colonists have prepared, stockpiling food and resources to survive. But they never prepared for an attack.

Landers, as the attackers are called, obliterate the colony to steal the metal and raw ore. Now in a race against time, Christopher, along with a small group of survivors, are forced into the maze of mining tunnels. The kids run. They hide. But can they survive?

Do you have a favorite book set in space or on another planet? Leave a comment below or send in a review!

— Nancy

Nancy would much rather travel into space than the deep ocean, but really, she’s perfectly content right where she is now. On her couch.

Meet Nancy »

November 2016 Reading List

November 7th, 2016 by

november-2016-reading-listHow is it possible that it’s already November? How are we going to eat Thanksgiving dinner when there’s still so much Halloween candy to devour? And speaking of things to devour — check out these new November book releases to get excited about!

Click on the book titles to see the full descriptions from the publishers:

The Must-Read List

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-the-original-screenplay-by-j-k-rowling

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling’s screenwriting debut is captured in this exciting hardcover edition of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay.

When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. Featuring a cast of remarkable characters, this is epic, adventure-packed storytelling at its very best.

Whether an existing fan or new to the wizarding world, this is a perfect addition to any reader’s bookshelf.

Race the Night by Kirsten Hubbard

race-the-night-by-kirsten-hubbardRace the Night by Kirsten Hubbard

Without you, there’d be no hope for the world. Because you are the whole world.

That’s what Teacher says, and 12-year-old Eider knows she’s right. The world ended long ago, and the desert ranch is the only thing left. Still, Eider’s thoughts keep wandering Beyond the fence. Beyond the pleated earth and scraggly brush and tedious daily lessons. Eider can’t help wishing for something more — like the stories in the fairytale book she hides in the storage room. Like the secret papers she collects from the world Before. Like her little sister who never really existed.

When Teacher announces a new kind of lesson, Eider and the other kids are confused. Teacher says she needs to test their specialness — the reason they were saved from the end of the world. But seeing in the dark? Reading minds? As the kids struggle to complete Teacher’s challenges, they also start to ask questions. Questions about their life on the desert ranch, about Before and Beyond, about everything Teacher has told them. But the thing about questions — they can be dangerous.

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

the-bone-sparrow-by-zana-fraillonThe Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

Subhi is a refugee. He was born in an Australian permanent detention center after his mother and sister fled the violence of a distant homeland, and the center is the only world he knows. But every night, the faraway whales sing to him, the birds tell him their stories, and the magical Night Sea from his mother’s stories brings him gifts. As Subhi grows, his imagination threatens to burst beyond the limits of the fences that contain him. Until one night, it seems to do just that.

Subhi sees a scruffy girl on the other side of the wire mesh, a girl named Jimmie, who appears with a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it herself, Jimmie asks Subhi to unravel her family’s love songs and tragedies that are penned there.

Subhi and Jimmie might both find comfort — and maybe even freedom — as their tales unfold. But not until each has been braver than ever before and made choices that could change everything.

The Dog, Ray by Linda Coggin

the-dog-ray-by-linda-cogginThe Dog, Ray by Linda Coggin

When my death came it was swift. Swift as a running horse. It wasted no time.

Daisy, age 12, has died in a car accident. She finds herself in the afterworld, which resembles nothing more than a job center. Her soul is being returned to Earth, but not as a human being — she’s returning as a dog. A dog who retains Daisy’s thoughts and pluck and is determined to get back to her parents and to get back home. What she doesn’t expect is that life as a dog named Ray would come with such worries — and moments of jubilation — as she grows to care for others in a whole new way.

Double Down (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series #11) by Jeff Kinney

double-down-diary-of-a-wimpy-kid-series-11-by-jeff-kinney

Double Down (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series #11) by Jeff Kinney

The pressure’s really piling up on Greg Heffley. The only thing he’s good at is playing video games, but his mother wants him to broaden his horizons by doing something — anything! — else.

When Greg finds an old video camera in his basement, he thinks he may have discovered just the thing to prove he’s got big-time talent. With the help of his best friend, Rowley, Greg hatches a plan to make a scary movie … and to become rich and famous in the process.

But is doubling down on moviemaking a smart plan? Or is it just a recipe for doubling Greg’s troubles?

Tales from a Not-So-Friendly Frenemy (Dork Diaries Series #11) by Rachel Renée Russell

tales-from-a-not-so-friendly-frenemy-dork-diaries-series-11-by-rachel-renee-russellTales from a Not-So-Friendly Frenemy (Dork Diaries Series #11) by Rachel Renée Russell
It’s a frenemy showdown in the eleventh installment in the blockbuster #1 New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries series!

Nikki Maxwell has the worst luck. Of all the schools she could have been assigned to for the student exchange week program, she’s stuck at North Hampton Hills, her arch nemesis MacKenzie Hollister’s new school. Even worse, there might just be someone at NHH who can out-MacKenzie MacKenzie!

At least Nikki can write about every moment of drama in her diary, so readers won’t miss a moment of it.

Can the queen of dorks survive a week at the head CCP’s new school or will it be a dorky disaster?

Books Featuring Kick-Butt Girls

Nothing but Trouble by Jacqueline Davies

nothing-but-trouble-by-jacqueline-daviesNothing but Trouble by Jacqueline Davies

Odawahaka has always been too small for Maggie’s big scientific ideas. Between her stuck-in-a-rut mom, her grumpy grandpop, and the lifetime supply of sludgy soda in the fridge, it’s hard for Maggie to imagine a change.

But when Lena moves in with her creative spirit and outrageous perspective, middle school takes off with a bang. Someone starts pulling the kind of pranks that send their rule-loving new principal into an uproar — complete with purple puffs of smoke, parachuting mice, and a scavenger hunt that leads to secret passageways. Suddenly the same-old football games, election for class president, and embarrassing stories feel almost exciting. And for the first time in her life, Maggie begins to wonder if there might be more to Odawahaka than she ever saw coming!

Humorous, smart, and full of small-town heart, Nothing But Trouble will have mischief-loving readers caught up in the cleverness and determination of two girls who can’t be held down.

