Tag Archives: Algonquin Young Readers

Book Review: Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry

Algonquin Young Readers
Published March 24, 2020
288 Pages

The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window.

A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.- Goodreads

TW: Death

I seem to do better with heavy emotion books when there is some magic in it.  For me it makes the blow easier. This book is as heavy as it can get.  It is told through each sister’s POV and I am super thankful for that. You have Iridian, who is angry and trying to escape in her writing. Jessica, who is a walking ball of sadness and responsibility and Rosa, who is trying to be spiritual and magical at the same time. Although all of them were dripping with grief and depression, being able to read each of their POV made the book’s topic easier to read.

I can’t say that I liked any of the sisters but I enjoyed reading Iridian more. There was a very defined personality despite her grief and she was honest with what was her truth and I enjoyed reading that.

I have to say that if you are going through something right now in your life or recently went through the motions, you might want to put a pause on this. Ana’s death is described with clear imagery. You know what happen. You know the rumors around her death and you know what lead to it. If you are struggling with grief, I can’t recommend this book to you.

However, if you are not and love an emotional family read then this is for you.  Mabry, the author, does a great job telling this story. The pace is wonderful and the book is detailed. The way the magic in this novel is written is a mix of creepy and realistic. You feel it and I think that is what the author was going for.

Overall, this was a solid book that changes the way magical realism in YA is done.

3.5 Pickles 

 

Book Tour: Naked Mole Rat Saves the World by Karen Rivers

Image Courtesy of Algonquin Young Readers

Beloved author of, The Girl in the Well is Me, Karen Rivers is set to release a new book for middle school readers called Naked Mole Rat Saves the World on October 15th (2019).

Kit-with-a-small-k is navigating middle school with a really big, really strange secret: When she’s stressed, she turns into a naked mole rat.

Algonquin Young Readers
TBP Oct 15, 2019
304 Pages

It first happened after kit watched her best friend, Clem, fall and get hurt during an acrobatic performance on TV. Since then, the transformations keep happening—whether kit wants them to or not. Kit can’t tell Clem about it, because after the fall, Clem just hasn’t been herself. She’s sad and mad and gloomy, and keeping a secret of her own: the real reason she fell.

A year after the accident, kit and Clem still haven’t figured out how to deal with all the ways they have transformed—both inside and out. When their secrets come between them, the best friends get into a big fight. Somehow, kit has to save the day, but she doesn’t believe she can be that kind of hero. Turning into a naked mole rat isn’t really a superpower. Or is it?  – Goodreads

My Thoughts: A coming of age story that is deeper than an accident but provides a twist, to keep readers on their toes. Naked Mole Rat Saves the World, gives readers two viewpoints through children’s eyes of an event that changes not only their lives but the lives surrounding them.

An interesting read that will make you think and you should check out the excerpt below and let me know what you think ^_^

NAKED MOLE RAT – Excerpt

Book Tour: The Jumbie God’s Revenge by Tracey Baptiste

Algonquin Young Readers
TBP: Sept. 3rd, 2019
272 Pages

When an out-of-season hurricane sweeps through Corinne’s seaside village, Corinne knows it’s not a typical storm. At first Corinne believes Mama D’Leau—the powerful and cruel jumbie who rules the ocean—has caused the hurricane. Then a second, even more ferocious storm wrecks the island, sending villagers fleeing their houses for shelter in the mountains, and Corinne discovers the storms weren’t caused by a jumbie, but by the angry god Huracan.

Now Corinne, with the help of her friends and even some of her enemies, must race against time to find out what has angered Huracan and try to fix it before her island home is destroyed forever.- Goodreads

Shout out to Algonquin Young Readers for allowing me to be part of this book tour. I have been itching for this book and hoping I can be apart of the marketing/promotion for this. So actually being selected means a whole lot to me.

Corinne is still Corinne but much more paranoid. Well paranoid isn’t the word. She is much more worrisome than she previously was and she has every right to be. She is half Jumbie and she has been fighting for not only her family but the island she lives on for a while now. She knows something is coming but not exactly sure what and how.

When things do come, Corinne doesn’t exactly ask the right questions. She is for the most part a bit full of herself, so within this book she gets knocked down a few pegs and becomes humble. WHICH I am so glad for because she really needed it. Like the two previous books, this one contains a lot of themes about family, the different types of family, acceptance and sacrifice. Sacrifice is the biggest theme within this novel because a lot of it happens.

But what I really enjoyed about book three was how Corrine was not the focus. Yes, she is the main character, however, this story isn’t just about her and how she (with the help of her friends) save the world. She isn’t the only point of view and she isn’t the only one that has a hand in why the world is the way that it is.

