Children's Lit Middle Grade Reads

What Lives in the Woods Book Review

Title: What Lives in the Woods
Author: Lindsay Currie
Published by: Sourcebook Kids
Publishing Date: Sept. 14, 2021

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Thank you to Sourcebooks for sending me an early review copy!
What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie is a wonderful middle grade book for your favorite spooky readers in your life. I am not a fan of scary books, so my level of horror is middle grade. I read Scritch Scratch last year by Lindsay Currie and was obsessed! I was so excited to get this one in the mail.
Ginny is a middle school students with high hopes of becoming a mystery author like Agatha Christie. She is super bummed when her dad moves her family to Woodmoor Manor for the summer for a renovation project, taking Ginny away from writer camp with her best friend. When they arrive, Ginny begins hearing tales about Woodmoor and he woods surrounding the mansion, and the hauntings that have been sighted by the locals, Ginny gets spooked in her own bedroom. She has to figure out why the ghost is haunting her specifically, and what it needs to move on.
I loved Ginny’s character. She was realistic, while being relatable and funny. Her friendship with her brother and best friend are so sweet throughout the book and I love that the three of them end up working together to solve the mysteries of Woodmoor like Ginny’s hero, Agatha Christie, would have solved them. Overall I gave this 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend to my middle grade horror fans, anyone who loves a great mystery, and for fans of Goosebumps.

Uncategorized YA Reviews

Echo After Echo Review

Title: Echo After Echo
Author: A.R. Capetta
Publishing Date: Hardcover: Oct 10, 2017, Paperback: Oct 12, 2021
Publisher: Candlewick Press
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Thank you to Candlewick for sending me this review copy to celebrate the Paperback release of this beautiful love story/ murder mystery!
Plus: a good part of this plot takes place around the winter holidays so this is the PERFECT time to dive into this one.

Echo After Echo focuses on Zara who has come to the Aurelia Theater in NYC , home to the famous director Leopold , to play her dream role in Echo and Ariston, the Greek tragedy that taught her everything she knows about love, because she has never actually been in love. She is more than prepared for her role as Echo – what she is not ready for is Eli, the beautiful and talented assistant light director for the theater, multiple murders within the theater family, and the pressure to be perfect when nothing is perfect.

AR Capetta weaves this story together so beautifully, that you cannot help but be captured by Zara and Eli and root for their new and young love. Normally, I hate theater/movie set books, but the murder mystery element in this one drew me to want to read this one, and AR Capetta kept me on my toes for the entire story. Zara not only is a character to root for, but despite her flaws, she is a character you want to be like – for her perseverance, her courage, and her unwillingness to be anybody but herself, even when it isn’t easy.

I gave this book 4.5/ 5 stars and would recommend it to high school students who love their theater classes or drama club, to anyone struggling with their own identity, and for lovers of cozy murder mysteries.

Children's Lit Weekly Reviews

#Bookaday – June 3 – Twenty-One Steps

Twenty- One Steps Book Review:

Finding picture books that are non-fiction and as beautiful as fiction books is sort of one of my joyful librarian wins. Twenty-One Steps promised to be thoughtful, beautiful, informational, and emotional – and it fulfilled those things.

The history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier isn’t known by children, unless they perhaps have a military family member or have visited it. This little-known history is both sad and beautiful. The story behind it haunting, yet necessary to our country’s history. This book was so well written and captured these feelings perfectly. The illustrations were gorgeous and I took my time flipping through this book to really soak up these thoughts.

I gave this book 5/5 stars for its uniqueness and for the beautiful writing accompanied by equally beautiful illustrations. The powerful message, fantastic vocabulary, and stunning verse will keep kids engaged with this text more than once. A perfect read aloud for teachers, librarians and parents. Recommended by me for grades 3 to 7.

Children's Lit

#BookaDay June 2 – Code Breaker, Spy Hunter

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Picture book biographies are always on my radar because I think they make good read-alouds for all grade levels and they are such a great way for me to learn nuggets of information about people I have never heard of. I have read other picture book biographies by Laurie Wallmark and really enjoyed them so I was really glad to get this one and be able to read it.

