Hello everyone! I am super excited to say that I have made a few of Shannon Messenger’s art pieces into coloring pages for us all to enjoy. Here they are:
Welcome to Fortune Falls, a magical town where superstitions are real. Four-leaf clovers really do bring good fortune, and owning a rabbit’s foot is the secret to success. However, there aren’t enough charms in the universe to help Sadie Bleeker. She can’t pass a ladder without walking under it, and black cats won’t leave her alone. That’s because Sadie is an Unlucky. And things will only get worse as she gets older, which is why Unluckies are sent away at age twelve to protect those around them. Sadie can’t stand the thought of leaving home, so she and her friend, Cooper, devise a plan to reverse her bad luck. But when their scheme accidentally results in a broken mirror, the situation turns dire. Because for Sadie, seven years bad luck isn’t an inconvenience — it’s practically a death sentence. Can a girl who’s never so much as found a single lucky penny change her fortune? Or will she be forced to celebrate her twelfth birthday by saying farewell to everyone she loves?
Things I Liked:
- COOPER IS ADORABLE OMG I LOVE HIM. <3
- I love the cat. Partially just because I love cats but I really like the fact that (spoiler alert) in their community entirely based on superstition, a black cat saves her. Irony is beautiful.
- The way that Sadie feels responsible for her dad’s death. Okay, if I was an Unlucky, I feel like I would blame myself for a lot of bad stuff that happened to people around me, and to be honest, some of it probably would be, but not all of it. Prime example: I’m supremely clumsy. I run into people all the time. Sort of my fault, but not really. And a lot of what luck is is…
- perceived. I really liked that, even though their town is magical and luck is practically tangible, the author still let her characters realize that “luck” is a notion made up by people to make themselves feel special.
Things I Didn’t Like:
- not enough Cooper
- The cat rescuing them by bringing them a rabbit’s foot… ew. I find that kind of gross, but I guess rabbits’ feet are just very important in Fortune Falls…
- Has some cheesiness at the end when she’s like “I won the spelling bee not because of my luck, but because of my skill.”
Basically, it was pretty good I thought of a lot more good things about it than bad, and I really love Copper, like y’all should read it just for him. 😉 Have a good week everyone!
Hey y’all! So in case you aren’t subscribed to Shannon’s newsletter (you should subscribe), but in the meantime, there was some important info just released, so I decided to make it easy on you guys and put that info right here:
BTW: Everything below entirely belongs to Shannon I didn’t write any of it it’s just her newsletter copy pasted.
Can an undercover nerd become a superstar agent? Ben Ripley sure hopes so—and his life may depend on it!
Ben Ripley may only be in middle school, but he’s already pegged his dream job: C.I.A. or bust. Unfortunately for him, his personality doesn’t exactly scream “secret agent.” In fact, Ben is so awkward, he can barely get to school and back without a mishap. Because of his innate nerdiness, Ben is not surprised when he is recruited for a magnet school with a focus on science—but he’s entirely shocked to discover that the school is actually a front for a junior C.I.A. academy. Could the C.I.A. really want him?
Actually, no. There’s been a case of mistaken identity—but that doesn’t stop Ben from trying to morph into a supercool undercover agent, the kind that always gets the girl. And through a series of hilarious misadventures, Ben realizes he might actually be a halfway decent spy…if he can survive all the attempts being made on his life!
I really liked this book, and it was fun to read the other two books in this series that I have- Spy Camp and Evil Spy School. Some of the plot twists were pretty obvious, but the plot was complicated enough that there were definitely some surprises- it was sort of like middle grade Sherlock Holmes. In the first book, I also really enjoyed the characters. Erica Hale was your typical extremely awesome straight A spy, but her dad is… not so awesome as he first appears.
However, it got a little tiring after a while. The whole “Oh no we’re in trouble!” and then “Oh wait… Erica’s here we’re fine,” thing definitely got old. Ben started actually doing some useful stuff occasionally, but I still felt like Erica needed to mess up more to make her more realistic. Erica and Ben’s relationship was pretty good though, I liked their friendship and how she sort of taught him how to figure stuff out himself, but it was kinda weird how they weren’t friends at the beginning, and then at the end they were, and then at the start of the next book, they wouldn’t really be friends again, and by the end they would be, etc.
