It’s Monday! What Are You Reading from Picture Books to YA? August Catch Up Edition

Jen and Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts started a weekly meme about what people are reading and reviewing in children’s and young adult literature. It’s a great way to see what others are reading.

My post this week is late because of some ongoing family health issues. I didn’t want to wait to share these books though!

Reading Adventure Highlights

I love using Netgalley to experience new books that would be great in the library or to promote to others. Many of the titles I’ve read during the last few weeks came from that site.

Middle Grade Fiction:

The No-Dogs Allowed Rule by Kashmira Sheth (Netgalley)- Ishan is determined to get a dog. Just because his mother has a rule against getting dogs doesn’t mean that he can’t convince her otherwise. He’ll treat to a special breakfast, help around the house, try to recruit his brother’s help, walk the neighbor’s dog and more. Nothing ever quite goes the way Ishan expects and lands him in increasing amounts of trouble. This book that’d be great for third or fourth grade was released earlier this month.

When You Wish Upon a Rat by Maureen McCarthy (Netgalley) – Ruth Craze’s feeling a lot of family frustration. Her brother seems to get all the attention, she feels her home is an embarrassment, she’s estranged from all her friends and nothing is right after the death of her beloved aunt. Howard, an outsider boy from school, suggests Ruth go search for where she lost Rodney the Rat, a gift from her aunt that her brother knocked out of the car window. Rodney provides Ruth with three chances to change her family according to her wishes. This book was originally published in Australia. Watch for this book on September 1.

The Wednesdays by Julie Borbeau (Netgalley) – Max cannot leave Wednesday alone. Shops and school close. Windows are shuttered. Doors are not answered. This is what happens every Wednesday in Max’s village, but Max cannot leave Wednesday alone. While everyone else is trying to prevent the freak accidents and trickery that Wednesday inevitably brings, Max is determined learn more about the mysterious creatures known as Wednesdays that cause the chaos. But Max’s lack of caution has brought complications upon himself, complications that lead to him being labeled Next. Accidents begin to follow him and not just on Wednesday. This book was released earlier this month. It has a creepy air that makes me think fans of Juniper Berry would enjoy it.

Unlocking the Spell by ED Baker (Netgalley) – I’ve long been a fan of ED Baker’s light-hearted fantasies with their twists on common fairy tales. Unlocking the Spell is the sequel to The Wide-Awake Princess. Annie, the princess on whom magic cannot work, sets out to find the dwarf who turned Prince Beldegard into a bear so the prince can marry her sister Gwen (and maybe then Annie can catch a break from having to hang around whenever her sister wants to see what Beldegard really looks like). To Annie’s annoyance, Gwen sneaks out of the castle to join Annie, Liam and Beldegard in their search. Snow White, the Three Pigs and the Three Bears all show up in this comical story though many of them have a very different back story in Baker’s work. Watch for this title on October 2. This would be a fun book to pair with Gail Carson Levine’s Princess Tales.

The Secret of the Fortune Wookie by Tom Angleberger – With Dwight at another school, the kids at McQuarrie Middle School no longer have access to the wisdom of Origami Yoda to solve their daily woes. Who will they turn to advice? Sara creates the Fortune Wookie to answer their questions, but it isn’t the same. For one thing, the Fortune Wookie needs Han Foldo to translate his answers. For the second, the Fortune Wookie can only be used in the library after the principal cracks down on origami. (The scene where the librarian saves the library from the origami restriction rocks). Is the Fortune Wookie up to the task of guiding the students? Tommy isn’t sure so he starts a new case file. The only bad thing about reading this book the month it came out is now having to wait to discover what happens next (With an ending like it had, there had better be a fourth book coming!)

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen – I am so glad I finally read this book. Sage, orphan rapscallion has his services purchased away from the orphanage he’s called home. He is one of several boys recruited for a man named Conner’s plan. The boys will be trained in reading, courtly manners, horseback riding and swordplay. For what purpose are they being trained in such things? In a few weeks Conner will take one of the boys to court to persuade the regents that the boy is none other than the long assumed dead Prince Joren. For Conner knows what the people do not at this time – that the rest of the royal family has been murdered. Sage is appalled by Conner’s plan. He has no desire to be king but it isn’t hard to guess what will happen to the boys Conner doesn’t choose. This is a masterfully written book. I love how Sage’s character is developed throughout his first story. Nielsen did an excellent job of weaving in the details.

Young Adult Fiction:

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan (Netgalley) – I found this first book in the Lynburn Legacy to be engrossing. There are secrets in the quiet English village Kami Glass calls home. One secret is something Kami had no qualms about sharing when she was little – she hears a voice in her head. This voice belongs to Jared, a boy she’s been able to talk since she was a baby but never met. When she was little, people smiled when she spoke of him, thinking he was an imaginary friend. People react differently to a teenager with the same story so she does her best to hide it.

