I spy Fiction

Check out these fiction books that I saw today!!

Eve Mann arrives in Ideal, Georgia, in 1972, looking for answers about the mother who died giving her life. A mother named Mercy. A mother who for all of Eve’s twenty-two years has been a mystery and a quest. Eve’s search for her mother, and the father she never knew, is a mission to discover her identity, her name, her people, her home.

Eve’s questions and longing launch a multigenerational story that sprawls back to the turn of the twentieth century, settles into the soil of the South, the blood and souls of Black folk making love and life, and fleeing into a Great Migration into the savage embrace of the North. Eve is a young woman coming of age in Chicago against the backdrop of the twin fires and fury of the civil rights and Black Power movements. A time when everything — and everyone, it seems — longs to be made anew.

At the core of this story are the various meanings of love, how we love and most of all who we love. everyman is peopled by rebellious Black women straining against the yoke of convention and designated identities, explorers announcing their determination to be and to be free. There is Nelle, Eve’s best friend and heart, who claims her right both to love women and to always love Eve as sister and friend.

Brother Lee Roy, professor and mentor, gives Eve the tools for her genealogical search while turning away from his own bitter harvest of family secrets. Mama Ann, the aunt who has raised Eve and knows everything about Mercy, offers Eve a silence that she defines as protection and care. It is James and Geneva, strangers Eve meets in Ideal who plumb the depths of their own hurt and reconciliations to finally give Eve the gift of her past, a reimagined present, and her name.

When she was twenty-six and broke, Skye didn’t think twice before selling her eggs and happily pocketing the cash. Now approaching forty, Skye still moves through life entirely—and unrepentantly—on her own terms, living out of a suitcase and avoiding all manner of serious relationships. Maybe her junior high classmates weren’t wrong when they voted her “Most Likely to Be Single” instead of “Most Ride-or-Die Homie,” but at least she’s always been free to do as she pleases.

Then a twelve-year-old girl tracks Skye down during one of her brief visits to her hometown of Philadelphia and informs Skye that she’s “her egg.” Skye’s life is thrown into sharp relief and she decides that it might be time to actually try to have a meaningful relationship with another human being. Spoiler alert: It’s not easy.

Things get even more complicated when Skye realizes that the woman she tried and failed to pick up the other day is the girl’s aunt, and now it’s awkward. All the while, her brother is trying to get in touch, her mother is being bewilderingly kind, and the West Philly pool halls and hoagie shops of her youth have been replaced by hipster cafés.

The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.

Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly’s daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea’s line. Determined to save what’s left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador—to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back.

It’s 1997 and Missy is a cellist in an indie rock band on tour across America. At twentytwo years old, she gets on stage every night and plays the song about her absent mother that made the band famous. As the only girl in the band, she’s determined to party just as hard as everyone else, loving and leaving a guy in every town. But then she meets a tomboy drummer who is hard to forget, and a forgotten flap of cocaine strands her at the border.

Fortysomething Carola is just surfacing from a sex scandal at the yoga center where she has been living when she sees her daughter, Missy, for the first time in ten years—on the cover of a music magazine.

Ruth is eighty-three and planning her return to the Turkish seaside village where she spent her childhood. But when her granddaughter, Missy, winds up crashing at her house, she decides it’s time  that the strong and stubborn women in her family find a way to understand one another again.

Nadia Guerra’s mother, Albis Torres, left when Nadia was just ten years old. Growing up, the proponents of revolution promised a better future. Now that she’s an adult, Nadia finds that life in Havana hasn’t quite matched its promise; instead it has stifled her rebellious and artistic desires. Each night she DJs a radio show government censors block from broadcasting. Frustrated, Nadia finds hope and a way out when she wins a scholarship to study in Russia. 

Leaving Cuba offers her the chance to find her long lost mother and her real father. But as she embarks on a journey east, Nadia soon begins to question everything she thought she knew and understood about her past.

As Nadia discovers more about her family, her fate becomes entwined with that of Celia Sanchez, an icon of the Cuban Revolution—a resistance fighter, ingenious spy, and the rumored lover of Fidel Castro. A tale of revolutionary ideals and promise, Celia’s story interweaves with Nadia’s search for meaning, and eventually reveals secrets Nadia could never have dreamed.

