Sunday, July 12, 2020

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Guest Post From Deva Fagan!



Hi, everyone! Today I'm pleased to have a guest post from Deva Fagan, the author of multiple MG novels, including the recently released Rival Magic, and the upcoming 2021 release, Nightingale.

Here we go! :)

Witchcraft and Wizardry

There’s something endlessly fascinating about the idea of learning magic. Of being summoned by owl post to enroll in a secret magical school. Or studying grimoires instead of geography and practicing flying charms for homework. 

If you love stories about witchcraft and wizardry, you’re probably pretty familiar with the most famous of all: Harry Potter. But there are many more wonderful, magical books about other young witches and wizards out there. Here are some of my favorites!


Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones
This might well be the very first “boarding school with witches” book I ever read. As a warning, the school here is definitely NOT Hogwarts! Every time I read it I shudder at the descriptions of the horrible meals the characters have to eat! But even so, this is a tremendously fun and funny story, with a cast of characters who feel utterly real and spectacularly flawed. Set at a boarding school in an alternate world in which the law proclaims all witches must be burned, the story opens with an anonymous note that warns someone in the class is a witch! As it turns out, there may in fact be more than one…


Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
This contemporary fantasy tells the story of Sunny, a twelve-year-old albino girl who returned to Nigeria, the land of her birth, a few years earlier, after living most of her life in the US. Bullied and teased for he, she makes friends with other outcasts, and discovers that like them, she possesses magical abilities. Training in secret, Sunny must unite with her new friends to thwart a villain who preys on the children of her town. I loved the vivid, dynamic setting of this story, and the way that “Leopard People” like Sunny valued knowledge itself so highly that it becomes a literal form of currency. 



Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano
In this adorable contemporary fantasy, eleven-year-old Leo discovers her mother and older sisters have been hiding the fact that they are bruja--latinx witches--who use their culinary magic to enchant the various delectable treats produced by the family bakery. And once she finds that out, Leo certainly isn’t going to wait any longer to claim her own magical heritage, even if it means going behind her family’s back to do it. Full of sweets, spells gone astray, friendship, family and sisterhood! 


Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julia Abe
This book won’t be out until August 4th, 2020, but it is one of my most-anticipated books of the summer and sounds perfect for readers looking for a magical, witchy read. Eva is a witch with only “a pinch” of magic, who must nevertheless save a village from a perilous storm in order to prove herself worthy and avoid losing her powers forever. Also, isn’t that just the most beautiful cover?

And finally, here’s my own contribution!


Rival Magic by Deva Fagan
Antonia may not be the most powerful wizard the world has ever seen, but she's worked hard to win her place as apprentice to renowned sorcerer Master Betrys. Unfortunately, even her best dancing turnip charm might not be enough when Moppe the scullery maid turns out to be a magical prodigy. Now that Betrys has taken Moppe on as a second apprentice, Antonia’s path to wizarding just got a bit more complicated. But when Betrys is accused of treason, Antonia and Moppe are forced to go on the run. To prove their master's innocence--and their own--the rivals must become allies. As their island province teeters on the brink of rebellion, they’ll face ancient spells, vengeful mermaids, enchanted turnips, voice-stealing forests, and one insatiable sea monster.

So there you have it, five middle grade novels featuring young witches or wizards! I know there are so many more out there, so if you have a favorite I didn’t mention, please share it in the comments!

Thanks to this post, I just added a few books to my TBR list! :)

Thank you to Deva Fagan for participating in this event! :)




Author Bio: Deva Fagan is the author of Rival Magic, Circus Galacticus and other books for young readers. She lives in Maine with her husband and her dog. When she’s not writing she spends her time reading, playing video games, doing geometry, and drinking copious amounts of tea. You can find her at www.devafagan.com, on Instagram and on Twitter

Here Are A Few Links:


Saturday, July 11, 2020

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Interview With Mae Respicio!



Hi, everyone! Today I'm happy to present an interview with Mae Respicio, the author of The House That Lou Built, and the recently released Any Day With You.

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please tell us a little about Any Day With You?
I’d love to! ANY DAY WITH YOU is all about a 12-year-old Filipina American girl named Kaia who makes a movie for a film contest hoping that if she wins, she’ll stop her great-grandpa from moving back to his homeland permanently. It’s a bright and tender story around family, friendship, creativity, and navigating change.

