Tag Archives: fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t

20 Jun

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I decided to focus on YA series and specifically chose series that I’ve never started – there are so many series that I start and then abandon at a later date. I’m notorious for stopping in the middle of trilogies as it’s difficult, in my opinion, to write a strong trilogy in which all the books are equally well written. For my job, I often start a series to at least get the idea of the storyline, but often won’t continue through a series unless it’s something I really enjoy. And I hate reading a series that hasn’t been completely written yet. Because, even when I love the first book, I usually forget everything about the book by the time the next title is published and it’s my choice of either spending the time to re-read the first title or reading the second and not remembering enough of the first story to really enjoy it. So, needless to say, I don’t often finish series, but these are titles that I haven’t read at all!

  1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  2. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  3. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  4. The Selection by Kiera Cass
  5. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  6. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
  7. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  8. Gone by Michael Grant
  9. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  10. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Book

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Great Middle Grade Dads (or at least they try really hard)

13 Jun

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After my Mother’s Day post, I didn’t feel it was right to neglect the dads – so here’s a post just for them. On a related side note – I had a really difficult time finding high-quality dads in middle grade fiction. More often than not, 2-parent households don’t have strong parents or the family has a single mom household, albeit often a very strong single mom.

Every once in a while, you’ll find a single dad household, but more often as a widower or divorced parent, not from having mom walk out on the family. You’ll notice that some of my choices aren’t even dads – they’re grandfathers or other stand-in father figures – but ones that I couldn’t leave off my list. If you’ve got any really strong and sensitive dads in middle grade fiction, please let me know! Bonus points to you for a diverse novel as well! Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Middle Grade Releases (June – December 2017)

30 May

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  1. The Perfect Score by Rob Buyea (October 3)
    From the beloved author of Because of Mr. Terupt and its sequels comes The Perfect Score, a new middle-grade school story with a very special cast of unforgettable characters who discover that getting the perfect score–both on the test and in life–is perhaps not so perfect after all.
  2. Wishtree by Katherine Applegate (September 26)
    Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this “wishtree” watches over the neighborhood. You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.
  3. The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner (October 3)
    Kirby “Zig” Zigonski lives for the world of simple circuits, light bulbs, buzzers, and motors. Electronics are so much more predictable than people. So when his dad’s visit is canceled with no explanation and his mom seems to be hiding something, Zig turns to his best friend Gianna and a new gizmo-a garage sale GPS unit-for help. Convinced that his dad is leaving clues through the popular hobby of geocaching, Zig sets out to search for answers. Following one clue after another, logging mile after mile, Zig soon finds that people aren’t always what they seem… and sometimes, there’s more than one set of coordinates for home.
  4. Greetings From Witness Protection by Jake Burt (October 3)
    A funny and poignant debut middle-grade novel about a foster-care girl who is placed with a family in the witness protection program, and finds that hiding in plain sight is complicated and dangerous.
  5. Auma’s Long Run by Eucabeth A. Odhiambo (September 1)
    In 1980s Kenya, 13-year-old Auma must decide whether to pursue a track scholarship that will let her attend high school or stay home to help her struggling family as AIDS ravages her village.
  6. Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste (September 19)
    Corinne LaMer defeated the wicked jumbie Severine months ago, but things haven’t exactly gone back to normal in her Caribbean island home. Everyone knows Corinne is half-jumbie, and many of her neighbors treat her with mistrust. When local children begin to go missing, snatched from the beach and vanishing into wells, suspicious eyes turn to Corinne.

    To rescue the missing children and clear her own name, Corinne goes deep into the ocean to find Mama D’Leau, the dangerous jumbie who rules the sea. But Mama D’Leau’s help comes with a price. Corinne and her friends Dru, Bouki, and Malik must travel with mermaids across the ocean to the shores of Ghana to fetch a powerful object for Mama D’Leau. The only thing more perilous than Corinne’s adventures across the sea is the foe that waits for her back home.

    With its action-packed storytelling, diverse characters, and inventive twists on Caribbean and West African mythology and fairy tales, Rise of the Jumbies will appeal to readers of A Snicker of Magic, Breadcrumbs, and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.