I loved and I cannot stress this enough I loved the fact that the author brought everything from book one and two together in book three. It is the perfect set up to either an epic final or a spin off.

My only concern about this book and possibly the next one is what else is there? Book three, although was good, felt stretched. It wasn’t as detailed as the previous books and without giving it away there is a scene that happens in the book that I am still scratching my head on. I do not understand why the author did this thing and just left it there. This is one of the points where I felt the book was being stretched.

Also book three is not as creepy, insight full or the lack of better term, shocking as the previous books.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The pace was great, loved seeing the gang come together and grow and loved seeing the community and their bond as well as respect grow.

If you haven’t already read the first two books, you should do that. Despite the fact that this book is for middle school reads, adults readers, both mythology and fantasy lovers will love the heck of it.

For those that have read the first two books, take a look below for a sneak peak into book three.

Jumbie God’s Revenge Chapter 1

Overall,

4 Pickles

Book Review: Changeling by William Ritter

Algonquin Young Readers
TBP July 16th, 2019
272 Pages

Magic is fading from the Wild Wood. To renew it, goblins must perform an ancient ritual involving the rarest of their kind—a newborn changeling. But when the fateful night arrives to trade a human baby for a goblin one, something goes terribly wrong.

After laying the changeling in a human infant’s crib, the goblin Kull is briefly distracted from his task. By the time he turns back, the changeling has already perfectly mimicked the human child. Too perfectly: Kull cannot tell them apart. Not knowing which to bring back, he leaves both babies behind.

Tinn and Cole are raised as human twins, neither knowing what secrets may be buried deep inside one of them. Then when they are twelve years old, a mysterious message arrives, calling the brothers to be heroes and protectors of magic.

 The boys must leave behind their sleepy town of Endsborough and risk their lives in the Wild Wood, crossing the perilous Oddmire swamp and journeying through the Deep Dark to reach the goblin horde and discover who they truly are.- Goodreads

 

How freaking perfect was this book?! I probably just start off by saying anything William Ritter writes, I will read it. If you haven’t taken the time to read his Jackaby series, you are missing out. Seriously missing out. But this book review isn’t about Jackaby but about the new series called Oddmire.

As a disclaimer, you need to know that this book is for middle school children; however, there are adult themes that a child may miss but you will not. This book with all its magic and fantasy holds on very tightly to family, different types of family, traditions and most importantly love and its different forms.

The book is told in different point of views; the brothers, Tinn and Cole, the Mother, Annie, Kull and another person that I will not mention at this time. The different perspectives adds this layer that clearly separates the emotions the author wants you to feel. However, one emotion that is not present at all in this book is excitement; specifically Tinn and Cole. They not exactly excited for the adventure and rightfully so. This somber mood does not change at all in this book, however, the really cool thing about it is it doesn’t bring you down. You have that hope that everything is going to be alright when there are moments you strongly believe things won’t be alright.

I wouldn’t say that this was a slow read. It is very detailed without it feeling as if the author is reaching or dragging you along. You are invested because there is something new being added to the story (tastefully being added) and you don’t feel overwhelmed. Everything is connected and the ending although a little lackluster was a pretty decent way into the second book.

Overall, if you like fae, magic, etc but don’t necessarily enjoy the violence or the protagonist trying to fight tradition, this would be a good book for you even if you aren’t a child.

4 Pickles

If you don’t believe me how good this book is, take a look at the prologue below ^_^

The Oddmire – Prologue Excerpt

Impatiently Waiting For: The Dire King (Jackaby #4) by William Ritter

Algonquin Young Readers
TBP: Aug. 22, 2017

The fate of the world is in the hands of detective of the supernatural R. F. Jackaby and his intrepid assistant, Abigail Rook. An evil king is turning ancient tensions into modern strife, using a blend of magic and technology to push Earth and the Otherworld into a mortal competition. Jackaby and Abigail are caught in the middle as they continue to solve the daily mysteries of New Fiddleham,

New England — like who’s created the rend between the worlds, how to close it, and why zombies are appearing around. At the same time, the romance between Abigail and the shape-shifting police detective Charlie Cane deepens, and Jackaby’s resistance to his feelings for 926 Augur Lane’s ghostly lady, Jenny, begins to give way. Before the four can think about their own futures, they will have to defeat an evil that wants to destroy the future altogether.- Goodreads

Children’s Book Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Algonquin Young Readers To Be Published Aug. 9, 2016 400 Pages
Algonquin Young Readers
To Be Published Aug. 9, 2016
400 Pages

Once a year, the Protectorate leave a baby as a sacrifice to the witch that lives in the woods in exchange that she will not bother the town. But the witch, Xan, is nothing short of kind. Not understanding why the people of Protectorate do this every year, she brings the baby she finds to a family in the surround towns.