What was the inspiration for this book? 
I put everything I adore into this book—creative maker-kids, Filipino folklore, loving families, strong friendships, and a summery beach! It was a huge joy to weave details of things I’m very familiar or know very intimately into Kaia’s coming-of-age story.

Random Question! Do you listen to music while you write?
Whenever I hear of writers who work while listening to music I wonder: “How?!” During my first drafts I’m only able to write in silence, which means in a quiet room, sometimes with noise cancelling headphones or even a fan running to get some white ambient noise going… but I’m up for music any other time! When I’m in the editing stage, that’s normally when I’m able to write in spaces that aren’t so quiet, like cafes.

If you're able to talk about it, what are you currently working on?
My next book comes out in summer 2021 and it’s about a boy named Alex and some savvy sixth graders who start a slime ring at school. The story also centers on Alex’s relationship with his dad and what it means to stay true to yourself.
  
This sounds good! :)

What are some of your favorite MG books you've read? And what are some that you're looking forward to reading?
I’m excited to read A DOG FRIENDLY TOWN by Josephine Cameron, A PLACE AT THE TABLE by Laura Shovan and Saadia Faruqui, and FLY ON THE WALL by Remy Lai. These are just a few—2020 readers are lucky because there are a ton of great middle grade books coming out!

I agree, there are a lot of great MG books releasing this year! :)

Thank you to Mae Respicio for participating in this event! :)


Author Bio: Mae is author of the middle grade novels THE HOUSE THAT LOU BUILT (out now), ANY DAY WITH YOU (out now), and EVERYTHING STARTS WITH NOTHING (2021). She is the past recipient of a PEN Emerging Voices Fellowship and has been a writer-in-residence at Hedgebrook and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Her writing & photography have been published in places like Pregnancy Magazine, Working Mother Magazine, Patagonia, Pottery Barn Kids, Red Tricycle and The Bigger the Better the Tighter the Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image, and Other Hazards of Being Female (Seal Press), and she worked with the Filipino-American community of Los Angeles to edit the nonfiction book Images of America: Filipinos in Los Angeles (Arcadia Publishing). Mae and her family live in the suburban wild of Northern California.  

Here Are A Few Links:


Friday, July 10, 2020

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Interview With Nancy J. Cavanaugh!



Hi, everyone! Today I'm pleased to present an interview with Nancy J. Cavanaugh, author of multiple MG books, including her newest, When I Hit the Road.

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please tell us a little about When I Hit the Road?
 When I Hit the Road is the story of Samantha’s madcap road trip with a karaoke-loving grandma and a wild summer of memories that will last a lifetime. The entire story is told through Sam’s “Dear Me” Journal – the notebook where she records every mishap of what turns out to be a zany adventure for her older, future self. It’s funny, heartfelt, and uplifting. 
  
Karaoke is mentioned in the summary for the book! If you had to sing a karaoke song, what song would you sing?
 That’s a tough one! It might be a tie between “Copacabana” by Barry Manilow and maybe “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. The truth is there are TONS of songs I’d love to sing. My problem? Or maybe I should say the problem for anyone within earshot of me singing is the fact that I have a HORRIBLE voice.  Ask my teenage daughter. When I sing in the car, she says, “Mom, you’re way off pitch!” But I sing anyway because I love music, and one of the ways I enjoy it most is by singing. 
 
Both fun choices! :)

Random Question! What is your favorite kind of pizza?
 That’s an easy one. If it’s thin crust, cheese and sausage. If it’s deep dish, just cheese. I also love Bacino’s stuffed spinach. Pizza is on the menu at our house at least once a week. Hands down, it’s my favorite food!
 
Those sound good! :)

If you're able to talk about it, what are you currently working on?
 I have two projects in the very, very early stages. One is an early reader series with a main character and a pet dog. I’ve never written in this genre, so it’s fun to be creative and try something new. The other project is another middle grade book. I envision that book being a kind of hometown adventure story with a girl main character and two boys as important secondary characters. I can’t divulge many details at this point because I don’t know many details about either project yet. They are both still quite fuzzy in my mind and need a lot of fleshing out. I also can’t share many details because when I’m working on something new, and I haven’t yet finished a rough draft, I can’t talk about it too much or it loses some of its magic and allure.