Let’s check out Youth Fiction

Look at these lovely Youth Fiction books that I saw heading out to the stacks!

Mickey is angry all the time: at his divorced parents, at his sister, and at his two new stepmoms, both named Charlie. And so he can’t resist the ad inside his pack of gum: “Do you ever wish everyone would go away? Buy The Anti-Book! Satisfaction guaranteed.” He orders the book, but when it arrives, it’s blank—except for one line of instruction: To erase it, write it. He fills the pages with all the things and people he dislikes . . .

Next thing he knows, he’s wandering an anti-world, one in which everything and everyone familiar is gone. Or are they? His sister soon reappears–but she’s only four inches tall. A tiny talking house with wings looks strangely familiar, as does the mysterious half-invisible boy who seems to think that he and Mickey are best buds. The boy persuades Mickey to go find the Bubble Gum King—the king, who resides at the top of a mountain, is the only one who might be able help Mickey fix the mess he’s made.

Where there are ghosts, Cassidy Blake follows . . .

Unless it’s the other way around?

Cass thinks she might have this ghost-hunting thing down. After all, she and her ghost best friend, Jacob, have survived two haunted cities while traveling for her parents’ TV show.

But nothing can prepare Cass for New Orleans, which wears all of its hauntings on its sleeve. In a city of ghost tours and tombs, raucous music and all kinds of magic, Cass could get lost in all the colorful, grisly local legends. And the city’s biggest surprise is a foe Cass never expected to face: a servant of Death itself.

Ryan Hart loves her family and friends. She’s looking forward to summer vacation, spending time with loved ones, and her first trip to sleepaway camp! But when an unexpected camper shows up, Ryan finds it’s hard to share your best friend and harder to be a friend to someone who isn’t a good friend to you. She’s also waiting for her new sister to be born — and hoping the baby doesn’t ruin everything. The Hart family is experiencing a lot of changes, and Ryan needs to grow her patience in many ways, find ways to share the love, meet new challenges, and grow into the leader her mom and dad named her to be. This summer and the start of fifth grade just might give Ryan the chance to show how she grows and glows!

Pinki hails from a long line of rakkhosh resisters, demons who have spent years building interspecies relationships, working together to achieve their goal of overthrowing the snakey oppressors and taking back their rights. But she has more important things to worry about, like maintaining her status as fiercest rakkhosh in her class and looking after her little cousins. There is also the teeny tiny detail of not yet being able to control her fire breathing and accidentally burning up school property.Then Sesha, the charming son of the Serpentine Governor, calls on Pinki for help in defeating the resistance, promising to give her what she most desires in return — the ability to control her fire. First she’ll have to protect the Moon Maiden, pretend to be a human (ick), and survive a family reunion. But it’s all worth it for the control of her powers . . . right?

Samira thinks of her life as before and after: before the burning and violence in her village in Burma, when she and her best friend would play in the fields, and after, when her family was forced to flee. There’s before the uncertain journey to Bangladesh by river, and after, when the river swallowed her nana and nani whole. And now, months after rebuilding a life in Bangladesh with her mama, baba, and brother, there’s before Samira saw the Bengali surfer girls of Cox’s Bazar, and after, when she decides she’ll become one.

Sami loves his life in Damascus, Syria. He hangs out with his best friend playing video games; he’s trying out for the football team; he adores his family and gets annoyed by them in equal measure. But his comfortable life gets sidetracked abruptly after a bombing in a nearby shopping mall. Knowing that the violence will only get worse, Sami’s parents decide they must flee their home for the safety of the UK.

What fiction do I spy today?

Check these lovely books out…
Which one will you pick up today to read?

Widower Mukesh lives a quiet life in Wembley, in West London after losing his beloved wife. He shops every Wednesday, goes to Temple, and worries about his granddaughter, Priya, who hides in her room reading while he spends his evenings watching nature documentaries.

Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a list of novels that she’s never heard of before. Intrigued, and a little bored with her slow job at the checkout desk, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list, one after the other. As each story gives up its magic, the books transport Aleisha from the painful realities she’s facing at home.

When Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes along the reading list…hoping that it will be a lifeline for him too. Slowly, the shared books create a connection between two lonely souls, as fiction helps them escape their grief and everyday troubles and find joy again. 