Into the Lion’s Den by Linda Fairstein

into-the-lions-den-by-linda-fairstein

Into the Lion’s Den by Linda Fairstein

Watch out, Nancy Drew — Devlin Quick is smart, strong, and she will DEFINITELY close the case in this thrilling new mystery series for girls and boys from New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein

Someone has stolen a page from a rare book in the New York Public Library. At least, that’s what Devlin’s friend Liza thinks she’s seen, but she can’t be sure. Any other kid might not see a crime here, but Devlin Quick is courageous and confident, and she knows she has to bring this man to justice — even if it means breathlessly racing around the city to collect evidence. But who is this thief? And what could the page — an old map — possibly lead to? With her wits, persistence, and the help of New York City’s finest (and, okay, a little bit of help from her police commissioner mother, too), Dev and her friends piece the clues together to uncover a mystery that’s bigger than anyone expected — and more fun, too.

Threads by Ami Polonsky

threads-by-ami-polonsky

Threads by Ami Polonsky

To Whom It May Concern: Please, we need help!

The day 12-year-old Clara finds a desperate note in a purse in Bellman’s department store, she is still reeling from the death of her adopted sister, Lola.

By that day, 13-year-old Yuming has lost hope that the note she stashed in the purse will ever be found. She may be stuck sewing in the pale pink factory outside of Beijing forever.

Clara grows more and more convinced that she was meant to find Yuming’s note. Lola would have wanted her to do something about it. But how can Clara talk her parents, who are also in mourning, into going on a trip to China?

Finally the time comes when Yuming weighs the options, measures the risk, and attempts a daring escape.

The lives of two girls — one American, and one Chinese — intersect like two soaring kites in this story about loss, hope, and recovery.

The Cartographer's Daughter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

the-cartographers-daughter-by-kiran-millwood-hargrave

The Cartographer’s Daughter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Legends say that the island of Joya was once a place where songbirds sang in every tree and the islanders were free to come and go as they pleased. That was before the harsh-ruling Governor arrived, and ravens drove out the native birds. Now there are no songbirds, and the people are forbidden to travel beyond the forest that separates them from the rest of the island.

But for Isabella, the legends of her island home have always seemed like more than just stories. And when a series of mysterious events shakes the community, it’s Isabella — daughter to the island’s only mapmaker — who will lead a party of explorers into the forest in search of answers. As the group ventures deeper and deeper into the island, dark secrets begin to surface, and the legends Isabella has listened to all these years show signs of coming to life.

Under the Ashes by Cindy Rankin

under-the-ashes-by-cindy-rankinUnder the Ashes by Cindy Rankin

Eleven-year-old Elizabeth “Littlebeth” Morgan would rather race the boys, chase skunks, and read about bandits than act like a lady. When she whacks the head off a rattlesnake, her parents decide it’s the last straw. They send her to live with her maiden aunt Sally in San Francisco to be tamed and refined. The city proves to be anything but tame. Littlebeth wakes one morning to the crashing chaos of a massive earthquake and finds herself surrounded by wreckage. Then a fire breaks out and tears across the city. Now she must depend on her instincts and a few unlikely friends to find her way to safety. But does she have the spirit to survive in a city that’s broken and burning?

Snakes and Stones by Lisa Fowler

snakes-and-stones-by-lisa-fowlerSnakes and Stones by Lisa Fowler

Twelve-year-old Chestnut Hill’s daddy stole her and the triplets away from their mama. At least, that’s how Chestnut remembers it.

It’s 1921, and after nearly two years on the road with his traveling elixir show, Daddy’s still making no move to go back to Kentucky and buy Mama that house. So Chestnut is forced to come up with her own plan to get home. At night, when Daddy and the triplets are in bed, she draws up flyers with the name of the next town they’ll be traveling to. Before they leave each town and hoping her mama will see them, she nails up the flyers, leaving Mama an easy trail straight to her children.

When that doesn’t work, Chestnut is forced to try something bigger. But when her newest plan lands Daddy in jail and Mama has to come to the rescue, Chestnut discovers that things are not always as they seem. Written with a wonderful mountain hillbilly voice, Snakes and Stones has a mystery at its heart and lovable, strong, and complicated characters.

Sequels & Conclusions

Atlantis Lost by T.A. Barron

atlantis-lost-by-t-a-barronAtlantis Lost by T.A. Barron
Everyone has heard that the once-great island of Atlantis was destroyed… but who can tell you how it was created? The thrilling conclusion to the Atlantis trilogy by New York Times bestselling author T.A. Barron!

The veil between the Spirit Realm and the mortal world has fallen, and the evil lord Narkazan is primed to claim the magical Starstone for himself once and for all. But when tragedy befalls Promi’s newly reunited family, he knows that he can’t let Narkazan ruin everything his parents held dear. With his friends beside him, Promi battles Narkazan in the Spirit Realm, to ensure that the Starstone remains safe from Narkazan’s mortal followers. But how far will Promi have to go to keep the world and the people he loves safe?

This action-packed conclusion to the Atlantis trilogy will have readers railing against fate as they say goodbye to their beloved magical island.

Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities Series #5) by Shannon Messenger

lodestar-keeper-of-the-lost-cities-series-5-by-shannon-messenger

Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities Series #5) by Shannon Messenger

Dark schemes unfold — and Sophie’s loyalty is pushed to the limit — in this thrilling fifth book in the bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series.

Sophie Foster is back in the Lost Cities — but the Lost Cities have changed. The threat of war hangs heavy over her glittering world, and the Neverseen are wreaking havoc.

The lines between friend and enemy have blurred, and Sophie is unsure whom to trust. But when she’s warned that the people she loves most will be the next victims, she knows she has to act.

A mysterious symbol could be the key — if only she knew how to translate it. Every new clue seems to lead deeper into her world’s underbelly and the Black Swan aren’t the only ones who have plans. The Neverseen have their own Initiative, and if Sophie doesn’t stop it, they might finally have the ultimate means to control her.

The Traitor of Belltroll (Balance Keepers #3) by Lindsay Cummings

balance-keepers-book-3-the-traitor-of-belltroll-by-lindsay-cummings

The Traitor of Belltroll (Balance Keepers #3) by Lindsay Cummings

The explosive conclusion to Lindsay Cummings’s epic fantasy adventure series about a magical world at the center of the earth that New York Times bestselling author of the Seven Wonders series Peter Lerangis says is “filled with imagination and sneaky humor.” In this third book, perfect for fans of Brandon Mull and Lisa McMann, the Balance Keepers must fight a dangerous traitor in an epic battle of magic.

Albert and his Balance Keepers teammates have been called back to the Core for immediate action! There’s a serious Imbalance in the fantastical underground Realm of Belltroll. Without intervention, everything from New York to Yellowstone above could be swallowed by earthquakes. It’s clear the mysterious traitor who caused last term’s chaos is at it again, and with a vengeance.