Elizabeth Friedman was a code cracker during WWI and WWII when women really weren’t present in the organizations that used code breakers. I didn’t know her story until I read this lovely picture book. The art is so much fun with codes woven into the illustrations throughout the story. This story was just another reminder that women can do anything, even when its something that is suppose to be for boys.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for grades 3 to 7. This is a perfect read aloud for Classroom Book a Day for educators and a great bedtime story for parents. This will grab the attention of kids who love history.

Children's Lit Middle Grade Reads Weekly Reviews

#BookaDay June 1 – Unsettled by Reem Faruqi

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This beautiful immigration story told in prose is one for every middle grade bookshelf, whether at home, in the library or in the classroom. Nurah, the main character, is just trying to blend in and find her place in her new school in Georgia after moving from Pakistan.

The characters weave this story together in ways that everyone reading it can relate to someone along the way, whether or not they have experienced moving across the world. I related to Nurah so much, because I had moved across the US at her age and felt so different in my new school in Texas. I loved reading Nurah’s story as she found her voice, and found a place to fit in , in her new world.

I highly recommend this to readers who love novels in verse, quick, beautiful reads, and realistic fiction. Recommended for grades 4-6 specifically. Nothing stood out to me as content to be aware of, but this is a good book to read about tackling bullying as well.

bookstagram Weekly Reviews

#BookaDay Day 2 – May 31 – When You Ask Me Where I’m Going


When I picked this up on May 31, I was already most of the way through this collection as I had started it in February and had slowly been making my way through it.

Jasmin Kaur has a beautiful way with words and art to make this amazing collection of poems and prose. There were a lot of poems I bookmarked because they had such a deep meaning to me and I understood them so well because of things I had personally experienced.

Throughout this book Jasmin explores what it means to be a young woman in today’s society and what it means to be a minority woman in today’s society. Her points of view are powerful and meaningful. I think there is something in this collection that will speak to every young woman who reads this.

I gave this book 5/5 stars because I know I will pick this up again and find something new to love about it. This is definitely a collection for adults, anyone who has enjoyed collections such as The Princess Will Save Herself in This One, and The Sun and Her Flowers.

You can order this collection from Amazon in Paperback for $9.99 or from for $10.11 (10% goes back to support Indie bookstores). Both links give me a little kickback which I use to add books to our school library!

This is the bookmark that I designed based on this book. Preorders are open on my website.
Children's Lit

New Book Mail – Sourcebooks

Thank you to Sourcebooks for sending me mail!

Once More Upon a Time is 130 pages, adult fantasy romance, and will be released in hardback on October 5, 2021

PreOrder Link for $13.79:

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight is YA, 242 pages, is currently out in Hardback ( ) and will be released in paperback on September 7, 2021 for $10.11
Preorder the Paperback:

Beaver and Otter Get Along… Sort Of is a Non Fiction picture book for ages 4+ which releases September 7th in hardcover and paperback simultaneously
PreOrder the Paperback ($8.27) :
PreOrder the Hardcover ($15.62):

Weekly Reviews YA Reviews

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

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Title: The Grace Year
Author: Kim Liggett
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publishing Date: October 8, 2019
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WOW! This was a phenomenal story and a phenomenal audio book. In a dystopian world, women are born with magic and during their grace year, are banished from the community into the wilderness to burn it all off. It becomes clear the the main character, Tierney, that this is just a way to keep the women in control and to keep them oppressed, but when she tries to point the truth out to the other girls in her grace year, they turn on her.

Tierney is a wonderful and strong character in the likeness of other strong girls coming out of dystopian literature such as Katniss and Tris. She was relatable and likeable in many ways and imperfect in many ways. I was on the edge of my seat listening to this story, wondering what was going to happen to Tierney and the women in her community.

This is a YA book recommended to ages 14 and up. I definitely recommend it to women who like feminist works, anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction, and those who are fans of The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Divergent.