When Eva de Courtney kidnaps Godric Fleming, her only plan is to stop the irritating earl from persecuting her beloved brother. But once she has the intriguing rogue in the confines of her carriage, she longs to taste the passion she senses simmering beneath his rugged exterior. Her forbidden plan is foiled, however, when Godric turns the tables, taking her hostage instead—and demanding they marry at once…
 
The last thing Godric wants to do is make the fiery, impulsive Eva his wife, despite her delectable mouth and alluring innocence. He knows from experience that nothing is forever, not even love. But honor demands he do right by the lady, no matter how stubbornly Eva tries to hold on to her independence. And while the road to the Scottish border is beset with danger, Godric’s greatest challenge is to keep his hands—and his heart—from his captivating bride-to-be…

Teddy Phillips never thought she would still be spending every day surrounded by toys at almost thirty years old. But working at a vintage toy store is pretty much all she has going on in her life after being unceremoniously dumped by her longtime boyfriend. The one joy that she has kept is her not-so-guilty pleasure: Everett’s Place, a local children’s show hosted by Everett St. James, a man whom Teddy finds very soothing . . . and, okay, cute.

Teddy finds the courage to write to him, feeling slightly like one of the children who write to him on his show. He always gives sound advice and seems like he has everything figured out—and he pretty much does: Everett has a great support system, wonderful friends, and his dream job. But there is still that persistent feeling in the back of his mind that something is missing.

When a woman named Theodora starts writing to Everett, he is drawn to her honesty and vulnerability. They continue writing to each other, all the while living their lives without meeting. When their worlds collide, however, they must both let go of their fears and figure out what they truly want—and if the future they want includes each other.

Grace Steele and Eliza Jones may be from completely different backgrounds, but when it comes to the army, specifically the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), they are both starting from the same level. Not only will they be among the first class of female officers the army has even seen, they are also the first Black women allowed to serve.

As these courageous women help to form the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, they are dealing with more than just army bureaucracy—everyone is determined to see this experiment fail. For two northern women, learning to navigate their way through the segregated army may be tougher than boot camp. Grace and Eliza know that there is no room for error; they must be more perfect than everyone else.

When they finally make it overseas, to England and then France, Grace and Eliza will at last be able to do their parts for the country they love, whatever the risk to themselves.

Based on the true story of the 6888th Postal Battalion (the Six Triple Eight), Sisters in Arms explores the untold story of what life was like for the only all-Black, female U.S. battalion to be deployed overseas during World War II.

Kristin Hannah Cover

I had to share these two covers because in person they are stunning!

Texas, 1921. La Gran Guerra ha terminado y Estados Unidos parece entrar en una nueva era de optimismo y abundancia. Pero para Elsa, considerada demasiado mayor para casarse en una época en la que el matrimonio es la única opción de una mujer, el futuro es incierto. Hasta la noche en que conoce a Rafe Martinelli y decide cambiar la dirección de su vida. Con su reputación arruinada, solo le queda una opción respetable: casarse con un hombre al que apenas conoce.

En 1934, el mundo ha cambiado. Millones de personas se han quedado sin trabajo y los granjeros luchan por conservar sus tierras. Las cosechas se pierden por la sequía, las fuentes de agua se secan y el polvo amenaza con enterrarlo todo. Cada día en la granja de los Martinelli es una desesperada batalla por la supervivencia. Y, como tantos otros, Elsa se ve obligada a tomar unaagónica decisión: luchar por la tierra que ama o marchar al oeste, a California, en busca de una vida mejor para su familia.

Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.

In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

I spy Fiction

Which one would you pick up to read?

The one woman he wants is the one he cannot have.

Former foster kid Sebastian Grant has leveraged his intelligence and hard work to become a pediatric heart surgeon. But not even his career success can erase the void he’s tried so hard to fill. Then he meets high school teacher Leah Montgomery and his fast-spinning world comes to a sudden stop. He falls hard, only to make a devastating discovery–Leah is the woman his best friend set his heart on months before.

Leah’s a math prodigy who’s only ever had one big dream–to earn her PhD. Raising her little brother put that dream on hold. Now that her brother will soon be college bound, she’s not going to let anything stand in her way. Especially romance . . . which is far less dependable than algebra.