Albert’s super-magical Master Tile helped fix the Ponderay and Calderon Realms in previous terms, but now it seems the Tile may be more trouble than it’s worth. Because if it’s Albert’s Tile the traitor is after, there will have to be a battle sooner or later, and only one of them can win…

The White Widow’s Revenge (Ferals #3) by Jacob Grey

ferals-3-the-white-widows-revenge-by-jacob-grey

The White Widow’s Revenge (Ferals #3) by Jacob Grey

The thrilling conclusion to Ferals, a fantasy trilogy that’s part Batman, part The Graveyard Book, and all high-stakes adventure.

Caw has defeated the dreaded Spinning Man and vanquished the Mother of Flies. But a new feral has appeared — one who intends to uphold the Spinning Man’s dark legacy. Known as the White Widow, this spider feral is determined to destroy Caw and bring Blackstone back into an era of crime and fear.

Now everyone Caw holds dear is in danger. And this time Caw may not be able to protect them.

 

The Magician’s Key (The Secrets of the Pied Piper #2) by Matthew Cody

the-secrets-of-the-pied-piper-2-the-magicians-key-by-matthew-cody

The Magician’s Key (The Secrets of the Pied Piper #2) by Matthew Cody
The second book in the Secrets of the Pied Piper trilogy finds Max, Carter, and their allies on Summer Isle battling new foes, relying on new friends, and fighting for stakes higher than ever, in a series New York Times bestselling author Adam Gidwitz called “a wild fantasy adventure.”

On the Summer Isle, siblings Max and Carter discovered the magical land where the villainous Pied Piper led the children of Hamelin centuries ago. But only Max made it back.

Now she is determined to rescue her brother. To do so, she will have to find the one and only key to the Summer Isle. That key is controlled by Vodnik, a dastardly magician and soul stealer who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

Meanwhile, Carter must overcome his own troubles back on the Summer Isle. He’s been separated from his friends and left with a very untrustworthy companion: the Pied Piper himself.

Struggling desperately to find each other, Max and Carter encounter a bashful trollson, a daring elf, a seafaring hobgoblin, and the ever-loyal kobold Bandybulb. As their paths converge, they prepare for the most important quest yet: to send the children of New Hamelin home.

Sugar and Spice (Whatever After #10) by Sarah Mlynowski

sugar-and-spice-whatever-after-10-by-sarah-mlynowski

Sugar and Spice (Whatever After #10) by Sarah Mlynowski

That’s the way the cookie crumbles!

Yum! Our magic mirror has dropped me and my brother, Jonah, into the story of Hansel and Gretel. If we’re lucky, we may even get to taste the cake-house…

But we didn’t count on accidentally getting trapped. The real Hansel and Gretel are on the run, and Jonah and I have taken their place. And the witch is making a kid casserole for dinner…

Now we have to:
– Avoid being eaten
– Pretend our dog is a cat
– Learn to make kale smoothies
– Befriend a talking duck

Or we may never make it back to our home sweet home!


Will you be rounding out your 2016 reading list with any of these books? Leave a comment below with the book you’re most looking forward to!

— Nancy

icon_nancyNancy can’t wait to watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in the theaters and then re-read the screenplay immediately after. And then see the movie again. And then read the screenplay again. Repeat.
Meet Nancy »

July 2016 Reading List

July 17th, 2016 by

July-2016-Reading-ListIt’s hot. Really hot. So hot that I’m not sure which will melt from the heat first: my laptop or my fingers. I’m talking about actual, physical heat, but July is also full of metaphorically HOT new book releases! (See what I did there?)

Whether you’ve taken sanctuary inside a cool, air-conditioned room or are braving the heat and reading outside (hopefully under the shade of a tree), check out these new books hitting shelves, your hands, and your (unmelting) eyeballs this July!

Click on the book titles to see the full descriptions from the publishers:

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Rehearsal ScriptThe Hottest Book of the Year

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts I and II by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts I & II (Special Rehearsal Edition): The Official Script Book of the Original West End Production is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

 

Note from Nancy: The official eighth book in what is arguably the best kids’ book series ever! Okay, this book is technically a rehearsal script for the stage play that’s running in England, but it’s still the official eighth story in the life Harry Potter. We can’t wait!

 

Exciting Sequels We Couldn’t (But Had To) Wait For

 

An Author’s Odyssey (The Land of Stories Series #5) by Chris Colfer

An Author's Odyssey (The Land of Stories Series #5) An Author's Odyssey (B&N Exclusive Edition) (The Land of Stories Series #5) by Chris ColferAn Author’s Odyssey (The Land of Stories Series #5) by Chris Colfer

The fifth book in Chris Colfer’s #1 New York Times bestselling series The Land of Stories!

In the highly anticipated continuation of the Land of Stories series, Conner learns that the only place to fight the Masked Man’s literary army is inside his own short stories!

When the twins and their friends enter worlds crafted from Conner’s imagination, finding allies no one else could have ever dreamed of, the race begins to put an end to the Masked Man’s reign of terror. Can the twins finally restore peace in the fairy tale world?

Serafina and the Twisted Staff (Serafina Series #2) by Robert Beatty

Serafina and the Twisted Staff (Serafina Series #2) by Robert BeattySerafina and the Twisted Staff (Serafina Series #2) by Robert Beatty

Serafina’s defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has brought her out of the shadows and into the daylight realm of her home, Biltmore Estate. Every night she visits her mother in the forest, eager to learn the ways of the catamount. But Serafina finds herself caught between her two worlds: she’s too wild for Biltmore’s beautifully dressed ladies and formal customs, and too human to fully join her kin.

Late one night, Serafina encounters a strange and terrifying figure in the forest, and is attacked by the vicious wolfhounds that seem to be under his control. Even worse, she’s convinced that the stranger was not alone, that he has sent his accomplice into Biltmore in disguise.

Someone is wreaking havoc at the estate. A mysterious series of attacks test Serafina’s role as Biltmore’s protector, culminating in a tragedy that tears Serafina’s best friend and only ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, from her side. Heartbroken, she flees.

Deep in the forest, Serafina comes face-to-face with the evil infecting Biltmore — and discovers its reach is far greater than she’d ever imagined. All the humans and creatures of the Blue Ridge Mountains are in terrible danger. For Serafina to defeat this new evil before it engulfs her beloved home, she must search deep inside herself and embrace the destiny that has always awaited her.

