Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

Amazon.com: Six Crimson Cranes: Six Crimson Cranes, Book 1 (Audible Audio  Edition): Elizabeth Lim, Emily Woo Zeller, Listening Library: Audible Books  & Originals

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim; narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
Listening Library
Release date: July 6, 2021
ISBN: 9780593398883

Princess Shiori, the impulsive and headstrong daughter of the Emperor, is almost seventeen, and she has a secret. She has magical abilities–in a kingdom where magic is forbidden. Then Shiori discovers that her stepmother is a powerful sorceress. Before she can warn her family, her stepmother casts a spell that transforms each of Shiori’s six brothers into cranes and sends Shiori to the farthest corner of the kingdom, unable to speak and disguised unrecognizably. Shiori must break the curse to save her brothers and the kingdom, but doing so will make her rethink everything she knew to be true. 

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick, Art by Juliana Moon

cover art

Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick, Art by Juliana Moon
Etch/Clarion Books  
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
ISBN: 978-0358299523

After her mom gets a new job, thirteen-year-old Karen moves to Greece to live with her dad Zed. Her new home and school, Mt. Olympus Junior High, seems a little strange, but fun, until people mysteriously start turning into stone statues.  With her new friends Athena, Artemis, and Apollo she decides to investigate before the finger can be pointed at her. Can Karen figure out the mystery of why her classmates are turning to stone and the secrets of her new home? 

Fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan will be interested in this fun graphic novel. With its simple and clear storyline, readers will enjoy the mythology as well as the mystery plot. In addition, the story of fitting in at a new school and making new friends (even if those friends happen to be Greek gods and goddesses) will be familiar for readers. 

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick, Art by Juliana Moon

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

The Mirror Season Cover Art

The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore
Macmillan / Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: March 16, 2021
ISBN: 978-1250624123

Latinx teen Graciela attends a party and is sexually assaulted along with a white boy she’s never met before. The boy has been drugged, so Ciela drops him off at the hospital before heading home, vowing to herself that she’ll forget everything that happened that night. Unfortunately, it turns out that forgetting the incident will prove to be difficult as Ciela discovers she has lost her talent for identifying which type of pan dolce the customers at her tia’s pasteleria want before they even know – the talent that earned her the nickname “La Bruja de los Pasteles.” She’s also noticing that objects around her are turning into mirrors, neighborhood trees are disappearing and the annual Santa Ana winds are conspicuously missing this year. To make matters worse, the boy Ciela took to the hospital is her school’s newest student and helping him might be the only way Ciela can start to get her life back.

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of That Full Moon Feeling by Ashley Robin Franklin

That Full Moon Feeling Cover Art

That Full Moon Feeling by Ashley Robin Franklin
Silver Sprocket
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
ISBN: 9781945509562

A witch and a werewolf meet on a dating app in this short, magical, queer romance graphic novel. Suzy and Jada attempt three dates with varying degrees of success. Each date sees something go horribly wrong, whether it’s fantastical villains—such as attacking skeletons and monsters—or more relatably, exes who haven’t gotten over them. The story ends openly, allowing readers to imagine a possible future (or not) for Suzy and Jada.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of That Full Moon Feeling by Ashley Robin Franklin

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Himawari House by Harmony Becker

Himawari House Cover Art

Himawari House by Harmony Becker
First Second / Macmillan
Publication Date: October 19, 2021
ISBN: 9781250235565

A young American, Nao, travels across the globe to attend school in Japan and to reconnect with her Japanese heritage. There, she discovers that her desire to fit in is complicated by her Americanness but finds a makeshift sense of belonging with other foreign exchange students Hyejung and Tina, who are also forging their own paths far away from home.

This coming-of-age story accurately captures the joys and pangs of young adulthood and the uncertainty of being caught between two worlds. Teens will find Nao, Hyejung, and Tina’s search for belonging, friendship, and identity both timeless and familiar. The art is at turns humorous and tender, and every character feels fully realized. A strength of this book is Becker‘s effective use of language (often phonetically described) to dismantle reductive and stereotypical ideas of bilingual speakers or speakers with accents. Instead, characters that speak in dialect, with accents, or with uneven syntax are shown to be just as deeply human, complex, and radiant as native or majority language speakers.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Himawari House by Harmony Becker

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

One Last Stop cover art

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston; narrated by Natalie Naudus
Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
ISBN: 978-1250803184