When Leah receives surprising results from the DNA test she submitted to a genealogy site, she solicits Sebastian’s help. Together, they comb through hospital records to uncover the secrets of her history. The more powerfully they’re drawn to each other, the more strongly Sebastian must resist, and the more Leah must admit that some things in life–like love–can’t be explained with numbers.

Following the recipe is the key to a successful bake. Rosaline Palmer has always lived by those rules—well, except for when she dropped out of college to raise her daughter, Amelie. Now, with a paycheck as useful as greaseproof paper and a house crumbling faster than biscuits in tea, she’s teetering on the edge of financial disaster. But where there’s a whisk there’s a way . . . and Rosaline has just landed a spot on the nation’s most beloved baking show.

Winning the prize money would give her daughter the life she deserves—and Rosaline is determined to stick to the instructions. However, more than collapsing trifles stand between Rosaline and sweet, sweet victory.  Suave, well-educated, and parent-approved Alain Pope knows all the right moves to sweep her off her feet, but it’s shy electrician Harry Dobson who makes Rosaline question her long-held beliefs—about herself, her family, and her desires.

Rosaline fears falling for Harry is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Yet as the competition—and the ovens—heat up, Rosaline starts to realize the most delicious bakes come from the heart.

As a Korean adoptee, Hara Wilson doesn’t need anyone telling her she looks different from her white parents. She knows. Every time Hara looks in the mirror, she’s reminded that she doesn’t look like anyone else in her family—not her loving mother, Ellen; not her jerk of a father, Pat; and certainly not like Pat’s new wife and new “real” son.

At the age of twenty-five, she thought she had come to terms with it all, but when her father suddenly dies, an offhand comment at his funeral triggers an identity crisis that has her running off to Seoul in search of her roots.

What Hara finds there has all the makings of a classic K-drama: a tall, mysterious stranger who greets her at the airport, spontaneous adventures across the city, and a mess of familial ties, along with a red string of destiny that winds its way around her, heart and soul. Hara goes to Korea looking for answers, but what she gets instead is love—a forbidden love that will either welcome Hara home…or destroy her chance of finding one.

Thea Mottram is having a bad month. She’s been let go from her office job with no notice—and to make matters even worse, her husband of nearly twenty years has decided to leave her for one of her friends. Bewildered and completely lost, Thea doesn’t know what to do. But when she learns that a distant great uncle in Scotland has passed away, leaving her his home and a hefty antique book collection, she decides to leave Sussex for a few weeks. Escaping to a small coastal town where no one knows her seems to be exactly what she needs.

Almost instantly, Thea becomes enamored with the quaint cottage, comforted by its cozy rooms and lovely but neglected garden. The locals in nearby Baldochrie are just as warm, quirky, and inviting. The only person she can’t seem to win over is bookshop owner Edward Maltravers, to whom she hopes to sell her uncle’s book collection. His gruff attitude—fueled by an infamous, long-standing feud with his brother, a local lord—tests Thea’s patience. But bickering with Edward proves oddly refreshing and exciting, leading Thea to develop feelings she hasn’t experienced in a long time. As she follows a thrilling yet terrifying impulse to stay in Scotland indefinitely, Thea realizes that her new life may quickly become just as complicated as the one she was running from.

I spy NonFiction Books

A variety of non fiction books that I saw from a distance.

Parenthood, life, job, fatherhood, stress, dementia which one will you pick up today to learn more.

Most of us thought we’d be amazing parents—and then we had kids. Now we spend what little free time we have comparing ourselves to other parents, comparing our kids to other kids, and panicking that everyone else is nailing it except us. Between constant social media postings to conflicting advice found in parenting books, we often have no choice but to freak out. But there is another way. We all just need to calm the h*ck down.

Melanie Dale—a special needs parent, adoptive parent, in vitro parent, and reluctant cheer mom—believes we are all putting too much pressure on ourselves and our kids to be perfect. Instead, she argues, we need to take a step back so we can actually enjoy this journey called parenting.