I loved some of the spy stuff they put in there, though I don’t know if any of it is at all accurate. I liked the creative ways the bad guys’ plans were foiled, and I liked how most of the time if you really paid attention, you could figure out the bad guys’ plans for yourself. This is a good, fun book to read for some cool spy action, and I like the books individually, but thinking of them all together, they seem to get a little repetitive.
HELLO EVERYBODY! I’ve been gone for…two months now? A little more actually. I have some excuses, but they’re sort of mostly lame. The first one makes sense, for a few weeks there I was really busy with the end of the school year, but this whole summer so far I haven’t done any MMGMs because I either
- Was feeling too lazy to write anything/forgot to write something
- Didn’t read a middle grade book that week
I’ve been reading a lot of older books lately, which is good too because I like diversity in my reading genres/categories/age levels, but it felt good to read a middle grade book this week! Or, actually, on Saturday morning. I really loved this book (not that it doesn’t have its flaws, which I will definitely point out soon) BUT it was really different and good at getting you to be able to relate to what the characters are going through, even though having a back brace is probably something you’ve never even thought about before. Speaking of back braces, let’s get on to the summary:
Rachel Brooks is excited for the new school year. She’s finally earned a place as a forward on her soccer team. Her best friends make everything fun. And she really likes Tate, and she’s pretty sure he likes her back. After one last appointment with her scoliosis doctor, this will be her best year yet. Then the doctor delivers some terrible news: The sideways curve in Rachel’s spine has gotten worse, and she needs to wear a back brace twenty-three hours a day. The brace wraps her in hard plastic from shoulder blades to hips. It changes how her clothes fit, how she kicks a ball, and how everyone sees her — even her friends and Tate. But as Rachel confronts all the challenges the brace presents, the biggest change of all may lie in how she sees herself. Written by a debut author who wore a brace of her own, Braced is the inspiring, heartfelt story of a girl learning to manage the many curves life throws her way.
I’m going to list three things I liked, and three things I didn’t like, and then I’m going to do sort of a recommendation paragraph where I say who I think might like it.
WHAT I LIKED
- SOCCER YAY. Okay I might just feel this way because I really like soccer but I feel like soccer is underrepresented in books? Like there’s lots of basketball and football and baseball mentioned in books which are great too but anytime I see a book about soccer it makes me happy. 🙂
- Well written friendships!!! Sooo for a little while I felt like I do with a loooot of books like why? are her friends perfect??? But then you saw their FLAWS and they said MEAN STUFF and they got OVERWHELMED by Rachel’s back brace, which obviously is bad for Rachel but what’s bad for the main character is good for the book. 😉 Like, yeah, her friends are awesome, and I actually like them, but they are seventh grade girls, and they felt real.
- Well written seventh graders. LOL I think that “overexaggerated seventh graders” is going to be one of the things on my dislike list because of certain things but I’m actually going back and forth on this because yeah they’re seventh graders and they’re insecure and only starting to mature and they’re squealy and giggly and can be petty and I liked that that was in there but then sometimes I was like yeah right that’s overdoing it. People don’t act like that. And then I was like but I’m not in seventh grade anymore?? And I went to a weird school?? (A super nice one but a super small one) So maybe people do act like that? I don’t know but if any of you had a more normal seventh grade experience I would love to hear your input on how accurate BRACED is.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
- Over exaggerated seventh graders. Okay, let’s just talk about their speech. They were talking about dating people and they said, “OMG you guys are totes going to be BF/GF.” (More or less. That’s not an exact quote but close) Did they pronounce those letters every time? Why can’t they just say boyfriend and girlfriend? Am I using too many question marks in this post?