Everything gets stirred up when the Lynburns return to Sorry-in-the-Vale after leaving a generation earlier. The family owns a huge home and most of the town. Kami’s determined to learn more about them and takes Ash Lynburn on as the photographer for her new school newspaper to try and get the inside scoop on the family as no one will say much about them. Ash seems nice enough, but he’s definitely not fond of it when other students mistake his wild cousin for his brother–a cousin named Jared. Kami shakes off the familiarity of the name, telling herself this guy has nothing to do with her Jared, but a chance encounter in the library proves the opposite to be true. Kami must come to grips with the flesh and blood form of her friend, one who is being less than forthcoming about his past, present and family. Magic, danger and murder make this an entertaining read and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel. Unspoken will be published on September 11.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Netgalley) – Caelena is released from her sentence serving in a mine prison, but it is not freedom to which she is released. Instead, she is to be part of a contest to determine who will be the king’s champion. All the candidates are criminals and those who do not die in the challenges set before them will return to their sentences if they are not the victor at the end of the contest. Caelena, an accomplished assassin, was chosen by Prince Dorian as his candidate. She must train hard to try to regain the endurance and health she lost in the mines. This story is filled with competing motivations, intrigue, action, dances and deceptions. My favorite part of the book is Chaol, the captain of the guard. Throne of Glass was published this month. There are several prequel novellas available (but only through Kindle at this time).

Beta by Rachel Cohn (Netgalley) – Elysia is a clone. Specifically, she is a beta of a teenage clone. There are only two such clones so far on Demesne, a paradise-like island for the important and wealthy. Elysia is purchased by the wife of Demesne’s governor and brought to the family home as a surrogate daughter of sorts. She comfort’s the governor’s young daughter, helps the governor’s son train for the military governor and is a show off piece for the governor’s wife. But there is a much darker side to Demesne than its glittering exterior would indicate…

Clones are the ones who work on Demesne, serving in all manner of occupations. Clones are soulless, created after the deaths of their human models. Clones do not experience emotion. They do not experience the same senses as humans. Yet Elysia discovers she has a sense of taste. More troubling are the flashes of memory she has of the human girl she was based on. These differences threaten Elysia’s existence for she cannot let it be known that she is a Defect. This dystopian story could appeal to high school readers. Beta is scheduled to be released on October 12.

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu (Netgalley) – Destructive human emotions are controlled within the Community through embedded computer chips and ports installed at the back of people’s heads. The Link network transfers information to everyone and regulates life. Anyone acting anomalously in The Community is to be reported immediately so he or she can be repaired. If the anomalous behavior is severe enough, the person will be deactivated. Zoel knows she should report herself for the glitches she experiences, but she can’t bring herself to do so. Not only are there times when she’s disconnected from the Link, times when emotion washes through her, she has discovered an uncontrollable talent that she unleashes in times of duress – telekinesis. Zoe struggles to hide her increasingly different behavior after an episode on the Surface that introduces her to the Resistance. This book will be a good fit for readers who enjoyed The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Glitch was released this month.

Foxfire by Karen Kincy (Netgalley) – Tavian is returning to his homeland to visit his adoptive grandparents. It is, however, information about his biological family that Tavian desperately needs. Half human and half kitsune, Tavian’s magic is threatening to destroy him. Finding the mother who abandoned him in the snow years earlier may be his only hope. Foxfire is scheduled to be released on October 8. It is the third book in a series started with the book Other.

The Curiosities by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton & Brenna Yovanoff (Netgalley) – This is a wonderful short story anthology not only because of the quality of the often dark and magical stories, but because of its process. The stories were written for The Merry Sisters of Fate where they posted weekly stories. Inside this volume, the authors offer comments on the different stories, pictures of their writing tendencies, what writing the short stories helped them with, etc. Pay attention to the opening lines and endings in this book. Some of my favorite stories in this book include: A Murder of Gods and Date with a Dragon Slayer. This book comes out October 1.

The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton – This companion to Blood Magic occurs several years later. Josephine Darly did more than decimate Silla’s family. She left behind a daughter, Mab Prowd. Mab, unlike Nick and Silla, has been raised to know and embrace her magic. Mab has recently become the Deacon, the one in charge of the farm that is a refuge for those in need who use blood magic. The former Deacon made Mab promise to destroy the roses next to the house after his death. Mab tries something a bit different and ends up launching a series of events that will change the life of Will Sanger forever. Will, a high school teen who loves soccer, is fighting for equilibrium mere months after the death of his brother Aaron. Will no longer knows who he is or what he wants. He knows he doesn’t want to go into the military like the rest of his family nor does he know how to handle the return of his remaining brother from active duty. Bruised and sore after a run in with Mab’s magical construction, Will finds he cannot ignore the changes overtaking him. This book comes out on August 28.

Currently in Progress:

Brother from a Box by Evan Kuhlman – In this middle grade read, Matt Rambeau is curious about the big box that shows up at his home. This box makes Matt a big brother for the first time. Inside the box is a robot–I mean a ‘bionically modified lifeform’ that Matt names Norman. Not everything about having a sophisticated machine for a brother is easy–not at home or at school–but this is a story that makes me smile.

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