Calm the H*ck Down is filled with stories from Melanie’s own life, as well as real-life research for learning how to lighten up about every aspect of parenting—from poopy diapers and germs to family vacations and adolescent angst. She also discusses the pressure to knock it all out of the Pinterest park, the challenge of instilling some kind of faith into your kids, and worrying about their future while still trying to live in the present.

Infused with quirky humor, profound insight, and accessible advice, Calm the H*ck Down gives you the permission to finally relax and enjoy this ridiculous thing we do called parenting.

A Loved One with Dementia: Insights and Tips for Teenagers offers insight into what dementia is and how you can interact positively with and assist someone who has dementia. Featuring personal anecdotes from young people who have gone through this themselves, and with thoughtful advice from professionals, it is a much-needed guide for those who want to help someone they care about.

You will learn

  • The personal impact of a devastating disease
  • Suggestions for activities throughout the different stages of dementia
  • Ways to understand and deal with feelings of helplessness, anger, grief, and frustration that often affect those who love someone with dementia

With helpful tips and a list of resources, this book provides practical advice and supportive suggestions for how you can understand and grow from the difficulties you and your family may face. It shows how you can not only help someone with dementia, but also find understanding and joy in loving them.

There are hundreds of books on parenting, and with good reason—becoming a parent is scary, difficult, and life-changing. But when it comes to books about parenting identity, rather than the nuts and bolts of raising children, nearly all are about what it’s like to be a mother.

Drawing on research in sociology, economics, philosophy, gender studies, and the author’s own experiences, Father Figure sets out to fill that gap. It’s an exploration of the psychology of fatherhood from an archetypal perspective as well as a cultural history that challenges familiar assumptions about the origins of so-called traditional parenting roles. What paradoxes and contradictions  are inherent in our common understanding of dads? Might it be time to rethink some aspects of fatherhood?

Gender norms are changing, and old economic models are facing disruption. As a result, parenthood and family life are undergoing an existential transformation. And yet, the narratives and images of dads available to us are wholly inadequate for this transition. Victorian and Industrial Age tropes about fathers not only dominate the media, but also contour most people’s lived experience. Father Figure offers a badly needed update to our collective understanding of fatherhood—and masculinity in general. It teaches dads how to embrace the joys of fathering while guiding them toward an image of manliness for the modern world.

Millions of mid- to late-career professionals are wondering why our careers are dying. We’ve been fired, downsized, job-eliminated, or we’ve left work voluntarily to raise children, care for loved ones, or go to school It takes twice as long to get hired, and usually for far less money than we were making. Is it age discrimination? Maybe. But it’s not that simple.

So many of us have lagged on skills and technology, shrugged off social media, or ignored the rate of change and let younger people become the face of our profession’s future. Our “track record” really doesn’t matter. We want to come back, but we aren’t ready. Coming Back offers clear advice, including:

• STOP PLAYING THE VICTIM, even if you are one.
• BRAND YOURSELF AS A CHANGE DRIVER who studies trends and studies independently so you are diving into change, not reacting to it.
• CALL IN THE CHITS. It is time to go guerrilla and bluntly ask for help from people who can get you what you want and need.
• TELL INTERVIEWERS about what you will do―don’t rely on what you have done.
• STOP GROUSING about “those millennials” and start working with them.
• BOUNCE BACK from a layoff or firing.

Coming Back
 shows how you can save a career if still employed or get one back if cast out. Fawn Germer, one of the nation’s most popular leadership experts and global motivational speakers, has personally interviewed more than three hundred CEOs, senior executives, professors, lawyers, organizational experts, industry leaders, and professionals. The result is a tactical, tough-love call to action: to learn, re-tool, connect, grow, and get ready to work again.

If you’re like most women, you’ve discovered that the tasks and pressures never end in our culture, a culture built for burnout. But there’s a way to stop stressing and start thriving — to wake up to the underlying systems and unsustainable ways of working and living that sap your strength, drain you dry, and fragment your focus. Feminine wisdom leader Christine Arylo is on your side, as she shines a light on the external forces and internal imprints that push you into overwhelm and self-sacrifice. She then shows you how to access your power to achieve what matters most, including receiving what you need and desire. You’ll learn to release the old approach to working, succeeding, and managing a full life, and embrace a new way that gives you clarity and courage to make choices in your day-to-day and overall life design that support and sustain you.