What are some of your favorite MG books you've read? And what are some that you're looking forward to reading?
 One of my very favorite books is The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo. I love it because it’s such a unique story with several layers of meaning and absolutely beautiful figurative language. I’ve read the book aloud several times to students when I was a teacher and librarian, and I love how the words sound when I read the book that way. Another favorite is an oldie but goodie – The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. I love this book because the story is so simple and yet amazingly powerful. The last favorite I’ll mention is What I Believe by Norma Fox Mazer. It’s written in free verse poetry, and the entire story is told in very few words. It is absolutely, exceptional writing!
 
A book I’m looking forward to reading is The One and Only Bob by K.A. Applegate. I loved The One and Only Ivan, and this one looks just as good.

I actually haven't read any of these, but they all sound good! :)

Thank you to Nancy J. Cavanaugh for participating in this event! :)


Author Bio: Nancy J. Cavanaugh is the acclaimed author of Always, Abigail, a Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee, and This Journal Belongs to Ratchet, a Florida Book Award winner, an NCTE Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts Award winner, and a nominee for numerous state awards.

Here Are A Few Links:


Thursday, July 9, 2020

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Guest Post From Jennie Englund!



Hi, everyone! Today I'm happy to present a guest post about writing a complicated villain, from Jennie Englund, the author of Taylor Before and After

Here we go! :)

Thank you for having me here, Jessica!

Today, I’m excited to share why and how to create and adore a complicated villain. I had so much fun crafting the complex antagonist Brielle Branson in my upper-middle grade novel, Taylor Before and After (MacMillan). I hope what I’ve learned will help authors and readers dig deeper into the nemesis, getting more out of main character and plot!
First off, straight up, the villain is NOT simple. She has depth and detail, is as rich and fully-flushed as the MC, to play up tension and arc. If the MC has a favorite drink, for example, what is the antagonist’s favorite drink? This can be wildly different—or wildly similar! Also, it can fluctuate. 

The enemy has a backstory. And hoo-wee, that backstory is SOMETHING! It is far-reaching—into economics, family dynamics, history, psychology. She has distinct dialogue, and her own world, that’s revealed a little at a time. In Taylor Before and After, the reader sees otherwise-flawless Brielle’s locker as a huge mess, with random objects that show who she really is: a DIET Coke, a detention slip, an excess of consumption. What does that say about her? 

And, that backstory spurs her motivation. Often, villains are motivated by revenge or power. Brielle is driven by both of those, and also by desperation. “She always has some kind of agenda.” She’s on her own, and has to protect herself. That’s why she comes up with the cut-throat game, when really, all she wants…is the truth.  What does your villain want? What is her method getting it? Does she win or lose?

She has secret powers to get what she wants. And those powers render the MC immobile. The last scene I wrote for Taylor is actually toward the front. It’s during lunch, where Brielle plays on Taylor’s weakness by pressuring her to prank an undeserving victim. That’s something Taylor never would’ve done on her own. But her logic is no match for Brielle’s ‘magic’.

We sure love to hate her. Maybe she’s mean. Ruthless. Wicked. Scary. Or maaaayyyybe, it’s more about us as the reader. Are we jealous of her strength and position? Are we afraid we see ourselves in her? The villain has the freedom we’d love to have--to say and play out things we WISH we could.

She’s vulnerable. Oh, yes. Her stakes are high. They depend on her SURVIVAL. She has A LOT to lose. So things can get messy. With Brielle, if you’re not with her, you’re against her. 

As plot moves, the reader can see cracks in her foundation. For Brielle, this means security. The image of her seemingly tight, wealthy, ideal family begins to fall apart. One really great way to show undoing is through social media: Brielle’s sister posts a picture of herself hugging her knees, blue filter. One picture up-ends everything. 

Those cracks lead to her inevitable demise. SHEESH! It all unravels, and the villain goes DOWN. Bystanders watch. Headlines happen. It’s epic, because the greater the height, the farther the fall. Our once-mighty villain is reduced to nothing. Literally. Remember the Wicked Witch of the West who melted into a puddle? Perhaps, the villain’s very worst fear come true. 

Still, the audience has compassion when that weakness is exposed. There’s just something about seeing the nemesis go down that’s not ALL fun. Because she was complicated, right? So, the reader has all kinds of feels: triumph, vengeance, relief—also sadness, loss, and the reason we read: empathy!

Because all along, the reader could relate. We’ve seen the villain before. We’ve KNOWN her. We’ve BEEN her. We’ve been her target. She’s gotten us to do things, to say things, we otherwise wouldn’t.  