But one year is different. Xan finds a baby she is unable to let go and she feeds her moonlight instead of starlight and the child is filled with unfathomable amounts of magic. To keep, Luna, her new child safe, she locks her magic to be released when she is 13 years old. But when Xan is away the magic begins to release. 

At the same time a man from Protectorate, looks for the witch to save his people from the agony experienced each year. What is Luna to do when everything she comes to love is slowly slipping away. 

As a disclaimer, I need to say that if you are an Adult reading YA books, this book is not for you. This is for middle schoolers/children and it is written as such.

I am grateful that I was approved for the arc via Netgalley because this is such a cute, creative and entertaining read. I highly recommend it for children, who are getting into fantasy.

Its a detailed and complex story but not too complicated where someone will feel lost or feel as if something was missed. The pace was surprisingly great. I expected a slow book because it was a children’s read but also because Xan is the most self-sacrificing witch, I have ever read. She gives everything to Luna and to the people that sort her help. But what kept the book interesting was the switching of narratives. You move from Xan, Luna, the man looking to kill, a swamp monster named Glerk and a dragon named Fyrian. This kept the book interesting and I like that.

Luna, throughout the book, was still developing i.e. that is why this book is considering coming of age. Therefore, I will not dig deep into her personality. What I can say it the character development for her was done very appropriately. Luna was the main focus but she didn’t become the main character til closer to the end of the book. This isn’t a issue at all. Kudos to the author.

The book did take some time to get going and I also feel that there wasn’t enough intensity coming from the past. I would have liked more drama, considering Xan had a heck of a life; a little history would have helped as well.

Overall, recommended read for the kiddos.

4 Pickles

Book Review: A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

Algonquin Young Readers To Be Published April 12, 2016 288 Pages
Algonquin Young Readers
Published April 12, 2016
288 Pages

17 year old Lucas lives mainland but stays with his Father, hotel developer, in Puerto Rico in the summer.  So the stories about the cursed girl, Isabel, is nothing new to him. For years, Señoras have spoken about the girl with the green skin that eats poison to stay alive and can kill you with one touch. Children send letters asking her to grant them wishes. Nothing but childish play.

But when he begins receiving messages with his wishes crossed out and the girl he is interested in disappears, he finds Isabel and unlocks dangerous secrets that can destroy the life he has always known.

I love the cover. It is bright and captivating; truly perfect for this story. But despite the beauty of the cover I didn’t like the book.

To sum up the story, “white boy plays hero after his “girlfriend” is found murdered.” The thing is normally I wouldn’t have too much issues with this simple summary but the book was filled with stereotypes that even the author called out in the book.

Lucas’s father is white and his mother is Puerto Rican. He gets some side eyed stares but for the most part he is in a good place. The stereotypes begin with the description of the  Puerto Rican women and young girls. Without getting into much detail, Lucas’s father isn’t too happy with the fact that he had a child with a Puerto Rican, which states that the woman are okay for one thing if you do not get into close.

Lucas tries to be different but he is the same; being with various girls using his Dad’s car whenever he wants, stealing alcohol . . .typical. Lucas wasn’t an interesting character in the least. There is a bit more disturbing incidents within this story but that would be too look to write.

None of the characters were extremely fulfilling. Isabel had some depth to her but it fell short, rather quickly. I also didn’t appreciate the lack of creative transitions within the story. Every time a new character was to begin or something is to happen, Lucas falls a sleep -_- Really? A good eight hours of nothing passes because Lucas either becomes dead tired or he is knocked out. I thought it was an amateur move.

Also his “girlfriend” was but into the back burner TWICE (I just wanted to put that out there).

I know that I am displaying a lot of negative points in this book but there was some good to it. Mabry can write. Although the story was quick and had some issues, I couldn’t put it down. Maybe it was a mix of the story eluding something amazing was going to happen or maybe because the author created a not as complicated story as one would think from reading the story (backhand compliment, I know. Sorry.) I did appreciate the lack of romantic focus. Even though the whole point of Lucas getting involved was because of his “girlfriend.”

Overall the story was okay. Characters could have been way better. There could have been more suspense as well as history. I mean come on the setting is Puerto Rico. The story was a good idea but failed attempt.

1 Pickle