How Not to Fall in Love Review

Summary:
Harper works in her mom’s wedding shop, altering dresses for petulant and picky brides who are more focused on hemlines than love. After years of watching squabbles break out over wedding plans, Harper thinks romance is a marketing tool. Nothing more. Her best friend Theo is her opposite. One date and he’s already dreaming of happily-ever-afters. He also plays the accordion, makes chain mail for Ren Festers, hangs out in a windmill-shaped tree house, cries over rom-coms, and takes his word-of-the-day calendar very seriously.
 
When Theo’s shocked to find himself nursing his umpteenth heartbreak, Harper offers to teach him how not to fall in love. Theo agrees to the lessons, as long as Harper proves she can date without falling in love. As the lessons progress and Theo takes them to heart, Harper has a harder time upholding her end of the bargain. She’s also checking out her window to see if Theo’s home from his latest date yet. She’s even watching rom-coms. If she confesses her feelings, she’ll undermine everything she’s taught him. Or was he the one teaching her?

I received an e-arc from Netgalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for an honest review! So here it is!!

My Review
I received this story as an e-arc. Oh my gosh! I could not stop reading it. I did have some issues trying to download it. Luckily I did get some help from Netgalley! Thank you.

Back to the story – I love all the names in this book for the characters. The beginning of the book hooked my attention and kept going throughout the entire story. When I kept reading on so many interesting things were happening with Harper. I loved the fact she helped her mom out and that their relationship was pretty interesting.

I had a hunch that this book would be up my alley to read and it was.

I can see how some people might see this book as a triangle love story but to me it seemed more about Harper’s sense on love and how to figure out how love works in a relationship. She learns how to cope with those feelings. I also believe these same concepts go to Theo. The story focuses on Harper as the main character and I think Theo would be the second main character. Felix, Pippa, Harper’s mother and Theo’s family also come into play which is great.

Such a sweet novel with friendship and love! I really liked it.

So if you are looking for something sweet, fast paced, coming of age of what love is, friendship and a geek like me who likes great endings, then you need to read it.

(Sorry if this is review is a bit different than my usual ones but I just loved the whole book!)

Some things that I liked:

Harper helping her mother out at the bridal shop

Communication between Harper and her mom about birth control

Loved Theo’s creativity of stories and LARPing

Harper and Theo sharing a tent

Treehouse

Kissing

Harper and Theo share and help each other with SAT/ACT vocabulary. There were some words I did not even know.

Love that Theo plays the accordian

Funko Pop is mentioned

Harper finding out who she is and what love it

Theo finding out who he is

Pippa’s description

The ending!

Magical Fiction Youth Books

I just had to share these because I saw them and thought these books would be something that I would have read when I was a child.

I still read magic and supernatural books! Read what you love!

Check these out.

In a gripping stand-alone fantasy from the acclaimed Alison Croggon, a pickpocket steals the cursed Stone Heart and is propelled into a power struggle, woven with witchcraft, that will change the kingdom forever.

Pip lives by his wits in the city of Clarel. But when he picks the wrong pocket, Pip finds himself in possession of a strange dried heart in a silver casket—and those who lost it will stop at nothing to get it back. With assassins on his trail and the ominous heart beginning to whisper to him, Pip and his childlike older sister El are drawn deeper into the forbidden world of magic. Now they must seek the help of the secret witches of Clarel and Princess Georgette—who is sick of being a pawn in everyone else’s game—to wage revolution against a chilling king, a power-hungry church cardinal, and an ancient evil they don’t truly understand. A beautifully written adventure full of courage and kindness, The Threads of Magic transports readers to a magical city of airy palaces and rotten slums, of agents of the Office of Witchcraft Examination and midsummer dancing in the Weavers’ Quarter, of dangerous fathers and chosen family.

A young witch must save her sister from evil birds in this masterful middle-grade fantasy.
 