  7. Patina by Jason Reynolds (August 29)
    Patina, or Patty, runs like a flash. She runs for many reasons—to escape the taunts from the kids at the fancy-schmancy new school she’s been sent to since she and her little sister had to stop living with their mom. She runs from the reason WHY she’s not able to live with her “real” mom any more: her mom has The Sugar, and Patty is terrified that the disease that took her mom’s legs will one day take her away forever. So Patty’s also running for her mom, who can’t. But can you ever really run away from any of this? As the stress builds up, it’s building up a pretty bad attitude as well. Coach won’t tolerate bad attitude. No day, no way. And now he wants Patty to run relay…where you have to depend on other people? How’s she going to do THAT?
  8. My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson (October 10)
    In an engrossing historical novel, the Newbery Medal-winning author of Bridge to Terabithia follows a young Cuban teenager as she volunteers for Fidel Castro’s national literacy campaign and travels into the impoverished countryside to teach others how to read.
  9. Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley (August 29)
    The magic-infused story of a golden gator, two cursed kids, and how they take their destinies into their own hand.
  10. All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson (September 5)
    The author of Roller Girl is back with a graphic novel about starting middle school, surviving your embarrassing family, and the Renaissance Faire.

*All descriptions are taken directly from Goodreads.


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Book

Top Ten Tuesday: Great Middle Grade Moms (or at least ones that try really hard)

16 May

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This was a really difficult list to create – apparently I don’t pay close attention to the adults in middle grade fiction (when they exist, which is a whole other issue). And then when I was creating the list, I wanted to come up with a diverse list of families and found it shocking that I can’t remember ever reading a middle grade book with two moms – check out this post on SLJ which makes me feel better (and gave me a bunch of books to add to my TBR list). Granted, not all of these moms are “great,” but they all love truly and deeply. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist

9 May
  1. Disabilities (other than Autism Spectrum)
    There are so many titles with characters on the Autism Spectrum, which I think is valuable, but there are so many other disabilities that can be portrayed and these books are not always easy to find.
  2. “Lighter” teen fiction
    I was the “good kid” in high school and didn’t enjoy reading the really heavy and dark material in the young adult department, I’m still not a huge fan of books that deal with such heavy topics in YA lit, probably because the story is too real. At least in middle grade, heavy topics are dealt with and usually have an underlying sliver of hope (which I cling to with a very strong grip) I’ll take Sarah Dessen’s work any day – dealing with heavy topics, but still a little on the lighter side.
  3. Biracial characters
    My boyfriend is biracial and although I’ve asked him about whether or not he missed seeing characters that looked like him in literature when he was young, it’s hard enough to find characters that aren’t white, let alone characters who are Black & Hispanic, Asian & Black, etc.
  4. Magical Realism
    I absolutely adored A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd and loved the sprinkle of magic in a very realistic setting. Whenever I can get a little magic, it’s just the right amount!
  5. Diversity in Fantasy & Science Fiction
    Diversity in realistic fiction has its own difficulties, don’t even try to find diversity in Fantasy and Science Fiction, it’s even more difficult! Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older and a few characters in the popular Hunger Games trilogy are specifically described as not being white, but without it being stated in the text, many people will read characters as white.
  6. Modern Fairy Tales
    Can anyone say The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey or The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill? These are amazing modern fairytales, not retellings of a story we already know, but a brand-new story and I love them!
  7. Sports stories with female protagonists
    There are some solid sports middle grade fiction with male protagonists like Ghost by Jason Reynolds and Booked by Kwame Alexander and while I Loved (with a capital L) these books, I’d love to see strong female athletes as this is a group of kids who are sometimes reluctant readers and it can be difficult to find something they can relate to.
  8. Individual stories that converge at the end
    The easiest example of this concept is Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan, where three seemingly separate stories are connected through the harmonica and in the end all the stories combine and get interwoven together.
  9. Historical fiction for middle grade readers
    I love historical fiction (always have), so things like The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson, Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper and The Marvels by Brian Selznick are some of my favorite reads!
  10. Diversity without screaming “THIS IS A DIVERSE BOOK”
    Always on the lookout for the books that are diverse without screaming “DIVERSITY, RIGHT HERE!” I really enjoyed Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate, One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor have diversity at their core, but you don’t read them thinking, “Of course, I see the diversity staring me in the face.”

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Book

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