By the end, the villain could have her own sequel. She really is THAT fascinating! After the MC’s story ends, what happens to the villain? Because if the reader has learned anything, it’s that she’s not down for long. The antagonist will rise up, stronger and more powerful than she ever was. And that will be quite a reckoning. 

**wiggles fingers** 

Bahahahaha….

Thanks so much for exploring the ins and outs of creating a meaningful foe with me! 

That was a really informative guest post to read! And I definitely agree, a well written villain can be very fascinating to read about! Thank you for participating in this event! :)



Author Bio: National Endowment of the Humanities fellow Jennie Englund teaches research writing and communication to firefighters in Oregon. Taylor Before and After is her first book. 

Here Are A Few Links:


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Interview With Jen Calonita!




Hi, everyone! We are at the second day of Yay For Middle Grade Books! Today I'm pleased to present an interview with Jen Calonita, the author of multiple YA and Middle Grade books, most recently Cursed, which is the final book in the Fairy Tale Reform series, and the upcoming MG book, The Retake, which releases in December.

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please tell us a little about Cursed, the final book in the Fairy Tale Reform School series?
It's all been building up to this moment! Rumplestilktskin and the wicked fairy Alva are attempting to cast a curse that will rewrite the history of Enchantasia and put the villains in charge of the kingdom. It's up to Gilly and her friends to stop him and figure out what to do about her younger sister who works for Stiltskin now. Plus, there is the normal stuff to worry about when trying to stop the end of the fairy tale world--homework!

You have another book coming out in December! Would you please tell us a little about The Retake?
The Retake is different from any MG I've ever written and I'm so excited to share it with readers! When a strange app shows up on Zoe's phone with all her pictures loaded onto it, she realizes she can time travel back to moments in her social media feed to try to fix things with her best friend. But, of course, time travel never goes the way we expect it to, does it?


Random Question! Do you listen to music while you write?
I love to have music playing while I work. Background noise actually helps me concentrate, believe it or not. I usually pick a station on Sirius XM depending on my mood. 

If you're able to talk about it, what are you currently working on?
I'm actually working on the first book in a new MG series with Disney and the first book is Flynn Rider from Tangled's origin story, which takes place when he's twelve. It's called The Tales of Flynnigan Rider and I'm having so much fun writing about Eugene Fitzherbert! I'm also working on the next Royal Academy Rebels book about reluctant Princess Devin and her friends. 

Oh my goodness, as soon as I read this answer I got so happy! Tangled is one of my all-time favorite movies, I can't wait to read it! :)

What are some of your favorite MG books you've read? And what are some that you're looking forward to reading?
We just ordered a bunch of MG books that everyone on their house wants to get their hands on! The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate is one we're really excited about and I preordered the final book in Soman Chainini's The School for Good and Evil series, One True King. I'm such a huge fan of this fairy tale series and can't wait to get my hands on that last book!

I haven't read that series, but I've heard such good things about it! :)

Thank you to Jen Calonita for participating in this event! :)


Here Are A Few Links:


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Interview With Diane Magras!



Hi, everyone! Today is the first interview of Yay For Middle Grade Books! 2020! I'm happy to present an interview with Diane Magras, author of The Mad Wolf's Daughter, and the sequel, The Hunt for the Mad Wolf's Daughter.

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please tell us a little about the Mad Wolf’s Daughter books?
The Mad Wolf’s Daughter and The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter are books about identity, choosing the path you want to take and the person you want to be, and to consider different perspectives while making your choices. Both of these books are fast-paced adventures that star a girl named Drest. In the first book, she wields her big brother’s sword as she travels across an unfamiliar countryside to rescue her brothers and father’s war-band from being hanged. She meets many dangers along the way but stands up for what she feels is right, challenging some of the things she’s always thought she’d known. In the second book, Drest on the run for her life, unjustly branded as a traitor, and struggles with what it means to be a hero and a legend and what it will take to stop running away. With villains-turned-heroes, enemies who become friends, and swordfights, chases, and escapes (with heart and humor too), these were a lot of fun to write.


What was the inspiration for the books?
I’ve always been fascinated with the medieval world, both the castles and swords of history and popular culture, but also how people lived. I wanted to combine history and medieval lore in a middle grade action-adventure, and that made my setting and formed my genre. I also wanted to tell the story of a girl with a sword who became the hero in the kind of story we’ve all heard that usually stars boys. But I wanted to make her experience as historically accurate as possible. There aren’t girls like Drest in history books, so I created a world where her kind of person would be plausible: the youngest child of a ferocious war-band of brothers who had been training her all her life (that’s how she developed the arm to carry a real sword)—and who believed in her. I wanted to depict that especially: a group of uber-masculine warriors who felt that their little sister was worth as much as they.