- SPOILERS IN THIS PART. Tate. (For like 3 chapters) Rachel and him were at their seventh grade formal, not technically together, but it was implied, and he takes her outside and says that she looks pretty and then kisses her and then his friend comes out and says somethin like what’s happening out here? And Rachel says something like “We like each other, get over it.” And Tate’s friend says something like “Oh, I didn’t know you were into freaks now, Tate.” And Tate’s just like whaaaaatt nooooo I don’t like her I don’t know what she’s talking about? It was very angering I must say. And then, to be fair, he explains himself somewhat about why he’s so loyal to his friend and things are sort of okay? But I felt like, it was good that she accepted his apology of course, but then they got together again really soon? By the end I was like okay okay Tate is cool but that part made me sooooo mad. Which actually I guess is a good thing maybe? Because good writing makes you feel things?
- Okay this is a sort of random thing I just thought of but on the front cover Rachel has wings, and I wish the author would have done more with that symbolism wise, though of course she probably didn’t see the cover until she had finished the whole book… but just I liked the idea of the wings and I wish the author had built more off of that.
People with scoliosis should really read this book because one main theme is that people with lesser known/talked about medical conditions are not alone, and also there is a great list of scoliosis community and help websites in the back of the book for people with scoliosis. Also, people who like books with friendship themes, because all the friendships in this book were really engaging. 🙂
I APOLOGIZE FOR THE RAMBLY REVIEW. I have a cold… So I guess I can blame my lack of good word choice on that? I really want to keep up to date with this from now on as much as possible, because I really love middle grade and I love hearing your feedback on what you liked and didn’t like about books and what books you recommend! Next week I will use less question marks, promise. <3
Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity Pickles knows all about things like that since her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart. But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck’s about to change. A “word collector,” Felicity sees words everywhere — shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog’s floppy ears — but Midnight Gulch is the first place she’s ever seen the word “home.” And then there’s Jonah the Beedle, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity’s never seen before, words that make Felicity’s heart beat a little faster. Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she’ll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that’s been cast over the town . . . and her mother’s broken heart.
This was a spindiddly book, as Felicity would say! I really loved Jonah; he was an adorable best friend for Felicity, and yet not cliche. Also, the cover. Can you tell yet how often I judge books by their covers? I love books with bright, colorful covers that stretch across the whole book.
Things I Didn’t Like
- Underlying basic plot line, (without magic and all) is kind of cliche. A girl and her single mom, traveled all their life, the girl really wants to find somewhere to set down roots, etc. BUT, the magic, and the curse, and all the word building obviously helped off set that.
- Felicity Pickle’s name. Okay, not super important, I know, but I had a cat named Felicity, and then there’s the American Girl Doll named Felicity, and, I don’t know, Felicity didn’t quite work for me for her character. Also, pickles. I don’t like pickles…
- Unrealistic amount of ice cream eaten, and lack to further the explanation of magic behind said ice cream. They ate, like 3 cartons of ice cream every day. I love ice cream, believe me, but wooooow.
Things I Did Like
- Felicity’s word collecting. Throughout the book, she sees words sort of floating around, and she collects them. I really like some of the obscure words she finds, and some of the not real words she finds, too.
- The creativity of the town peoples’ ‘powers.’ Like, not just super strength, or flying, but collecting words, knowing what someone needs, and trapping shadows.
- The sense of community. Last, but not least, I really liked all the people in Midnight Gulch. I love middle grade books with lots of sort of ‘neighbors,’ who may not have a super significant part in the plot line, but love the main character all the same.
This was a cute, fun read, good for people who like words and family/friendship heartwarming community kind of books. Have a great week everyone!
In a magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that Fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a peanut butter factory, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent thief who could alter her life forever.
So I should probably work on not judging books by their covers so much, but if it keeps working out for me like it has been, maybe I’ll just roll with it… This was a cute little book that I read recently, and I really liked the idea that everyone is exceptional at something, even if it’s just something considered to be useless, like playing jacks or tying knots. (hint hint) PLUS there’s all these cake recipes inside the book at the beginning of some of the chapters, which I LOVE because I love to bake, and I can’t wait to try out some of the recipes to see how they go. Sorry I’ve been gone recently, by the way. School is getting a little bit crazy right now, but I’ll try to post an MMGM as often as possible. SO:
Things I Didn’t Like About It:
- There was this mysterious character that you never really learned much about and he’s just sort of there and that seemed kinda weird to me.