A New Class (Star Wars: Jedi Academy #4) by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

A New Class (Star Wars- Jedi Academy #4) by Jarrett J. KrosoczkaA New Class (Star Wars: Jedi Academy #4) by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Victor Starspeeder is psyched to be starting school at the Jedi Academy. His sister, Christina does not share an enthusiasm for Victor’s newfound educational path. She’s horrified that her annoying baby brother will be there to cramp her style.

While Victor means well, his excess energy leads him to spend a lot of time in detention with the little, green sage, Yoda. Yoda wants to channel Victor’s talents, so he makes the young Padawan join the drama club. Victor is not pleased. “Learn to control your anger, you must! Successfully manage their emotions, a good Jedi can. Box step and jazz hands … hee hee … young Padawan will!”

Victor will have to make new friends, get on his sister’s good side, learn to use the force, and hope the year’s drama club performance (“Wookie Side Story”? “Annie Get Your Lightsaber”?) goes off without a hitch!

Stars So Sweet: An All Four Stars Book by Tara Dairman

Stars So Sweet- An All Four Stars Book by Tara DairmanStars So Sweet: An All Four Stars Book by Tara Dairman

As the summer winds down and Gladys Gatsby prepares to start middle school, she is nervous about juggling schoolwork and looming deadlines from her secret job as the New York Standard’s youngest restaurant critic. When her editor pushes for a face-to-face meeting to discuss more opportunities with the paper, Gladys knows she must finally come clean to her parents. But her perfectly planned reveal is put on hold when her parents arrive home with a surprise: her Aunt Lydia, one of the only adults who knows her secret, fresh off the plane from Paris. Gladys and Aunt Lydia try one last ruse to fool her editor at the Standard, but even with her aunt’s help, Gladys just can’t manage the drama of middle school and a secret life. It’s time for Gladys to be true to herself and honest with her friends and family, regardless of what those around her think.

The School for Good and Evil: The Ever Never Handbook by Soman Chainani & Michael Blank

The School for Good and Evil- The Ever Never Handbook by Soman ChainaniThe School for Good and Evil: The Ever Never Handbook by Soman Chainani & Michael Blank

Wish you could go to the School for Good and Evil? Now you can! Join the ranks of heroes and villains who have walked these hallowed halls and mastered what it takes to be placed in their own fairy tales with The Ever Never Handbook.

Soman Chainani’s New York Times bestselling series (The School for Good and Evil, A World Without Princes, and The Last Ever After) comes to life in this handbook full of everything students need to learn in order to survive their own fairy tale — from dress codes and school rules to alumni portraits, kingdom maps, and much, much more.

Every year, students flock to the School for Good and Evil, ready to prepare for life in a fairy tale. The highest-ranked students become the heroes and villains of the fairy tales, while the lowest end up enchanted animals or plants (if they’re lucky, that is).

This handbook is a personal guide to help students to the top of their class — from surviving Uglification, to picking your own sidekick or henchman, to earning a part in the yearly school musical, and so much more. And of course, it’s in glorious full color and duotone because in the School for Good and Evil, very little is black-and-white.

Note from Nancy: This is technically not a sequel, but we’re glad to revisit the School for Good and Evil!

Brand New Must-Read Books

 

The Thing About Leftovers by C.C. Payne

The Thing About Leftovers by C.C. PayneThe Thing About Leftovers by C.C. Payne

Fizzy is a good Southern girl who just wants to be perfect. And win the Southern Living cook-off. The being perfect part is hard though, since her parents divorced and everything in her life has changed. Wary of her too-perfect stepmom and her mom’s neat-freak, dismissive boyfriend, she’s often angry or upset and feels like a guest in both homes. She tells herself to face facts: She’s a “leftover” kid from a marriage that her parents want to forget. But she has to keep all of that to herself, because a good Southern girl never yells, or throws fits, or says anything that might hurt other people’s feelings — instead she throws her shoulders back, says yes ma’am, and tries to do better. So Fizzy tries her best, but it’s hard to stay quiet when her family keeps getting more complicated. Fortunately, the Southern Living cook-off gives her a welcome distraction, as do her new friends Miyoko and Zach, who have parent issues of their own.

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker RhodesTowers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

When her 5th-grade teacher hints that a series of lessons about home and community will culminate with one big answer about two tall towers once visible outside their classroom window, Deja can’t help but feel confused. She sets off on a journey of discovery, with new friends Ben and Sabeen by her side. But just as she gets closer to answering big questions about who she is, what America means, and how communities can grow (and heal), she uncovers new questions, too. Like, why does Pop get so angry when she brings up anything about the towers?

VIP: Battle of the Bands by Jen Calonita

VIP- Battle of the Bands by Jen CalonitaVIP: Battle of the Bands by Jen Calonita

Mackenzie “Mac” Lowell is living a dream come true on tour with her favorite boy band. Spending time on the road with Perfect Storm hasn’t been what Mac expected, though — it’s even BETTER!

But with screaming fans and big-time recording sessions come haters and copycats, like Thunder and Lightning, a new band on the label whose first single sounds suspiciously like the song Perfect Storm’s guitarist wrote for Mac. As the two bands set out on a joint summer tour, more and more of Perfect Storm’s secrets are leaked to the public.

Where’s the one place all these lyrics and secrets are supposedly being kept safe? In Mac’s journal, of course! Can Mac — and her comic-book alter ego, Mac Attack — stop the leaks and nab the culprit?

With black-and-white illustrations and action-packed Mac Attack comics throughout, Jen Calonita’s VIP series is more exciting than a backstage pass!

Click Here to Start by Denis Markell

Click Here to Start by Denis MarkellClick Here to Start by Denis Markell

What if playing video games was prepping you to solve an incredible real-world puzzle and locate a priceless treasure?

Twelve-year-old Ted Gerson has spent most of his summer playing video games. So when his great-uncle dies and bequeaths him the all so-called treasure in his overstuffed junk shop of an apartment, Ted explores it like it’s another level to beat. And to his shock, he finds that eccentric Great-Uncle Ted actually has set the place up like a real-life escape-the-room game!

Using his specially honed skills, Ted sets off to win the greatest game he’s ever played, with help from his friends Caleb and Isabel. Together they discover that Uncle Ted’s “treasure” might be exactly that — real gold and jewels found by a Japanese American unit that served in World War II. With each puzzle Ted and his friends solve, they get closer to unraveling the mystery — but someone dangerous is hot on their heels, and he’s not about to let them get away with the fortune.