August Landry arrives in New York City with all of her possessions in five boxes. She’s 23 years old and her move to New York lets her escape the earlier years of her life which were spent working with her mother, an amateur detective, trying to track down August’s missing uncle. August moves into an apartment with Niko, a psychic, his girlfriend Mya, an artist, and Wes, a tattoo artist. August never had time for friends and fun when she was helping her mom, but she quickly becomes a part of Niko, Mya, and Wes’ chosen LBGTQ+ family. Then, August meets Jane on the Q Train. Jane isn’t like any other girl August has met before. Their relationship is full of the twists and turns of first loves. McQuiston asks the listener to travel along with them on a slightly sci-fi route, because, as August soon discovers, Jane has been stuck on this particular train since the 1970s.  

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Sunkissed by Kasie West

Sunkissed Cover Art

Sunkissed by Kasie West
Delacorte/Penguin Random House 
Publication Date: May 5, 2021
ISBN: 978-0593176269

Avery is spending the summer at a camping resort with her family, which isn’t quite the “adventure” her dad promised but does give her some much-needed space from drama at home. It also allows her to focus on discovering who she is and what she really wants, as opposed to what she thinks she’s supposed to want. Enter Brooks, the good-looking and slightly infuriating camp musician, who is also completely off-limits. They seem to have perfect chemistry, but Avery needs to remember that a relationship between the two of them would get Brooks fired, which would be devastating for him and his family.

Continue reading Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Sunkissed by Kasie West

Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

Beasts of Prey Cover Art

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray
Penguin Random House / G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 28, 2021 
ISBN: 978-0593405680

Koffi and her mother live with and work for the Night Zoo, caring for the magical, monstrous creatures within. When her mother’s life is threatened one night, Koffi accidentally unleashes a power she didn’t know she possessed and must run for her life. Meanwhile, Ekon, second son of a famed military hero, is desperate to prove to his brother that he belongs in the ranks of the Sons of the Six after a disastrous interruption to his final rite of passage. Koffi and Ekon meet by chance and each recognizes a potential path forward if they can locate the Shetani – a magical, murderous beast that has been plaguing the area for almost 100 years. Koffi wants to find the Shetani to sell it in exchange for freedom; Ekon wants to find the Shetani to kill it to prove his mettle as a warrior. Neither is honest with the other about their true motivations, but they will have to find a way to work together if either of them is to survive. 

Continue reading Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of The Leak by Kate Reed Petty and Andrea Bell


The Leak
by Kate Reed Petty and Andrea Bell
 
First Second / Macmillan
Publication Date: March 16, 2021 
ISBN: 9781250217950 

Middle school student Ruth Keller is an aspiring news reporter who questions authority at every turn. When she discovers a strange black substance on the banks of her favorite lake, she throws herself into an investigation. As the pieces of the puzzle start to come together, Ruth thinks she has all the answers, but this story is going to put everything she thinks she knows about journalism to the test. When the spotlight finally shines on Ruth, she is forced to consider tough decisions that may impact her reputation as a reporter and even her closest relationships. 

The Leak is a compelling title for younger readers with strong middle school appeal. The narrative is excellent at both showing and telling the reader how to evaluate information without sacrificing the story. While Ruth’s investigation is at the heart of the book, she is also navigating changing relationships with family, friends, and a possible romantic interest. She is dismissed and lectured to by some adults, and readers will relate to her frustrations when it seems like no one is listening to or respecting her.  

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of The Leak by Kate Reed Petty and Andrea Bell

Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Donuts and Other Proclamations of Love by Jared Reck

Donuts and Other Proclamations of Love Audiobook by Jared Reck - cover art

Donuts and Other Proclamations of Love by Jared Reck; narrated by Kirby Heyborne
Listening Library
Release Date: June 8, 2021
ISBN: 9780593398951

Oscar is coasting out his last year of high school.  After losing both parents as a child where he was born in Sweden, he is growing up with just his Grandfather, Farfar in the US. Not looking to attend college, his plans are to get his diploma and then take over the food truck he has been running with his grandfather on weekends and summers.  But as he works through his calm, ordered days, Lou, a whirlwind of an overachiever, steamrolls him into using his skills to cook up the mountains of leftover apples from the cafeteria in the name of reducing food waste. She upends the life he thought he wanted with enthusiasm.  When tragedy hits he realizes even the steadiest of plans can be blown apart.  

Continue reading Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2022) Featured Review of Donuts and Other Proclamations of Love by Jared Reck