In the land of Tsaretsvo, civil war has divided the human kingdom from the Republic of Birds. Magic is outlawed, and young witches are sent to a mysterious boarding school, from which no one has returned. Olga and her family live a life of dull privilege in the capital until her father displeases the tyrannical tsarina. The family is sent off into exile at the Imperial Center for Avian Observation, an isolated shack near the Republic of Birds. Unlike the rest of her family, Olga doesn’t particularly mind their strange new life. She never fit into aristocratic society as well as her perfect younger sister, Mira. What does worry Olga is her blossoming magical abilities. If anyone found out, they’d send her away. But then Mira is kidnapped by the birds, and Olga has no choice but to enter the forbidden Republic, a dangerous world full of iagas, talking birds, and living dreams. To navigate the Republic and save her sister, she’ll need her wits, her cunning—and even her magic.

When a powerful desert spirit kidnaps her sister, Cece Rios must learn forbidden magic to get her back, in this own voices middle grade fantasy perfect for fans of The Storm Runner and Aru Shah and the End of Time

Living in the remote town of Tierra del Sol is dangerous, especially in the criatura months, when powerful spirits roam the desert and threaten humankind. But Cecelia Rios has always believed there was more to the criaturas, much to her family’s disapproval. After all, only brujas—humans who capture and control criaturas—consort with the spirits, and brujeria is a terrible crime.

When her older sister, Juana, is kidnapped by El Sombrerón, a powerful dark criatura, Cece is determined to bring Juana back. To get into Devil’s Alley, though, she’ll have to become a bruja herself—while hiding her quest from her parents, her town, and the other brujas. Thankfully, the legendary criatura Coyote has a soft spot for humans and agrees to help her on her journey.

With him at her side, Cece sets out to reunite her family—and maybe even change what it means to be a bruja along the way.

Twelve-year-old Rosie Oaks’s mom is missing whatever it is that makes mothers love their daughters. All her life, Rosie has known this…and turned to stories for comfort. Then, on the night Rosie decides to throw her stories away forever, an invisible ally helps her discover the Witch Hunter’s Guide to the Universe, a book that claims that all of the evil in the world stems from thirteen witches who are unseen…but also unstoppable. One of these witches—the Memory Thief—holds an insidious power to steal our most precious treasures: our memories. And it is this witch who has cursed Rosie’s mother.

In her quest to save her mom—and with her wild, loyal friend “Germ” by her side—Rosie will find the layers hidden under the reality she only thought she knew: where ghosts linger as shades of the past, where clouds witness the world, and a ladder dangles from the moon leading to something bigger and more. Here, words are weapons against the darkness, and witch hunters are those brave enough to wield their imaginations in the face of the unthinkable.

The War That Saved My Life Review

I ended up reading this book because my youngest kid had to read it for school.

Summary

Ten-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.
 
So begins a new adventure for Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?

My Review:

I didn’t like Ada’s mother at all. She was cruel and if she did these type of things today she would be in so much trouble. Granted back in the day people did not know what to do with someone who had a twisted foot. They probably thought that person would be dumb and not would succeed in life. Plus the mother had her own issues as well. I don’t like her at all. Even my child agreed with me.

Well Ada isn’t dumb at all. She is smart and learns rather quickly on some things. In this book she realizes there is more to life than to be treated by her mother. She also cared for Jaime when he was a little thing. So she became the real mom to him.

While Ada and her brother Jamie sneak out of the house to escape the war going on, they realize they have been missing out on quite a bit. Ada and Jamie ends up at Susan’s house where she teaches them things like manners, reading and writing. She even explains things to the children so they have some understanding. For example what sheets were. The children got to see the world for what it was. Ada was fascinated by a pony called Butter and Jamie found a cat who became a pet. Both children took their time to adjust to Susan who treated them kindly. Can you imagine?

Ada even begins to change. So did Jamie. I think the children realized a huge difference when they had to go back to their mom’s place and was treated cruelly again. Ada realized that it wasn’t right to be like that and that she knew they had to get back to Susan. Will they get back to Susan?

The book covers some heavy topics such as the war, how cruel the mom was, how the children learn and adapt to new things, Ada overcoming her crooked foot! Jamie learned that writing with your left hand is not the mark of the devil! Dealing with the sirens going off! Learning and surviving in care of kindness and love makes a difference!

Youth Fiction

I spy Youth Fiction books…

California Poppy has been dropped off, yet again, with an unsuspecting relative. This time it’s her eccentric Great-Aunt Monica, a woman she’s never even met. Aunt Monica has no idea what to do with an eleven-year-old, so she puts California to work researching their ancestor, the once-famous etiquette expert Eleanor Fontaine.