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I Tried BookLender and Here’s What Happened

I have been in a reading slump this summer. Majorly. I went from reading 8-12 books a month to 4 in June and 4 in July. I am a teacher. I have the summer off. I should be reading more than my normal during the summer. I just haven’t had much motivation to do much this summer, including the things I love to do. I have been focusing on my husband and my health. Then I found out about Book Lender through Share a Sale. I thought I would apply for their affiliate program and if chosen I would subscribe and see what they had to offer.

Rent Books

Book Lender is exactly what it sounds like. They lend you books, just like a library. There is a small monthly fee which varies depending on how many books you want to borrow. I went for the cheapest option which is 2 books out at a time. The Book Lender website reminds me of Netflix circa 2006. You can browse the books but with really confusing settings and categories, you can search without typos, and you make a Queue like in old school Netflix. The website needs a major face-lift and if I had a business recommendation for book lender I would say they need to start reaching the 20s – 30s crowd which is active on social media. Their instagram page is really sad.

Rent Audiobooks

I decided to make my queue based on my goodreads reading list that wasn’t available at my local library. I went through my to-read list on goodreads, skipping books I own, and then looked on my library’s database. Living in a small town, we don’t have as many options as bigger library networks. I soon found 40 books on my goodreads page that my library did not have that Book Lender DID have. This is a major win. For $7 a month (and my first month was half off) I was able to queue up 40 books that I probably never would have purchased, and didn’t have the option to borrow for free.

Rent Books

I created my queue on a Tuesday and my order was shipped Wednesday. I am not sure where their warehouse is, but I received my books on Friday. This is QUICK for a mail turn around. My two books from my queue came in a plastic mailing sleeve and included a prepaid return sleeve. The books were surprisingly NOT covered like library books are and the wear and tear on them is evident. I am not sure why Book Lender doesn’t cover their books but as a librarian I will say it would help with wear and tear as well as be more sanitary. You can wipe off plastic covers, but not card stock.

Rent Books

The books were just mass market paperback versions of the book which is fine. As you can see from the picture below, they have a book lender sticker on the front. They are also barcoded on the spines for their database I am sure. With the pressure to make the most of my monthly fee, I ended up reading these two books much faster than i have been reading anything else and managed to finish both within 10 days. They went back in the mail this morning, so I will be receiving 2 new books sometime next week hopefully. I am determined to finish a book from home before that turn around.

So here are my Pros and Cons for Subscribing to Book Lender

Convienient book delivery to your mail box
Over 250,000 titles to choose from
Fairly priced
Quick shipping

Lack of a modern website and database
Lack of a social media presence
Books are not in great condition
More expensive than using a library

I would 100% recommend this service to people that do not have a public library or cannot use their public library for whatever reason. I also recommend to people like me who often cannot go browse at their public library, like the convenience of the mail delivery system, or do not have as many options at the library as they would like.

**All links in this post through Share a Sale will provide a monetary payout for me if you purchase from the link**


Read-A-Thin TBR

If you haven’t heard of the Read-a-Thin Read-a-thon, it is a read-a-thon that is dedicated to thinning down those massive TBR piles you have going on in your home. My current TBR has over 500 books so I am in definite need to thin down my own TBR. I am also doing a group challenge to thin down my ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) pile. So all my read-a-thin picks are ARCs.

Read-a-thin is run by Jessica (@jescamarie493 on Instagram) and Amanda (@acourtofbooksandlove on Instagram) and they have come up with both Instagram photo challenges as well as 5 reading challenges for this month.

They run reading sprints on Twitter so make sure to follow them there to get some extra reading in ( )

So I made my ARC August/ Readathin TBR and here is the photo for that!

  1. Read a Thin Book – The Green Children of WoolPit by J. Anderson Coats
  2. Read a Book in a Series – Rage by Cora Carmack
  3. Read a Book that Has Been on Your Shelf for 2 Years – The Plot to Kill Hitler by Patricia McCormick
  4. Read a Book with a Bright Cover – Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy
  5. Read a Book Recommended by A Friend – Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

*Note* All links to Amazon are affiliate links. If you decide to purchase from these links I will make a small amount of money. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart if you decide to buy anything.