- There were a looooot of characters to keep straight.
- There’s no sequel to tie up the loose ends.
Things I Did Like About It:
- The cover
- The Recipes
- The main character
- The world building/overall world idea of ‘talents’
Turns out Lisa Graff is a pretty well known Middle Grade author. Any others of her books that you guys recommend? Happy Easter!
Ah, a beautiful cover, isn’t it? So sorry I’ve been gone the past couple of weeks, I’ve just been soooo busy. Hopefully I’ll be better about updating for the next few weeks. Anyways, I saw this movie finally, and it was AMAZING, and my mom found this book, and I thought it sounded really interesting. Here’s the description:
An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, Lost in a Book follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. There, Belle is befriended by a mysterious countess who offers her the life she’s always dreamed of.
But Nevermore is not what it seems, and the more time Belle spends there, the harder it is to leave. Good stories take hold of us and never let us go, and once Belle becomes lost in this book, she may never find her way out again.
This deluxe hardcover novel expands upon the beautiful story and world seen in the new Walt Disney Studios’ film, Beauty and the Beast.
Obviously, they had to skip over a lot of what happened at the castle in the movie, because it would’ve taken ages to go over all of that. I think it’s really cool that someone thought about what could have happened at an enchanted castle with a curious, brave, young, book-loving girl, and put it into words! The only downside was that the author was trying a bit to make it easier for younger readers to understand, so it comes across a little cheesily childish at some points, but mostly it’s a good balance.
Also, this book now has me wanting a book of the whole story! Books are just so much better than movies for the most part, because no matter how good the actor, you still don’t really know what the character is thinking, or experience the story quite the way it was intended to be experienced, without reading it off a page.
Not that I don’t love movies, too of course. This weekend I watched ‘She’s the Man’ with my brother. What are some of your favorite movies turned into books, or books turned into movies?
Have a great week! 🙂
Okay, first of all, I would like to say that I’m pretty sure that the cover artist for this also did the cover art for Shannon Messenger’s books, and man I sure do love all of his covers. Anyways. Moving on.
With her boundless curiosity and wild spirit, Fer has always felt that she doesn’t belong. Not when the forest is calling to her, when the rush of wind through branches feels more real than school or the quiet farms near her house. Then she saves an injured creature—he looks like a boy, but he’s really something else. He knows who Fer truly is, and invites her through the Way, a passage to a strange, dangerous land.
Fer feels an instant attachment to this realm, where magic is real and oaths forge bonds stronger than iron. But a powerful huntress named the Mor rules here, and Fer can sense that the land is perilously out of balance. Fer must unlock the secrets about the parents she never knew and claim her true place before the worlds on both sides of the Way descend into endless winter.
Sarah Prineas captivates in this fantasy-adventure about a girl who must find within herself the power to set right a terrible evil.
Okay, so good things about this book:
- Really creative world building!
- Rook is adorable
- Pretty cover 🙂
- Cool character names- I wonder what their meanings are?
- I love Fer’s loyalty and blind kindness
Not so good things about this book:
- Lots of unanswered questions
- Some characters need character development
- Short so I feel like you don’t get that much time to really engage yourself in the world
The good news is, there’s two more books! I’ll be doing reviews on them next. Have a great week everyone! 🙂
Orphan Molly Moon was found as a baby in a box marked ‘Moon’s Marshmallows’.
For ten terrible years she’s lived under the sinister rule of Miss Adderstone in gloomy Hardwick House. But her life changes overnight when she finds a mysterious book on hypnotism and discovers an amazing talent – the power to make people do anything she wants them to! Escaping from the orphanage, Molly heads to New York in search of fame and fortune. But her adventures lead her into the clutches of a dangerous enemy, who will stop at nothing to steal her hypnotic secret…
The main characters in this book are:
- Molly Moon
- Miss Adderstone
Some tips from Molly:
“Here are some off the top of my head.