I loved Drest's relationship with her family in the books, and how much they believed in her! :)

Random Question! What’s your favorite color?
Green. Wait, no: blue. Both. (And if this were Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I’d have been tossed into the Gorge of Eternal Peril by now.) 

They are both good colors! (Though I must say I am very partial to blue!) :)

If you're able to talk about it, what are you currently working on?
I’m afraid I can’t share too much (apologies, but books can change a lot in the editing process) but it involves a contemporary setting in a slightly different world (okay, pretty different in one big way) with kids fighting monsters with medieval-inspired weaponry (but no blood). Add in big themes and some Shetland fiddle, and you’ve got a book that’s very dear to my heart.

What are some of your favorite MG books you've read? And what are some that you're looking forward to reading?
Some of my favorite books of all time are historical middle grade novels with vivid characters, tense action, and well-researched settings that wear history lightly and feel completely real: Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve and The Shadow Hunt by Katherine Langrish are my top picks. I’ll also always be in debt to Susan Cooper for The Dark is Rising since that was the book that inspired me to start my first novel when I was a young teenager. For more recent books, I absolutely loved Strange Birds by Celia C. PĂ©rez. And I’ve really enjoyed A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontorvat, The Witches of Willow Cove by Josh Roberts, and The Wolf of Cape Fen by Juliana Brandt (all three of which came out this year). One more I have to mention: Linda Sue Park’s Prairie Lotus, which I haven’t read yet, is at the top of my TBR pile.

Prairie Lotus sounds so good! I really want to read it! :)

Thank you so much to Diane Magras for participating in this event! :)


Author Bio: Diane Magras (pronounced MAY-gris) is the award-winning author of the New York Times Editors’ Choice The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, as well as its companion novel, The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter. All things medieval fascinate Diane: castles, abbeys, swords, manuscripts, and the daily life of ordinary medieval people. Diane lives in Maine with her husband and son, loves Scotland, and finds inspiration in history and very old stones.

Here Are A Few Links:


Monday, July 6, 2020

Yay For Middle Grade Books! 2020 Launch Post!


Hi, everyone! I am so happy to present the schedule for Yay For Middle Grade Books! 2020 today! There are so many amazing interviews and guest posts going up over the next few weeks, featuring 20 awesome authors. I can't wait for you to read them all! Now enough of me talking, I'm sure you want the schedule for the event!

Here we go!

July
6th Launch Post
7th Interview With Diane Magras
8th Interview With Jen Calonita
9th Guest Post With Jennie Englund
10th Interview With Nancy J. Cavanaugh
11th Interview With Mae Respicio 
12th Guest Post With Deva Fagan
13th Interview With Rajani LaRocca
14th Guest Post With Wendy McLeod MacKnight
15th Interview With Alexandra Ott
16th Interview With Lorien Lawrence
17th Guest Post From Anna Staniszewski
18th Interview With Julie Abe
19thGuest Post From Kamilla Benko
20th Interview With Tamara Bundy
21st Interview With Eileen Moskowitz Palma
22nd Interview With Debbi Michiko Florence
23rd Interview With Jen Malone
24th Guest Post From Janet Sumner Johnson
25th Interview With Lindsay Currie
26th Interview With Dee Romito
27th Wrap-Up Post

Don't you agree that list of authors is fantastic?! And I can't wait for you to read the posts! Be sure to come back every day for the next few weeks, so you don't miss any! :)

Review: One to Watch

Review: One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

Real love...as seen on TV

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers--and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition--under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She's in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That's it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She's in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men--and herself--for a chance to live happily ever after.
-summary and cover via Goodreads

Plot: I just want to preface this by saying I don't watch Bachelor/Bachelorette type shows. I totally get why people watch them, and if you love them, that's great! I've just never really been all that interested in them. The whole reason I picked up this book, was because it had a plus sized main character. So I didn't know if I would like the dating show part of the book or not. But I actually really did enjoy that part! And I really, really enjoyed reading this book! I loved reading about Bea's journey, and everything that happened. And can I just say how nice it was to read a book, where the main character was plus sized, stayed plus sized, and wasn't even trying to lose weight? As someone who is definitely not considered thin, it made me really happy to read a book where the main character is happy with how she looks. And I also wanted to mention how much I enjoyed how each chapter opened with text messages or articles or tweets? It was fun to get an "outside" view of what was going on during Bea's time on the show.