The Ministry of S.U.I.T.s by Paul Gamble

The Ministry of SUITs by Paul GambleThe Ministry of S.U.I.T.s by Paul Gamble

Memo: For Ministry of Strange, Unusual, and Impossible Things Operatives Only

A series of strange incidents have been reported in Belfast:

* Oddball kids are going missing
* There are several unconfirmed signs of pirates.
* A wild bear known to be a very sore loser at musical statues has escaped from the museum and is on the rampage.

Fortunately, our newest recruits, Jack Pearse, a curious boy skilled at logical thinking and seeing what’s actually there, and Trudy Emerson, the most dangerous girl in his school, are on the case. As per Ministry policy, they are currently being trained in the use of The Speed (patent pending) and will have full access to Ministry supplies (assuming they manage to navigate the paperwork without going insane), so we are confident that they will succeed in their mission to discover and foil this villainous plot.

Please provide all assistance possible, as a) they don’t know who they are actually up against, b) the world is much stranger than they realized, and c) they are only 12 and have to be in bed by 10 p.m.

P.S. – Could all Ministry operatives who have borrowed dinosaurs in the past two weeks please return them? We’re running low on inventory.

 
Are there any books on this list that look interesting to you? Will you be beating down your local bookstore’s doors on July 31st, 12 AM to get your copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Or are you planning a nice, quiet night in reading Stars So Sweet? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

— Nancy

icon_nancyNancy is too hot to think of something amusing to say here. She is now on a quest for some ice cream.

April 2016 Reading List

April 11th, 2016 by

Isn’t it funny that April is Earth Month, when the books being released are OUT OF THIS WORLD?

Let’s not kid ourselves. You’re not here for the bad puns or lame jokes. You’re here to see what’s new on bookshelves this month, and that’s something I can deliver! Here are the books I’m most excited about this month:

2016_April_Books

Click on the title of the book to read the official description from the book publisher:

Spaced Out (Moon Base Alpha Series #2) by Stuart Gibbs
Spaced Out_Stuart GibbsSpaced Out (Moon Base Alpha Series #2) by Stuart Gibbs

There’s nowhere to hide on the world’s first moon base. After all, it’s only the size of a soccer field. So when Nina Stack, the commander of Moon Base Alpha, mysteriously vanishes, the Moonies are at a total loss.

Though he may be just 12 years old, Dashiell Gibson is the best detective they’ve got. But this confusing mystery pushes Dash to his limits. Especially since Dash accidentally made contact with an alien and has to keep it a secret. With the fate of the entire human race hanging in the balance, will Dash be able to solve the mystery of the missing Moonie?

Read more about Moon Base Alpha in Karen’s review for Book 1: Space Case! »

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
Wild Robot_Peter BrownThe Wild Robot by Peter Brown

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. Why is she there? Where did she come from? And, most important, how will she survive in her harsh surroundings?

Roz’s only hope is to learn from the island’s hostile animal inhabitants. When she tries to care for an orphaned gosling, the other animals finally decide to help, and the island starts to feel like home. Until one day, the robot’s mysterious past comes back to haunt her…

 

 

 

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier
Sophie Quire_Jonathan AuxierSophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier

It’s been two years since Peter Nimble and Sir Tode rescued the kingdom of HazelPort. In that time, they have traveled far and wide in search of adventure. Now they have been summoned by Professor Cake for a new mission: To find a 12-year-old bookmender named Sophie Quire.

Sophie knows little beyond the four walls of her father’s bookshop, where she repairs old books and dreams of escaping the confines of her dull life. But when a strange boy and his talking cat/horse companion show up with a rare and mysterious book, she finds herself pulled into an adventure beyond anything she has ever read.

Read more about Peter Nimble in my review for Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes! »

 

Arf by Spencer Quinn
Arf_Spencer QuinnArf by Spencer Quinn

Why would anyone break into 19 Gentilly Lane? That’s where the Gaux family lives, and everyone knows they have nothing worth stealing. More important, the house is usually guarded by Birdie Gaux’s dog, Bowser, a large and handsome fellow with a big set of sharp teeth. Now Birdie is looking worried and Bowser is on the trail of something rotten. Who was behind the break in? Why is a girl with green hair asking odd questions about what happened to Birdie’s dad, a policeman who was killed in the line of duty years ago? Worst of all, why is the whole town starting to stink of limeade aftershave and CAT?!? The death of Birdie’s father may be a cold case, but Bowser can tell it’s heating up fast. Someone is coming after Birdie and her family, and Bowser must be ready to protect them from anything. Even that awful cat.

 

The Most Important Thing by Avi
Most Important Thing_AviThe Most Important Thing by Avi

Luke sees the ghost of his father but can’t figure out what Dad wants him to do. Paul takes a camping trip with the grandfather he’s just met and discovers what lies behind the man’s erratic behavior. Ryan has some surprising questions when he interviews his prospective stepfather for the job. In a compellingly honest collection of stories, multiple-award-winning author Avi introduces seven boys — boys with fathers at home and boys whose fathers have left, boys who spend most of their time with their grandfathers and boys who would rather spend time with anyone but the men in their lives. By turns heartbreaking, hopeful, and funny, the stories show us boys seeking acceptance, guidance, or just someone to look up to.

 

What books are you most excited about, or are you still catching up from January, February, and March new releases? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

— Nancy

icon_nancyRain or sleet, Nancy will never stop delivering bad puns.

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March 2016 Reading List

March 14th, 2016 by

This month’s reading list is brought to you by spring, which is just around the corner! Spring is a benevolent season which brings flowers, chirping birds, and exciting new books. It may not be warm enough to read outside, but at least walking to the library or bookstore will be much more pleasant!

Check out this month’s new releases — click on the title of the book to read the official description from the book publisher:

By well-known, amazing authors:

 

Forest of Wonders (Wing & Claw #1) by Linda Sue Park

Forest of Wonders (Wing & Claw #1) by Linda Sue Park
Raffa Santana has always loved the mysterious Forest of Wonders. For a gifted young apothecary like him, every leaf has the potential to unleash a kind of magic. If only Raffa’s cautious father would allow him to experiment freely, Raffa knows he could discover miracles.

When an injured bat crashes into Raffa’s life, he invents a cure from a rare crimson vine that he finds deep in the forest. The powers of the vine are stronger than Raffa could have imagined. His remedy saves the animal but also transforms it into something much more than an ordinary bat, with far-reaching consequences. Raffa’s experiments lead him away from home to the forbidding city of Gilden, where troubling discoveries make him question who he can trust… and whether exciting botanical inventions, including his own, might actually threaten the very creatures of the forest he wants to protect.

Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
With her irresistible urge to tell a joke in every situation — even when she really, really shouldn’t— 12-year-old Jacky Ha-Ha loves to make people laugh. And cracking wise helps distract her from thinking about not-so-funny things in her life, like her mom serving in a dangerous, faraway war, and a dad who’s hardly ever home.

But no matter how much fun Jacky has, she can’t seem to escape her worries. So one starlit night, she makes a promise to keep her family together… even if she has to give up the one thing that makes her happy. But can she stop being Jacky Ha-Ha, if that’s who she really is?

Summerlost by Ally Condie

Summerlost by Ally Condie
It’s the first real summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar’s father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what’s left of her family are returning to the town of Iron Creek for the summer. They’re just settling into their new house when a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike. Intrigued, Cedar follows him to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Soon, she not only has a new friend in Leo and a job working concessions at the festival, she finds herself surrounded by mystery. The mystery of the tragic, too-short life of the Hollywood actress who haunts the halls of Summerlost. And the mystery of the strange gifts that keep appearing for Cedar.

 

Thoughtful new reads by seasoned authors:

 

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth — and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home.

When Perry moves to the “outside” world, he feels trapped. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. As he gets closer to the truth, he will discover that love makes people resilient no matter where they come from… but can he find a way to tell everyone what home truly means?

Far from Fair by Elana K. Arnold

Far from Fair by Elana K. Arnold
Odette has a list: Things That Aren’t Fair. At the top of the list is her parents’ decision to take the family on the road in an ugly RV they’ve nicknamed the Coach. There’s nothing fair about leaving California and living in the Coach with her par­ents and exasperating brother. And there’s definitely nothing fair about Grandma Sissy’s failing health, and the painful realities and difficult decisions that come with it. Most days it seems as if everything in Odette’s life is far from fair but does it have to be?
The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly
Soledad has always been able to escape into the stories she creates. Just like her mother always could. And Soledad has needed that escape more than ever in the five years since her mother and sister died and her father moved Sol and her youngest sister from the Philippines to Louisiana. Then he left, and all Sol and Ming have now is their evil stepmother, Vea. Sol has protected Ming all this time, but then Ming begins to believe that Auntie Jove — their mythical, world-traveling aunt — is really going to come rescue them. Have Sol’s stories done more harm than good? Can she protect Ming from this impossible hope?
Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee

Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee
Sylvie and Jules, Jules and Sylvie. Better than just sisters, better than best friends, they’d be identical twins if only they’d been born in the same year. And if only Sylvie wasn’t such a fast — faster than fast — runner. But Sylvie is too fast, and when she runs to the river they’re not supposed to go anywhere near to throw a wish rock just before the school bus comes on a snowy morning, she runs so fast that no one sees what happens… and no one ever sees her again. Jules is devastated, but she refuses to believe what all the others believe, that — like their mother — her sister is gone forever.

At the very same time, in the shadow world, a shadow fox is born — half of the spirit world, half of the animal world. She too is fast — faster than fast — and she senses danger. She’s too young to know exactly what she senses, but she knows something is very wrong. And when Jules believes one last wish rock for Sylvie needs to be thrown into the river, the human and shadow worlds collide.

My Life with the Liars by Caela Carter

My Life with the Liars by Caela Carter
Behind the white-washed walls of the compound, life was simple. Follow the rules, “live in the Light,” and all would be well. Zylynn was excited to turn 13 and begin the work of bringing others into the light, to save them from the liars and the darkness of the outside world. But when she is taken away by a man who claims to be her father, Zylynn is confused and desperate to return to her home.

Zylynn resists her new life — until she finds small comforts like shampoo, the color pink, and strawberries. But as her thirteenth birthday approaches, Zylynn must make a difficult decision — to stay with the enemy or find her way back to the light. And neither may be what it seems.

One Wish by Michelle Harrison

One Wish by Michelle Harrison
The Spinney Wicket Wishing Tree can grant your heart’s desire — just wish out loud, or hang a message from its branches. It sounds as though the Wishing Tree is just a sweet old tradition, but Tanya is only too aware how real its magic could be.

Tanya can see fairies, and would love to meet someone else can see them too. When she meets Ratty and his cheeky fairy, Turpin, it seems at last she’s found them. But Ratty has a secret, and a dangerous enemy who’ll stop at nothing to get to him.

Tanya must use her one wish to save her new friend — but wishes should be used wisely

 

And last but not least, continuations of exciting series:

 

Death Weavers (Five Kingdoms #4) by Brandon Mull

Death Weavers (Five Kingdoms #4) by Brandon Mull
Cole is about to face his biggest peril yet.

Since arriving in the Outskirts, Cole and his friends have fought monsters, challenged knights, and battled rampaging robots. But none of that has prepared them for Necronum.

In this haunting kingdom, it’s hard to tell the living from the dead, and secret pacts carry terrifying risks. Within Necronum lies the echolands, a waystation for the departed where the living seldom venture.

Still separated from his power, Cole must cross to the echolands and rely on his instincts to help rescue his friends. With enemies closing in, Cole risks losing everything to find the one thing that might save them.

Legacy of Secrets (Kingdom Keepers: The Return #2) by Ridley Pearson

Legacy of Secrets (Kingdom Keepers: The Return #2) by Ridley Pearson
Disneyland, Opening Day, 1955. When five present-day teenagers known as the Kingdom Keepers find themselves thrown into a past that would make anyone envious, things don’t exactly work out the way they’d hoped. Finn, Charlene, Maybeck, Willa, and Philby open a door into a place and a time when the legend of the Disney parks is just starting. They are there, in 1955, to retrieve Walt Disney’s infamous pen that once saved the parks as we know them. But like all things Disney, nothing is as it seems.The early days of the Tower of Terror, the origin of the Overtakers (Disney villains), and the real power of magic unfold in an unexpected series of events that propel both the Keepers and Disney itself into a darkness no one saw coming. Along the way, the Keepers visit Walt Disney’s hilltop home, Disneyland’s opening day and reception, and find themselves separated from friends 60 years away. The three Fairlies, young women in Disney’s School of Imagineering, girls with astonishing powers of their own, have unmasked a long-buried secret that threatens the lives of their friends as well as everything Walt Disney worked for.
A Tangle of Gold (The Colours of Madeleine #3) by Jaclyn Moriarty

Cello is in crisis. Princess Ko’s deception of her people has emerged and the Kingdom is outraged: The Jagged Edge Elite have taken control, placing the Princess and two members of the Royal Youth Alliance under arrest and ordering their execution; the King’s attempts to negotiate their release have failed. Color storms are rampant, and nobody has heard the Cello wind blowing in months.

