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Middle-Grades of the Past Week

Release Day: March 5th

My Review: 5 stars

Middle Grade - Contemporary - Realistic

A short but fun read about responsibility and focusing on art as a respected job. I love how they decided to build a club to raise money and attend an awesome art school together. Their friendship is put to the test but they are very mature and responsible in how to deal with their problems, especially because they know how to recognize when they are being mean, and selfish and when it's time to apologize. Parents often prefer that their children have a secure traditional job, but the modern world has much to offer in the art department. It doesn't mean just to paint a painting and hope for people to buy them. I am glad that these books help to educate adults and motivate young artists to pursue their dreams.

I listened to the audiobook and loved it.

Find the Book here.

My review


A fun read that doesn't take things too seriously (I'm glad) with humor magic and adventure making it an uplifting girl rising to power kinda of story entertaining.

I get so happy when publishers support projects that are not portal fantasies, that are wonderful magical worlds on their own.

The moment I saw the cover and title I knew I was in for a treat, as a fan of Diana Wynne Jones and the magic words of Studio Ghibli. It didn't disappoint. Fae is a girl caught in the middle of chaos, she even gets half-transformed into a cat.

This is a great example of an epic adventure story without the characters having to cross a map on a journey. Everything comes to them in the same location where all happens, trials, adventures and misadventures, magic, facing dragons, dragon pastries, meeting amazing characters, learning about them, and defeating a greater evil... All before the time expires. All of this starts with a silly humorous death of a wizard who for a while doesn't realize he is dead until Fae is chosen to break the news to him.

The West now needs a new ruler and they decide to hold trials to pick a new successor, but realize their entire world needs to revisit the old rules and traditions.

The ending is satisfying for two reasons... Those who deserve to get rewarded will be awarded and it hints that there will be a next volume as well. I've read a digital advance copy and can't wait to see the designer's work and format with the cover artwork in a physical edition. Excited for the release of this one.

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for this e-arc.

Find all links here.

Pub Date 23 Jul 2024 

HarperCollins Children's Books, Balzer + Bray
Children's Fiction

My review:

5 stars

An uplifting, funny, and fast-paced read led by the most hilarious and sweet animals who live in an animal sanctuary.

After knowing only rejection Z (Zoodini, not Zucchini ahah) finds his way to an animal sanctuary where amazing sweet Linda and her not-so-nice cousin Tim take care of animals that no one wants, but Linda recognizes their value and loves them.

First Z thinks of nothing else but to elaborate on another prison break, he only trusts his best friend Hoppy (a stuffed animal he keeps with him all the time, and we can hear her speak as Z does).

All the different animals have suffered before getting there but now they are safe and are a big strange family. Then they learn the place has a lot of debt and that means they may not end up as a family at all. Z is selfish for a while until it's time to save instead of escape.

Ending the Sanctuary means no more watching musicals and classic movies, enjoying each other company, and helping each other. The animals even have a council and committee to solve issues. It's time for fun action and redemption. Accepting a new family and protecting them. Saying sorry is also a valuable skill.

Well written, perfect to read aloud and laugh with our critters. The dialogue is hilarious and has a great pacing and mood of a play.

Thank you so much Netgalley and publisher for this e-arc.

Find all the links here for this book.

I love animal characters here are other recs, middle-grade novels, and graphic novels. Mine is among these, Beyond the Cliff and Courage.

Pub Date 02 Apr 2024 

Disney Publishing Worldwide, Disney Hyperion

My Review:

5 stars

Lightningborn is a great start for a middle-grade high fantasy (not portal) dragon rider story. The magic system and the worldbuilding are easy to follow and we are never confused about who is who, even when it feels like it's predictable we are hoping our predictions turn out true.

It starts with two different points of view and location, a boy (Remy) finds a baby dragon being hunted by an evil sky pirate mage. This pirate's intentions are not good and Remy will do whatever is needed to protect the dragon with the help of Bart (we learn more about him as we read). Gem, the princess has Cloud a white dragon. They belong to another perspective of this story. Her goal is to find a way to save her kingdom, to heal the crystals she must find someone who knows about the true dragons.

I love how Gem and Remy's story gets tangled and they become a team in an adventure against time to rescue more than just a baby dragon. Gem has a great personality: focused, brave, and goes against rules but for the greater good. Remy is also brave with his heart in the right place and Bart is very honorable and knowledgeable. Lightning is more than just a baby dragon.

This first book ends with a promise of a larger quest and higher stakes to solve. I will look forward to reading the rest. It's easy to read and the author's style flows well.

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for the e-arc.

Find the book here.

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