Characters: Bea was such a great main character! I liked how even though she was happy with how she looked, she had moments of insecurity, which was really relatable. And even though at the beginning I had a little bit of a hard time keeping track of who all the guys were (That might just be me, I have a little bit of a memory problem because of my Lupus.), by the middle I felt like all the guys had distinct personalities, and I honestly didn't know who she was going to choose. (Side note: Not spoiling, but I was very happy with the entire ending!)

The Cover: LOVE! I love illustrated covers, and to have a plus sized main character on one? Awesome!

Overall: This was an excellent book that I highly recommend! :)

I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Review: What I Like About Me

Review: What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume 

You know all those movies where teenagers have, like, THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES? This vacation is probably not going to be that.

The last thing sixteen-year-old Maisie Martin thought she’d be doing over vacation is entering a beauty pageant. Not when she’s spent most of her life hiding her body from everyone. Not when her Dad is AWOL and her gorgeous older sister has returned to rock Maisie’s already shaky confidence. And especially not when her best friend starts flirting with the boy she’s always loved. But Maisie’s got something to prove.

As she writes down all the ways this vacation is going from bad to worse in her school-assignment journal, what starts as a homework torture-device might just end up being an account of how Maisie didn’t let anything, or anyone, hold her back.

Jenna Guillame’s American debut features a plus-size protagonist with a compelling, funny, and authentic narrative voice. This relatable and charming novel about friendship, confidence, and self-love will draw readers in as Maisie’s realistic emotional journey unveils the importance of embracing one’s body and celebrating one’s self.
-summary and cover via Goodreads

Mini Review: As a plus-sized girl myself, I'm always on the lookout for books that feature plus-sized main characters. So as soon as I read the summary for this book, I knew I had to read it. And I'm happy I did! This was a delightful read! I enjoyed reading about Maisie's journey to feeling more confident, and being more comfortable being who she is. I liked that her family played a big role in the story. And I also thought the romance was cute! I would definitely recommend trying this YA book! :)

I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Top Ten Books From My Favorite Genre (Happy Anniversary TTT!)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl blog


It's Top Ten Tuesdays 10th Anniversary! I wasn't planning on posting today, because I had totally forgotten. (You may not have noticed, but I've been absent from the book world because of an unexpected illness relating to my Lupus. But expect a lot of posts in July!) But as soon as I realized that it was the anniversary of TTT, I knew I had to quickly write a post for it! The choice for this week was to revisit an old topic. I chose top ten books from my favorite genre! Now, I love reading books from all genres, but in recent years I would have to say Contemporary books have become my favorite. (Though Mystery and Fantasy will always be favorites, too!) I'm going to stick with just YA books for the sake of this post, because if I went into MG and Adult, this post would get waaay too long! I also know because I'm writing this post quickly, I'm going to forget some favorites. But this is a good look at ten of my favorite YA Contemporary books! Here we go! :)

Listed in no particular order.





















Have you read any of these books? What are your favorite Contemporary YA books? :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Want-To-Read Wednesday: Hiatus Week


Hi, everyone! Want-To-Read Wednesday is on hiatus, it will return next week! Thank you for your understanding!


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Want-To-Read Wednesday: Fantasy Books


Want-To-Read Wednesday is a feature on my blog, where every week I share five upcoming books I want to read based on the topic of the week. For more information about it, go here.

Hi, everyone! The topic this week is Fantasy Books. I have both MG and YA books included today, and I'm really looking forward to reading all of them!











Are you looking forward to these books? What Fantasy books are on your TBR list? :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Want-To-Read Wednesday: Picture Books


Want-To-Read Wednesday is a feature on my blog, where every week I share five upcoming books I want to read based on the topic of the week. For more information about it, go here.

Hi, everyone! The topic this week is Picture Books. While going through my TBR list, I realized I don't have many Picture Books on my TBR list this year. (If you have any recommendations, please let me know!) But while there may not be many on my TBR list, the few that are there sound absolutely great! I'm really looking forward to reading all of them!











Are you looking forward to these books? What Picture Books are on your TBR list? :)