First of all… Be careful of hypnotising under water. I suppose this is an odd one to start with, but I’m looking at a glass of water here, and so I thought of it.
So, as I was saying, be careful. This is why. The refraction of the water can do funny things to your hypnotic eye glare and people can think they’re hypnotised by the water and not by you. When they think they’re hypnotised by the water it’s really tricky as they do all sorts of weird things. They want to sleep in the water for instance and they want to keep drinking it. They go into water nymph mode and it can be really embarrassing for them.
Be careful hypnotising people near water.
I hypnotised a fat woman in the swimming pool in Los Angeles because she was saying how much she needed to do some exercise but couldn’t be bothered. I thought I’d do her a favour and make exercise really easy for her. But when I hypnotised her she fell over backwards and her head went under. It was terrible – she nearly drowned. Rocky had to help pull her out and we had to put her into the life saving position once she was on dry land again. All her makeup had smudged all over her face and she coughed up lots of water. At least she survived. That one gave me a shock.
If you hypnotise people through the flames of a fire, your eye glare gets distorted so be careful. This can be really dangerous. When I did it, the man I hypnotised wanted to get into the fire. He could have been barbecued. Luckily I persuaded him that it was a very bad idea so he didn’t.
That brings me onto the very important warning that you must be very careful where people are when you hypnotise them. For instance I would never hypnotise someone who was standing on the edge of a cliff or by a busy road – you never know if they’re going to react strangely and move when you first hypnotise them. They might step backwards off the cliff or into the traffic – that sort of thing. I could write a long list of why you should be careful of hypnotising people but I’ll write a short one and you should get the idea.
Be careful of hypnotising drivers, when they’re driving, and pilots of planes or helicopters and captains of ships etc.
Be careful of hypnotising people holding dangerous things. For instance butchers holding knives, guards holding fierce dogs, police holding guns, old ladies holding umbrellas or heavy handbags. Of course sometimes you will just have to hypnotise on the spot but just beware that if you do it wrong that weapon they are holding can be used against you.
Obviously this is good fun but just be careful because animals with teeth can be very scary if they aren’t hypnotised properly. It is lovely though to hypnotise lions and make them cuddly. You can hypnotise elephants to do dog tricks and mice to run in circles and roll on the floor or climb into matchboxes. When you hypnotise animals you have to work out a way of explaining what you want them to do. That is quite difficult…. Easy if you speak lion or elephant or mouse. Difficult if you don’t.
Remember that you probably don’t want a lot of attention if you are hypnotising people, so don’t ask them to scream at the top of their voices or do something that will have them arrested. To be a responsible hypnotist you should always make sure that you are around to bring a person out of the trance that you put them in. If they are miles away in a police station you can’t get to them… unless you hypnotise a few policemen. Generally anyway you don’t want to make people do things that make them get into trouble as this is not very nice… (unless of course they deserve a bit of a punishment like Adderstone did).
I have found that hypnotism is best when it is used to help people. It’s brilliant for curing bad habits like smoking, over-eating, fear of flying, fear of making friends, that sort of thing. And as a hypnotist it always feels so nice to be useful like this.
Lastly, remember that you can also hypnotise yourself.
I like the hypnotic saying that goes,
‘Every day in every way I get better and better and better.’”
Molly Moon is an enjoyable book, though I must say that I might like her pug better than her. She’s fairly rad, of course, being able to hypnotise people, and, later, do crazy things like time travel and stop time. (This is the first book in a 6 book series) Her best friend Rocky is also pretty awesome. I need to reread the rest of this series, I must say, because while this first book is entirely necessary for setting the stage for the rest of the series, I do believe that I prefer the later on ones when her hypnotism-skillz are already developed more fully, because she manages to do some pretty awesome stuff that way. I think at one point she turns into a ladybug maybe? When she realizes that she can switch bodies with others sort of? Don’t take my word for it, like I said I need to do some rereading here, but I’m pretty sure that happens, which in itself is a valid reason to read the books. 😉 Have a great week!