California soon discovers that Great-Great-Great Aunt Eleanor is…not exactly alive and well, but a ghost—and a super sensitive one at that. The grand dame bursts into clouds of dust whenever she loses her composure, which happens quite often. Still, an unexpected four-legged friend and some old-fashioned letter writing make this decidedly strange situation one that California can handle.

Just as California’s starting to feel like she’s found a place for herself, life turns upside-down yet again. Thankfully, this time she has some friends almost by her side…

Eleven year-old Peter Lee has one goal in life: to become a paleontologist. Okay, maybe two: to get his genius kid-sister, L.B., to leave him alone. But his summer falls apart when his real-life dinosaur expedition turns out to be a bust, and he watches his dreams go up in a cloud of asthma-inducing dust.

Even worse, his grandmother, Hammy, is sick, and no one will talk to Peter or L.B. about it. Perhaps his days as a scientist aren’t quite behind him yet. Armed with notebooks and pens, Peter puts his observation and experimental skills to the test to see what he can do for Hammy. If only he can get his sister to be quiet for once — he needs time to sketch out a plan.
  

Bea and her mom have always been a two-person team. But now her mom is marrying Wendell, and their team is growing by three boys, two dogs, and a cat.

Finding her place in her new blended family may be tough, but when Bea finds out her school might not get the all-girls soccer team they’d been promised, she learns that the bigger the team, the stronger the fight—and that for the girls to get what they deserve, they’re going to need a squad behind them.

Molly Frost is FED UP…

Because Olivia was yelled at for wearing a tank top.

Because Liza got dress coded and Molly didn’t, even though they were wearing the exact same outfit.

Because when Jessica was pulled over by the principal and missed a math quiz, her teacher gave her an F.

Because it’s impossible to find shorts that are longer than her fingertips.

Because girls’ bodies are not a distraction.

Because middle school is hard enough.

And so Molly starts a podcast where girls can tell their stories, and before long, her small rebellion swells into a revolution. Because now the girls are standing up for what’s right, and they’re not backing down.

When twelve-year-old Waka’s parents suspect she can’t understand the basic Japanese they speak to her, they make a drastic decision to send her to Tokyo to live for several months with her strict grandmother. Forced to say goodbye to her friends and what would have been her summer vacation, Waka is plucked from her straight-A-student life in rural Kansas and flown across the globe, where she faces the culture shock of a lifetime.

In Japan, Waka struggles with reading and writing in kanji, doesn’t quite mesh with her complicated and distant Obaasama, and gets made fun of by the students in her Japanese public-school classes. Even though this is the country her parents came from, Waka has never felt more like an outsider.

If she’s always been the “smart Japanese girl” in America but is now the “dumb foreigner” in Japan, where is home…and who will Waka be when she finds it?

In this elegant dual narrative, Essie is a thirteen-year-old girl feeling glum about starting a new school after her professor dad takes a temporary teaching position in a different town. She has 110 days here and can’t wait for them to end. Then she meets Ollie, who is nonbinary. Ollie has beautiful blue eyes and a confident smile. Soon, Essie isn’t counting down the days until she can leave so much as she’s dreading when her time with Ollie will come to an end.

Meanwhile, Ollie is experiencing a crush of their own . . . on Essie. As Ollie struggles to balance their passion for queer advocacy with their other interests, they slowly find themselves falling for a girl whose stay is about to come to an end. Can the two unwind their merry-go-round of feelings before it’s too late?

Junie Kim just wants to fit in. So she keeps her head down and tries not to draw attention to herself. But when racist graffiti appears at her middle school, Junie must decide between staying silent or speaking out.

Then Junie’s history teacher assigns a project and Junie decides to interview her grandparents, learning about their unbelievable experiences as kids during the Korean War. Junie comes to admire her grandma’s fierce determination to overcome impossible odds, and her grandpa’s unwavering compassion during wartime. And as racism becomes more pervasive at school, Junie taps into the strength of her ancestors and finds the courage to do what is right.

Finding Junie Kim is a reminder that within all of us lies the power to overcome hardship and emerge triumphant.