Meanwhile, Madeleine fears she’s about to lose the Kingdom of Cello forever. Plans are in place to bring the remaining Royals home, and after that, all communication between Cello and the World will cease. That means she’ll also lose Elliot, now back in Cello and being held captive by a branch of Hostiles. And there’s nothing he can do to help his friends unless he can escape the Hostile compound.

Worlds apart and with time running out, Madeleine and Elliot find themselves on a collision course to save the Kingdom they love, and maybe even save each other.


Which books are you most excited about on this list, or are you sticking to re-reading old favorites this month? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

— Nancy

icon_nancyNancy wasn’t ready for the warm weather, looked out the window and hissed at the bright sunshine, then retreated to her darkened room to enjoy the glow of her laptop. Do not be like Nancy.

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2016 Reading Wish List: January & February

February 1st, 2016 by

Now that 2016 is in full swing, we’re ready to tackle some new reading lists! At first, I thought I could compile ALL the exciting new books releasing within the next 365 days. Nuh-uh. Not possible. The list started getting too long and overwhelming. So… here are some exciting books released in January (playing some catch up) and coming out in February:

Click on the title of the book to read the description from the book publisher:

JANUARY

 

Bounders by Monica Tesler

Bounders_Monica-TeslerThirteen years ago, Earth Force — a space-military agency — discovered a connection between brain structure and space travel. Now they’ve brought together the first team of cadets, called Bounders, to be trained as high-level astronauts.

Twelve-year-old Jasper is part of this team being sent out into space. After being bullied back on Earth, Jasper is thrilled to have something new and different to do with other kids who are more like him. While learning all about the new technologies and taking classes in mobility — otherwise known as flying with jetpacks — Jasper befriends the four other students in his pod and finally feels like he has found his place in the world.

But then Jasper and his new friends learn that they haven’t been told everything about Earth Force. They weren’t brought to space for astronaut training, but to learn a new, highly classified brain-sync technology that allows them to manipulate matter and quantum bound, or teleport. And it isn’t long before they find out this new technology was actually stolen from an alien society.

When Jasper and his friends discover the truth about why Earth Force needs them, they are faced with a choice: rebel against the academy that brought them together, or fulfill their duty and protect the planet at all costs.

The Only Girl in School by Natalie Standiford

The Only Girl in School by Natalie Standiford When Claire’s best friend, Bess, moves away, she becomes the only girl left in her entire school. At first, she thinks she’ll be able to deal with this —after all, the girls’ bathroom is now completely hers, so she can turn it into her own private headquarters and draw on the walls. When it comes to soccer games or sailing races, she can face off against any boy.

The problem is that her other best friend, Henry, has begun to ignore her. And Webby, a super-annoying bully, won’t leave her alone. And Yucky Gilbert, the boy who has a crush on her, also won’t leave her alone.

It’s never easy being the only one — and over the course of a wacky school year, Claire is going to have to make it through challenges big and small. The boys may think they rule the school, but when it comes to thinking on your feet, Claire’s got them outnumbered.

The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency by Jordan Stratford

wollstonecraft-detective-agencyJordan Stratford imagines an alternate 1826, where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency!
 
Lady Ada Byron, age 11, is a genius. Isolated, awkward and a bit rude — but a genius. Mary Godwin, age 14, is a romantic. Adventurous, astute, and kind, Mary is to become Ada’s first true friend. And together, the girls conspire to form the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency — a secret constabulary for the apprehension of clever criminals. Their first case involves a stolen heirloom, a false confession, and an array of fishy suspects. But it’s no match for the deductive powers and bold hearts of Ada and Mary.

Read Karen’s review of The Wollstonecraft Dectective Agency »

Lizzie and the Lost Baby by Cheryl Blackford

Lizzie and the Lost Baby by Cheryl Blackford“Is it ever right to keep something that doesn’t belong to you?” That’s the question that haunts ten-year-old Lizzie as she adjusts to life as an evacuee in the remote Yorkshire valley of Swainedale.

Cheryl Blackford’s debut novel is set in England during World War II and told from the dual perspectives of Lizzie, a homesick girl evacuated from bomb-blitzed Hull to the remote Yorkshire valley, and Elijah, a local gypsy boy. When Lizzie discovers an abandoned baby, her dangerous friendship with Elijah is put to the test.

Will Lizzie be able to find the baby’s parents? And if she does, can she and Elijah remain friends in a world clouded by prejudice and fear?

Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

Paper Wishes by Lois SepahbanTen-year-old Manami did not realize how peaceful her family’s life on Bainbridge Island was until the day it all changed. It’s 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Manami and her family are Japanese American, which means that the government says they must leave their home by the sea and join other Japanese Americans at a prison camp in the desert.

Manami is sad to go, but even worse is that they are going to have to give her dog, Yujiin, to a neighbor to take care of. Manami decides to sneak Yujiin under her coat, but she is caught and forced to abandon him. She is devastated but clings to the hope that somehow Yujiin will find his way to the camp and make her family whole again. It isn’t until she finds a way to let go of her guilt that Manami can accept all that has happened to her family.


Secrets of the Dragon Tomb by Patrick Samphire

Secrets of the Dragon Tomb by Patrick SamphireMars in 1816 is a world of high society, deadly danger, and strange clockwork machines.

Twelve-year-old Edward Sullivan wants to become a spy like the ones he reads about in his favorite magazine, Thrilling Martian Tales, but he’s far too busy keeping his eccentric family from disaster. All of that is about to change. In the north, great dragon tombs hide marvels of Ancient Martian technology, and the villainous archaeologist Sir Titus Dane is determined to loot one.

When Sir Titus kidnaps Edward’s parents, Edward, his sisters, and their mysterious cousin set off in pursuit across the Martian wilderness. Together they must battle Sir Titus’s minions, dodge hungry pterodactyls, and escape fearsome Martian hunting machines in order to rescue Edward’s parents and uncover the secrets of the dragon tomb.

FEBRUARY

 

Ravenous by MarcyKate Connolly
Ravenous by MarcyKate ConnollyA witch has come to the city of Bryre. She travels in a hut that has chicken feet, and is ravenous for children. And once she gets what she desires, she never lets it go.

But when the witch captures Hans, Greta’s little brother, Greta refuses to let her have him. The two strike up a bargain. Greta will retrieve something the witch desires in exchange for her brother’s freedom.

To get the prize Greta must travel to Belladoma — a city where she was once held captive — which brings back terrible memories. With the help of a new friend, Dalen, a magical half-boy and half-horse, Greta embarks on the journey and tries to overcome both foes and her own weaknesses.

Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George

Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day GeorgeThe newest installment of the Castle Glower series!

Princess Celie and her companions have made it home safely from the Glorious Arkower, and everything is back to normal now that the Eye of the Castle is where it belongs. With more magical griffins to care for, Celie, Lilah, and Rolf have their hands full. But when the dangerous ancient wizard Arkwright escapes the dungeon and goes missing within the Castle, no one can rest until he is found.

Only Celie knows where he is most likely hiding — deep within the secret passageways behind the walls of their beloved Castle. With danger lurking behind every tapestry and under every trap door, Celie must find the wizard and save her family.

Pilfer Academy: A School So Bad It’s Criminal by Lauren Magaziner
Pilfer Academy- A School So Bad It's Criminal by Lauren MagazinerTroublemaking George has never heard of Pilfer Academy, a top-secret school for cultivating young crooks, until he’s kidnapped as its newest student. The teachers are kooky at best, and naughty does not even begin to describe his sneaky, smart, and morally bankrupt new classmates. Between disguise classes, cracking safes, and DIY gadgets, George becomes an expert bandit and finds true friendship with Tabitha, his new partner-in-crime. But everything is ruined when George comes to a shocking realization: He is just too good-hearted to be a thief!

Unfortunately, not thieving is not an option at Pilfer Academy, and “misbehaving” students face Dean Deanbuggle’s favorite punishment — the Whirlyblerg! In order to gain their freedom, George and Tabitha must pull the biggest heist the school has ever seen and reveal their true colors not as thieves, but as kind (and, okay, mischievous) kids.

Fenway and Hattie by Victoria J. Coe
Fenway and Hattie by Victoria J. CoeFenway is an excitable and endlessly energetic Jack Russell terrier. He lives in the city with Food Lady, Fetch Man, and — of course — his beloved short human and best-friend-in-the-world, Hattie.

But when his family moves to the suburbs, Fenway faces a world of changes. He’s pretty pleased with the huge Dog Park behind his new home, but he’s not so happy about the Evil Squirrels that taunt him from the trees, the super-slippery Wicked Floor in the Eating Room, and the changes that have come over Hattie lately. Rather than playing with Fenway, she seems more interested in her new short human friend, Angel, and learning to play baseball. His friends in the Dog Park next door say Hattie is outgrowing him, but that can’t be right. And he’s going to prove it!

The Last Boy at St. Edith's by Lee Gjertsen Malone
The Last Boy at St. Edith's by Lee Gjertsen MaloneSeventh grader Jeremy Miner has a girl problem. Or, more accurately, a girls problem. Four hundred and seventy-five of them. That’s how many girls attend his school, St. Edith’s Academy.

Jeremy is the only boy left after the school’s brief experiment in coeducation. And he needs to get out. His mom won’t let him transfer, so Jeremy takes matters into his own hands: He’s going to get expelled.

Together with his best friend, Claudia, Jeremy unleashes a series of hilarious pranks in hopes that he’ll get kicked out with minimum damage to his permanent record. But when his stunts start to backfire, Jeremy has to decide whom he’s willing to knock down on his way out the door.

The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price by Jennifer Maschari
The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price by Jennifer MaschariEver since 12-year-old Charlie Price’s mom died, he feels like his world has been split into two parts. Before included stargazing and Mathletes and Saturday scavenger hunts with his family. After means a dad who’s completely checked out, comically bad dinners, and grief group that’s anything but helpful. It seems like losing Mom meant losing everything else he loved, too.

Just when Charlie thinks things can’t get any worse, his sister, Imogen, starts acting erratically — missing school and making up lies about their mother. But everything changes when one day he follows her down a secret passageway in the middle of her bedroom and sees for himself.

Imogen has found a parallel world where Mom is alive!

There’s hot cocoa and Scrabble and scavenger hunts again and everything is perfect . . . at first. But something doesn’t feel right. Whenever Charlie returns to the real world, things are different, and not in a good way. And Imogen wants to spend more and more time on the other side. It’s almost as if she wants to leave the real world for good. If Charlie doesn’t uncover the truth, he could lose himself, the true memory of their mother, and Imogen . . . forever.

Pax by Sara Pennypacker; illustrated by Jon Klassen
Pax Sara PennypackerPax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather’s house, 300 miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be — with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.

Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own. . . .

The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd
The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie LloydEveryone in Emma’s family is special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians — every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream.

For Emma, her own dream can’t come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she’d do whatever it took to fulfill her destiny, and she doesn’t want to let her mother down.

But when Emma’s dream finally arrives, it points her toward an impossible task — finding a legendary treasure hidden in her town’s cemetery. If Emma fails, she’ll let down generations of extraordinary ancestors . . . including her own mother. But how can she find something that’s been missing for centuries and might be protected by a mysterious singing ghost?

My personal top picks are Pax by Sara Pennypacker and Fenway and Hattie by Victoria J. Coe because I’ve been in the mood for a good animal story, and The Last Boy at St. Edith’s is next on my list after those two. Private school! Boy vs. Girls! Hijinks! Yaaasssss!

Which books are you most excited about? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

— Nancy

icon_nancyNancy has never had a dog, unless you count fake-in-her-mind-adopting all the fictional dogs she’s read about (Kipluck from The Fourth Grade Wizards, White Fang, Wolf from The Wolfling, and of course, Ribsy).

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Romance Books You’ll Like-Like-Like!

February 10th, 2015 by

heartA long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. Karen and Nancy put together a book list for romance titles!

Wait, it was definitely still in this local galaxy. But it was a rather long time ago, so I thought I’d give the list an update! Check out these fun books involving romance:

Okay, so there are 20 books on this list and I know that’s a lot, but don’t feel like you have to read them all before Valentine’s Day  romance and crush-worthy books are great all year-round! Have you read any of these books and fallen in love with them? Leave a review below!

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Before being published, your submission will be reviewed. It will be checked to see that it does not contain any inappropriate language or personal information. By sending us your submission, you are giving Kidsmomo permission to edit, promote, and put it up on our site and/or read it in its entirety in our podcast. However, because lots of kids send us submissions, we won't be able to publish all of the submissions that we receive. Also, it's really important to send us only your own writing and not anything that you copied from somewhere else. Thank you.

 Nancy

icon_nancyNancy loves reading about love. Book idea: A book about a girl writing a blog entry about a girl who loves reading about love.

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